Comic Book Spotlight of the Day: Batvark Issue #1 – August 2017 (Aardvark-Vanaheim)

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TITLE: Batvark Issue #1

YEAR: August 2017

COMPANY: Aardvark-Vanaheim

Penciller: Gustave Dore

Inker: Dante Alighieri

Colorist: Sandeep Atwal 

Digitizer: Sean Michael Robinson 

Finisher: Benjamin Hobbs

I am a longtime reader of Dave Sim’s “Cerebus” and while it has been awhile since I have purchased a “Cerebus” comic since the final issue and the death of Cerebus, I have been keeping up with whatever has been posted on Dave’s website and Facebook page but also on “A Moment of Cerebus” blog site and Margaret Liss’ “Cerebus Fangirl Site”.

And for those following the writer/artist, know that Dave Sim may not be able to draw again due to a major wrist injury.

But Dave has kept Cerebus alive through the four-panel comic strip “Cerebus in Hell?” which details Cerebus and what is happening after his death.

Working with penciller Gustave Dore, inker Dante Alighieri, colorist Sandeep Atwal, digitizer Sean Michael Robinson and finisher Benjamin Hobbs, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Cerebus, five issues of “Cerebus in Hell?” featuring the best strips not featured online were collected.

And it’s not yet done as “Batvark” Issue #1 continuing the “Cerebus in Hell?” comic strips.

As for Dave Sim’s involvement, digitizer Sean Michael Robinson wrote on a comment on Facebook:

He wrote more than half of the strips in the next 9 or so one-shots, Sandeep the other half. He mocks up his strips himself, bad hand and all, on his fax machine/photocopier and either Benjamin or I make the final digital file based on the mockup. For the next books after the next nine or so (we have about a year’ worth of lead time) he is writing nearly every strip, and they are damn funny, the funniest stuff he’s written in decades, imho. I’d urge any long time Cerebus fans to give the title some time and see where it goes and how it changes. Very satisfying to work on and out together the next year’s worth of issues over the past few months and see how it develops.

While there are a few Cerebus purists who may not like that it’s not like the story arcs they have read in the original comic books, personally one should be grateful for what he was able to accomplish with the original run and the fact that he self-published.

These latest issues are for those who desire the Cerebus writing and humor but we are getting a collected series of the best from “Cerebus in Hell?”.  Yes, it may not be everyone cup of tea but I’m entertained by it and as a long-time fan, wanting to support Sim and team to keep Cerebus going.

When the comics first came out, I was only 6-years-old.  I discovered “Cerebus” in my late teens and now I’m going on 46.  When it comes to comic writers that have had a long duration of releases of a character and have stayed with that character for decades, especially consistently, there are not many comic book artists/writers that make that list.

Aside from comic book strip artists/writers, for comic books, Erik Larsen with “Savage Dragon” is one of the few people who still remains consistent on a comic book title and character for 25-years.  And with issue 225, Larsen recently killed of its longtime character to pave the way for the protagonist’s son to carry on the torch of the series.  And Larsen doesn’t plan to bring that character back.  So, the fact that Dave Sim is still continuing the adventures of Cerebus post-death in any which way he can despite a painful wrist injury is amazing.

Sure, he has a team of people supporting his latest effort, but Dave Sim is still very much involved.

As for “Batvark” issue #1, it’s a combination comic strips, from jokes of an Avengers film being re-shot with the Kardashians to jokes involve comic book characters such as Archie Comics Betty or Veronica to a group of statues with their own self-deprecating humor.

Again, it’s not for everyone.  But for those who have read enough “Cerebus” to enjoy the humor, then this is for you.

What I do recommend is visiting, downloading and reading “Cerebus in Hell?”.  If you enjoy it, then definitely give this book and the previous five books a try!

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