Christian Lipski's Reviews > Form and Void

Form and Void by Dave Sim
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's review
Jun 23, 2008

it was ok

Sigh. Here's where it all kind of comes to an end. Ernest Hemingway and his wife Mary are featured. I don't want to go too far into the plot to avoid spoilers, but it's really the last severing of the core Cerebus story. Now, you will only get Cerebus and his interior world, which is fighting against the evil Woman, and God.

Again, Jaka's character is tweaked a little bit more, it seems, to more perfectly fit Sim's idea of how women are bad. To be fair, Sim certainly doesn't say that Cerebus acts perfectly, and isn't intended to function as a role model. That said, it's frustrating to see a lack of communication cause most of the problems between the lovers: Cerebus kept the risk of traveling in the winter to himself. Cerebus never mentioned how women were expected to behave in Sand Hills Creek. Jaka wasn't really honest with herself about being OK with living in that environment. There were a lot of secrets being kept. Maybe they would have decided it would not work, but they have to be honest about that kind of stuff.

Anyway. Cerebus hasn't been home in what, 15 years? 20? I'm a little dubious about the reception he got. Sim explains it away with a mystical "you just know" thing that sounds a total cop-out. He's neatly wrapping things up so that he can move on to a story he feels is really important, and giving short shrift to his creation.

The last 68 page of the book is text, in which Sim talks (as he did in the last book) about the cameo'd character he has researched. In this case it's an all-out attack on Mary Hemingway and women in general. He doesn't spare Papa himself (referring to him as a typist rather than a writer), but the majority of the vitriol is saved for Mary. He makes a LOT of guesses about reasons and intentions, and then bases other arguments on these guesses, which makes the whole thing shaky. And then there are the sweeping generalizations like "women can't tell a joke" that make the essay a chore. I think this is the first time he mentions the "homosexualist-feminist axis" by name.

The story itself has some powerful emotion, but on the whole it has an atmosphere of sleaze and depression. Sad. And it really doesn't improve from here.
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Reading Progress

June 23, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
June 27, 2008 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by CJ (new)

CJ I'm so interested in your examination of this series. As a woman and an avid comic fan of the 80s to the present I have run into many opinions on this series. Rarely have I seen one done with such affection as well as disappointment. I actually read some of the early work and rememember liking it. Thank you for taking to time to critique this thoughtfully!

message 2: by Kendall (new)

Kendall Moore For real, you gave this latter part of Sim's work all the fairness you could muster. That's the sign of a genuine critic.

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