Monday, 12 March 2018

Reading Cerebus #12

Hi, Everybody!

"Say kids, what time is it?"
"It's 'READING CEREBUS' time! "
Kevin reads Cerebus for you,
It’s such a nifty thing to do.
Let’s give a rousing cheer,
Cause "Reading Cerebus" is here,
This is the second to last line,
This is the last line...

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 12 - Beduin By Night
Issue 12- Beduin by Night
With The Cockroach in custody, and with it his fortune, Cerebus hits the taverns of lower Felda where he laments his latest losses.

Image courtesy of crippling depression and
You Can't Always Get What You Want

The story of Cerebus thus far really feels like a series of unfortunate events. Every time that it seems fortune is about to smile on The Earth-Pig Born, fate steps in with a hard slap and a "better luck next time son, I say son". With the introduction of The Cockroach last issue, nothing has changed.

Once again, Cerebus is tempted by fate after overhearing that the authorities found all of the gold in the well, but what about in the walls of The Cockroach's domicile? There may be hope yet! Well, there could be, or there could be a small amount of remaining gold and one adult size loony in a cockroach costume.

This touching moment courtesy of
Keep Your Friends Close And Your Enemies Closer
With a giant cootie standing between Cerebus and the remaining treasure, there is only one thing to do: Kill two birds with one stone and turn two thorns in his side against each other. I say, now I say who could I be referring to? Well, our good pal Elrod of course.
Cerebus convinces The Cockroach that Elrod is coming for his treasure and that it must be moved post haste. Everything with this plan would probably have worked out just fine, well until Elrod actually shows up. 

"That's why everybody else is out there, and the Cockroach is in here" courtesy of
Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire

The bickering of the two boobs attracts the attention of the local authorities who take it upon themselves to attempt to arrest Cerebus, The Cockroach and Elrod, only to be put to sleep by Cerebus for all their troubles. The Cockroach is also knocked out, leaving only Elrod as the witness to Cerebus absconding with the gold.
But wait, this is a Cerebus story after all, so the boat breaks and all the gold winds up in the river as a wet and angry Cerebus rides a shard of it down the current and out of town. 

The WORST Birthday ever courtesy of

Final Thoughts
This issue continues to play with the superhero tropes that Dave began parodying last issue. At one point, to gain The Cockroach's trust, Cerebus tells him that his parents were acrobats who were killed by the Red Claw Cult, a simplified origin of Robin The Boy Wonder.

The one thing that really stood out about this weeks issue to me was the art. Along with the use of zip-a-tone, it appears that ink wash was used liberally throughout giving the story a 1970's Marvel magazine look (think Howard The Duck or Marvel Premier). It really works well here to add a layer of murk to a story that takes place exclusively at night.

Join me back here next week as we look at Issue 13: "Black Magiking"

Currently Listening To: Grateful Dead - "Live In Concert" (It's some cheap bootleggy thing that claims to be a live show from South Dakota in 1980. Problem is, the Grateful Dead never once played South Dakota in their career. So...yeah...)

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.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Hi, Kevin! Great job so far! I'm pretty sure that weird looking effect on the Roach is due not to zip-a-tone or (technically speaking) a wash, but instead, to something Dave has written about before...hang on a sec...yup, here it is, the intro to #12 in Swords of Cerebus volume three (mine is the fourth printing, February, 1986):

"About the only thing I regret on this issue is the decision to use duo-tone board (art board pre-printed with two tonal patterns, one light and one dark, each brought out by a separate developing fluid). It tended to make the artwork incredibly muddy in appearance."

Hope that helps.