Earlier this week news broke of plans to return Canada’s longest running self-published, creator-owned comic book character back to print in new stories.
Sim’s Cerebus, which ran for 300 issues from 1977 until 2004 is an tremendous achievement, one for which the cartoonist has been inducted into the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame.
Since withdrawing from public appearances a decade ago, Sim has been active – publishing projects like Judenhaas, 26 issues of Glamourpuss, the Cerebus Archive project, a weekly webshow “Cerebus TV”, variant covers for IDW and most recently, has been working on a full restoration of the Cerebus phone books, including digital copies available for purchase.
On the verge of the 40th anniversary of Cerebus #1, Sim has decided to tell the story of what happened after Cerebus died and was dragged off, apparently to Hell, at the end of the series.
Late October sees the publication of the 0 issue of Cerebus in Hell?:
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0
(W) Dave Sim (A) Dave Sim & Various (CA) Dave Sim, Hieronymus Bosch
The first new Cerebus comic since 2004! Where has Cerebus been since he died twelve years ago? Is he in hell? Purgatory? Limbo? Some strange 1980 disco with links to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Henry Kissinger? Some ancient Greek disco with links to Plato, Socrates, Aristotle? Some 1990s disco with links to The Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays, and Oasis? Is he stuck inside his own Cerebus Online Disco Twitter-feed? Well, wherever he is, he deserves it, so feel free to laugh at his misfortune! This one shot leads into the Cerebus In Hell? 4-issue mini-series in 2017 celebrating Cerebus’ 40th-anniversary!
Of course, this has raised many questions among fans and readers of the comic (including for some… why?) as well as questions about the status his two announced but unreleased projects with IDW (Cerebus Covers, and the Strange Death of Alex Raymond – expanding on and completing the story he began in Glamourpuss) but today, June 24, Sim’s company, Aardvark-Vanaheim, put out a press release with some more details including
(a) the revelation that since his recent medical problems in early 2015 he has not been able to draw
(b) the comic will consist of a series of four panel strips that feature Cerebus photoshopped by Sandeep Atwal into Gustave Dore’s engravings of Dante’s Inferno (and Hieronymus Bosch’s Hell on the cover to #0) with dialogue by Sim.
(c) in a move to create demand for the comic, some of the strips will be published online in advance of publication as a webcomic. The first strip launches tomorrow, June 25th on cerebusdownloads.com as a daily webcomic, and on Fridays the previous week’s worth of strips will be published on amomentofcerebus.com starting on Friday, July 1st. The webcomic will run into October.