Cerebus the Aardvark
Introduction to Cerebus the Aardvark #1
In 1977, Cerebus #1 quietly launched the independent comics boom. Its titular character was an anthropomorphic aardvark created by Dave Sim, who wrote and drew 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 early issues did parody Robert E. Howard's Conan, but the stories would later follow a much more political slant.
Brief History of Cerebus
Begun more as a bet, the first 25 issues are more of a romp, poking fun of comics and the world around us. Cerebus took on his first ambitious story cycle with High Society running from Cerebus #26 to Cerebus #50. Cerebus #51 is a fun filler. Dave Sim's next story cycle, Church & State, runs from Cerebus #52 to #111. Jaka's Story runs from Cerebus #114 to #136. Melmoth begins with Cerebus #139 only to end at Cerebus #150. The next epic begins promptly with Cerebus #151 and goes to #200. Guys story starts with Cerebus #201 followed by Rick's story running from Cerebus #220 to 231. Going Home is the next storyline, running from Cerebus #232 to 265. Latter Days wraps up the rest of the run, ending at Cerebus #300.
Characters from Cerebus the Aardvark
Cerebus enjoyed a number of delightful characters. Red Sophia, Sim's parody of Red Sonja makes her debut in Cerebus #3, followed quickly by Elrod the Albino in #4. We see Sim start to move past his parodies of Barry Smith's Conan with the introduction of Moon Roach in Cerebus #11. Lord Julius, Sim's Groucho Marx character, is introduced in Cerebus #14.
Plot Summary of Cerebus the Aardvark #1
Arriving in a new town, the heretofore unknown aardvark Cerebus is quickly tested. After separating the hand from his assailant, Cerebus is asked to join an unsavory pair at their table upon procuring some libation. After a brief discussion, the trio are off in pursuit of the Flame Jewel, held by the local wizard. With the promise of a pouch of gold, Cerebus dispatches one obstacle after another as the pair of greedy thieves merely look on, congratulating themselves on selecting the right warrior. In the end, everyone gets what they deserve.
How much is Cerebus #1 worth?
According to the 2019 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide a 9.2 copy is valued at $3,000. Cerebus #1 ranked 5th on Overstreet's Top 25 Bronze Age Comics.
What is the most expensive Cerebus #1 sold at auction?
In 2019, a Cerebus the Aardvark #1 in CGC 9.4 sold for $12,250.
What Cerebus comics issues are expensive?
Once you get past the first issue, Cerebus is affordable. Here are a few of the higher sales.
Cerebus the Aardvark #4 Value
Selling in 2019, Cerebus the Aardvark #4 in an incredibly rare CGC 9.9 sold for $3,250.
Cerebus the Aardvark #2 Value
The Dave Sim File Copy of Cerebus the Aardvark #2 in CGC 9.8 comes in at a cool $2,200 in 2019.
Cerebus the Aardvark #3 Value
The first appearance of Red Sophia in a Dave Sim File Copy Signature Series CGC 9.8 garnered $1,912 back in 2008.
Cerebus the Aardvark #1 Cover Art
Creator Dave Sim provided the cover art to the first issue and every issue except #8 when it was done by Frank Thorne.
Other valuable Cerebus art
Fans of Cerebus can acquire original art at reasonable prices. Here are some of the top sales from the Heritage Auctions archives.
The cover to Cerebus #33 sold for $7,710 in 2018. A Cerebus illustration used in Wizard #17 from 1993 sold for $4,182.50 in 2013. The inside back cover art from Cerebus #3 sold for $3,840 in 2018.
How rare is Cerebus #1?
Cerebus' small print run of 2000 does make the book a little harder to find than your average Bronze Age book but the Cerebus fan base is also much smaller as well. Copies do surface from time to time so keep your eyes open.
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