Cerebus the Aardvark, or simply Cerebus ( /'s?r?b?s/), is an independent comic book, written and illustrated by Canadian artist Dave Sim, with backgrounds by fellow Canadian Gerhard. Cerebus ran for 300 issues from December 1977 to 2004, and was over 6000 pages long, the longest-running original English-language comic book series ever by a single creative team. As of 2011, it leads its closest challenger (Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, still ongoing) by over 100 issues. Sim refers to it as the "longest sustained narrative in human history." The name was originally an accidental misspelling of Cerberus. Cerebus was named the thirty-eighth greatest comic book character by the magazine Empire.
This first story arc, uniquely in this series, consists of one to three-issue storylines with only occasional back-references. Cerebus is introduced as an amoral barbarian mercenary, fighting (and betraying) for money and drinking it away. During his adventures, he encounters the warrior Pigts (whose religion reveres aardvarks) and the insane wizard Necross, who turns himself into a giant stone Thrunk (visually similar to Marvel Comics' The Thing). Most of the series' prominent characters are introduced (or at least mentioned) in these issues, including Elrod of Melvinbone (a parodic representation of Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone), Lord Julius, a character based upon Groucho Marx, Artemis Roach (a.k.a. The Roach) and Jaka. The series takes a sharp change in direction with issue #20 which is the first of the "Mind Games" issues that are a feature of the comic and introduces the philosophical Suenteus Po and the ultra-matriarchial Cirinists.
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