365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

T-shirt#24: My Sunday Best: Cerebus

T-shirt #24: Cerebus: "He doesn't love you; he just wants all your money."

I have been saving this shirt for a Sunday, especially since I spend a lot of my time discussing the Catholic Church with my wife the recovering Catholic.

This is a shirt featuring Cerebus, the aardvark, the most famous, non-mainstream comic and comic creation in all of comic book history. The first and best real "independent" and "alternative" comic published by Dave Sim's Aardvark-Vanaheim company from 1977 to 2004.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time in the Cerebus universe. However, because of a lack of issues in the places where I was buying comics in 1977 (no direct sales specialty shops), I did not jump on the Cerebus bandwagon until late in the High Society run of the comic, around issue 47 (the run ended at issue 50). I was in college at this point, and a good friend, Mark Brager (who lived in Detroit and had access to direct sales specialty shops) recommended the comic to me. I was quickly hooked.

At this point in the long running Cerebus title, its creator, Dave Sim, had begun to divide the comic into novels, which would later be published in large collected editions resembling phone books. At the time that I started reading the series, there were no collected editions. My first real taste of the book came with the Church and State storyline collected in two volumes and consisting of issues 52-80 and 81-111 as well as the years of 1983-1988. Soon after I began reading Cerebus, the earliest issues, the sword and sorcery parodies, were collected as the Swords of Cerebus. I bought and read those issues (LOVED them), but I did not have the means to catch up on the High Society issues until Sim released issues 26-50 as the first collected volume in 1986.

I was hooked on Sim's creation from the beginning and quite enamored of this plan of his to write the life of his character in 300 issues. It seemed a huge and daunting task when he announced it in the 1980s. I cannot claim that I remained  as engaged by the stories, or by Sim himself, over the years. But I did read the ENTIRE run of the comic, even when Sim's own beliefs about gender, politics, religion, and many other things were not only unpleasant but downright offensive. (Though I do respect Sim's right to have and even proselytize those beliefs) After all, I am also a fan of Orson Scott Card, despite not agreeing with his views on sexuality. At least OSC keeps his views out of his fiction for the most part or is at least not quite as pedantic and insufferable about pandering these views as Sim became in the later years of the Cerebus novels. Though I did enjoy his essays on self-publishing, his published correspondence with Alan Moore, and his long diatribe essay on the religion of Islam, even though I disagreed with many of his ideas. Sim may be offensive, but he is an intellectual and a worthy opponent in an argument.

I tried Sim's follow up to Cerebus, a comic called Glamourpuss, but I quickly soured on Sim's heavy-handed treatment of his views on the world. Besides, the idea for the comic did not have the "legs" that the Cerebus idea had. I stopped buying it.

Criticisms of Dave Sim's views are very deftly handled on a blog called Upton Park by Andrew Rilstone, Gentleman.

I also quite like this essay on Cerebus by Andrew Hickey: "Cerebus is possibly the most daunting work in the whole history of art. This is not an exaggeration."

Still, I love the shirt. And the Church and State novel is definitely my favorite Cerebus book but also one of my favorite comic books of all time. It's one of the single best parodies on religion, especially Catholicism, ever written.

"At a time when the series was about 70% completed, celebrated comic book writer Alan Moore wrote, "Cerebus, as if I need to say so, is still to comic books what Hydrogen is to the Periodic Table'" ("Cerebus," Wikipedia, 2013).

So, I have included some great images here for your edification and amusement, including one of the best pages from the entire run of Church and State. Enjoy!!

And as always, thank you for reading my self-indulgent blog.

- chris tower 1304.14 12:00
Photo courtesy of Liesel MK Tower