Sunday, 28 January 2018

Reading Cerebus #6

Hey look kids! It's "READING CEREBUS" time!
Kevin Kimmes:
Welcome back to “Reading Cerebus”, a new (some-what) weekly column here at A Moment of Cerebus. The goal of this column is to bring a fresh perspective to the 300-issue saga of Cerebus as I read through the series for the first time and give my insights into the longest running independent comic book series of all time. Think of this as part book club, part lit-crit, and part pop culture musing. Oh, and they told me Dave Sim himself may be reading this, so I hope I don’t screw this up. Let’s continue.

Issue 6 - The Secret

What is "The Secret"? I'll never tell, it's a secret...
"This is the story of a girl 
Who cried a river and drowned the whole world
And while she looked so sad in photographs

I absolutely love her, when she smiles"

- Some band from the early 2000's

This week our tale opens with a dying man, a secret, and two boobs who want to know that secret (and I'm not talking about Jaka...yet.) As opposed to previous issues, this one drops us right in to the thick of things with no summary from Dave regarding what Cerebus has been up to since last we saw him. Instead, we meet E'lass and Turg The Unduly-Tall who are on the trail of the curly-haired dying man, only to discover that someone has gotten to him first. That someone, is Cerebus.

Upon seeing Cerebus and his small stature, E'lass sends Turg to find out what the curly-haired man told Cerebus, but, "Careful, though! He looks kind of fragile..." While E'lass mentally starts putting a supply list together, Turg get's his head handed to him by Cerebus. Since raw muscle didn't work, it's time to move on to a more nefarious plan: Drugging Cerebus.

E'lass orders ales for the three of them, dropping three pills into Cerebus' mug. The pills, we learn from E'lass' internal monologue, should make Cerebus a bit more suggestible.

Enter Jaka

Fully under the control of the pills, E'lass turns Cerebus' attention to the girl dancing in the bar, Jaka, and explains:

"Jaka is said to be the most beautiful woman east of the Sofim. Her hair is like white silk...her movements are cat-like..."
There are other panels in this issue, I think...Maybe.

This is all Cerebus needs to hear. He is entranced. He is, dare I say, in love? Well, if not, it is safe to say that he at minimum is fully focused on Jaka, so much so that when E'lass tries to regain his attention, he receives a tail to the gut for his troubles.

We soon get our first interaction between Cerebus and Jaka in which Cerebus makes it clear that he is quite enamored with her, offering to kill a yak for her supper. Finding this cute, Jaka kisses the Earth-Pig Born, who floats away with her, fully under her spell.

Trouble in Paradise

Things soon take a turn for the worse for E'lass and Turg as The Brothers of the Black Sun enter the tavern, apparently having tracked the two. Realizing time is short, E'lass makes another attempt of prying Cerebus away from Jaka, resulting in a full blown bar brawl instead.

Cerebus could care less about the fight, until he inquires about Jaka's whereabouts from one of the participants, who calls her a whore and get's his ass thoroughly handed to him for his transgressions. 
People who're hit with chairs REALLY should have the good manners to fall down...
Never mess with an Earth-Pig born in love...

Meanwhile, a very battered E'lass has located Jaka and has threatened to make sure she never dances again if she doesn't get the information he is after from Cerebus.

Apricot Brandy

As Jaka attempts to get the information out of Cerebus, Cerebus has other things on his mind.

"Cerebus loves the little freckle on your elbow."
"I'd love to lick apricot brandy out of your navel..."
"If Cerebus had a navel would you lick apricot brandy out of it?" (The answer here should always be "NO" as we all know what a stink a wet Cerebus can be.)

Finding out that E'lass threatened to kill Jaka, Cerebus makes a direct trip to him and Turg, putting E'lass' head through that wall and warning in no uncertain terms, "And that's only a sample of what you'll get if you threaten Jaka again!"

Having found out about the gold in the Temple of the Sun from E'lass, and combining this with the information that he received from the dying man, Cerebus is now convinced that he knows the exact location of the treasure. He hatches a plan to make both him and Jaka rich beyond their wildest dreams, that is if she agrees to join him, which she does.
It's called foreshadowing kids...

All Good Things Come To An End

As Cerebus goes off for supplies, the pills wear off leaving him confused as to why he is looking at cloth when he has money for ale. Meanwhile, E'lass and Turg decide to find Jaka and deliver on their earlier promise, only to run afoul of The Brothers of the Black Sun.

When Cerebus and Jaka finally reunite, Cerebus has no recollection of who she is or what has previously transpired. Heartbroken, Jaka gives Cerebus a bottle of apricot brandy and tells him, "Some day...some day sweet Cerebus, you will remember why...and you will return. And Jaka will wait for that day, beloved. Even if it takes the rest of her life!"

And that, good reader, sounds a lot like foreshadowing!

Join me back here next week as we look at Issue 7: “Black Sun Rising”.

Currently Listening To: "Must've Been High" by The Supersuckers

Kevin Kimmes is a lifelong comic book reader, sometime comic book artist, and recent Cerebus convert. He can be found slinging comics at the center of the Multiverse, aka House of Heroes in Oshkosh, WI.
issue 7


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

It is, of course, your column to write what you want. It seems that you are merely summarizing the plot of the issues. I think you can assume that people reading this blog have read Cerebus ("especially the earlier, funnier ones"). I'd like to see more of your reaction to what you're reading: any plot twists or character bits you felt succeeded or failed, any techniques of cartooning you found masterful or hackneyed. I hope we longer-time readers can gain fresh insight from seeing your first reactions to what you're reading today.

-- Damian

Kevin Kimmes said...

Thanks for the input, Damian. I'm treating the first 25 of these as the feeling out period, as most say the series really starts with the second phone book. I'm always interested in what readers would like to see more of, so with that said, what would everyone like to see?

Thanks again,


Tony Dunlop said...

In addition to Damian's list, what I have been appreciating is Kevin's insights into the literary influences he sees in the various stories, incidents, et cetera. Kevin, I hope you're up on your Brothers Karamazov since I know that was an influence on parts of "High Society."