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Cerebus, Volume 1 Paperback – January, 1991

4.7 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
Book 1 of 16 in the Cerebus Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Welcome to Estarcion, the wildly absurd and funny world of Cerebus the Aardvark. This initial volume collects the first two years of stories from Dave Sim's 300-issue magnum opus (still in progress after 20 years). Don't be discouraged by the initially crude artwork or the silliness of the stories. It gets better--even noticeably within this volume. This first installment is the most valuable in preparing for the larger stories ahead.

When we first meet Cerebus--a small, gray, and chronically ill-tempered aardvark--he is making his living as a barbarian. In 1977, when the Cerebus comic book series began, Sim initially conceived of it as a parody of such popular series as Conan, Red Sonja, and Elric but quickly mined that material and transformed the scope of the series into much more. Even by the end of this volume, the Cerebus story begins to transform beyond "funny animal" humor into something much more complex and interesting.

High points in Cerebus include the introduction of Lord Julius, the dictator of Palnu, who looks, acts, and talks just like a certain cigar-smoking, mustachioed comedian; Jaka, Cerebus's one true love; Elrod the Albino, an innept swordsman; and the Cockroach, the-mother-of-all-superhero-parodies and "inspiration" for the much-later TV and comic character--the Tick. All of these characters appear later on in the series as part of a constantly present ensemble of supporting figures.

Even if Cerebus doesn't knock your socks off, give its successor, High Society a try, as this is where the plot really gets going.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 534 pages
  • Publisher: Aardvark-Vanheim (January 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0919359086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0919359086
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Now that I have read the 300th and final issue of "Cerebus the Aardvark," it seems appropriate to go back and read the beginning again, knowing what the earth-pig's final fate (and word) will be. "Cerebus, Volume 1" reprints the first 25 issues in which Dave Sim figures out what he is doing with his cute and furry aardvark. The starting point, as Sim himself admitted in teh beginning, was to "Look as much like Barry Smith as possible," a point which is never more obvious than in issue #2 "Captive in Boreala," which the opening pages are basically Sim's version of Smith's "Frost Giant's Daughter." But by the end of these 25 issues "Cerebus" has been remarkably transformed, and by this I mean more than the fact that somewhere doing those two years of comics that Cerebus starts to look like Cerebus (it takes until issue #4 to actually start wearing clothing).
In retrospect what is fascinating here is to reconsider these stories and see how a funny-animal comic book, that begins with Cerebus bouncing on top of a horse as he a city to engage in some Conan the Barbarian like thievery. After all, Cerebus is wearing Conan's helmet and has a necklace with large round things on it just link Conan in the beginning. But then in #3 "Song of Red Sophia" and #4 "Death's Dark Tread" two important things happen. The first is that Sim undertakes some parodies of some supporting characters from the Conan comic book: Robert E. Howard's Red Sonja becomes Red Sophia and Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melibone becomes Elrod the Albino who has a tall pointy hat and speaks exactly like Foghorn Leghorn.
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Format: Paperback
After repeatedly having been told I should really give Cerebus comics a try I decided to go for it and started off with this first book (which collects #1-25). I don't regret it. Although it's a little hard to get into it at first it's quite an interesting and good read once you get to (and pass) the point he finds employment with a certain Lord Julius of Palnu (about halfway through the book), not accidently also the point where continuity and follow-up stories in Cerebus comics kick in. Before that it's mostly a funny book with single-issue arcs, a spoof on "warrior-comics" which is a genre of comics that was very popular in the days these issues first saw print. Those issues are also enjoyfull but stand-alone, and I feel the real storylines shouldn't have kicked in any later or it might have become annoying.
The main idea of the stories in this volume is that the main-character Cerebus, a sarcastic wandering mercanary for hire who happens to be an aardvark, swerves around in a fantasy land. He never knows where he's going to be next week and his only things of interest are gold, peace of mind and booze, favorably to be earned in any employment he finds at the time (or just by theft). This gets him in the most awkward positions possible which he has to get out off by cleverly conning his (99% dumb-as-a lamppost) fellow characters. The dialogues in which Cerebus takes part are hilarious if you're a fan of sarcastic humor and sometimes you find yourself amazed seeing how Cerebus finds his way out off things you wouldn't have seen a solution for yourself. Big plus for Simm there because the tales NEVER get predictable.
Overall I'm quite enthousiastic about this volume although I do think it might not be the best one to get to know the character Cerebus.
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Comment 16 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on September 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Not only the start of one of the best sequential stories ever, this volume also represents a perfect example of an artist learning his craft. Dave Sim writes and draws every issue in this volume by himself (he later gains a creative partner but not until the third volume) and the evolution of his artwork and writing are amazing to behold. Cerebus started out in the late 70's as a simple parody of Conan the Barbarian with single-issue stories of a cute lil' Aardvark (whose name came from a misspelling of the guard dog of Hades' name) who went around beating up people, good and bad, in search of treasure. He was basically Conan at first, and most of the recurring charecters were spoofs of Conan's supporting cast. This didn't last long,as longer stories lasting three or four issues began to show up,and Sim started developing his own art style instead of emulating the artwork of Conan artist Barry Windsor-Smith. This volume collects issues 1-25 of the comic book,and by the end the book has gone from simplistic and amatuerish (frankly, the first issue is terrible except for the twist ending) to hilarious, allegoric, and intellegent. Nevertheless, these stories, while almost all excellent and increasing in quality every issue,pale in comparasin to the larger epic the series becomes in later volumes. Though the story really kicks off in volume two ("High Society," where Cerebus becomes a poltical mover and shaker via an odd twist of fate) volume one is essential to introducing the charecters and thier relationships. All of these stories have some signifigance, and alot of them show up again when you least expect it (issue number two, for example, has ramifications that don't come into play until more than one hundred and fifty issues later!Read more ›
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