Monday, 30 April 2018

Reading Cerebus #18: The One About Issue #15

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And bonecrusher86 is the name to know...

"Hey kids! What time is it?"
"I'ma gonna let Kevin's Co-worker answer:"

Welcome back to “Reading Cerebus”, a some-what new (mostly) 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, but so far only Dictionary Lass has shown up. Let’s continue.

"A Day In The Pits" - Cerebus #15 (Part 2 of "The Palnu Trilogy")

"A Day In The Pits" - Cerebus #15 (Part 2 of "The Palnu Trilogy")

This week, I want to approach the column in a different way. The quick summary is that Cerebus, still hot on the trail of those responsible for the attempted assassination of Lord Julius, discovers that the rebellion may be gathering in "The Pits" under the city. An expedition finds that while the rebellion has a large serpent, Cerebus has torches which trumps a blind snake every time. As a whole, this issue serves as the middle child, so for the most part, I'm ignoring it this week in lieu of focusing on one story element that I find fascinating: "The Pits".

Courtesy of

A Night In The Ruts...Err...Pits

Around 20 years ago, my local comic book store, My Parents Basement in Manitowoc, WI (don't bother looking for it, it's long since gone) was preparing to move into a new location to make way for a new library being built on the block the store currently occupied. This new location: an actual basement!

The store's new location would be accessible from a street level walk down with the majority of the store located below the pavement. It had two large windows with a grandiose view of the staircase and about enough street level clearance to ogle the ankles of any passerby. This in itself was rather mundane and depressing, however, what we found behind the walls was utterly fascinating. 

Down On The Corner, Under The Street

As we began to prep the space for new framing and drywall, we discovered something completely unexpected: windows. Bricked over on the backside, we found several windows that faced out towards the street. Unbeknownst to us, the city wasn't always the way that we knew it, it used to be much lower.

Further exploration of the building found more clues that pointed toward this exact end, the most interesting being a bricked off doorway located in a room with the main breaker for the building. This too faced out toward the street.

Was there a great rebellion gathering under the streets of Manitowoc in the late 90's? Did they have a giant snake that would eat unwelcome visitors to their lair? No clue. Why? Because everything was bricked off and the owner kept taking away our power tools when he saw that mischievous glint in our eyes, that's why.

So if anyone has some power tools laying around, can Matt and I borrow them? I know the current owner of that building and may be up for an adventure in "The Pits". Now where's my trusty aardvark? You never can find good help when you need it.

Final Thoughts

Much like last issue, this issue continues to develop the long form plot of Cerebus, and Dave's portrayal of Lord Julius is a treat for me as a Marx Brother's fan, and the witty dialogue is Groucho all the way.

Join me back here next week as I take a look at the conclusion of "The Palnu Trilogy" in "A Night At The Masque".

Currently Listening To: Pearl Jam - Alive E.P. (Japanese Import)

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.


David Birdsong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin Kimmes said...

I wish I could provide you with some, but that was the late 90's before everyone carried cameras in their pocket.

David Birdsong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

One night, years ago, when I lived in Manitowoc, I got to go down in the basement of my favorite watering hole. It was a huge, dimly-lit, all brick space that seemed like it had once consisted of multiple rooms. The beer kegs for the taps were stored down there along with pallets full of cartons of beer. It was a very creepy place that I likened to the building near the end of The Blair Witch Project. Just one more reason to get the hell out of Manitowoc.