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URL: http://section244.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-gods-themselves-shall-hear-my-tale.html

Section 244: "The gods themselves shall hear my tale..." Jaka's Story (Cerebus vol.5)

As promised, my gradual journey through Dave Sim's Cerebus has brought me up to the fifth volume, Jaka's Story. Cerebus has a decreased role in this entry, with the focus reserved for Jaka, Cerebus' recurring love interest. Up until now, Jaka's been somewhat thinly-defined (not being the lead character); by the end of this book, we learn the story of Jaka's isolated upbringing, adolescent humiliations and her contemporary troubles as she and her husband Rick deal with her recent miscarriage, Jaka's career as a dancer working in a tavern run by one Pud Withers, Rick's friend Oscar (Wilde) who's writing a book about Jaka's life (without her knowledge); Cerebus himself is just a minor complication in Jaka's present; by the end of the book, she's in much worse shape.

Although the first volume of Cerebus demonstrated a marked improvement in Sim's craft as the book progressed, it's clear he was still finding himself as he went into Jaka's Story; this is the first Cerebus volume which reads like a novel, rather than a set of serialized comic books collected as a trade. There are no sudden halts to spend (roughly) 22 pages with the Rolling Stones, Elrod or Artemis. It must have been something to experience when the series was first published, to find Sim mastering how he would change the monthly comic book to better suit the eventual collection - the format people like me know it as today.

In his introduction (which I withheld reading until after the story), Sim described his character Pud Withers as being one example of a certain type of men:

"Their desires, natural and organic, fester within them, their shyness and their unappealing physiques the frail but insurmountable barricade which makes what is difficult for the rest of our gender, unattainable for them.

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"As promised, my gradual journey through Dave Sim's Cerebus has brought me up to the fifth volume, Jaka's Story. Cerebus has a decreased role in this entry, with the focus reserved for Jaka, Cerebus' recurring love interest."

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