Monday, 23 April 2018

Reading Cerebus #17

Hi, Everybody!

Dave needs your monies:
CEREBUS IN HELL? / Aardvark-Vanaheim studio-office clean-up clipping panels

And bonecrusher86 is where to look for other items... 

"Hey kids! What time is it?"
"Gee, I dunno, is there a picture of Cerebus reading while eating a bowl of cereal below us, then it must be 'Reading Cerebus' time... yay."

Kevin reads Cerebus for you,
It’s such a nifty thing to do.
Let’s give a rousing cheer,
Cause "Reading Cerebus" is here,
Damn... could you BE less enthusiastic...
The hell man, the hell...
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.

"The Walls of Palnu" - Cerebus #14 (Part 1 of "The Palnu Trilogy")
"The Walls of Palnu" - Cerebus #14 (Part 1 of "The Palnu Trilogy")
I've been waiting all week to dive into this issue after the introduction of Lord Julius last week. Why? Because I love the Marx Brothers, and if what I saw last week was any indication, Dave has a good grasp on capturing the snappy wit of Groucho. Needless to say, this week did not disappoint.

Cerebus, Kitchen Staff Supervisor
This weeks episode centers around an assassination attempt on Lord Julius and Cerebus' attempts at getting to the bottom of who called for it. But first, we get some great Groucho banter:
Courtesy of the Department of redundancy department, and
Lord Julius: I'll come right to the point! As a reward for saving my son's life, I'd like you to be in charge of my security forces. Your official title will be "Kitchen Staff Supervisor".

Cerebus: Why not "Director of Security Forces"?

LJ: Impossible -- That's the title I gave to the Secretary of the Navy...

C: But, if he's the Secretary of the Navy, why did you give him...?

LJ: When you're running a bureaucracy, the best way to safeguard your job is to make sure you're the only one who knows how the whole thing works.

C: So what does the Secretary of the Navy do?

LJ: He meets twice a week with the cook to plan military strategy.

C: And what is Cerebus supposed to do?

LJ: As I said, You'll be in charge of my security forces! You'll make sure that no one assassinates me. If they do, you're fired.

Cinnamon Crisis on Infinite Earths

Bureaucracy can be hungry business. I'd say, "Ask the schmuck who couldn't wait for Julius' speech to end", but he isn't saying much right now. Why? Oh, right, poisoned. 

Thus begins our overarching plot: Who Want's Lord Julius Dead?

Julius immediately orders the cook to be executed:

Cerebus: But, the cook may be innocent!

Lord Julius: You've obviously never had to eat one of his stuffed tomatoes!

Giepie Import and Export
Discovering that the poison was exotic in nature, Cerebus is lead to a nearby shop specializing in imports and exports. Giepie does not take kindly to Cerebus' line of questioning, knocking a shelf on to the Earth Pig Born, and beating feet to get away.

The Plot Thickens

Continuing his investigation, Cerebus accidentally stumbles upon a meeting of revolutionary forces, taking to the ledges of the city in pursuit of one particularly troublesome individual. The chase however ends in the death of Cerebus' quarry outside the window of Lord Julius.

Final Thoughts
This issue was a lot of fun as the who-done-it gets brought to the forefront and we are given our first long form story in the book. As I said before, Dave hits all the right notes when it comes to Lord Julius' dialogue, and it feels like a lost Marx Brothers' film.

Join me back here next week as I take a look at part 2 of "The Palnu Trilogy" as Cerebus continues his quest to find Lord Julius' would-be assassin.

Currently Listening To: Postcards of the Hanging: Grateful Dead Perform the Songs of Bob Dylan

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.


Tony Dunlop said...

I just noticed something from today's post - Dave's sound effect lettering, for which he was to become universally lauded, seem to really come into their own with this issue.

Jeff said...

Hmm. The lettering gets a lot better, later. In later issues (spoiler warning, Kevin), the lettering becomes part of the atmosphere, sometimes even staging the page (see the Cerebus Jam Spirit/Cerebus story--although, admittedly, stolen from Eisner and his underlings).

But, yeah, there's some good lettering in this issue.

Tony again said...

Oh yes, he was very much just getting started here.

Tony the Tedious Pedant said...

And Proofreader Seiler, thanks for not pointing out that "their" should have been "its," as I was referring to the singular "lettering"...