Cerebus is very, very old and isolated within a tower by those who oppose his views. One night, while lying in his bed, Cerebus is visited by a significant visitor from his past. Sorry, that’s it for the summary. If you’re a Cerebus fan, you won’t want me to reveal any facts from the story. If you’re not, you wouldn’t make heads or tails of it, sorry.
It’s hard to believe we’re only two months away from the final issue of Cerebus. I’ve been a fan and reader of this comic since issue 19, way back in 1980. It’s strange to realize that 24 years have passed since then, and that the comic is finally about to conclude. The promise that Sim made to his readers a quarter-century ago is about to come to its fruition. When he promised to produce 300 issues of Cerebus it seemed an outlandish promise. Over the years it’s become obvious that the 300 issue mark represented a commitment by Sim to continue to produce a complete, coherent and idiosyncratic story until it was complete. 300 issues is an astonishing achievement any way you look at it, made more so by the fact that the quality of work that Dave and Ger have created. There have been so many memorable moments in the series, so many fascinating plot twists, and so many moments that have been unique to this comic.
Yes, Sim did have his bizarre rant about the relationship between the sexes ab0out ten years ago, and recently he’s embraced some religious beliefs that are unique and arguable. But one thing that has only improved since my fragile 14-year-old mind was exposed to this amazing series: the quality of art. Dave and Ger are fantastic artists. The 11-page tracking shot at the beginning of this issue is as impressive and wonderful as any work Gerhard has done on the book. And Sim’s use of light in this issue is amazing – he brings a sumptuous to the art by his use of light, and also helps deepen the theme of Cerebus lying in what may be his deathbed.
This is not to minimize the story in this issue. This issue is filled with wonderful, striking moments that really fit the series. And Sim, the master of beautiful, natural cliffhanger endings, has a doozy in this issue. I literally can’t wait to see how this one resolves. Of course, I’ve felt this anxiousness at many moments throughout the series, whether it involved the Prime Ministerial election, Cerebus’ ascension or the fate of Cerebus’s and Jaka’s journey home.
In this issue, the lead Cerebus story, though 20 pages long, only takes up half the issue. After the main story, the creators present a preview of an intriguing series called Askari Hodari as well as a real, live letters page. One of the things that made Cerebus famous was its lively and thoughtful letters column. Dave Sim could always be counted on to answer the letters in “Aardvark Comment”, which provided for a freewheeling and unique interchange between the creator and his fans. This issue he presents a ten-page letters column, filled with long and intelligent letters and thoughtful, respectful replies. It’s great for us readers to feel like we have a real connection with the creator.
The bad in this issue is obvious: for first-time readers, this issue has to be pretty opaque. It’s hard to imagine that someone picking up the comic for the first time would have any idea what’s going on.
“You will die alone, unmourned and unloved”
Over the years Cerebus has been a consistently outstanding series. Dave and Ger are finishing the series with the same attention to quality that they showed 15 years ago. It’s been an amazing ride. This comic will be sorely missed when it’s gone.