Earth-pig born reviewed again

Adam White at Indy Magazine reviews the entire 300-issue run of Cerebus. The review is detailed and illustrated with full pages and cover art from all stages of the series, and is a must-read. I wonder how many people would agree with his high praise of the Going Home sequence over High Society or Church and State.

As an aside, I think there is a good essay waiting to be written about the failures of world-building in the sequence as a whole. Smith inadvertently points out one of them:

One of the most curious aspects of Cerebus becomes conspicuous in this book by its absence: music. Jaka is a dancer by trade, and we see her practice that trade here. Certainly, the inclusion of a band in the bar where she works would have been intrusive. The extra characters would have ruined the quiet, intimate tone of the story. However, the idea of a dancer who dances without music is bizarre. Comics do not have soundtracks other than the ones we conjure mentally, but it is strange that the mental soundtrack for this book is so very quiet. As a dancer, music must necessarily be important to Jaka. The fact that it is not so to Sim indicates perhaps a certain ignorance on the author’s part of his own character. Throughout Cerebus, one senses that there is something about Jaka that one cannot know, possibly because the cartoonist does not know himself.

As an alternative explanation, Sim has written in the back pages of the comic that he fundamentally dislikes music. But a simpler explanation would surely be that Sim didn’ t think about how music would work in a setting without electricity. In a modern bar, including one with, ahem, dancers, music would come from a PA system instead of live musicians with instruments and sweaty armpits. The scene really only works at all in a setting that has mechanically reproduced music. But because Sim chose a quasi-historical world to set his comic in, he couldn’t have those. Either he didn’t think about this problem at all, or he realised it too late and decided to brazen it out and do the scene without musicians hoping that the readers wouldn’t mind.

2 replies on “Earth-pig born reviewed again”

  1. Bah, if I can add an accordionist to the Morris dancing side in Dangerous and Fluffy, despite not needing him for the rest of the scene, Sim could’ve added a single musician to a pub without damaging the intimacy of the scene.

    After all, musicians are often found in pubs. Only difference is this musician would be playing at the time.

  2. I agree. He doesn’t need an orchestra. Even a guy with a flute, a small guitar, or as simply as a bongo would do.

    Of course, Sim is obviously so detached of normal humanity that he sees nothing wrong with it.

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