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Dave Sim









 Mixed Media

Art Type:

 Splash Page


 Published Art


Dave Sim (Penciller)

Gerhard (Inker)

Dave Sim Cerebus #150 Original Battle Splash Art – Story Page 6 (Aardvark-Vanaheim, 1991). From the Modern Age of Comics – Original comic art of “Cerebus” battling two “Cirinist Guards”.

The History of Cerebus: The Aardvark:

Cerebus was self-published by Dave Sim under his Aardvark-Vanaheim, Inc. publishing banner. For the first few years the company’s publisher was Deni Loubert, Sim’s girlfriend (the two married and divorced during the comic’s run). Sim’s position as a pioneering self-publisher in comics inspired numerous writer/artists after him, most notably Jeff Smith (Bone), Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise) and Martin Wagner (Hepcats).

The series hit a personal sales record with issue #100 which, despite being a normal issue in the middle of a story arc, had a print run of 36,000 copies. Sales took a substantial drop over the next 50 issues, however and Sim commented that the fact that readers could not simply “jump in” to Cerebus, and had to read the entire series in order to be able to understand the current issue, was a major reason for the sales drop.

In July 1984, Cerebus publisher Aardvark-Vanaheim was threatened with possible legal action by Marvel Comics over a parody of Wolverine in Cerebus.

When Sim guest-wrote the 10th issue of Todd McFarlane’s comic series Spawn, he donated his entire fee – over $100,000 – to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Jaka’s Story”, a tragic character study dealing with gender roles and the political suppression of art, is generally cited as the series’ pinnacle of narrative achievement.

Sim himself appeared as a character in Cerebus, as when he berated the title character in the “Minds” story arc.

Sim’s religious beliefs heavily influenced the last third of the Cerebus storyline. Once an atheist, Sim became a believer in God while gathering research material for “Rick’s Story”. However, rather than following an established religion, Sim follows his own personal belief system cobbled together from elements of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, although he described himself in issue #8 of Following Cerebus as “mostly Muslim”. A 2003 magazine interview describes Sim as reciting a prayer of his own devising five times a day (which was published in the back of issue #300), and as having sold much of his furniture to donate the money to charity as an act of religious asceticism. In an editorial contained in issue #297, Sim stated that he regards the production of Cerebus as of secondary importance to his religious practice. Sim’s religious beliefs tie into his views on gender and the bulk of the Cerebus storyline after “Guys” deals with this, especially “Rick’s Story”, “Latter Days” and “The Last Day”.

A quarterly publication, Following Cerebus, was published in August 2004, featuring correspondence, essays and previously unpublished artwork from Sim, as well as interviews with other comic writers and artists.

Sim was rumored to have said that had he died or otherwise chosen not to complete Cerebus prior to issue 300, the remaining issues were to either consist of blank pages or Gerhard was to have drawn his backgrounds only, leaving Sim’s contribution blank. It is not known if this plan was ever serious, since it was never put into effect. At the completion of the series, Sim directed that upon his and Gerhard’s death, Cerebus would enter into the public domain. Effective 31 December 2006, Sim purchased Gerhard’s share of the company. Sim has already granted a general license for other creators to use his characters in their own works, stating that he is trying to be consistent with his own appropriation of others’ works.

In early 2009, Sim launched the bimonthly series Cerebus Archive. It was translated into Italian and in 2011, Church and State Vol. I was published in Spanish.

The Story: “Melmoth”

Melmoth” – The story arc concentrates on the last days and death of Oscar Wilde (who is attended to by his trusted companion Robbie Ross) rather than on Cerebus himself, who appears in only a few pages. The title refers to the gothic novel Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin, a relative of Wilde’s. Wilde adopted this alias during this period of his life. Meanwhile, a catatonic Cerebus, believing Jaka to be dead, spends his days mourning on the patio of a café. 

Epilogue to Melmoth Story; Cerebus #150 In the last few pages of the story, after the main action had concluded, Cerebus overhears a conversation by two Cirinist jailers insulting Jaka. Enraged, Cerebus murders one of the guards and then springs into action.

The Artists:

Dave Sim is a Canadian cartoonist and publisher, best known for his comic book Cerebus, his artistic experimentation, his advocacy of self-publishing and creators’ rights and his controversial political and philosophical beliefs.

Sim rose to prominence with Cerebus, which began in December 1977. Sim initially conceived it as a parody of Conan the Barbarian and other sword and sorcery comics, but after two years he began to consider the series a self-contained work that would run for 300 issues and be subdivided into “novels”. By the time the 6000-page work was completed in March 2004, Sim had delved into politics and a controversial examination of feminism and gender, while becoming progressively more sophisticated and experimental in his storytelling and artwork. Sim worked on Cerebus Archives afterward, and produced the comic books Glamourpuss, which examines the history of photorealistic comics and Judenhass, about the Holocaust.

Sim co-founded the small press publisher Aardvark-Vanaheim with his wife-to-be, Deni Loubert, in 1977. Most of the titles it published moved to Loubert’s Renegade Press after the couple’s divorce in the mid-1980s. The publishing company later was co-owned by Sim’s creative partner, Gerhard, who dissolved their partnership and sold his stake in the company to Sim in 2007.

Sim helped create the Creator’s Bill of Rights in 1988. He has criticized the use of copyright to restrict creators, and has arranged for his body of work to fall into the public domain following his death. Sim has already released one of his works, Judenhass, to the public domain.

In December 1977, Sim began publishing Cerebus, an initially bi-monthly, black-and-white comic book series. It began as a parodic cross between Conan the Barbarian and Howard the Duck. Progressively, Sim shifted his narrative style to story arcs of a few issues’ length. Soon he moved to longer, far more complex “novels”, beginning with the 25-issue storyline “High Society” which began in issue #26. The sword and sorcery elements in the series, prominent up to that point, were minimized as Sim concentrated more on politics.

Beginning with issue #65 (August 1984), Sim began collaborating with the artist Gerhard, who drew all the backgrounds while Sim, who continued to write the series himself, drew the foreground figures. Gerhard and Sim continued to work together on Cerebus until the series concluded with issue #300, in March 2004.

Although Sim did not maintain a consistent monthly schedule for the entire run, which at times required an accelerated production schedule to catch up, he completed the Cerebus series on schedule in March 2004. As the series progressed, it was noted for its tendency towards artistic experimentation. Sim has called the complete run of Cerebus a 6,000-page novel, a view shared by several academic writers and comics historians.

Gerhard is the professional name of a Canadian artist known for the elaborately detailed background illustrations in the comic series Cerebus the Aardvark.

Gerhard’s association with Dave Sim’s Cerebus began with issue #65 (August 1984), and continued through its conclusion in issue #300, in March, 2004. The series was written by Dave Sim, who also drew the foreground figures, and had worked on the self-published series largely solo for the first 64 issues. Gerhard jokingly described his job saying that he “draws tables and chairs behind an aardvark”. He is also fond of photography, later issues of the comic book have covers based on his scenic photos and sailing.

The Art:

One of the largest images of the character ever created. A rage-filled Cerebus battles the Cirinist Guards! The art was published (Sep 1991) as the battle Splash, Page 6, to this landmark issue. Extraordinary!

The art is accomplished in ink and Zipatone over graphite on heavy illustration board, measures approximately 11 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches. Both artists signed and inscribed the work along the bottom of the page. The art is in excellent condition.

From a private collection.

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