- Series: Cerebus book
- Paperback: 408 pages
- Publisher: Aardvark-Vanheim; 1 edition (October 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0919359175
- ISBN-13: 978-0919359178
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #707,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Guys (Cerebus, Book 11) Paperback – October 1, 1997
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Guys takes place immediately after the startling events of Minds ( Book 10) and its insights into the Cirinist revolution and Cerebus` basic personality and character. A long conversation with creator Sim eventually ends when Sim transports the long suffering aardvark to one of the many taverns which the Cirinists have set up as drunken havens for discontented men in Iest. At first Cerebus has an incredibly good time: he`s reunited with longtime friend Bear and hangs out with many amusing pastiche characters, including Mick ( Mick Jagger), Henderson (George Harrison), and the hilarious Marty (Feldman), who provides much of the humor in this story arc. Even intrusive visits by Mrs. Thatcher don`t quell the fun.
However, things change after Bear`s girlfriend Ziggy returns. He promptly rejects male companionship in order to patch things up with her, and soon the tavern`s other patrons are leaving as well. The rest of Guys deals with Cerebus ` new relationship with a girl called Joanne, who had strangely been in an alternate version of reality Sim showed him in Minds.
The story not only features a welcome dose of humor after the previous serious volume, but explores a lot of the problems in human friendships and intimacy. It`s quite apparent that Cerebus is still having difficulties with people, largely because of his own self centered worldview. But seeing him struggle with emotions is somehow amusing, such as his irrational jealousy about Joanne meeting some friends for a drink (although he says he wants to keep things casual, he`s still upset). Also interesting is the view of how men exist under the matriarchal Cirinist regime. They are apparently encouraged to leave the tavern life and search for a "virtuous" bride, but few seem interested in doing this. This is probably because the government`s approach to marriage and family life is not very appealing. Citizens are supposed to work and marry primarily so they can procreate, much like the USSR in the 1930`s. The reader is left to consider the fact that major revolutions do not always make a society better.
Sim`s characters and Gerhard`s amazing backgrounds work as beautifully as they did in previous volumes of Cerebus. Especially amazing are Gerhard`s detailed renderings of the cornfields and landscapes of the country. In general, I enjoyed Guys immensely and think it is one of the lighter hearted installments of the Cerebus story.
Cerebus then becomes the bartender of the empty bar. Not long after, Joanne arrives. They have a brief affair. I'll leave the cause of their break up as a surprise. Why does everyone hate Joanne, anyway?
With this continuing story, to really get it, you need to read every volume. Except for Melmoth.
Despite the grim setting, Sim and Gerhard manage to throw in plenty of amusement. Cerebus not only talks to himself, he argues with himself (in an undetermined number of voices), and comes close to losing the argument. A number of characters wander in and out. Some come from earlier episodes, some from popular culture (especially the music industry), and some from other comics that were popular and current in the late 1980s and early `90s.
This collection covers a dismal episode in Sim's personal life, and much of that darkness comes through. Cerebus is a series best read in the order it was written - later issues of the monthly magazine (like the ones collected here) often rely on context created in earlier issues. But, if you're a fan of this offbeat indy, seeing it collected will be a happy experiece.
Entering this volume without having the complete prior story was confusing, but a willingness and steady pace allowed me to situate myself and get comfortable quickly. Plus, i luckily had a steady income that allowed for the consumption (so to speak) of the prior volumes. Though i should say that i was able to read all of the prior volumes in the time it took for the 20 or so issues of this volume to reach my hands.
A great high point of Guys is Marty's character. Marty Feldman as he was in Young Frankenstein -- i.e. bloody hilarious. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards also provide some laughs. Also worth mentioning is Sim's inclusion of other comics professionals most notably Rick Veitch and Don Thompson. All the cameos Sim includes serve a purpose, though it is somtimes purely comedic.
All in all, Sim gives a very sublime tone throughout this volume, which may or may not be helpful to some readers after the mass of text and ideas that is Mothers and Daughters. I found the relaxing pace quite welcome, though. The only thing truly lacking in the collected volumes are 1) the nice covers 2) the back up features like letters and other correspondences Sim has with several comics professionals (one of my favorites is his several part discussion about the end of Gaiman's Sandman series, which occurred during this volume's serialization).