(from Daily Herald, 25 April 1992)
When's the last time you tried to read a 6,000-page, 300-chapter book? Without hurting yourself? What if the story were broken up by chapter into monthly instalments over, say, a 26-year period that lasted until 2004?
Cerebus the Aardvark is an independent black-and-white comic book that Dave Sim began in 1977 and whose popularity and success helped inspire a host of independent book publishers and artists. The creators of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles count Sim among their influences, especially in their decision to maintain independent ownership of their money-making characters.
And, in terms of sheer volume, Cerebus also is considered one of the more ambitious projects by an individual in the comic book industry. "(There are) some who like a quick 120-page bestseller, but they still manage to sell the occasional copy of War and Peace," said the Canadian-born commercial artist turned publisher.
Sim's stories are a lot funnier than War and Peace, but at times can be just as serious. Cerebus the Aardvark, an "earthpig born" living among humans in a distant past, stalled out as a satire on the grim Conan the Barbarian. But as the saga progressed, Sim began exploring more complex issues - and characters. Although the author/artist describes himself as "intermittently read," he studies politics, economics and history to give the world of Cerebus a sense of reality.