Episode 111, “The Action Of The Tiger!”

X-Men #128, December 1979
“The Action Of The Tiger!”
Written by Chris Claremont, Pencils by John Byrne, Inks by Terry Austin, Lettered by Tom Orzechowski, Colors by Glynis Wein, Edited by Roger Stern, Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter

Sim-ply The Best?

In Which We Learn That Storm Is A Friend To All Be They Beast Or Building Material, That Elephants Never Forget Their First Interspecies Sexual Predator, And That Moira Has Found The Warm Joy Of A Set Of Stainless Steel Twigs ‘n Berries!

When Proteus Asked For A Summers Boys Double Team He Did Not Get What He Wanted At All!

Dave Sim (foreground) and Gerhard (background) are the Canadian creators responsible for Cerebus, an independently published comic running from 1979-2004.

Only a couple of years after publication of Cerebus #1 (left), Dave Sim decided his tale of a sword-wielding aardvark named Cerebus would run for 300 issues (25 years), telling the entire tale of his life and ending with Cerebus’ death in issue 300 (2004, right).

Initially Cerebus was a pure parody of Barry Windsor-Smith’s Conan. Page 1 of issue 1 is shown on the left, side by side with an attempt to recreate the same page roughly 30 years later on the right.

Dave Sim’s art is a mixture of highly illustrative photo-realism combined with caricature-based protagonists, like the Mick Jagger and Kieth Richards look-a-likes above.

While the main focus of Cerebus moved away from pure parody, Dave Sim continued to mock the comic book industry throughout his run. Here he takes on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.

Cerebus fearlessly explored issues not traditionally associated with the comic book medium, like politics, gender roles, literature, and religion. Above is a beautifully illustrated cathedral from the end of the run. Note the priests are caricatures of the Three Stooges.

A key element of the art for most of the run was Dave Sim’s artistic partner, Gerhard, who focused on the backgrounds, like the one above.

Among Dave Sim’s major innovations, his lettering really stands out. By stretching, shrinking, bending, organizing, rending, and generally cartooning the crap out of his word balloons, Dave Sim could express a wide range of emotions, show battling inner conflicts, or even carry on clear conversations between two characters that don’t even appear on the page.

Cerebus-186-September-1994

By the early 90’s, Dave Sim had built himself up to the Godfather of self-publishing, while Cerebus was widely respected as one of the best independent comics being published. Then came issue #186, where Sim started laying out his conservative views on gender and feminist issues. The metaphorical male light was being destroyed by female void. This shocked his readers and fellow creators, who were generally of a more liberal bent. As the years went on, Dave Sim placed more and more of views into the Cerebus story and in the commentaries he included in the back material. By the time he started regularly using phrases like “the feminist-homosexualist axis,” his popularity had fallen off a cliff. When people speak of him now, it is often to dismiss him as a nutter. Which maybe he deserves. But he sure made some beautiful comic art (see above commission of Cirin and Cerbus battling, drawn by Sim and Gerhard).


That sweater is sooooooo itchy!

When once again nobody would come to the breakfast table, Ororo threw a typhoon tantrum of Captain Crunch!

If you were going to go through all the trouble to turn me into a pachyderm, couldn’t you at least have done something about my hair?!

Amber Storm was Candice’s stripper name in college.

If you vacuum seal your Phoenix and foe, they will last twice as long.

The McDonald’s McDLT returns for a limited time!

(And yes, this is included just for that awesome Jason Alexander link. You are welcome.)

S… T…

Worst way to learn Morse Code. Ever.

White Shadow was Seamus’ stripper name in college.

Colossus spent months weaving this installation only to have his NEA funding pulled right before his fall Guggenheim opening.

The X-men knew Moira and Sean could kiss a little longer. A little longer with Big Red.

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