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Jaka's Story (Cerebus, Volume 5) Paperback – September, 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 486 pages
  • Publisher: Aardvark-Vanheim; 6th Printing edition (September 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0919359124
  • ISBN-13: 978-0919359123
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #936,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Cerebus is a 6,000 page comics novel about the life and death of a warrior aardvark. But what started as a Conan the Barbarian parody has evolved into a brilliant commentary on politics, gender roles and the creative urge. Jaka's Story is the fifth book in the series, and it tells the story of a dancer (Jaka) stranded in a deserted town surrounded by her carefree husband, a lecherous bartender and Oscar Wilde. Rich and satisfyingly complex, this is well worth your time.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I strongly disagree, and if it were true, then he essentially negates this book.
Frosty Cilantron
Though you do have to read the first ones to understand Jaka, who pops up every now and then in the stories before.
Candi Cabaniss
Yet, a brilliant story, brilliantly told, from David Sim's rich and highly-detailed universe.
Kevin S. Willis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ven "Gethenian" H. on October 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's just a comic book...
...isn't it?
And yet so many words can be applied to it. Let me see... Emotionally rich? Sounds like potting soil... Touching? Not quite... Genius? Too weak...
For "just a comic book," this is an absolutely breathtaking piece of literature. To call it a treasure would be like calling winter in Antarctica "a little chilly." This is a book absolutely overflowing with all the things that make a book really worth reading: fascinating characters, lyrical prose, a setting as detailed as any reasonably possible (and interesting to boot: it's several miles above ground level). Best of all, it's a *comic book.* There are some things you just can't say with words. You need an entire page filled with frame after frame of a shadowed shape just barely recognizable as a prison door before you can get the full effect of a broken voice choking out a lullaby from its roach-infested depths.
On a more technical note, the literary references to Oscar Wilde are enjoyable and, as far as a dedicated fan of Wilde's work can tell, accurate. Pud Withers alone is a reason to read the book: a character worthy of a place among Literature's most introspective and developed characters. His constantly rephrased fantasy conversations are a fascinating study of how innocent desires evolve into violent lust.
As for Cerebus, his most important role in the book is playing a game of toss-the-ball-into-the-waste-bucket. The rest of the time he spends pretending to be asleep or gone completely "fetching paint for Oscar." This neither makes the book better nor worse. Cerebus's absence has no effect on the quality, but his presence would not have effected it either. Though he is the main character of the series, this IS Jaka's Story.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 1997
Format: Paperback
While many people I'm sure enjoyed the huge storylines that both preceded and came after Jaka's Story, I think that this is probably the best that Dave Sim has ever written. Mind you, I loved Church and State, especially toward the middle and end when Gerhard's imput became more apparent, but the length of the storyline and the widely varying artwork due to sixty issues worth of practice made it a tad uneven at times.

Sim made the right choice in choosing to shuffle Cerebus off to the side for Jaka's Story and deciding to tell a story of real people facing everyday problems with only themselves and each other to rely on. Every piece of this story is a joy to behold, from the brilliant mixing of Sim's character drawing (he does great facial expressions and awesome dialects to boot), with Gerhard's backgrounds (how does he draw all those lines), to the text pieces that finally show Sim's ability to turn a phrase and not a little of his influence from Oscar Wilde.

The text pieces contrasting Jaka's rich life in Palnu to her current struggling dancing career are probably some of the best parts, for here we see Dave Sim's writing by itself, something we had only previously experienced in the introductions to the paperbacks.

Sim guides us through the story with a master's precision, making us care more and more about the characters, so when he finally drops the bombshell, it is quite a shock to the reader. The scenes in prison were unnerving and a little unsettling (makes one wonder when Sim ever spent time in jail). The end confrontation with Mrs. Thatcher, who is possibly the most unassumingly evil person I've ever seen, hits you like a punch in the gut for sheer emotional impact. After reading Jaka's Story, I didn't feel the least bit sorry for Mrs.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Frosty Cilantron on November 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
In a way, this question permeates the entire series. Cerebus never really figures it out, but does Dave Sim? I think, through this volume, we the readers really come to understand who Jaka is. Yes, sure, it's based on what Dave tells us Oscar was told by Rick what Jaka told Rick about herself (read that a couple times), but still, this IS Jaka. The only portion of Jaka's story which we later find out to be untrue is the idea that she somehow lived on her own, without support from anyone, from the age of 12 to the time we first see her in Volume 1.

In an interview many years after this book was written, Dave says "Jaka is a self-absorbed, aristocratic airhead. She always was." I strongly disagree, and if it were true, then he essentially negates this book. Did he say this because Jaka was based on a particular woman or women in Dave's life, and Dave later ended up hating the woma/en Jaka was based on? I think the statement "Dave has forgotten who Jaka is" is a methaphor of the process which transformed Dave from the man who wrote "Jaka's Story" to the man who wrote Cerebus #186. Perhaps Jaka is Dave's Jungian anima, which would explain a lot. (Dave doesn't care for Jung much; see volume 15).

This book may well be the best in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
This segment of the Earthpig saga barely mentions the title character at all. Oh, Cerebus is there in most of the monthly comics collected into this volume, but usually as an incidental character or as one to set the context for Jaka's Story.

Jaka: the love of Cerebus's life, despite his brief marriage to Red Sophia. This time, we find Jaka and her useless husband, Rick, in near-exile at a wayside tavern. Her position as Lord Julius's niece and possible heir puts her on shaky political ground, and her talent for exotic dance makes her a welcome member of the remote inn's staff. Only a few characters appear in this 400+ page sequence, including an Oscar Wilde look-alike. For reasons unclear, that character siphons Rick for Jaka's life story, back to earliest childhood, for publication - without Jaka's knowledge. This whole book alternates between segments of that writing, illustrated with scenes from child-Jaka's privileged and miserable childhood, and today-Jaka, caught in the crush between her past with Cerebus and her present with Rick.

This book's 1986 copyright date (I read the indicia, not the year Amazon quotes) suggests that the monthlies collected here were written, at least in part, during the time when the author's own marriage was failing. It's tempting to read the Jaka/Rick story as autobiographical, and I imagine that some personal truth underlies the fiction. I can not imagine which parts or what percentage of the story carry that truth though - perhaps large amounts, perhaps nearly none - so I leave that question without attempting an answer.

Despite its sedentary setting, I find this portion of the Cerebus epic strangely appealing.
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