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Cerebus the Aardvark

Comic Books

Publisher: Aardvark-Vanahem

In 1977, Cerebus #1 quietly launched the independent comics boom. Its titular character was an anthropomorphic aardvark created by Dave Sim, who wrote all 300 issues until its premeditated conclusion in 2004. Sim was the plotter, scripter, and artist, though he later conceded backgrounds to a fellow Canadian known simply as Gerhard. Cerebus #1 cost one dollar, which was expensive in the time of 35-cent comics. Cerebus — also known as Cerebus the Aardvark — was a self-publishing venture initially handled by Sim and girlfriend-partner Denise Loubert, who later became his wife. His name was the result of Loubert misspelling Cerberus, the three-headed dog of Greek mythology. The couple's ensuing co-op was dubbed Aardvark-Vanaheim, Inc. It was so named because neither Sim nor Loubert would relent on his/her respective proposed title for the company. The company’s express purpose was to publish Cerebus on a semi-regular basis. With a print run of only 2000, Cerebus #1 was an instant rarity, a fact that has certainly contributed to the issue being listed among Overstreet’s Top 10 Bronze Age Comics, a list otherwise almost completely dominated by superhero titles. Besides signaling the advent of indie comics publishing, Cerebus heralded a revival of the “funny animal” genre, something that Sim never intended. The fact that Cerebus was an aardvark that talked and walked upright was the only similarity to later knockoffs and inferior imitations. The first issue did parody Robert E. Howard’s Conan, but the stories would later follow a much more political slant.

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