Special Edition Podcast

Booksplode #21 – Cerebus, Volume 3: Church & State – Book One

Show Notes

Thanks to our awesome Patrons, we’re proud to present another Booksplode!


What’s a Booksplode you might ask? It’s a bi-monthly special edition show in which we take a look at a single graphic novel or collected edition, something we really just don’t have time to do on the regular show.

This month, we bit off a bit more than we can chew with Cerebus, Volume 3: Church & State – Book One by Dave Sim. So much so, that we brought in an expert — famed cartoonist and podcaster Alex Robinson! Alex joins Josh, Conor and Ron as they try to break into the mythos of Cerebus!

Running Time: 00:59:30

“Undisputed King of Nothing'”
J Church


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  1. Great discussion, gentlemen. I listened to the first half last night while walking the dogs and the second this morning (also while walking dogs).

    A couple comments: While I cannot dispute the greatness of “Church & State,” especially artistically, I feel strongly that “High Society” (volume 2) is Sim’s finest single volume of work. As you observed, C&S has a lot of unexplained bits of business, many of which are a lot of fun, but HS is much more concise and unified. It has a very specific theme and also is much funnier. So, I guess this is my recommendation that you read volume 2 before moving onto volume 4. Second, I disagree with Alex’s comment that Cerebus isn’t a true believer. I think it’s pretty firmly established in later volumes that he definitely is, but, more to the point, I think in the scene there’s even a point where the dying pontiff says, “You’re a believer, aren’t you?” It’s an important note in Cerebus’s personality that he professes to believe in something, though I don’t think he could really explain WHAT he believes. I think the idea was supposed to be that it was a part of his upbringing that he had never examined (until later, when he meets God).

    By all means, do a Bookslope on C&S Part 2!

  2. I owed the first two phone books once upon a time but dumped them when I realized I probably wasn’t going to finish it. Sounds like I should have stuck with it. Right now, these things are hard to find and out of print. It looks like they started digitizing them and then stopped. I wish Dave Sim cared more to keep this stuff accessible to current readers. Say what you will about DC and Alan Moore’s relationship, but DC wants to give you WATCHMEN in whatever damn format you prefer.

  3. I also read the first phone book and stopped there. This sounds great though. I’m glad to hear it gets a bit less dense as that’s a big part of why I didn’t continue. Looks like the whole series is available digitally here http://www.cerebusdownloads.com/index2v16s.html

  4. I was inspired by the podcast to start reading the first two volumes of Cerebus, which I’ve owned since the mid-90’s but never got round to!

    I’m glad to read above that volume 2 (“High Society”) is a home run, ‘cause sweet lord the first volume was an absolute slog! Maybe I should’ve just followed the iFanboy example and started with Church and State – if I didn’t know that things were going to get better, that first volume would’ve probably been my last!

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