200901081326As briefly noted, yesterday marked the debut of Cerebus: A Diablog which features journalist Laura Hudson and Top Shelf’s Leigh Walton blogging each issue of CEREBUS, one issue a week. (That’s nearly 6 years of labor. Will there even BE blogs by then?) It’s a strong debut, as the millennial duo parses the grammar of a comics industry long gone while mining the kernels of eternal content. Walton:

What’s interesting about the “Cerebus is an aardvark” juxtaposition — seemingly the point of the comic — is that the comic largely doesn’t notice. The opening few pages of this issue, when the human characters are shocked to see a warrior aardvark riding a horse and entering a bar, comprise pretty much the only time in the series (I think) when the comic draws attention to the conceit. “Thought later he would be called the finest warrior to enter our gates, at the time, he was but a curiosity…” “I can’t serve YOU here… YOU’RE A…” etc. But then he’s hired by two thieves to join their heist, with a minimum of hesitation, and that establishes the treatment for the rest of the book: Cerebus is funny-looking, and he’s recognized as an unnaturally skilled warrior, but he’s not a dog walking on its hind legs or anything.


Sim’s narrative is most compelling during the more elaborate battle scenes, which adhere to fantasy tropes but have an animated, almost poetic cadence: “The heavy blade sliced the gloomy air and crashed against the aardvark’s blade as Cerebus backed up the shadowed stairs… like a blinding flame, the steel flickered and slashed in front of him…”

Check back factor: high.


  1. In the 1980s SWORD OF CEREBUS reprint collections, Dave Sim wrote commentary about each reprinted issue and I was amazed to discover then that his art in those earliest issues was meant as a tribute to Barry Smith’s Conan art when I originally read it as a parody of Smith’s Conan art because it imitated all of the faults in Smith’s 1970s art (which don’t exist today in his work), and did it in the most glaring ways!

  2. It should prove really entertaining as we get into the later issues:) Anyway, great start. Hey, Laura are you already taking shots at him? C’mon it’s issue #1… these issues are the beloved ones… anyway, should be fun stuff and I hope nobody holds back.

  3. I don’t think I’ve taken any unfair shots at Sim. And although there are plenty of very fair shots I have no doubt I will take at him in the future, my goal is thoughtful critical analysis of Sim, not crucifixion, even in his disgraceful moments. The fact that he thinks I should be spanked for getting mouthy neither negates nor excuses his accomplishments; they’re simply two things that exist in juxtaposition and should be recognized for what they are.

  4. :)
    Actually, you might might have had a miss on the Star Wars thing… and you seem to insinuate what a “lucky coincedence” that Howard The Duck and Conan were big at the moment -when Dave himself has freely admitted that wasn’t a coincedence…
    I’m not, nor is the public I believe looking for objective analysis (yawn) -so I was merely applauding you:)
    Truth be told there isn’t a Cerebus fan in the world who would hold the first issue in very high esteem -none the less, you guys did a great job pointing out what was good about it and why it was more than just a coincedence that it broke through the way it did.
    And on the spanking between consenting adults -one wonders if there isn’t some bdsm fixation going on… there are other examples, too -of course who doesn’t love a little spanking?

  5. Hit submit too fast. That should say: “…mouthy doesn’t negate his accomplishments, nor do his accomplishments excuse him.”

  6. The lucky thing was a joke? And your failure to get my spanking reference suggests to me that haven’t fully read Sim’s screeds. Regardless, we have a whole blog to discuss this on now!

  7. suuure it was:)
    I’m far from a Dave expert -and I’m probably in some small way helping his gospel along that will inevetibly spell doom for the human race, but I’m pretty sure I got your reference… I was merely theorizing a possible psychological component, like I said there are other examples. And, I could be wrong, but we are talking between consenting adults… many people enjoy that kinda thing.
    In any case I’ll probably read along with you -and maybe wake up and realize: OMG he’s a monster (ok, he’s a republican so I already know that… I sure hope I don’t get conservative in my old age, too), but on the other hand maybe things have been blown out of proportion… let’s both try to go into this with an open mind, otherwise what’s the point? It’s an exciting experiment and can’t wait till next week for issue #2.

  8. Aw c’mon -don’t make me read the whole thing now: can you just quote the portion you are talking about. (You might not know, but he has gone on record that he would die for women’s legal equal rights.)

  9. You are mouthy -sounds like you are asking for a… :)
    Let me say I’ve been Mr. Mom -and never spanked my son… of course I lucked out with a really great son. Yeah, I’m proud.
    Now, I’ve read the whole #$#%# thing again, and unless you read a different text -he wants women to want to be disciplined… and for those women spanking would merely be encouragement. Endorphines and whatnot…
    That’s a HUGE difference. So how upset are we supposed to be? Maybe we should be upset about your reading comprehension, or maybe that you are lazy intellectually. It’s very easy to read and see only what you want to see.

  10. Also, as the dude who is #17 on the “I don’t believe Dave Sim is a misogynist” loyalty oath list (and making an animated version of Cerebus for Sim), it seems you have far more of an axe to grind than I do.

  11. Laura,
    you regret the blog because you were wrong? Because you mistakingly thrashed him for a Star Wars rip-off, and now for assault, as it were? Yes, it’s time for you to eat crow and be a man about:) -you have a responsibility as a a journalist and Brown graduate to actually think originally and outside the box, don’t let your emotions blind you and have you go for pat answers…
    Sure I’ll be there right there with you on your new blog venture issue by issue, but my animated cartoon attempt is focused on the early liberal Dave so your agenda has little or no effect on me one way or another. Thrash the later Dave all you want. If you knew me you’d realize my comfort zone is in uncomfortable philosophical issues, and I was the kid who would step in and help kids who were bullied.
    I realize why you are upset -and heck, I’m too, on the later Dave… but you are only supporting his overall thesis by not sticking to the facts and losing perspective -and really it is really really unconsciable to go about smearing another living human being for anything and everything like you are, he is who he is, but not the man your preconceived notions make him out to be… you have a higher responsiblity! The guy believes in old fashioned chivalry -gross;) Look, he’s not as bad as Palin, Bush, Cheney, Reagan, Bill O’Reilly and most of the south:) And you can imagine how highly Dave thinks of my liberal LA views:)
    And I’ll be #17 on your list of I don’t think Laura is a moron:) I’m here for you.

  12. Laura can speak for herself, but I’m pretty sure she regrets the blog because now she has to deal with loony flat worlders such as yourself analyzing her every thought and motivation.

  13. ???
    Put your analytical cap on here for one second.
    Me and Laura don’t disagree that Dave is wrong: we are merely analyzing -did I miss something or was that not what her blog was actually about? or was it something else:)

  14. Oliver,
    Speaking as someone who was more or less on the same side as you in the Sexism entry, I think you might be making too much of a toss-off comment re: Cerebus’ influences.

  15. It could be argued analyzing every panel of Cerebus is making too much of Cerebus’ influence… but I’m not sure which comment/influence you were referring to.

  16. I mean Laura’s “lucky confluence” remark. After all, you could both be right. At time Dave might’ve attributed his book’s marginal success to luck; at another, to direct influence by other popular genres.

    It’s not a point worth much consideration IMO.

  17. Good point… I mean, maybe he leaned that way anyway and it was lucky -and then later rationalized as a clever strategic move… and like you said maybe it was both, like destiny or something:)

  18. Interesting that no one is making any assumptions about Leigh Walton and his blogging based on his gender, isn’t it? Whatever Leigh says must be based on reason and critical faculties because…well…that’s the way it is.

  19. I don’t know if reason has anything to do with it -like everyone here you mention Star Wars and that’s where my mind goes (hell of a year when you think about it: Cerebus and Star Wars)… :) if you are referring to my post on Laura’s blog.
    If you are referring to my first post here before it snowballed: I was first and foremost trying to be playful and stir up some excitement for their blog -not that “Leigh is nice to Dave: news at 11” wouldn’t have worked, too.
    However, switching up their names on their blog, or have them be anonymous -would be a fun idea.