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Church and State I (Cerebus, #3)
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Church and State I (Cerebus #3)

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  1,131 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Book by Dave Sim, Gerhard
Paperback, 592 pages
Published June 1st 1987 by Aardvark-Vanheim (first published 1987)
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Jun 04, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it
This volume consists mainly of Cerebus running around as Tarim(god)-incarnate, the pope, and trying to hoard all of his subjects' gold.

The pacing of this one is much quicker than the previous books; to the point where I would be upset to follow this monthly as some issues take seconds to read. But, reading this as a large volume, I think the quick pace is superior. (I think many comics would be more like this if it weren't for the limitations of publishing - comics are usually published monthly
Jul 21, 2011 Hamish rated it really liked it
Not as godlike as I remembered, but still good. I think the two principle problems I had with High Society are even more in force here.

The first is decompression. I'm of the type that tends to decry this in modern comics, and a lot of that trend originated here. While it allows the writer to tell more nuanced, layer stories (instead of being limited by how much you can cram into one issue), a lot of it smacks of laziness. You could still tell a story just as nuanced and layered in fewer issues i
Sean Samonas
Mar 03, 2013 Sean Samonas rated it really liked it
The books continue to be entertaining and cohesive. Being a fairly outright atheist, it is quite a delight to see the religious machinations put on display as politics with a higher power then most can comprehend.

Put simply, religion was created to control those scared about dying. It has always been used for that purpose and Dave does a great job in this and the following book showing that. This does lead to some moments near the end of the series where you wonder where the hell this author dis
Aug 24, 2013 Kaoru rated it really liked it
It's a pity that the most read Cerebus volumes are the first two ones, because that means that most people never even get to see Gerhard's beautiful artwork. This is also why most people think of "Cerebus" as the comic book in which the characters stand around in white voids or black blots a lot. Which is, of course, wrongwrongwrong. Except for the first 60something issues. And the first 30something issues. Because in-between those the tight monthly schedule that Dave Sim imposed on himself even ...more
Harold Smithson (Suicide punishable by Death)
I'd heard this was one of the good Cerebus volumes, fitting into the time period between the uneven early comics and the messy later ones. Perhaps if I read the earlier volumes rather than starting with the third I might have appreciated this one more. Keep that in mind when reading this review.

Cerebus was self-published, and while that doesn't sound incredible in today's world it was almost unheard of back then. It inspired plenty of writers, including Terry Moore and Jeff Smith, the latter of
Kyle Burley
Oct 05, 2012 Kyle Burley rated it it was amazing
After the triumph of "High Society", Sim upped the ante with an 1,100 page-plus storyline in which Cerebus finds himself appointed Pontiff of the Eastern Church of Tarim. "Church and State" is the largest and most ambitious story arc yet in the Cerebus saga, and the one which takes the storyline into the realm of the metaphysical. It's also the point where the book and the central character take a very dark turn and the comedy becomes pitch-black, if not downright mean-spirited.
This volume is on
Feb 05, 2008 Tony rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Graphic Novel Fans, everyone
Better than High Society, which I didn't really think was possible. The panels, character art, and background art are even more impressive this time, and the plot is slightly more engaging.

In terms of the work itself, apart from comparing it to the previous book, Cerebus' story continues as he returns to Iest, and tries to take agency over his own actions instead of being led by a puppet-master figure like Astoria.

He manages to be an even more misanthropic character as the Pope than he did as
Feb 17, 2008 The_Mad_Swede rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, sim-dave, 2008
Collecting issues # 52–80 of Dave Sim's 300 issues limited series Cerebus the Aardvark and being the first half of the Church & State story arc, this volume picks up Cerebus' story in the aftermath of his career as prime minister of Iest in the second phonebook volume High Society. Continuing the political intrigue in the fictional Estarcion and primarily in Iest, this deals with Cerebus resuming his duties as prime minister only to be elevated to pope, streching the political plots into inc ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Max rated it really liked it
After reading the first Cerebus phonebook and High Society, I decided to pick up both books of Church & State, which my sources tell me are the best in Dave Sim's saga.

While I have yet to read the second book, Church & State I definitely lives up to the hype. It's in this volume that the incredible Gerhard makes his debut, doing excellently rendered backgrounds. Sim continues to shine as he not only uses the same storytelling techniques he did in the first books, but even continues to i
I can't help feeling guilty liking this book as Cerebus goes from anti-hero to reprehensible in this exploration of the nature of power and religion. This guilt is further reinforced by the fact that Dave Sim is still an asshat.

The arrival of Gerhard on issue 66 y help with the backdrop really makes this graphic novel shine.
Sep 13, 2014 Laurence rated it really liked it
A truly fun and interesting graphic novel. One of my frat brothers used to get this comic and I'd always hear about it. Warrior aardvark Cerebus becomes prime minister and then pope of the one true church of Tarim.
Timothy Boyd
May 11, 2015 Timothy Boyd rated it it was amazing
Fantastic fantasy/comedy comic. Basically a parody on Conan and many other fantasy characters. Highly Recommended
Jan 24, 2015 Mark rated it liked it
A continuation of the high society story line, in a way, but the sides are better drawn and the comedy holds up better too.
Aug 02, 2013 Alex rated it it was ok
Man, what the hell even *was* Cerebus? And all of the controversy its author (understandably) brought upon himself. I mean, talk about a catastrophic meltdown with lasting consequences for one's career! Lol.
For those who don't know, Cerebus author/artist/creator Dave Sim published an extremely misogynistic screed midway through his career and the completion of Cerebus as a series with the ambitious end goal of 300 issues, which ultimately took him around 25 years to do so; and not only did his r
Zack Zildjan
Nov 09, 2013 Zack Zildjan rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tony Calder
Jun 23, 2016 Tony Calder rated it it was amazing
The Church and State storyline starts from the conclusion of the High Society storyline and was the longest running storyline in the Cerebus comic, running for roughly 60 issues (about 5 years). This made it far too long for a single reprint volume, so it was split into two, roughly equally-sized volumes.

Church and State is a good place for a beginner to start the story, the events of the two previous volumes - Cerebus the Barbarian and High Society - are reasonably easy to pick up on. Of course
Oct 06, 2014 Osvaldo rated it liked it
Shelves: comics-related
I originally read this back in high school, and I remember really liking it but growing bored as it developed. I figured 25+ years on I'd have more patience for it, so I jumped right in skipping High Society (which I remember liking best). It remains mostly boring. Visually arresting and occasionally funny (certainly important in terms of the history of independently published comics), but the satire of main stream comics with the whole Wolver-roach riffing falls flat these days, and Sim's misog ...more
Jan 28, 2009 Felix rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This 'phone book' edition marks the series' transition from slapstick comedy to more sombre reflections on political and religious issues. There's still plenty of comedy, of course, and some of it is of the slapstick variety. The elaborate b/w artwork is getting more and more sophisticated, playing with light and shadow a lot. As for the story, I'll wait until I've read the second volume before I comment on it. Nevertheless I can state at this point that so far I've immensely enjoyed reading the ...more
Mar 17, 2009 Matthew rated it it was amazing
The first two installments of Cerebus were good in their way, but I found them quite boring, and had to set them down to read other things and come back and pick them up later. I could only take short doses, but in this third volume Church and Stake Part 1, things really take off. It's the first Cerebus book that I really didn't want to put down, and I love how Sim plays around with different ways of displaying dialogue at times, instead of just using balloons.
Mark Russell
Feb 26, 2009 Mark Russell rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
High Society works as a fairly enclosed story, so while the events and characters in High Society provide much of the basis for the rest of the Cerebus canon, Church & State is really where Cerebus takes off as one, contiguous Dostoyevskyesque (Is that a word? If so, I'm using it the next time I play hangman.) epic tale. Often funny, occasionally brilliant, and always cynical, in many ways Church and State provide the beating heart of the Cerebus universe.
Dec 29, 2008 Ben rated it it was amazing
The best Cerebus yet! Gerhard's backgrounds add a lot, but Sim's own art is so formally masterful and his narrative experimentation is so much fun--I love the dictated chapter. And how funny is Cerebus's mother-in-law? She looks like hulk in an old lady dress! I still get confused by Jaka and Sophia; their characterization seems inconsistent. I still love the political/religious satire, though the fictional society is confusingly complex. Overall, a great read.
Mar 02, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing
the whole 'most holy' thing gets a little tedious in this volume, but it's still a great read...and the artwork makes a spectacular leap forward when gerhard takes over the backgrounds and gray tones...

it really blows my mind how well sim writes dialogue for groucho (lord julius)...he just nails it, and i sincerely doubt there's been many people who could pull that off...
pierlapo  quimby
La prima parte mi ha lasciato le stesse sensazioni del precedente volume, sì, divertente, una serie di sketch, qualche buona battuta, molta noia.
Con Chiesa & Stato la trama si fa più coesa, la storia si segue con più piacere e anche il tratto di Sim, impreziosito dagli sfondi di Gerhard, si affina.
Insomma, se evolve così, ci siamo.
Jul 26, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it
After the AMAZING High Society, the third Cerebus volume is a worthy follow up.

After being punished and banished, Cerebus goes drinking and finds himself married to the dreaded Red Sonja. Subsequently he tries to divorce her but runs into problems.

A bit heavy handed but funny. Worth a read.
Aug 13, 2008 Giacomo rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
When it was first released, this series was seen as challenging and original. Unfortunately, it didn't age very well. Most references to comic fandom are now lost on the reader, and the social satire is almost predictable. Great respect should go to Dave Sim for "flying the flag" on his own for so many years, but I personally don't think this volume will be one to keep in the XXI century.
Casey Hansen
Oct 01, 2012 Casey Hansen rated it really liked it
Felt that this book was much more streamlined than High Society, less characters with more focus on the story line, large improvement in the art as well over High Society. This book continues to develop the character of Cerebus well and does not hold back any punches or tries to soften Cerebus as a character to make him more likeable.
Aug 02, 2011 Ron rated it really liked it
Sim explored deeper issues than almost any other comic artist of his time, and he succeeds in creating wildly entertaining art at the same time. His essays at the end of each issue are equally probing and fascinating.
Jan 29, 2017 John rated it it was amazing
Simply hilarioys, this slice of 1980s comic art shows the genre at its best.
Thought provoking, genuinely funny and fantastically drawn .
Sim is a great storyteller and creates interesting characters around which the stories unfold and the broader comedy plays out.

The art continues to be sublime.
Mar 22, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Not content with being Prime Minister, Cerebus works his way up to being Pope! A facinating story of political struggle, religious belief and power grabs, Sims creates a complete, believable world and a fantastic, at times very funny and very touching, epic.
Robert Hudder
Sep 01, 2013 Robert Hudder rated it liked it
Cerebus binge over the holiday. Hoping to finish the series by Christmas or so. These two volumes were the hardest of the bunch to get through and put Cerebus in the poorest of lights. The points made about society and in this case religion are still valid though.
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David Victor Sim is a Canadian comic book writer and artist, best known as the creator of Cerebus the Aardvark.
More about Dave Sim...

Other Books in the Series

Cerebus (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • Cerebus (Cerebus, #1)
  • High Society (Cerebus, #2)
  • Church and State II (Cerebus, #4)
  • Jaka's Story (Cerebus, #5)
  • Melmoth (Cerebus, #6)
  • Flight (Cerebus, #7)
  • Women (Cerebus, #8)
  • Reads (Cerebus, #9)
  • Minds (Cerebus, #10)
  • Guys (Cerebus, #11)

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