This collected volume of the Cerebus
comic is not for the uninitiated. Collecting as it does issues from the late 100s, it requires a knowledge of a large majority of the previously published issues or volumes. Cerebus
itself is not necessarily enjoyable by those without some familiarity with its peer comics, fantasy novels by Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock, the Marx brothers' films, and the writings and lives of Oscar Wilde, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards, to enumerate only some of its influences.Reads
is the quite unusual among the collected volumes. Containing almost as many pages of pure text as traditional picture/text combination, it challenges the assumption of what a comic is. The story itself is highly irregular as well. Although it continues the ascension (where the previous volume left off), the text portion is a thinly veiled satire about a "reads" author and his publishers. I say thinly because even I could recognize the references to Kitchen Sink, Dark Horse and Vertigo, their publishers and editors, and I have not been following comicdom since 1990. The satire works itself into a chaotic manifesto on the nature of art, the distinction (as Sim sees it) between male and female, and the moral rights of creation. Heavy stuff for a "funny book," especially one initially a Conan parody with an aardvark as the barbarian. I don't think Reads
is quite as effective as Sim thinks it is, but it scores major points for chutzpah.