(diff) ←Older revision | Current revision | Newer revision→ (diff)
|April 1980: A Day in the Pits|
|Writer & Artist||Dave Sim|
As Kitchen Staff Supervisor, Cerebus uncovers a growing plot against Lord Julius, the ruler of Palnu. While he tries to alert Julius to the threat, a priest of Tarim arrives to protest the "drunken debaucheries" that Julius holds. Baskin, the new minister of executive planning, arrives with the dictation he took during the torture of the rebels (captured last issue). The only useful clue is Pits.
The social secretary tells Cerebus that Julius has forbidden city officials to communicate, which means he can't ask Baskin about the Pits. Cerebus happens across the priest, who gives him the Tarimite version of history. The Old City of Palnu was a haven for alchemists and other heretics, shunned by true believers, but "about a century ago an earthquake swallowed up the city; a gift from the infinite mercies of the living Tarim." What remains of the Old City lies beneath present-day Palnu, holding whatever evils have survived. Cerebus finds plans in Julius's office, which confirm what the priest said and show how to reach the Pits. Julius asks him for a suggestion on where to hold the next "debauchery," the Festival of Petunias; Cerebus tries to tell him the rebels may be using the Pits as a base; Julius decides to hold the festival in the Pits.
Julius wants to survey the Pits. Baskin tells Cerebus "silly folk tales" about the Shadow Crawler, a monster alleged to haunt the area. Cerebus borrows Julius's sword. The three go underground, where Cerebus finds an opening that the plans show as rubble. Moments later, a pair of grates drops from the ceiling, trapping Julius and Baskin in a cage and Cerebus in a passageway.
A hooded figure appears on a balcony. He claims to be the leader of the rebels, the "Eye of the Pyramid", who have lasted for a millenium. Cerebus must battle a very real Shadow Crawler, a large snake that is almost invulnerable. Cerebus discovers its weak spot, however, and drives it into a wall.
The collision begins a chain reaction, which includes opening the grates. The Pits begin to collapse. Cerebus sees the leader fleeing, but he, Julius, and Baskin only have time to save themselves.
- Cerebus (last seen in issue 14; next appearance in issue 16)
- Lord Julius (last seen in issue 14; next appearance in issue 16)
- Baskin (first appearance; next appearance in issue 38)
- Lord Julius' Social Secretary (last seen in issue 14; next appearance in issue 16)
- the Trade Center
- the Pits
Swords of Cerebus, volume 4, introduction to issue 14
"One major worry of mine at the time, and one which I remembered again while re-reading these issues was the wall-to-wall cliches. 'The revolutionary mystic cult' -- 'the ruins of the city beneath the city' -- 'the duel on the bridge', and of course, the grandaddy of them all, 'the battle with the Giant Snake'. Okay, I was doing a parody, but ho-hum, y'know? You can run out of the 'twenty-eight Deadly Fantasy Cliches' (or however many there are) after a dozen issues if your character gets around enough. 'The Giant Snake' was a must, though, for this reason; I couldn't wait to write this introduction. You know why? So I could tell E*V*E*R*Y*O*N*E that yes, I was thinking of the phallic symbolism the whole time I was drawing the snake. It's true. The whole time I was drawing the snake I was thinking 'This isn't a snake I'm drawing, I'm drawing a Giant Dick with eyes,' or 'I'm not drawing a snake crawling out of his cage with the leader of the 'Eye in the Pyramid' juxtaposed in the foreground. Hell, no! I'm drawing the leader of the 'Eye in the Pyramid' flipping his giant schlong out at Cerebus, who's going to cut it off.' Why do you think those torches on the wall are at a forty-five degree angle? That's right! They're really all stiff wee-wees with their tips on fire (ouch). Right down to the big 'O' scene where the giant 'snake' smashes into the wall and behind it to the Leader of the 'Eye in the Pyramid'. Sort of changes the meaning of the 'AAAAH' word balloon doesn't it? Now, why, you might very well ask yourself, why would someone consciously sit down and draw an allegory that revolves around a huge male member. Someday, folks, I hope to open the Underground Comix Price Guide, flip to the appendix with Cerebus and read:
Cerebus: Good Fine Mint
15# (Giant penis issue)
$20 $30 $40
And people say I've lost my ambition."
- This issue is the second in what would become known as The Palnu Trilogy.
- The title, A Day in the Pits, alludes to the 1937 Marx Brothers movie A Day at the Races (appropriate since Lord Julius is an homage to Groucho Marx). See also Issue 16.
- Cerebus asks for a sword since his was lost at the end of Issue 12.
- The Festival of Petunias (which occurs next issue) may have that name because the petunia is the symbol of the House of Tavers. In issue 37 Cerebus goes to Petuniacon. For other floral heraldry, see Wars of the Roses (1455-1487).