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Click here to order JAKA'S STORY BOOK FIVE:
by Dave Sim & Gerhard
Aardvark Vanheim
ISBN: 0919359124
JAKA'S STORY is the fifth volume in the CEREBUS THE AARDVARK series and perhaps the most personal chapter. Initially notable for the absence of the main character in the first half of the story, this volume also represents a major departure in pace and storytelling from the rest of the series and the beginning of a "quiet period" that persists into the next volume, MELMOTH. The artwork is breathtaking, a continuation of the visual peak Sim achieved in the second volume of CHURCH AND STATE.
The story picks up directly after the events of CHURCH AND STATE, so if you haven't read the preceding volumes, it is recommended that you do so. JAKA'S STORY does work quite well as a standalone volume as it includes only minor references to preceding events, but it is even more enjoyable in context.

Secluded from the social and political realities that surround them, Jaka and her new husband Rick live in a small villa with a grocer, Withers, and an eccentric poet, Oscar (another one of Sim's wonderfully familiar characters). The story focuses on the couple's personal relationship and daily activities and is interspersed with memories of Jaka's childhood in Palnu. These scenes are so beautifully illustrated that you may find yourself flipping through the pages to look at them and going back to read the accompanying text later. This particular portion of text may seem a little flowery at first, but once you get a little farther into the story, the reason for this tone becomes abundantly clear. Cerebus shows up rather accidentally, becoming--for this volume at least--one of the peripheral characters, while Jaka is in the spotlight. This volume contains plenty of humor, but like Cerebus, the humor is more sparse in this story, giving way to deeper examinations.

Jaka of JAKA'S STORY is an artist, an aristocrat, the wife of her slacker husband, friend of the creature Cerebus and Oscar Wilde, the object of many characters' desire, and a scoff-law, but that's all on the surface. Inside her lives the Dancer, her perfected alter-ego. Dave Sim--comic artist, writer, publisher, and philosopher--and co-author Gerhard are adept at portraying the "roller-coaster madness of small deceptions, petty conceits and mutual mythologizing which are married life." Throughout, Oscar Wilde makes his appearance in full evening dress to field questions posed by his entourage. Anyone who's been in a relationship can enjoy the dark humor of JAKA'S STORY.

CEREBUS THE AARDVARK is a 6,000 page comics novel about the life and death of a warrior aardvark. But what started as a CONAN THE BARBARIAN parody has evolved into a brilliant commentary on politics, gender roles and the creative urge. JAKA'S STORY is the fifth book in the series, and it tells the story of a dancer (Jaka) stranded in a deserted town surrounded by her carefree husband, a lecherous bartender and Oscar Wilde. Rich and satisfyingly complex, this is well worth your time.

Click here to order MELMOTH BOOK SIX
by Dave Sim & Gerhard
Aardvark Vanheim
ISBN: 0919359108
More than 11 years into a 25-year project of chronicling the life of a single main character, Dave Sim took a small detour (of sorts), put his main character Cerebus on the sidelines, and told this story of the last days of Oscar Wilde. Some CEREBUS readers think this book is a needless distraction from Sim's master epic; others think this is one of Sim's finest achievements, and that by combining and slightly altering the very real letters of Robert Ross to More Adey (originally printed in the COLLECTED LETTERS OF OSCAR WILDE), Sim was able to add a depth and breadth to his fiction never before possible.
Either way, Sim and exquisite background artist Gerhard are in fine form as they weave this tale of Wilde into their fictional landscape of a new matriarchal establishment.
Click here to order FLIGHT BOOK SEVEN: FLIGHT
by Dave Sim & Gerhard
Aardvark Vanheim
ISBN: 0919359132
For readers of the monthly CEREBUS THE AARDVARK comic book, there are five years between the end of CHURCH AND STATE and the beginning of FLIGHT, the first volume of the long-awaited MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS. In a single sword stroke, the story returns to the world of politics, religion, magic, and weirdness that is the essence of CEREBUS to so many of the comic book series' fans.
This volume is packed with the intrigue, mysteries, revelations, dream sequences, and raunchy humor that are Cerebus trademarks but that basically disappeared in the two preceding volumes. This is not a complaint, however, as the impact of these elements in Flight are only heightened by their previous absence. From the first page of FLIGHT, it becomes abundantly clear that MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS is from the old-school CEREBUS and Dave Sim is at his best.

 The story jumps off (literally) from the final pages of the MELMOTH epilogue. Under the backdrop of the Cirinist government's matriarchal occupation of Iest, a bevy of strange mystical things are happening. Many of these events--along with some of the artistic stylings--are a direct throwback to the very first issue of the comic book. The best of the supporting cast--Lord Julius, Astoria, Elrod, and the reactionary, woman-hating Punisherroach (the perfect foil to the reactionary man-hating Cirin)--returns, as well as a few surprises from the past. Because of the heightened pace of the storytelling, there are numerous highlights, which include the joy of flying, the unmasking of Death, and chess with Suentuous Po.

The counterpoint to the impressive foundation of the two-volume, 1,200-page CHURCH AND STATE is the equally impressive, equally complex MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS, the first volume of which is FLIGHT. This graphic novel concerns the fight between the newly established matriarchy and the opposing "daughterarchy." Cerebus, trying to regain the power he lost when the matriarchal Cirinists took over, heads down a fateful, blood-soaked path. Dave Sim is often reviled as a misogynist because of the radical politics and philosophy laid down in his books, the groundwork of which begins here and builds toward the climax of MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS, which was so explosive that when it was initially released it cost Sim several close friends.

Click here to order WOMEN BOOK EIGHT: WOMEN
by Dave Sim & Gerhard
Paperback: 247 pages
Aardvark Vanheim
ISBN: 0919359140

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