|July 1985: Varying Reasons of Assorted Depths|
|Church & State I|
Powers prays for a quick, but painful, death for Weisshaupt. Weisshaupt sends for Cerebus. They parry words for a while; Weisshaupt gloating in his own ego, and Cerebus cheering on Weisshaupt's oncoming death. Weisshaupt tells Cerebus that Suenteus Po is Weisshaupt's uncle, and that there are two more aardvarks in Estarcion. When Weisshaupt asks for absolution Cerebus tells him to go to Hell, and leaves. Weisshaupt lies alone, dying.
- Bishop Powers (last seen in issue 72; next appearance in issue 87)
- Boobah (last seen in issue 72; next appearance in issue 88)
- Cerebus (last seen in issue 75; next appearance in issue 77)
- Unknown butler to Wiesshaupt (only appearance)
- Unknown carriage driver (only appearance)
- Unseen church official (only appearance) talking with Powers
- Weisshaupt (last seen in issue 69; next appearance in issue 300)
Dave speaks about the "Synchronicity covers", the covers for issue 74 - 76 from the auction for the covers
The covers of issues 74, 75 and 76—the Synchronicity covers—was the first time that I realized the extent to which Gerhard’s backgrounds really “ground” the book, giving it a solidity and a “look” all its own and keeping my (infrequent at these extremes, anyway) experimentation less jarring, less “over the top” looking. The three covers get progressively more stylized and experimental as they go along. The picture of Jaka in the background of the yellow cover is flat, a series of geometric shapes (the bottom of her skirt is virtually horizontal). I thought that was as far out to the “design” edge from the “illustrative” school as I could go without falling off. Once Gerhard had put in the background, his solid room, done with accurate perspective (except for the arm of the sofa, where he’s trying to get the perspective to compensate for the horizontal bottom of Jaka’s skirt: I drive him nuts with things like that) and put the flat yellow over top, highlighting the darker areas with a sepia tone and adding white highlights with paint, it just looks like a traditional illustrative Cerebus cover. Since I was trying to be very “cutting edge,” I bore that in mind when it came time to do the next cover. The picture of President Weisshaupt on the cover of issue 76 is, consequently, the most “un” illustrative picture I’ve ever done in or on Cerebus, where I really allowed myself to go completely over the edge, not giving a moment’s thought to anatomy, but instead going for a completely dessicated, virtually inhuman picture which was all emotional content. All feel and no think. “Here” I was (in effect) saying to Ger: “Try making this one look normal.” At which point even Gerhard got into the “out on the edge, Bill Sienkiewicz” spirit of the thing, not even trying to create the illusion of curvature on the spines of the books on the bookshelf, just drawing and colouring them as a stack of rectangles. Although the door is done with his usual exacting precision. As soon as the cover to issue 76 was separated, I had the three covers matted and framed together as a triptych, which is how I had conceived of them in the first place, even using Bill’s distinctive “initials signature” (modifying the “B” into a “D”).
Dave Speaks About Weisshaupt's Death from the August 2004 Q&A Session
Q4. The Death of Weisshaupt: Weisshaupt is portrayed as an egotistical idealist who sees himself as a pivotal figure in history. He can't even comprehend the fact that Cerebus is just a greedy primal force and not someone with an agenda. However, upon his death he has an epiphany in which he sees some special role that Cerebus is playing in the grand tapestry. He calls Cerebus Most Holy - which is startling in terms of the secular viewpoint he held throughout his life. What spurred this change of viewpoint?
DAVE: The deathbed epiphany. It was a very unnatural death. I've often wondered at the fact that no one has asked "How did Weisshaupt get that emaciated in that short a space of time from when he has his heart attack to when Cerebus comes to see him?" I was trying to indicate that this had been a serious contention on a serious high plane of existence and that—whatever the magnifier quality Cerebus had was, guardian angel, demon, whatever—was nothing to mess with one-on-one even if you have a roof full of cannons on your side. That just made it worse. Remember this is the scene that Cerebus involuntarily hearkens back to when F. Stop is looking to steal Jaka. That primal whatever was always prepared for that level of threat. So, it was really a matter that Cerebus' context crushed Weisshaupt's context, literally draining him physically. Having no idea if these things actually happen in the physical world, I speculated that there would be serious repercussions which would result. The literal calling forth of the Giant Stone Thrunk, as an example. Whatever it was that Cerebus or the magnifying quality within Cerebus did, it was just that disproportionate and created an equally disproportionate repercussion.
Q4: Did Weisshaupt see anything in particular?
DAVE: I assume that he did. What he would have seen would, I imagine, have been terrifically personal and terrifically powerful. It would be my guess that events that take place on an elevated plateau like that make use of one's own personal imagery as a way of explaining what has taken place/is taking place. Particularly with Cerebus being right there, I would assume that what Weisshaupt saw—his context having been crushed as it was—would have been analogous to Cerebus seeing the Giant Stone Thrunk outside his window. Uh-oh would really understate the case.
Q4: At the time you wrote the story, what did you intend that he saw?
DAVE: Well, that was too complicated to get into. Remember, I'm trying to write the equivalent of a good, epic Russian novel. It's already difficult enough to get the layers of complexity in the physical world to fit into place. If I started getting into the inner psyches of the various characters—apart from Cerebus—it would certainly be interesting but it would eat pages like nobody's business. "Cerebus Dreams," "Weisshaupt Dreams," "Astoria Dreams." I tried to incorporate that where it was relevant and to do so in such a way that it emphasized what was going on in the "real" world. But you go too far with that and the reader starts losing their grounding. I mean, I did that intentionally in Women, with the Sandman parody. Let's really lose our way here when it comes to deciding what's real, what's a dream and what's a "dream". But on an ongoing basis when you're already doing a very complicated story a little documentation on the elevated plateaus goes a long way and then it's time to come back to earth.
Q4: Also, how does this view fit in with Weisshaupt's apparent knowledge that Cirin is an aardvark?
DAVE: I would suspect, just judging from Weisshaupt's reaction, that that would have seemed a good deal less important all of a sudden. I think his own uppermost reaches of his own spirit were suddenly aware of just how large the context was that he had previously considered to be sort of within his grasp, within his ability to control and manipulate. I have to be vague about it, because I only know this physical, material plane, same as you. But, I would suspect that human beings do get glimpses of the bigger picture which are enough to turn their hair white, like in HP Lovecraft's fiction. I mean, my assumption is that if you ever actually did see God or even achieved an awareness of the smallest fraction of God you would probably just *plit* explode like a bug on a windshield.
- The back cover shows the front cover without any text.
- p. 7: Weisshaupt gives Cerebus a prediction that Cerebus will be consumed by his own power. A bit different then the Judge's prediction that Cerebus will die "alone, unmourned and unloved" in issue 111.
- p. 9: Weisshaupt states that Cerebus is the only other "extraordinary" person in Estarcion, but later states there are two aardvarks in Estarcion.
- p. 14: Cerebus asks Weisshaupt what is wrong with his ankle, saying that the Bug told him not to stare at it. A reference to a conversation from issue 21.
- p. 6:
- Cerebus: "Most Holy is going to stand over here, Weisshaupt. You smell as bad as you look. . ."
- Weisshaupt: "Mm. One relishes such words of comfort as the eternal night approaches. . ."
- p. 7: Weisshaupt: "You've chosen a difficult and perilous course. Without allies. Without structure. There is a real danger that you will be consumed by your own power..."