Sunday, 5 January 2014

Cerebus: In My Life - Brian Coppola

Many thanks to Brian Coppola for taking time out from his excellent Aartvark Blog to take up the AMOC challenge to discuss the impact of Cerebus in his life. What would YOUR answers to these questions be? Get in touch!

Brian's Favourite Page: Cerebus #44, Page 12
Art by Dave Sim
(Click image to enlarge)
How did you discover Cerebus and how long did you read it for?

When I started graduate school (Aug 1978) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the best and only game in town for comics was Capital City Comics (est. 1975, still on Monroe Street, still run by Bruce Ayres). Bruce is the old school comic shop owner: knowledgeable about the field, reads everything, learns your interests and is liberal with recommendations. Sometime early in the fall of 1978, he pushed Cerebus at me. And I did not listen. What kind of weirdo comic is this? And somewhere around issue 11, with 8 issues to buy at once, I finally listened. It took a while to score some copies of issues 1-3, but that was it. No looking back, and straight on until the last page of issue 300.

How has your own creativity / comics reading been influenced by Cerebus?

I will give you three. (1) I definitely enjoyed the time period when the book featured previews and try-outs for other creators. A-V had a keen eye for what might be interesting to pick up. (2) Collaborating with Gerhard on various projects (for example World Without Cerebus) has been awesome - mostly meaning that I drive that poor guy nuts with the things I have asked him to do. (3) I enjoy drawing and have not done enough of it, but when I was inspired to crank out a few sample strips for an idea that never went anywhere - called The Michigan Mice - you can see the influence, for sure. This is one of three strips I made up (ca. 1990) which, until this moment, has never seen the light of day. Fortunately, I never gave up my day job.
The Michigan Mice (ca. 1990)
by Brian Coppola

Do you have a favourite scene or sequence from Cerebus?

When I close my eyes and think about the entire story, the tempo and pacing and complexity and humor of the 1413 Election, during High Society, is what comes to mind. Throughout the series, I always looked forward to the next issue and it would make the top of the stack that week, but I really (really) recall anticipating those next issues during and just after the election sequence. I could pick any number of pages I have from that run, but let's go with Issue 44 page 12. And when I think about the art, the absolutely stunning addition that Gerhard made moved the entire Cerebus experience to a higher level.

Would you recommend others read Cerebus, and if so why?

Yep. If you are thinking about the genre, you need a piece of this to say you know what the landscape looks like. I also think you can start anywhere in the series; it either wets your whistle or it does not.

1 comment:

Dave Kopperman said...

Actually reminds me quite a bit of M. K. Brown.