Cerebus Volume 1

cerebus volume 1 cover review dave sim
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Introduces a classic independent comic character

Early issues don't resemble later issues of the series, very little continuing plots

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Cerebus

Publisher:  Aardvark Vanaheim, Inc.

Writer:  Dave Sim

Artist:  Dave Sim

# of Issues:  25

Release Date:  1987


Cerebus #1

Reprints Cerebus #1-25 (December 1977-February 1981). Cerebus…the Earth-Pig…the barbarian…the aardvark. The warrior known as Cerebus is always on the lookout to make it rich. Be it through plunder or war, his quest for riches knows no bounds. As he travels across the land, his legend grows and his list of allies and enemies grows even longer.

Written and illustrated by Dave Sim, Cerebus Volume 1 (commonly called the phonebook edition) is a collection of the rare and popular first issues of one of independent comics most acclaimed series.

Cerebus is a legend among comics and not an easy read. For this edition, part of the difficulty arises from the different style from the rest of the series. People who read later issues of Cerebus might find the series nearly unrecognizable. The series starts out as more of a parody series and is often compared to the original Howard the Duck series by at Marvel Comics. The series tone and style however change to what is more often considered “classic Cerebus” by the end of the volume.


Cerebus #20

This collection is odd in that there isn’t a central theme…something that became common in following collections. Many cite Cerebus #20 (September 1980) as the changing point in the series in which the first of a series of “Mind Games” issues appeared. This has Cerebus debating with an entity called Suentous Po in the Seventh Sphere when he is unconscious, and other “Mind Games” issues surfacing throughout the long run. It also introduce important characters like Jaka in Cerebus #6 (September 1978), Lord Julius in Cerebus #14 (March 1980), Elrod the Albino in Cerebus #4 (June 1978), and the Roach in Cerebus #11 (August 1979).

The series does have fun with itself by parodying many popular comics at the time. The most obvious is Conan the Barbarian but other characters like Red Sophia (Red Sonja), Elrod the Albino (Elric of Melnibone), Man-Woman (Man-Thing), Sump Thing (Swamp Thing), Deadalbino (Deadman), Bunky (Bucky), and the constantly changing Roach takes the guise persona of Batman and Captain Cockroach (Captain America). The parodies are a bit more forward here than in some of the issues after this run.

Cerebus 1 is a rather misleading introduction to the series. It can be difficult to truck through the first issues without much of a plot and since it just feels like a Mad Magazine take on Conan until things start moving. Cerebus Volume 1 is a necessary evil to enjoying this long running series.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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