|May 1981: High Society|
|Writer & Artist||Dave Sim|
Cerebus has just trudged across fifty miles of swamp and into Iest. He still has some goodies from Lord Sump's castle (see last issue) and wants to fence them in town, but he has a world-class mad on that he wants to take out on someone. He expects to find a suitable victim in the desk clerk at the ritziest place in town, the Regency Hotel.
He does not expect the clerk to have a room ready for him, or a bath, or a gourmet dinner in a private booth, but he gets them all, with impeccable service. He doesn't expect a barrage of businessmen giving him money, either. Holland M. Hadden (of Hadden, Hadden, and Dipp), for instance, gives him a check for 700 crowns, just to remember that his firm wants to get a contract for gold-plated streetlamps. After an hour Cerebus has more than 5,000 crowns in checks and a long list of contacts.
Cerebus finally decides to get some answers. The next businessman is Mister Scorz (of Scorz, Scorz, and Sons), who wants to install a sewer system in Iest. Cerebus asks why he should remember Scorz's pitch and finds that he should talk to Lord Julius, whom Cerebus once worked for as Kitchen Staff Supervisor (or, in Julius's world, security chief). Scorz relates how he tried, repeatedly but unsuccessfully, to penetrate the bureaucracy of Palnu.
The long story of frustration only reignites Cerebus's mad. He wants to go to the docks, find someone named von Croyder, and beat him up. When he hails a cab, however, he finds it promised to a Mister Carron, who mistakes Cerebus for a "guttersnipe." Carron (of Carron, McKiel, and Benny) is ready to "thrash you to within an inch of your worthless life," until he finds that his opponent is Cerebus. "Please. You've got to beat me up," he begs.
Even more frustrated, Cerebus takes Carron's cab to the Ram's Lords Tavern to pick a fight. Suddenly, the Dock Police appear to protect him. Cerebus starts walking back to the Regency, hoping for an ambush.
- Cerebus (last seen in issue 25; next appearance in issue 27)
- Cockroach as unnamed cab driver (last seen in issue 22; next appearance in issue 30)
- Holland M. Hadden (first appearance; next appearance in issue 30)
- Ned Greely (only appearance)
- Mister Scorz (first appearance; next appearance in issue 62)
- Mister Carron (only appearance)
- Hill-Hodges, captain in Iest's Waterfront Special Security (only appearance)
- Baskin and Lord Julius, mentioned only
- unnamed desk clerk, baker
- von Croyder, possible former associate of Cerebus, mentioned only
Cerebus Archive notes in Digital Cerebus
- Issue 26, p. 37: "...(S)ince No. 26 was the first issue printed by Preney Print & Litho."
- This issue was released in Audio/Digital format on October 10th, 2012, as a free download.
- This issue is the first chapter of High Society, the first Cerebus novel, i.e. a coherent set of stories that lasts longer than three issues. High Society runs until issue 50.
- A circle motif runs through this issue, evident on the cover and pages 1, 10, 11, and 14.
- It's true that Cerebus has a temper, but typically he calms down after his physical needs are met. In this issue his temper builds even after a good meal, a bath, and a large infusion of money; obviously, characterization is sacrificed in this issue for a running joke.
- Although Cerebus seems accustomed to carrying around money as sacks of coins, he has no problem with accepting checks as currency.
- On the other hand, in the next issue he assumes that a check is only worth as much as he can fence it for (he guesses half). If he set up a bank account, he could get its full value.
- p2: The desk clerk puts off Cerebus until his name comes out; presumably, the clerk was prepared to put off any number of aardvarks who were not named Cerebus.
- p4: Cerebus takes a bath, and a joke on how his wet fur stinks is made.
- p4: Typo: "You'll need tie" should be "You'll need a tie."
- p5: Cerebus uses the term strip-mine, an anachronism.
- p5: Cerebus orders "yak with rum and raisin sauce" as something difficult to order in Iest. He also ordered 4 bottles of Chateau Dehrsion.
- p7: Scorz calls Cerebus "Famous the Aardvark Cerebus," which is typical of his unusual accent.
- p9, p15: The directory appears to be a common stalling tactic in Lord Julius's bureaucracy; Scorz and Carron both mention it.
- p12: Although Cerebus appears to have a grudge against von Croyder, the nature of that grudge is never made clear.
- p15: In case it's not obvious, after Cerebus leaves Carron, his rant is mostly to save face with anyone who might be listening.
- or Carron is desperate because, after five years of effort, he sees his last chance of doing business with Palnu slipping away.
- p16: Based on the events in Issue 39, it is possible that the cab driver is one of the Cockroach's many identities, that of Blake Jockley, cab driver.
- Dave later confirmed this in a Q&A session from July 2004: "...I used a cab driver secret identity for the Moon Roach, which was a parody of the Moon Knight, one of whose secret identities was as…tad a!…a cab driver."
- (letters page) Sim prints a single letter and answers several questions it raises, questions that other readers must have asked.
- The Conniptins and T'Gitans were not "mighty armies," they were overambitious (and doomed) conquerors whom Cerebus joined, so Cerebus stopped joining conquerors.
- There actually was a transition from issue 20 to issue 21; it would later appear as "What Happened Between Issues Twenty & Twenty-One."
- Julius was not "dropped" from the story; his influence is everywhere in this issue.
- Lord Gorce was dropped from the story, for reasons that Sim gives only on this letters page.
- Cerebus abandoned Weisshaupt because the Lower Feldan government would inevitably have executed him, again for reasons not elsewhere given to the reader.
Cerebus portrait in Aardvark Comment (Sim)