Friday, August 21, 2009

Swords of Cerebus #1: Cerebus the Aardvark

From the very first page of the very first issue you knew you were in for something different. The third panel was a half page of Cerebus mounted on a large barbarian warhorse. Being only 3 feet tall and an aardvark to boot this looked pretty funny and made an impression on the reader. The story itself was what you could expect to find in the pages of the Conan comics that were popular at the time, it was also reminiscent of some of the Conan knock offs that were around in novel form and competing comics. The hero; in this case Cerebus, is hired by a couple of treasure hunters to guide them to a mystical artifact, which he accomplishes with physical strength and a cool head. The twist was that the artifact, like everything around it, was an illusion, but Cerebus had been paid in cold hard cash. Like most first issues, particularly when the publisher/writer/artist is an independent, both artwork and story were relatively crude when compared to the big companies like Marvel and DC, even when compared to longer running more established independent publications, although at this time there weren’t many of those. Dave was a pioneer of independent publishing. In the early issues Cerebus himself looked different, his nose was longer and skinnier, ears were shorter and the tail was less detailed. He also used to wear a small, horned helmet, which he lost in issue #4. The one thing that stands out in many of the earlier issues was the lack of detail in the backgrounds. It would not be until later that Dave would team up with Gerhard, who produced some of the most intricately detailed backgrounds I’ve ever seen in a comic.

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