Monday, 2 April 2018

Reading Cerebus #15...I think

Hi, Everybody!

This ain't a charity!
Ends, tonight: CAN7 Cerebus Archive Portfolio No. 7 -- Edition #136/175 ("FLIGHT")
And Fisher's got other (Non-Cerebus) stuff too, look for bonecrusher86 on eBay (OR, click the fuggin' link...)

"Hey kids! What time is it?"
"Time to get a watch ya senile old bastard!"

Kevin reads Cerebus for you,
It’s such a nifty thing to do.
Let’s give a rousing cheer,
Cause "Reading Cerebus" is here,
I didn't lose no testicle in no Double-ya Double-ya Eye Eye
So a bunch of punk kids could stand around on MY LAWN!!!
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.

"Magiking" - Swords of Cerebus Vol. 4, Reprinted in Cerebus Bi-Weekly 26 and Cerebus World Tour Book 1995
Cerebus #13, Black Magiking

"Black Magiking" - Cerebus Issue 13

Good and evil. Ask anyone and they will understand the concepts. Those concepts, however, are of a very fluid nature. Who gets to decide what (or whom) is good or evil? This is the question that I found at the center of this weeks reading.

"I'm Good Because The Magician I'm Guarding Against Is Evil!"

It's all about perspective, kids, something that Cerebus seems to be on a stronger footing with than the magician at the center of today's first story, "Magiking". While our protagonist try's to argue his case with Cerebus, it quickly becomes clear that the concept of good and evil is quite fluid:

Cerebus: "...what makes him evil?"
Magician: "What makes him evil? He wears black all the time. He talks with his mouth full. He never brushes his teeth. He stays out all night...he never finishes his vegetables."

I'm pretty sure that the above justification means that the "evil" magician is actually me  in my mid-to-late 20's. Seriously.

The thing that really twists up the issue of good and evil here is that our "good" magician is so desperate to unbalance the scales, after just talking about the delicate balance of power, to the side of good that he is willing to blackmail Cerebus into helping him create a mighty magical weapon that will tip things in his favor. Doesn't sound like the tactics of a "good" guy, but what do I know, I clearly used to be evil.

It turns out that aardvarks are the magical equivalent to a magnifying glass, concentrating and amplifying a spell by many times. In the end, Cerebus finds himself back on his raft, and the magician? Well, he now possesses a tank, or as he refers to it, "a huge iron carriage and no horses". Remember, perspective.

"His Evil Is Legendary In Lower Felda..."

"Black Magiking" stands as the other side of the coin to "Magiking" as we are introduced to Necross The Mad, who is reputed to be the most evil and cunning of the Black Sorcerers...I mean, just ask the townsfolk. 

Here again, perspective of good and evil is called into question as the townsfolk have made a decision that Necross is evil, blaming him for their catastrophes (plagues and natural disasters) to 
their more insignificant tragedies (milk-maids impregnated by the village idiot).

Megalomanical  posturing courtesy of
Yes, his ideas about destroying the universe would give some credence to the townsfolk's fears, but, funny thing there, they don't even know about those plans. They don't know about the homunculus, Thrunk, that he has built, but is too afraid to give life to. 
Ironic fortune courtesy of
Well, they still wouldn't know if someone hadn't shot Necross in the heart with an arrow causing him to transfer his consciousness into Thrunk in a plea to survive.
Off-panel icky-ness courtesy of
So, in the end, the townsfolk created their own demise by making a somewhat mundane sorcerer into a giant wrecking ball of a homunculus built to squish all those that oppose him. So it goes.

Final Thoughts
Poopie courtesy of
This week, life actually shits on Cerebus. Seriously, right there on page one of "Black Magiking", a big ol' bird poop to the snout. To this point, this may be the most literal summation on Cerebus' adventures to this point. But, things have to improve...right?

Join me back here next week as we look at "Silverspoon" and get introduced to Groucho...I mean Lord Julius!

Currently Listening To: Deadicated - A Tribute To The Grateful Dead

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.


Dictionary Lad said...

homunculus: n.-1. A diminutive human. 2. A miniature, fully formed individual believed by adherents of the early biological theory of preformation to be present in the sperm cell.

Quite the opposite of a giant, 16-foot tall stone statue, eh?

Hey, it's okay. I had a girlfriend once, the crazy Canadian lady, who called a plastic collander I had recently bought "feckless". It was sturdy and had holes in the bottom and you could drain pasta in it, so it was actually quite effective.

Kevin Kimmes said...

Take it up with Mike Mignola. My definition was based on Roger The Homunculus from B.P.R.D. who is anything but miniature.

P said...

Shouldn't that be "Necross the (ha ha ha) mad"?