Post by shaxper on May 2, 2018 19:27:58 GMT -5
by Dave Sim (with help from Gerhard)
originally published in: Cerebus #1-300 (1977-2004)
Nominated by: hondobrode, brutalis, Paste Pot Paul, and shaxper (voting for "Cerebus #0-300, Cerebus World Tour Book 1995, Epic Illustrated #26, 28, 30, and others")
"Cerebus began as a simple parody of the sword & sorcery comics of the 1970s, albeit with a grumpy aardvark. However, a slow evolution began partway into the first volume and never really stopped. Gradually, and over the course of many volumes, the series became the most experimental, artistic, philosophical, and overall intelligent comic I've ever read or even heard about. It continually broke new ground in the comic genre in ways that still haven't been duplicated nor surpassed.
Unfortunately, the downside to the series is that the instability of creator Dave Sim is often unintentionally reflected in the work. As a result, the series isn't really coherent. It maintains a mostly coherent continuity, but characterization, themes, tone, and scope spontaneously change with a moment's notice many times throughout the series. Sim will even take abrupt detours, in the worst case spending an entire volume depicting the death of Oscar Wilde for seemingly no reason. But most dramatically of all, he turns into a strongly outspoken misogynist late in the series, spending a great deal of time talking about the evils of women and feminism, and ultimately decides that he is a prophet, reinterpreting the bible and creating his own religion in the pages of the last two volumes (and yes, he really believed this stuff).
And yet, in spite of all the series' scattered madness and schizophrenic tendencies, there's a reason I pushed through for 300+ issues without a single regret -- even when Cerebus offends and loses its charm, it never stops breaking the mould and striving to do something new in the medium. It's brilliant stuff; the true scary kind of brilliance that is often accompanied by madness and fits of rage. There's a level of genius and experimentation this series reaches that can't be found anywhere else, and after putting down a particularly tiresome or offensive installment for a day or two, you start to miss it like a drug. For all of these reasons, this is an indispensable must-read, something I'd even dare to consider as being the most important, intelligent, and artistic comic book series ever written.
Sim is the ultimate innovator of the comic book medium, and it's for that reason that, regardless of what I think of him or of the directions this series takes, I continually respect Cerebus enough to call it the greatest comic book saga I've ever read."