Seems a while back I did a quick take on the Latter Days phonebook, not really the phonebook (as I hadn't gotten my phonebooks yet), but that "chapter" of Cerebus. I just found this and figure it'd be fun to post to site seeing as I haven't gotten off my lazy arse and typed up my SPACE 2004 report. But I digress.
A free donut. That was what I loved about Sundays. The hour long Catholic mass was a dull workout: sit, stand, kneel, sit, kneel, stand, etc. The priest would drone on, and finally it was over. We would go to the back of the church and get our free donut and then my mother would drop us off at religious class. For a kid, at least for this one and my brother and sister, it was the most boring way to spend two hours of our weekend. Sad to say I got nothing out of it except to germinate the seed of dislike of organized religion.
About fifteen years later I thought I should sit down and read the bible because there were a lot of people using it as their moral compass. I got though most of the old testament to Psalms. There were a few interesting tales, but the majority of what I got out of it was the bible is full with lots of sex and killing (or should I say smiting). So when I read Rick’s Story in CEREBUS, I had a good chuckle. A couple good chuckles. Dave Sim had accurately reproduced the tone and cadence of the bible. I actually read all of the text pieces in Rick’s Story just to enjoy Dave’s take on the bible.
And then came the current “phonebook” in the CEREBUS epic: LATTER DAYS. Cerebus by this time has grown old and slovenly. After finding out that the he could have visited the author of his favorite ‘read’ “Rabbi”, Cerebus was in a state of shock, walking around in his slippers and robe saying “Darr, pretty sunsets. Darr, pretty flowers.” Then in issue 279 of CEREBUS, a Woody Allen look-a-like (not to be confused with like-a-look) called Konigsberg (Woody’s original name is Allan Stewart Konigsberg), showed up with the Torah in the last pages.
Issue 280 of CEREBUS starts with the opening credits for a movie: “Chasing YHWH”. For almost the next year we are subject to Cerebus’ interpretation of the Torah as transcribed by “me”, who was revealed by Dave at the 2003 SPACE con to be himself. To tell you the truth, for the first couple issues of “Chasing YHWH” I read the entire issue: the Konigsberg text, the Cerebus text and the comic bits. After a while though, I couldn’t take it any more. I stopped reading Cerebus’ interpretation of the Torah. I really didn’t care. It was like I was back in church again. I continue to read CEREBUS, but just not Cerebus’ text pieces. I figure I’d handle this like I did READS: wait until I could read the entire “phonebook” in one sitting.
After hearing Dave Sim speak on a panel about religion at the SPACE con this past April in Ohio, I had never heard of such an interpretation of the Torah. His talk interested me enough that I went back and reread Cerebus’ text pieces on the Torah. Cerebus starts at the beginning and gives us a literal analysis of the books of Moshe. At the beginning of Cerebus’ journey though the Torah, he rips out a page saying, “This part doesn’t belong in here.”
When Cerebus starts to talk about YHWH, Cerebus asked Konigsberg “the in-what-able name of GOD?” and later terms YHWH “Yoohwhoo. I wondered where this was coming from so I pulled out my Bible, a King James 1611 version the same version Dave was using. My version had God and LORD in the different verses that Cerebus was reading. In my reading I had assumed that two were the same Being. Sure they seemed a bit schizophrenic in nature, one being out to kill and smite people and the other trying to teach people, but I thought God was just a synonym of Lord. Cerebus continues this train of thought with the (one and only) God and the Yoohwhoo part of god, who continuously tries to show up God and control man. This tedious process of giving some parts of the Torah to God and some to Yoohwhoo continues though out Cerebus’ interpretation of the Torah. It is interesting to see a different viewpoint on the Torah, but I was glad when the ending credits rolled in issue #288. Little did I know what was coming with issue #289 / 290. heh.