Sunday, 7 January 2018

Reading Cerebus #5

Hey look kids! It's "READING CEREBUS" time!
Kevin Kimmes:
Welcome back to “Reading Cerebus”, a new weekly column here at A Moment of Cerebus. The goal of this column is to bring a fresh perspective to the 300-issue saga of Cerebus as I read through the series for the first time and give my insights into the longest running independent comic book series of all time. Think of this as part book club, part lit-crit, and part pop culture musing. Oh, and they told me Dave Sim himself may be reading this, so I hope I don’t screw this up. Let’s continue.

Issue #5: “Bran Mak Mufin”

Since last we left our Earth-Pig Born:

“After leaving Serrea, Cerebus drifts west into The Red Marches where he enters the employ of Turan Genn, a mercenary captain! The summer rains are at their peak and the Earth-Pig executes his tasks amid much grumbling about sub-tropical rainfall…”
I gotta admit, I love making Kevin's text superfluous with images from CerebusDownloads...
Thanks, Dave!

“It Stinks!”

This issue has one joke built off of the “summer rains” mentioned above: Cerebus stinks when he gets wet! Much like the smell of Sex Panther in the original “Anchorman” film, the smell of a wet Earth-Pig “stings the nostrils” and is described by Bran Mak Mufin and his followers as:
  • “The plains dwellers must be burning their ceremonial skunks again…”
  • “…the smell of a thousand dung worms mating in the noon sun…”
  • “Smells like someone’s loin-cloth is on fire…”
  • “I would guess that the cesspool is draining into the air vents again.”
  • “Smells like someone brought a dead goat with them…”

Pulp Fiction

Yes, this weeks title character, Bran Mak Mufin, is again a play on another of Robert E. Howard’s pulp creations, Bran Mak Morn, last king of the Picts. Unlike his Conan stories, Bran Mak Morn was more grounded in the history of Europe, with some exceptions taken for story’s sake.

For Cerebus, Dave has taken the Picts and changed them to the Pigts and has changed their leader’s name to that of healthy breakfast fare. Discovered by a small group of Pigts, Cerebus is hastily asked to accompany them back to their camp. But something seems afoot…their initial reaction to Cerebus is that of shock!

Upon arrival at their lair, Cerebus is introduced to their leader, who is quick to deal out questions for the Earth-Pig Born, most notably, “How old are you?”


“You’re twenty-six, aren’t you?”


“I Am a Golden God!”
Image of later importance to the series from CerebusDownloads

Well, clay really, but that “Almost Famous” reference was too good to pass up. Unable to sleep and playing off of instinct and intuition, Cerebus follows a “bump in the night” which quickly becomes the chanting of the Pigts. You see, Bran has them energized with prophecy:

“…time we have awaited is at hand. Our redeemer walks among us… “in his twenty-sixth year he shall come to us…” For a thousand years, the Pigts have been without their god-king. Now, he has been restored. Now, empires will be trampled beneath our feet. Now, we need no longer content ourselves with an idol in his image! All hail!”

Idol? Yup! And like Billy, this thing is all “Ready, Steady, Go!”

To Cerebus bewilderment, there in front of him stands a fifteen-foot-high idol in the image of…well…Cerebus! So, that explains why Mak Mufin was so interested in him, he’s convinced that Cerebus is the reincarnation of some Pigtish god-king from days past.

Kill Your Idols

With the Pigts now gone and the auditorium empty, Cerebus is presented with a decision to make: To portray the Pigts’ redeemer, or not. Deliberating over the opportunities that this ruse could afford him, in the end Cerebus decides that this is not his destiny and begins demolishing the soft material that makes up the idol. He is no Pigt…he is unique…HE IS CEREBUS!
More Later relevance from CerebusDownloads 

Emerging from the Pigts’ lair, Cerebus begins to march toward Iest, feeling once again drawn to the city.

Join me back here next week as we look at Issue 6: “The Secret”.

Currently Listening To: “Generation X” by Generation X

Kevin Kimmes is a lifelong comic book reader, sometime comic book artist, and recent Cerebus convert. He can be found slinging comics at the center of the Multiverse, aka House of Heroes in Oshkosh, WI.


Tony Dunlop said...

Great stuff, Kevin. I knew almost nothing about Robert E. Howard (or Lovecraft, for that matter), so here's a Cerebus veteran (first issue: #37) being schooled by a rookie.

"The first will be last, and the last, first." - Synoptic Jesus

Kevin Kimmes said...


Always glad to hear that people are enjoying the column, and really happy to know that I'm bringing something fresh too. Really enjoying the ride!

Michael Cohen said...

Really enjoying this feature. I hope you have the stamina to keep it up for 6 years until #300.

Kevin Kimmes said...


The good news is that my last 35 issues I was missing arrive tomorrow, so there will be no excuses not to. Glad you are enjoying the column.