The World Without Cerebus Project

As a long-time fan of the Cerebus series, and given the role that Cerebus original art has played in my art-curating life, I have been, and continue to be, blown away by the contribution that Gerhard made to about 5000 pages of this story... a contribution sometimes eclipsed by the real-world drama(s) associated with the personalities, stories, and other falderal that swirled (and still continues to swirl) around creator, publisher, author, artist, and visionary Dave Sim.

Gerhard... or as I like to think of him, Saint Gerhard the Brilliant... has responded to what I think is a simple and (thank-you-kindly) elegant idea: to feature his creative skills in a series of 100% Gerhard drawings that bring to the foregorund the settings, circumstances, episodes and ideas that live in the background of the original series.

Thus: WWC - The World Without Cerebus - even without the main characters, the literal context in which they lived *IS* an independent and fully realized creative work. I have been suggesting the scenario (mainly the episode), and then Ger runs with it with some small, meager comments from me every now and then. As an homage to Dave Sim, and following the tradition of Hirschfeld and his incorporation of his daughter's name (Nina) into his drawings, Dave's initials (DVS) are integrated into the WWC pieces.


"Gerhard Dreams"

This is not the first WWC piece done, but it does represent the series. The cover to Following Cerebus#11 "Cerebus Dreams" is truly a fan favorite, it recalls the many dreamscape stories from the series and it showcases Ger's talents. In this WWC interpretation, Gerhard is integrated into the composition, reminiscent of the way Rockwell appears in his paintings. There is an overall Escher styling to the inversion, and a Little Nemo in Wonderland quality to the Gerhard figure as it tumbles out of bed into the dreamscape. Ger & Dave have both appeared in the Cerebus series itself, and there is a hard-to-define commentary here about Ger waking into, or about to wake from, a nightmarish Aardvark-Vanaheim environment.

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"Fallen Idol"

In Cerebus #5, deep in the Pigtish warrens, which are themselves dotted with aardvarkian symbols, Cerebus comes across a giant clay effigy of an aardvark god. At the climax of the issue, Cerebus destroys the idol and exits the warrens.

Here is the aftermath.

Ger more detail on "Fallen Idol"

"Torn Asunder"

During Church & State, President Weisshaupt installed a set of cannons (his "advantages") across from the hotel where Pope Cerebus was calling for citizens to bring him all their gold. The Great Stone Thrunk, as the anti-pope ("Epop"), battled Cerebus in what are some of the most spectacularly drawn sequences involving differences in size and scale.

In Cerebus #80, after the battle with Thrunk that breaks up the hotel, Cerebus is thrown into the lower city. By the end of Cerebus #88, the cannons take out Thrunk, so let's say this is sometime in between. Here we are inside the hotel, looking over to Weisshaupt's installation. A single gold coin remains.

Ger more detail on "Torn Asunder"

"Collateral Damage"

Cerebus #29 is a personal favorite of mine. Page 20, where Cerebus is playing wickets with the Regency Elf, integrates some magnificent dialogue on the strategic use of insanity in negotiations against the backdrop of a casually played game. In the last panel, Cerebus whacks the Elf's wicket ball and it flies over the walls of the Regency, down into the lower city.

'Nuff said.

Cerebus #29, page 20, was the first page of original comic art I ever bought, for $50, in 1982.

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At the end of Cerebus #12, following his first adventure with the Roach, Cerebus and a rowboat load of gold are floating out of the city through one of its canals. The bottom of the boat gives way, and Cerebus loses his gold and his sword to the bottom of the canal as the current sweeps him away.

"All things considered," he thinks to himself in the last panel, "it's been one hell of a lousy twenty-seventh birthday."

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"Great Wall of Tsi"

This is not technically part of the WWC series, but I cannot resist including them here.

I do a great deal of work and travel in China, and I have taken lots (and lots) of pictures, which means that some of them have turned out well. I asked Gerhard if he would consider drawing 4 of my favorite pictures of the Great Wall.

There is such a place as the Great Wall of Tsi in the Cerebus universe, and it was never shown in the series. So let's just think of these as model studies.

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