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Heavenly creatures: Cerebus and Bone

Salon (day-pass, or, better yet, subscription required) has a combined write-up of Cerebus and Bone, two long-running comics which both ended this year. It's not very in-depth but for those of you who have sort of heard of these series and wonder what the fuss was about, it's a good summary.


"Bone" and "Cerebus" share superficial similarities. They're both drawn in black-and-white and self-published by their creators. In both, quirky, anthropomorphic beings shed light on mankind's foibles and virtues. Both books extend their lives outside the comic shops through hefty, trade-paperback reprint volumes available at bookstore super chains. The 16th and last "Cerebus" collection, "The Last Day," chronicles the aardvark's final hours and publishes this month, while Smith will sandwich all 1,300 pages of "Bone" between two covers in a volume due to publish in July.

But beneath the surface, "Bone" and "Cerebus" prove to be so different, they're almost like photographic negatives of each other. "Bone" celebrates optimism and narrative simplicity, while "Cerebus" embraces cynicism and experimentation worthy of a mad scientist. Sim and Smith started as comrades in arms, yet their relationship soured into one of the industry's strangest feuds. "Bone" and "Cerebus" mark opposite ends of the comic-book spectrum in tone and complexity. Their heroes aren't technically human, but you can place virtually all modern graphic novels somewhere between them.

There's more. Read it. Don't fear the Day Pass.

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