Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Cerebus Re-Read Challenge: Cory Foster

Cerebus Vol 1: As I open volume 1 of the longest sustained narrative by a single creative team, I'm instantly transported by the smell of the pages to Christmas 1995, when I first received the book. I was 11 at the time, having just seen Dave Sim's segment on the Masters of Comic Book Art documentary. Among all the other people interviewed, Dave struck a chord with me as I was beginning to outgrow the spandex sector of the comics market and was looking for something more adult, involved, and complex. I asked for the first phonebook (the colloquial name for the collected volumes, as a reference to their size), and as I read through the first 25 issues of this highly unique comic, I realized I had hit the mark... [Read the complete review here]

Cerebus Vol 2 - High Society: I always think of High Society as one of my favorite graphic novels of all time, but I’m always surprised by how incredibly dense it is each time I read it. I know the story well, but whenever I turn the final page, I invariably feel the need to sit for a moment, frazzled by how much actually happens within its 512 pages. This only took me three evenings to get through, but looking back on it, it nearly feels like I read it in real-time, like some political satire version of 24... [Read the complete review here

Cerebus Vol 3: Church & State I
Cerebus Vol 4: Church & State II
Cerebus Vol 5: Jaka's Story
Cerebus Vol 6: Melmoth
Cerebus Vol 7: Flight
Cerebus Vol 8: Women
Cerebus Vol 9: Reads
Cerebus Vol 10: Minds
Cerebus Vol 11: Guys
Cerebus Vol 12: Rick's Story
Cerebus Vol 13: Going Home
Cerebus Vol 14: Form & Void
Cerebus Vol 15: Latter Days
Cerebus Vol 16: The Last Day
Cerebus #0 (#51 Exodus, #112/113 Square One, #137/138 Like-A-Looks)
Cerebus World Tour Book 1995 (Swords Of Cerebus Back-Up Stories) 

The Cerebus Re-Read Challenge! How far will you get?
Send in your review links to: momentofcerebus [at] gmail [dot] com


Anonymous said...

This is no small challenge. I recall that something like this was attempted a few years ago by some pretty hardcore fans, with the idea that others could join in on the conversation, and that the end of the reading would coincide with the tenth anniversary of the end of Cerebus. There were a few people besides the moderators making comments at first, but they rapidly disappeared. The moderators themselves didn't get past Minds.

Personally, I enjoy reading out of order, picking up whatever I'm in the mood to read.

- Reginald P.

Menachem Luchins said...

Hey, Reginald- I was one of the people who did that re-read. To be clear, we didn't stop because of the material but because of our lives. Lord Julius (another of the re-readers) had health issues and I was running my comic shop. I think the real challenge with a Cerebus Re-read is finding the TIME for it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Menachem:

I don't think I was suggesting that there was anything wrong with the material. I am a fan myself. I'm just suggesting that there can be problems with the "marathon" approach to reading Cerebus, which you yourself point out.

If someone wants to read the books in order and within some time frame, then by all means. But it does make is sound like something of a marathon or test of endurance, which for me, wouldn't be a pleasurable way to enjoy any artistic work. For me in fact, it would interfere with my enjoyment of an artistic work if I was somehow doing it in a way that tested my limits or was otherwise a response to some kind of dare or required that I fulfill some sort of obligation. For me, that seems antithetical to art appreciation, which I think is ideally leisurely, not subject to a schedule, and something that you take in depending on your mood.

I'm a big fan of the Beatles, but I don't think I'd want to listen to everything they recorded in sequence in one marathon session. It seems unpleasant to me, and could actually turn something that I enjoy into a chore. Again, that's not because of the material, but because of the way that I had chosen to engage with it.

Not to try to needle you, but I also recall that Margaret did not participate for a time because she was watching hockey. I note this only to say that even the biggest fan is likely to want to enjoy an artistic work in their own way and on their own time. In fact, if that's how the biggest fan chooses to read the books, then maybe it's a good example.

- Reginald P.

Cory Foster said...

I often read them out of order too, depending on mood. But every 5 years or so, I gotta get down with a good old fashioned chronological read-through. I always appreciate ambitious projects, and this is one of the most ambitious ever, so I quite enjoy reading through the entire story. I can see why it wouldn't be that way for others or how the rest of life could get in the way, however.

Menachem Luchins said...

Super-fair on all accounts.

Not a week goes by i don't wish I could re-read some Cerebus, ANY Cerebus... but trying to be the best retailer I can, I read some 50-100 comics a week... :/

Paul Slade said...

I don't envy you, Menachem. In my experience, one's lucky to find two or three good comics in even an above-average week's output, so the task you've set yourself must have a depressingly low signal-to-noise ratio. Kudos for your commitment as a professional retailer, though.

D-Volt said...

I'm actually a rather new fan to Cerberus, having only gotten into it 2 years ago and having bought the phonebooks of Cerebus through Rick's Story off of Amazon. I'm really enjoying the series so far. Maybe I'll participate in this marathon...whenever I eventually buy all the phonebooks!

crazyyears said...

Hey there, Reginald,

I'm Michael Hunt (or Lord Julius as Meneachem referred to me), one of those die-hards that participated in the reread on ReplyAll.

It wasn't really my health issues that prevented me from continuing posting on ReplyAll. In fact, my health issues landed me a nearly two-month long stint in a rehab facility which allowed me plenty of time between morning and afternoon workouts to write. It was never the rereading of Cerebus I had trouble finding time for, rather it was the writing about Cerebus that took up so much time.

Cerebus as a subject and the reread as a project was so important to me that
I found myself spending hours crafting each 1000-1500 word post. The material was so rich and close to my heart that I very much wanted to do it justice. After each volume was read I had to find the time to just sit and think and write, and outside of the rehab facility it was damn near impossible to find the time.

Another problem for me was convincing myself anyone was paying attention. You were quite right when you stated that commentators dropped off sharply, and that Margaret was MIA for much of the time. So, even though I am proud of what I wrote, eventually it began to feel like mental masturbation. "Don't knock masturbation," Woody Allen said in Annie Hall, "It's sex with someone I love." True, true, but I'm not going to post that on the internet either.

I continued on with my own reread and finished over the summer of 2014, just before I turned 50 years old. If I make it to 60 ("God willing," Dave might say) I'll reread Cerebus and might even have the leisure time to write about it and do it justice.

Eddie said...

Hey Menachem. What would you recommend reading?

iestyn said...

Why RE? read - why not the Cerebus READ it all challenge.

Or the pick a number and read that.

Cerebus lottery - random number 1-16 and go for it with the book.

Cory Foster said...

I agree highly with Michael's paragraphs 3–4.