Thursday 17 November 2011

What Is Cerebus The Aardvark?

Cerebus #1 (December 1977)
Art by Dave Sim

(from the introduction to Cerebus #0)
Easily the most common (and difficult) question I'm asked about Cerebus is to describe what the book is about. In an age when most movies, novels and television shows can be distilled to a sound byte (High Noon In Outer Space, West World Done With Dinosaurs), a description of Cerebus becomes an ever-more daunting task.

Put as simply as possible, Cerebus is my attempt to document a life for twenty-six years and three hundred issues. Cerebus began in December 1977 and concludes in March 2004 at issue 300, with the death of the title character. It is my attempt to by-pass one of the major faults of comic books (and strips, for that matter); the fact that the characters never age or change and that most attempts at change can be summed up as gimmicks and temporary modifications introduced for the purposes of boosting sales.

Sometimes the Cerebus story-line is funny. Sometimes it is sad. Sometimes it crawls along month to month with very little happening and sometimes it flies by at breath-taking speed with everything happening at once.

I create the book consciously this way because this is the way I see life; my life and the lives of those people that I know. In some story-lines, Cerebus is a central figure and a driving force behind the events taking place. At other times he is a secondary figure, observing rather than participating. Again, this is very much like my own life and the lives I see around me.

...Cerebus is a six thousand page story-line, documenting the ups and downs of a single character's life (as well as those around him). Cerebus, like Howard the Duck, is a funny animal in the world of humans. Everyone, whoever they are, feel themselves to be unique and, more often than not in the last half of the twentieth century, feel themselves to be out of place where ever they are. Documenting that, to the best of my abilities, seemed (and still seems) a worthwhile use of twenty-six years of my life. Cerebus is not a hero, a villain, an anti-hero, or an everyman. He is capable of being each of those and he is most often none of those.

He's Cerebus. An aardvark in the world of humans.

1 comment:

dylanio21 said...

Asbolutely have loved going through each and every one of your blogs. I was going backwards and this leads me to completion, I look forward to future updates, hopefully featuring me as I embark on that Comics Lab Cerebus course from the Toronto Cartoonist Workshop