Monday, 21 September 2015

Cerebus: In My Life - Menachem Tzvi

Cerebus Vol 16: The Last Day
by Dave Sim & Gerhard

How did you discover Cerebus and how long did you read it for?

Menachem Tzvi
The first time I read Cerebus was in 2011 when I came across Form & Void at a library in Toronto. I remembered seeing the character in a book about must-read-comics so I took it home, the fact that I knew I was reading it out of order didn't bother me. Parts of the book entertained me and convinced me to read from the beginning.The library didn't have volume one so I read from High Society until Jaka's Story where I stopped for reasons I don't remember. Four years later, I got interested in comics again and decided to resume reading Cerebus. I was lucky enough to find a comic book shop that had all the volumes. Since I was working and had money, I bought the whole series for $200. One month later the store closed down and several months later I read all 16 volumes. (Well, actually 15 volumes. I gave up on Latter Days when it started getting all text heavy.)

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

Very hard to say. I don't draw or have any other creative outlets, I'm more like an absorber than a producer.

What is your favourite scene or sequence from Cerebus?

The entirety of The Last Day. But two examples off the top of my head: The way the page is structured when Cerebus descends from his bed is genius, and the part where he falls to his death, you can almost hear Pagliacci playing in the background (a la Untouchables).  I don't know if that sounds corny but that's what I thought, the moment is so drawn out but also dramatic.

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

I think since there are so many volumes and so many different tones of Cerebus, you should recommend select volumes. For beginners, read only the Palnu Trilogy from the first book, then High Society through Mothers & Daughters saga, skipping only Melmoth and Victor Davis sections in Reads. Dave Sim even says in the introduction to Reads you should take out the prose pages if you don't understand them. In the end, what the reader will have is one giant, intelligent version of Duck Amuck.


Ethan Burns said...

Why would you skip Melmoth? Skipping the buildup in Melmoth kills a ton of the tension in Flight.

iestyn said...

Jaka's Story and Melmoth are my favourite parts of Cerebus.

Will Collier said...

Tzvi brings up something I've been thinking about lately: "Chasing YHWH" is entirely too difficult to read.

I don't mean too difficult because it's long and dense and complex (although it is all those things), but because the type is practically microscopic. It's flat-out hard to see! Speaking for myself, I finally gave up not because of the content or length, but just because of eyestrain, and I suspect I'm not alone. I'd really appreciate it if there were a "large type" version of that text available (digital would be fine) one of these years...

Ibis said...

I agree with Will. The print is very hard on the eyes.

Tony Dunlop said...

"Jaka's Story and Melmoth are my favourite parts of Cerebus."

Mine, too. No contest. Dave might not think emotion is a reliable guide to behavior or social policy - but man, can he portray it with power.

Anthony Kuchar said...

In my Cerebus in my life, I mentioned that I'm reading all of Cerebus in a year, presently I'm starting "Going Home". I would agree that so far, "Reads" has been the hardest book to get through. It's either, lots of hard to read text, or a big fight.

Funny enough, it's probably one of the best fight scenes I've seen in modern western comic books. It reminds me a lot of Manga, where you have a lot of moment to moment panels and Dave captures every gesture, for what must unfold in a few min inside the book, but what feels like weeks for us who take long breaks from the fight to read the Viktor Davis story, an then the VD semi-fictional story, and then the other stuff.