Review: Church & State Vol. 1 (Cerebus Vol. 3)July 11, 2009
Sorry for the wait – trying to wrap my thoughts about this in a nice little package, and it’s not working so well. So, instead of trying to summarize the story myself, I’m going to use Wikipedia’s entry for a summation (which is probably more trustworthy than most subjects Wikipedia covers) – if this throws me out of the blogging community for some sort of violation, so be it.
After some travels, Cerebus returns to Iest and is manipulated by Weisshaupt, who wants to use Cerebus’s popularity with the masses, into again becoming Prime Minister of Iest. Weisshaupt has maneuvered himself into the tenuous presidency of a federation of states (including Iest, Palnu and New Sepra) as a bulwark against the Cirinists. Weisshaupt lures Cerebus into a drunken marriage to Red Sophia, but ultimately over-reaches himself when he has Cerebus appointed Pope of the Eastern Church of Tarim. Finally out from under anyone else’s control, Cerebus lets absolute power go to his head and demands that all the citizens must give him all their gold or face the end of the world. Sophia walks out on Cerebus, and then he discovers that Jaka is married and pregnant. Cerebus is threatened by Weisshaupt’s secret invention of cannons, but Weisshaupt suffers a heart attack and Cerebus continues his papal reign of terror. He is finally ejected from the Upper City by the sudden invasion of the giant stone Thrunk, who claims to be the God Tarim.
We also start to get a view of the Cirinist/Kevillist schism that going to fuel a good chunk of the rest of the story as well. Gerhard shows up in issue 65 (thanks Wikipedia), and is quite apparent in how he took the workload off of Sim.
I do find the comic funny – look: Cerebus doesn’t have a lower jaw! Just a seeming cylindrical mouth opening in his head…
However, I’m not too keen on the experimentation that Sim was building into the comic (and will continue to build into the comic – reading ahead, remember?) The experiments in typography are fine for the very occasional use, but when you do it for several issues it does get tiresome (and hoo-BOY is it going to get tiresome!)
And what an animator Sim would have made (and might have been)… look at this 2 page spread…
Although the craftsmanship does suffer in other parts…
it’s kind of like (and I paraphrase) when Terry Gilliam gave advice for animators saying that it easier to animate a character behind a tall swath of grass that it is when you can see his legs, because then you have to animate the legs, so use a long coat, set of wheels, etc – anything to make yourself less work. Is that what Sim’s doing? But then, what do I know about self-publishing a 6000 page graphic novel?