I finished the second volume of Cerebus today.
It’d been sitting on my desk, waiting to be read for a while. At first, it was waiting for me to finish the first part of my Cerebus essay. I wanted to write that without knowledge of what further would happen in the second volume. And then, when that was done, it was waiting simply for the right time for me to sit down and drink it in.
It was on a long plane ride that I finished it, a 5 hour affair from Cincinnati to Seattle. I’ll spare the details. But, with stoically silent people in the seats next to me, I read.
The first thing that strikes me is the art. The basic style is the same as it’s always been, and much the same as more mainstream comics. But the visual “flair”, as it were, is amazing. The use of grayscale text for echoes, heavy use of white on black to bring out text, or facial features. Most of the second half is drawn with the right side as the bottom, and over one set of pages the comic does a full corkscrew, as part of a sequence in which our favorite aardvark is rather inebriated.
Part of this essay is of course, comparing and contrasting such to sluggy. I’m not sure that sluggy has quite the same artistic nuance to it, but it certainly did and does push borders in how it’s story was presented. Perhaps the first thing to mention is that Sluggy is a webcomic: In 1997, there were perhaps a dozen comics on the internet, and only a handful that updated regularly. It was one of the first “three panel” comics to gain popularity on the internet.