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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cerebus Vol 11: Guys (Graphic Novel)

By Dave Sim & Gerhard

Publisher: Aardvark-Vanheim; 1 edition (October 1997)

Softcover 408 pages

Finished 8/10/2017

Amazon Listing

     Now collecting the issues 201-219 of the series. The main action of the story is over and we enter a decline in the character’s life where he wanders about as all of his dreams and ambitions have become dust. Cerebus, after mulling things over on Pluto, is placed in a bar on the Wall of Tsi (much mentioned, never seen before) where he spends...years apparently screwing around and hanging with his bar buddies.
    The Cirinist takeover is complete and men have been relegated as second class citizens. Government for the most part has been reduced to a series of local districts chiefly concerned with food and hearth maintenance. All work is done by women, leaving men with little to do. That is the interesting thing here, each district supplies a bar for men to frequent and supplies them with free booze and food. Unmarried men are free to stay there as long as they like and married men who stay in such a place for longer than three days automatically have their marriages annulled. They are free to waste their lives and die early from alcohol related illnesses. 

    Cerebus is allowed to live in one of these bars as long as he adheres to the official fiction that Cirin won the battle against the God Tarim and that she and her goddess are the one true religion. Cerebus complies by not speaking on the subject at all. And why should he? He has nothing, so politics do not interest him at all.
If you don’t mind reading Cerebus screwing around in a bar for 400 pages then this is the book for you. For anyone who has spent enough time hanging around in a single bar, long enough to get to know the other patrons, then the dialogue, the characters, the rowdiness, the drunken jokes, and the inebriated conversations all ring true. This feels like a real bar, a male oasis in a sea of cringing feminism. It also demonstrates that band always breaks up due to women. They cannot stay away, either looking for a cheap thrill, some affection from Daddy, or as some pathetic power play, men’s sanctuaries are constantly under assault.
Eventually all the men leave, either driven out by women or suckered into marrying them, thus being forced to remain home. Again for those who had a favorite dive, this is how it goes. One by one all the guys there stop showing up. Maybe they move away, get an early job so they can’t go out at night, or preferred to spend time with their wife and kids, but the party eventually goes dead. And that leaves our anti-hero alone to drink in misery. 

Cerebus begins a purely sexual relationship with a lonely woman, Joanne, who he had seen before in a vision given to him by Dave, the manifestation of the author in the series.  Like all relationships, it starts off fun and casual, but eventually morphs into the woman trying to take over and shape the man into what she thinks she wants, but also someone she will eventually get bored of. But Cerebus sidesteps the trap, by ironically being too self absorbed to fall for her manipulations.
This volume is rife with character cameos from famous (famous from the 90s) independant comic characters. We have two from Eddie Campbell, Bacchus the greek god of wine and debauchery, and Alec, a loud mouthed Scottsman- at least in here it is. This is coupled with a brief appearance of Too Much Coffee Man- here it's Too Much Coffee Liqueur man. Marty, a character based on Marty Feldman’s role in Young Frankenstein. Others are based on members of the Rolling Stones and Norman Mailer.
We also see the reappearance of Bear and Bo-Bah, old mercenary friends of Cerebus, whom he had hired as muscle when he was pope, and the reemergence of Rick, Jaka’s childish husband from a hundred issues previous. Their marked physical differences indicated the amount of time that has gone by, either in the bar during this volume or the Melmoth book. I’d say at least between ten and fifteen years. Cerebus looks the same because Aardvarks age differently. I believe, and I may be wrong, but he lives to around one hundred and fifty years old. 

       For more readings, try my collection of books. 

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