Customer Reviews: The animated Cerebus
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In 1982 "Cerebus" creator Dave Sim was approached with a tentative offer by an animation studio with some proposals for an animated "Cerebus" film. Sims thought that "High Society" would make a good feature length animated film, but that was both the story was complicated by Lord Julius, Elrod, the Cootie, Jaka and the Regency Elf. Realizing he would have to have programs printed up just to explain who everybody was, Sims decided to try and come up with a story that took place before issue #1, when Cerebus was a barbarian and the idea was to draw a comic book that looked as much like Barry Windsor-Smith was doing the art as possible, thereby avoiding the complicated introduction of the major characters. Unfortunately, writing a treatment of such a film proved impossible and instead Sim decided to produce a portfolio of short vignettes that would appear in the film: "Just quick little stories that would give people a clever idea of what kind of a film it was I intended to make someday." "The Animated Cerebus" consists of three such vignettes, the result of Sim doing a thing he absolutely hates trying to do, namely "writing pictures."

There are three vignettes in "The Animated Cerebus": (1) "A Well-Equipped Bar" (16 Plates) finds Cerebus in a bar eyeing an untended goblet on the bar. Making sure that nobody is looking, the Earth-Pig sneaks over and drains the contents, only to get a face-melting surprise; (2) "Add One Mummified Bat" (12 Plates) has a young Cerebus serving as a magician's apprentice ("Take, that Walt," as Sim would and does say). It seems that a young aardvark's head is a lot like a mummified bat, but when added to a spell to conjure a demon it has a different affect. Sim adds a lot of blue to this series, which certainly makes it stand out from the other two; and (3) "His First Sword" (17 Plates) finds Cerebus waiting for a blacksmith (inspired by Bluto in the Fleischer "Popeye" cartoons) to finish making his first sword. Once he has it in his hands Cerebus tries it out. The next thing we know, our hero has a sword for which he did not have to pay.

In his mind's eye all three of these vignettes happened before the opening credits of the one-hour special hovering in the back of his mind. "The Animated Cerebus" also includes a cover sheet with fine print detailing most of the above information, a black & white photograph of a 26-year-old Sim working on the cover of "Cerebus" #16, "A Night at the Masque." It also comes autographed (at least mine did, so there). The plates themselves are a bit smaller than 8 x 10 printed on white card stock that is wider and shorter than a legal pad (how is that for numerical specificity?). They come in a black, light paper packet that featured a series of four animated Cerebus figures falling down drunk. Granted, these are not easy to display (A giant bulletin board? Forty-five oddly shaped picture frames?) but for fans of the Earth-pig they are a nice to take out and look at from time to time, especially now that the three-hundred issue run of "Cerebus" is over.
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