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IDW To Publish Dave Sim’s ‘High Society Digital Audio’ In Some Physical Form

Originally serialized between 1981 and 1983 and in print as a 500-page graphic novel since 1986, High Society finds Cerebus the Aardvark walking through the front doors of the Regency Hotel in the fictional city-state of Iest, setting off a chain reaction that will see the brutish and greedy “earth pig-born” ascend to the highest political office in the land. Earlier this year cartoonist Dave Sim raised almost $64,000 on the Kickstarter platform for crowdfunding with his proposal to not only digitize and remaster High Society, but to create a multimedia experience whereby he would perform the voices of each character and other uniquely digital supplements.

Coinciding with this week’s launch of High Society Digital Audio, Sim has confirmed a deal made with IDW Publishing’s SEO and Publisher Ted Adams personally to release some kind of physical edition of the project in comics stores.The news follows last week’s announcement that IDW’s Special Projects editor Scott Dunbier (Parker, The Rocketeer, IDW’s Artist Editions) would oversee the compilation of Sim’s color covers for all 300 issues of Cerebus. The covers collection may take the form of two to four hardcover volumes.

One of comics’ most startling creative (and physical) achievements, Cerebus is a 6,000-page self-published graphic novel series written and drawn by Sim (with backgrounds by Gerhard) that the famously outspoken cartoonist has described perhaps unreliably as “the longest sustained narrative in human history.” There’s little as impressive in terms of pure visual storytelling as Sim’s variously hilarious and infuriating magnum opus about an anthropomorphic, despotic, narcissistic aardvark whose life we follow as he graduates from mercenary barbarian to prime minister to pope to, um, super-pope-king.

A Moment of Cerebus
characterizes the High Society project as “High Society Audio Digital Comic Store ‘DVD’ Collected Edition,” as opposed to a traditional comic book collected edition, although IDW tells ComicsAlliance that the final format, packaging and content details have yet to be finalized. What has been confirmed is that Sim was paid a $30,000 advance for the five-year exclusive.

“I really think that, properly packaged, High Society Audio Digital could be a game-changer,” said Adams in a statement published at A Moment of Cerebus. “I had seen the trailer at the Kickstarter site, but what George Gatsis has done takes it to a whole other level, a perfect marriage of comics and animation, and Dave Sim doing all of his character’s voices! I said, ‘IDW has to have this!’”

Sim began serializing the digital High Society material this week at CerebusDownloads.com, where you can preview the audio portion in a free chapter narrated by the cartoonist himself.

IDW’s High Society Audio Digital and the Cerebus covers collection will be part of IDW’s previously announced IDW Limited imprint, designed for high quality but low print-run, collectible editions of archival material like the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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