Posts Tagged ‘Cerebus’

Review: Dave Sims’ Glamourpuss

May 5, 2008

Okay, true confession time:  I’ve never read Cerebus.

For the majority of my life, I’ve been a mainstream comic guy.  Still am.  Now, though, I’m more open to independent projects.

Still, though, Cerebus is something that I’d like to get around to reading at some point.

My friend OG mentioned that he also missed out on Cerebus, but that he was jumping on board with the new Dave Sim project, Glamourpuss.

I have another confession to make:  The more I heard about Glamourpuss, the less I wanted to pick it up.

The bits and pieces I heard about it were not exciting me.  The idea of a satirical book made up of drawings based on the models of women’s fashion magazines?  Wow.  So not my cup of tea.

Honestly, it felt more and more as if this was turning into some sort of self-indulgent vanity project, that Sim was taking advantage of his Cerebus fans to purposefully put out a book, completely without a market, just because he could.

Yet, my curiousity about the project could not be denied.  If there was to be a disaster, I intended to be there to gawk at it.

This past week, I recieved my comics in the mail (thank you discount online ordering services!!!), and among the stack of spandex covered superheroes was Glamourpuss.

In a time when my curiosity often makes me regret plopping down my hard-earned cash on new comic projects, Glamourpuss turned out to be a real surprise.

It was good.

It was more than good.  It was fantastic.

What I had feared would be a mediocre satire turned out to be more of a personal examination of the photo-realistic line art of such artists as Al Williamson, Stan Drake, Neal Adams, and Alex Raymond.

And, yet, it wasn’t merely a clinical and dry examination of the art styles or the men.  It felt very much like having a conversation with a knowledgeable fan, who as he talked, took out a piece of paper to demonstrate what he was talking about.

Throughout the book, Sims demonstrates the styles used, not by merely photocopying the images and pasting them in (because the copies have been reproduced so many times that the details are all but lost), but by actually tracing and redrawing them, diversifying the line weight in his best guess of what the original was.

And, as he does so, the project takes on a very personal feel of an artist trying to grasp the techniques of a style that is all too seldom seen.  Glamourpuss is a journal recounting this voyage.

Oh, there are aspects of the satire within the book.  And, while it is competent enough, it is more of a window dressing to the book.

Here I am, I’ve come this far, and I haven’t really talked about the art itself!  If you are only concerned about the art in your comics, don’t worry.  You will not be disappointed in this book.  It is really, truly beautiful stuff.  By examining the art under the guiding explanations of Sims, you will take even more from it.

Is this a self-indulgent vanity project?  Yeah, it really is.  It certainly isn’t a “traditional” type of comic book.  And, if Dave Sims was not Dave Sims, there is little chance anyone would have ever heard of this book.  That said, even though it is a self-indulgent vanity project, it is a really, really good self-indulgent vanity project.

If you haven’t checked it out, you should.


Old dogs…

February 13, 2008

I stopped reading comics sometime in the early ‘90’s like many guys my age.  My reading at and prior to that point was limited to a few sporadic superhero books only; “Daredevil,” “Iron Man,” “Spiderman,” “Batman.”  Basically, it was whatever my older brother was into.  He stopped reading them around the time he was entering high school and since I basically worshipped him (ask me sometime about the leather Africa medallion I wore for a year straight when he was militantly against Apartheid and had the t-shirts and rap albums to prove it) and since I really didn’t have any money of my own it was the end of comics for me.  It would be over a decade before I was reading anything regularly again leading up to this moment when my pull list is almost as long as my arm.

So, when I was reading comics I was a mainstream kid all the way.  Marvel and DC was it.  Since then I’ve become a much more adventurous comic reader but that has come too late and I missed any of the major comic book touchstones of the 80’s and 90’s that weren’t dressed in spandex or capes.  As far as the ever ebbing and flowing independent comics scene, oh, sorry, comix scene goes, I was oblivious. 

As a result, I lost out on all three of the biggies; the Mount Rushmore of the creator-owned universe, as it were.  They are, in order, Dave Sim’s epic “Cerebus,” Jeff Smith’s “Bone,” and Terry Moore’s “Strangers in Paradise.” 

Now, “Cerebus” I can mostly be forgiven for since Sim started building that universe in the year I started learning to walk.  As for “Bone” and “Strangers in Paradise,” each of those kicked off after I dropped out of the world of comics altogether. Interestingly, all three series have ended within the past three years and folks have been waiting for each of these singular creators to debut something new.  As if 10, 15, or 30 years of the good stuff just wasn’t enough.  I suppose you’re only as good as your latest solicitation. 

But, indeed, these three indie icons are all coming back with new creator-owned series over these next couple of months and I’ve decided that it’s never too late to jump on a bandwagon, or three.  Maybe you’re like this too, but I find that as a comic fan I often am measuring myself against other fans and how long or short they’ve been reading in comparison to myself.  Not only that, but I always feel a little pang of guilt or envy at anyone who’s been around for a while and got in on the first issue of some landmark series or run that I completely missed out on.  It’s a stupid thing to obsess over and a stupid thing to feel envious of, but there it is.   (I’ve felt that way most recently as I listen to the throng of devotees to the world of the Sinestro Corp.)

In the past I’ve considered picking up collections of Cerebus, Bone, and Strangers but each time I have just gotten downright intimidated by the sheer history and breadth of issues that stood before me. 

Rest assured, I will get to them all at some point, but in the ever-burning crucible that is the monthly war I wage against my wallet and my disposable income I continue to lose ground again and again to the capes and the spandex.  They’re too strong, people.  Don’t you understand!?!?  Look at the muscles!!! 

Regardless of my inescapable nostalgia and arrested development, I’m getting in on the ground floor for all three of these new independent creations.  I may not last on any of them, but I’m intruiged by what little I’ve read about them and am especially drawn in by the scant artwork I’ve seen.  It hasn’t taken much preview art for me to see that these are three artists working at the top of their craft.  

Take a look at some upcoming covers, some tantalizing solicitation text (But, isn’t it always tantalizing, people?  I happen to remember some great solicitation text for “World War Hulk.”  Ouch.), and links to their official sites…

Echo by Terry Moore

“Echo is the story of Julie Martin, a photographer taking pictures in the desert when she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s all I’m going to tell you about the plot at the moment. The Diamond solicitation coming out in January will reveal a bit more. Echo #1 will be in stores March 5th. It will be 24 pages, B&W like SiP. The first printing of issue one, and only the first printing, will feature a silver foil cover. Why? Because that’s not rain, or hail.” (source:  Terry Moore)

Official Site:

Glamourpuss by Dave Sim


“Master graphic novelist Dave Sim – the creator of Cerebus – returns! Glamourpuss is three comic books in one: a parody of fashion magazines, a history of photorealism in comics (starting with Alex Raymond’s Rip Kirby in 1946), and the strangest super-heroine comic book of all time! Featuring the first appearance of Glamourpuss, her evil twin sister Skanko, and the heroine’s long-time therapist Dr. Norm. Available with two covers – a ‘Comics Edition’ with a classic EC-style cover, and a ‘Fashion Edition’ that parodies fashion magazines.” (source: Previews)

Official Site:

RASL by Jeff Smith

“Titled RASL, which Smith pronounces “rassle,” the new series is being self-published in black and white by Smith through his company, Cartoon Books. Focusing on a character who hops across parallel dimensions to steal art, the series is tentatively planned to run for approximately two years and, like Bone, will be solely created by Smith.” (source:  Newsarama)

Official Site:

I’ve pre-ordered the first issues for all 3 of these books and I’m hoping that I’ve got years worth of great comics from auteur creators with wholly unique voices and stories to tell waiting for me.     

If not, then I guess I’ll go back to plan A and get caught up on some Cerebus, Bone, and Strangers in Paradise instead. 

Naturally, reviews will come for these new series as I read them!