Saturday, 21 January 2017

Carson Grubaugh's Cerebus Re-Read: "Going Home"

Cerebus Vol 13: Going Home
by Dave Sim & Gerhard

(from Carson's Re-Read Blog, August 2016)
...This book also has the most god-awfully ugly art in the whole series. Immediately after reading the book, and determining that I hated Gerhard's contribution to the volume, I started seeing people over on A Moment Of Cerebus comment that it is their favorite Gerhard volume. "Great," I thought, "now I am really going to have to defend myself. So, bear with me as I explain my averse reaction to Gerhard's art in Going Home.

Gerhard is THE best draftsman of architecture in comics; François Schuiten being the only artist I can think of that can give him a run for his money. There is no doubt that when it comes to drawing buildings and putting linear perspective to use Gerhard is gangster-status.

Unfortunately this does not translate to an ability to draw nature. Buildings look good when you draw them bound by solid outlines that do not vary in weight. Buildings are, by definition, artificial. When you draw nature, this same approach of containing the object in a single outline and then "coloring" it in with perfectly straight hatching lines, does not work so well. Everything looks flat, like a bunch of cut-out/sticker/appliqué graphic-icons of corn, flowers, trees, etc. The images are detailed as ever, yes, but they feel fake, collaged. There is just no depth... [Read the full review here...]

Cerebus Vol 14: Form & Void
Cerebus Vol 15: Latter Days
Cerebus Vol 16: The Last Day


Travis Pelkie said...

Thesis: The artificial rendering of backgrounds/nature in this volume and "stage scenery" look operate as a reflection of how artificial and staged the Cerebus/Jaka relationship is (and really always has been).

Just a thought.

Jeff Seiler said...

A good thought, Travis.

Carson, IIRC, Going Home was the first book for (on) which Ger used a computer modeling program. That's why we got so many changing points of view; dizzying, even. Perhaps it was a case of overexuberance with the new toy.

It certainly made for a new look to the book. Which probably was a good thing for sales, at that point.

So, Carson, my takeaway from this review is "great layouts, crappy art", right? Don't necessarily agree, but there are pages that are hard to look at. There are also pages that sing.

Carson Grubaugh said...

Yeah, a lot of great camera-movement storytelling, but stiff, artificial feeling drawings of nature.

Steve said...

Meanwhile, Cerebus is going to say, "Pull my finger!"

It's such a gas...


Jeff Seiler said...

Yeah. Not to be indelicate, but look at her hand not quite wrapped around that one finger (toe?) and that blissful look on her face.

Intentional drawing? You decide.

All you have to do is make her happy every single day...

Tony Dunlop said...

Well. It's times like these I'm glad I'm not a formally trained artist, and can just enjoy a funnybook on its own terms…but thanks for the effort, Carson! "Going Home" is still my third-favorite volume, behind "Jaka's Story" and "Melmoth." It's just so…human.

Dave Sim said...

Well, it WAS tough. I mean, given who Cerebus is and who Jaka is and "where they were at" over the course of MINDS, how did you THINK it was going to turn out? It's about as happy as I could make it with those givens. Yes, they're happy. But it's a very finite kind of happiness. It goes from here over to there and then stops. Anything else would be dishonest and a disservice to both characters as constituted.

Dave Sim said...

She held him by one finger because that was what was comfortable given the different sizes of their hands.

I mean, come on. Their HANDS were incompatible. :)