Even though CEREBUS has been over since March 2004, new Cerebus items do pop up. FOLLOWING CEREBUS is one of those items. The first issue came out in July 2004 and published along a quarterly schedule for a while. Until issue #12 was due to come out. Issue #11 came out in November 2007, and we’ve had a 3.5 year delay for issue #12. But I finally got my pre-ordered issue in the mail yesterday (you too can get a copy of $5.95 postage paid in USA/Canada from this linky-link):
It is known as the “All David Issue” though it does have an interview with one “non-Dave”, Max Southall, the producer of CerebusTV. It has the usual features of Mind Games (the letters column), Dave Sim’s ‘About Last Issue’, Bryan Douglas’ “Thou Good and Faithful Cerebite” comic and an editorial by Craig Miller explaining the delay between issue #11 and #12 – part of it was due to Craig’s self proclaimed diminishing volume of writing and the lack of outside essays. While part of me is surprised – as I know my follow CEREBUS readers are usually an eloquent group of guys and girls – it doesn’t surprise me as Dave Sim states in his “About Last Issue”: “Three environments greeted with deafening silence are my limit, I’m afraid.” I get some feedback on CEREBUS THE NEWSLETTER, but not as much as I’d hope.
However, I do get enough contributions of essays, articles and fan art about CEREBUS to keep CEREBUS THE NEWSLETTER going on – so I know CEREBUS readers do have it in us. Besides, how many of us have talked on and on about our favorite issue, or what exactly is the Big Round White Glowing Strange Thing and how it fits in the overarching theme of Cerebus vs YHWH, or how Jaka did or did not change over the course of the series, etc either in an online forum or in face to face meetings?
So there is a difference between feedback and contributing materials that deal with the series we all love to discuss. One of the interviews in the latest issue of FOLLOWING CEREBUS is with Eric Hoffman, who is putting together a book of critical essays about CEREBUS. All of us CEREBUS readers should help continue FOLLOWING CEREBUS by submitting ideas for essays to Craig. Or at least send him some feedback to let him know what we enjoy about FOLLOWING CEREBUS. I enjoyed the interview with Max, who gave us a glimpse of Dave’s early fanzine and comic book reading days. I learned more about one of the first (if not the first) fanzines Dave worked on and it gives us a glimpse into Dave’s tenacious DIY attitude. I also enjoyed the interview with Eric Hoffman by Craig as the two of them start discussing how and why Dave puts himself into CEREBUS, which gives us a glance into how Eric’s book about CEREBUS will read.
While I did enjoy the interviews, I wish there were more essays that we grew to know in FOLLOWING CEREBUS. This lack of essays, and why this issue is almost entirely interviews, is tangentially touched upon by Craig, who states he is writing less and he also talks about the lack of essay submissions. With FOLLOWING CEREBUS, CEREBUS ARCHIVE, Eric’s book of CEREBUS essays and even CEREBUS THE NEWLETTER, there would appear to be quite a few places for CEREBUS readers to get their CEREBUS fix. Though each publication has it’s own niche: FOLLOWING CEREBUS has a connection with other comics creators and has more room to allow for more loquacious essays then could fit in CEREBUS THE NEWSLETTER, which is more of a fanzine by CEREBUS readers. CEREBUS ARCHIVE is Dave’s own publication that discusses in depth his road to publishing CEREBUS and the road during CEREBUS. Eric’s CEREBUS book will have some of the same type of essays as FOLLOWING CEREBUS, but with even more room for more verbose essays. With all these different publications, there are plenty of places where CEREBUS readers can read more about one of their favorite comics and to which they can submit different types of essays, articles and to one fan art about CEREBUS.
In other CEREBUS news, there is an essay in the latest issue of THE COMICS JOURNAL: “Irredeemable: Dave Sim’s CEREBUS’ by Tim Krieder is in TCJ #301, which is currently on sale for $30 (though you can get it for $18.75 from Amazon.com). If you are only going to buy TJC #301 for this essay, don’t. Unless you are the completist who needs every CEREBUS article and essay out there. Tim’s writing held my interest, but the content is the usual in an essay about CEREBUS and Dave Sim. You can get a preview of the first couple pages of it at the TCJ website.
If this essay were in an issue of TCJ which had the previous format of $5 for a magazine size publication rather then $18.75 for a huge book, then perhaps I say spend your money on it. But for this price, I’d want a new critical look at CEREBUS, not something that repeats the some of the same tropes in other essays – really, you think that by using the Roach as a parody of the then current comics industry characters (a la Wolveroach for Wolverine, Punisheroach for Punisher), that someone outside the comics world will not enjoy the character and how that detracts from the work. Or as Tim states “…I tend to sign and start skimming whenever the Roach character appears in some new costume. I can only imagine how opaque and pointless it would ll seem to someone with no background in comics at all. Let’s maybe just not even talk about the episode where Cerebus compulsively collects a comic book called Rabbi.”
Hopefully Tim’s essay will give someone that extra impetus to buy a CEREBUS phonebook and read it with an open mind, but for current CEREBUS readers and fans, there is no new ground broken here.
As you’ve heard, CEREBUS THE NEWSLETTER issues #14 – 20 are still in print and available for purchase from Friends of Cerebus:
Issues #14 & 15 are now in second printings, and #16 is almost down to the last couple copies. And as you can see in the first picture in this post, there are even new Friends of Cerebus stickers: 1″ round sticker with the Friends of Cerebus logo (from the 198_ FoC membership card) and the Cerebus artwork from the original sticker. The stickers are free whenever you buy an issue of CEREBUS THE NEWSLETTER.