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Cerebus #286

Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2003
By: Craig Lemon

(and )

Writer: Dave Sim
Artists: Sim (characters), Gerhard (backgrounds)

Publisher: Aardvark-Vanaheim


My god, but this comic can be a pain in the arse.

There are three distinct sections in this particular issue, and whether it is a worthwhile purchase for the individual really depends upon which steps to the forefront for you.

For example, one section of the "comic" is an extended treatise on Cerebus commenting on a number of chapters of the Talmud (I think), providing his comments from the early erroneous position of assuming God and Yahweh (here called YhooWhoo, Cerebus' interpretation of the vowels to be added to YHWH) to be two different entities. A neat concept, sure, for one or two issues - but this has been going on since time immemorial and I for one have given up reading these text heavy sections in despair. This text pages are accompanied by weird and wonderful Woody Allen scenes (and occasional interjections) that I've long since decided to let flow over me without trying to make sense of them.

So far, so awful.

And then you get a few pages of classic Cerebus. In this particular issue, it's the installation of full-length mirrors and the effect they have on Cerebus's butt, and how he reacts to this, what he does, what he says - the whole kit and kaboodle is a superb sequence, comics at its best, and makes one long with nostalgia for the previous heights this series hit. Read just this, and the comic kicks arse.

And so to the final text piece, a lengthy (and I mean lengthy) essay entitled "Why Canada Slept?", an interesting, intriguing and thought-provoking look at Canada's response to 9-11 and probable response to the upcoming US-Iraq War. Part history-lesson, part-diatribe, part-satire (if unintentional), it's the best part of almost any comic released over the last couple of years, and it's nothing to do with comics at all.

So, if you're looking for something to make you think, something to teach you a little about the world outside your doorstep, something that delves beneath the surface of typical reportage, then this issue is essential. If you're looking for a return to the "good old days", then this issue is essential. If you just want a comic for an entertaining 20-page read, forget about it.



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