Aardvark Ratnik: ‘Cerebus in Hell?’ 1 and 2 Reviewed

Man, I got lazy and didn’t review Cerebus in Hell? 1 right away, and then the second issue came out two weeks later.  That tricky aardvark bastard showed up again so quickly due to a printing error in the first issue, which had held up the first issue but didn’t affect the release of the second.  And then I got lazy on top of that because really, what do I have to say beyond “I like these comics, they need to make more of them”?  With humor like this, you either like it or don’t!

Anyway, you may remember that I loves me some Cerebus and think it’s one of the best comics ever.  Cerebus in Hell? is a series by Dave Sim and Sandeep Atwal that mashes up Cerebus the Aardvark with the Gustave Doré artwork for Dante’s Inferno, and I’ve already told you about the zero issue.

These two issues continue the funny, just by letting that absurd juxtaposition tell the story.  Each issue has 22 strips, aligned sideways (as I complained about with the zero issue).  The Doré art really shines through in these issues.  I believe that Sean Robinson, who has been doing the remastering of the Cerebus series, cleaned up the Doré artwork, and did an amazing job.  I was recently at a big chain bookstore (ok, THE big chain bookstore that’s left, c’mon!), and flipped through a copy of the Divine Comedy that was published by that chain, and the artwork was awfully muddy.

Just look at the difference between the covers as shown on the Previews website versus the version that was released in stores (actual cover scans, presumably, are second and are from the Grand Comics Database).  I think Sean cleaned up the artwork before printing.  You can tell a difference, especially with #2, but it’s even more prominent in print.  These are beautiful artworks showcased well, barring that weird aardvark in front of everything.

Cerebus in Hell cover 1 aardvark
This is the version from Previews, the rough version for the solicit. And boy, is it rough!
Cerebus in Hell cover 1 aardvark
Jeff Seiler wants me to point out the emphasized words in the central balloon, I’m sure. Just look at how nice the line work is in comparison to the original version of the cover!
Cerebus in Hell cover 2 aardvark
I don’t even know WHAT happened in that central image! Moire city!
Cerebus in Hell cover 2 aardvark
That’s just so much nicer looking on this scan, but even this scan fills in a bunch of the line work in the clouds!

As usual, I don’t have a scanner, so I can’t show you strips directly from the two issues, but I’ll show a few of the more recent strips, which are available to read over at A Moment of Cerebus and Cerebus Downloads.

Cerebus in Hell example strip
Wrasslin’ in hell! There’s a somewhat similar strip in issue 1.
Cerebus in Hell example strip
I think this one is true!
Cerebus in Hell example strip
This one is fairly new, and it’s one of my absolute favorites so far!  Isn’t it odd that Satan has a pen….

I love this comic because it showcases how funny Cerebus is just by being an amoral jerk aardvark.  His obstinate nature creates chaos and reacts to the absurd situations he’s put into in Hell, and the resulting reactions by Virgil and Dante to his asshole nature are funny.  Not all of the jokes land for me.  Some are over my head.  But the ones that work get me rolling, so overall, it’s an excellent humor comic.  You also get, in the comic books, amusing “rules” on how to contribute your own Cerebus in Hell? strip, as well as funny bios of the creators.  If you like to laugh, I think Cerebus in Hell? is a really good, funny comic, and if you don’t like it, Cerebus the Aardvark will probably stab you or something.

You probably can get single issues from your local shop with the following codes: NOV160995 for #1, and DEC161120 for #2.

Also, be sure to check out my Flippin’ Through Previews offshoot column over at A Moment of Cerebus in the next few days, where I talk about some of the Cerebus related comics offered in the latest issue of Previews.

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