Wednesday, 6 March 2013

365 Days Of Cerebus: High Society

Cerebus #49 (April 1983)
Art by Dave Sim
MATTHEW MAYLIKHOV:
(from 365 Day Of Cerebus: Part 2, posted at Multiversity Comics, 28 February 2013)
...Yet the astonishing thing is that High Society overall really isn't all that dated. In fact, a very easy parallel to make would be looking at Cerebus' campaign to Obama’s first campaign for office, at least in terms of Cerebus' platform representing everything the people wanted (against a goat), yet when he finally got to office his attitude seemingly changed and nothing necessarily got better due to the pit dug before Cerebus took office. It's one of those weird little "life imitating art" things that's only visible in hindsight, but it’s interesting none the less. Granted, Cerebus' goals are relatively disengenuous, as he's doing this all for himself rather than for anyone else, but it's never not impressive how Sim has managed to make the book not excessively dated with its subject matter given how out-of-date these things can often become. It’s one of Cerebus' many overall strengths; there are certainly some things lost in the sands of time, but the repetitive nature of the cultures Sim frequently pokes fun at does allow the book to stay relevant to modern day issues during a 2013 reading...
Cerebus #49 (April 1983)
Art by Dave Sim
...The craftmanship that goes into the issues within this arc is also pretty stunning as well, and it's amazing to see the work that Sim was doing in comics two decades ago that today are lauded as modern innovations. For example, a recent issue of Batman (#5 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo) required readers to rotate the comics as Batman traveled down a maze; Cerebus #49 features a drunk Cerebus stumbling through the events of the issue while readers are required to rotate the comic in order to follow him along in his disorienting journey. There are quite a few examples of this forward-thinking storytelling throughout in terms of the narrative technique that Sim employs, including how well the book transforms with Guided View [at Comixology]... It's also of note that High Society is where Sim begins balancing prose portions into the story (whether as a transcription from an event or an excerpt from a non-fiction novel) which will be more recurring later, and while I don’t think it fair to credit Sim with the origination of this idea or any of the other tricks of the trade (possible, but I’ve not researched it to confirm either way), it’s never the less still impressive to see how much creativity Sim was using in these books that we somewhat take for granted in today's modern comic-reading culture. Not to knock Batman, but the way that Sim utilizes the rotating book technique is certainly much more interesting, and a touch less stunt-y...
Cerebus #49 (April 1983)
Art by Dave Sim

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