Tuesday, 26 July 2016

On Sale 28 Years Ago: Cerebus #112/113

Cerebus #112/113 'Double-Issue' (July/August 1988)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard

Monday, 25 July 2016

Cerebus Reread Challenge: Carson Grubaugh

(from Carson Grubaugh's Cerebus Reread Review: Volume 1, July 2016)
...Being near the end of my entire re-read as I type this I can now state for sure what interests me when looking back over the work as a whole. As I said last time Cory Foster does a great job of providing synopses and analyses of the story. I am primarily interested in Dave Sim’s development as a formal master of the comics medium. I intend to track that development over the course of the books, with lots and lots of pictures.

The other thing that interests me to no end is the development of Dave Sim as a thinker. I refuse to treat the book like an autobiography, or to pin any one character as being a manifestation of Dave Sim. Cerebus the Aardvark is not Dave Sim, but Cerebus the book, from what I can tell, is one of the most open, honest, and vulnerable portrayals of the development of an artist/thinker we have on record.

If you read the book with all of the original back-matter in place there are very interesting correlations between the themes of each volume and how Sim portrays himself and his activities in the back-matter. It often appears as if he is trying on different selves and different ways of engaging with the world that he feels will help him gain a better understanding of whatever topic he is writing about at the time. He says things to this effect much later on in the run, which I will point out when we get there.

This approach to life and art is one I hold in the highest regard. It is brave, selfish, and totally fascinating to see on fully display. This aspect of Cerebus is why I consider it the greatest work in comics, even if some of the parts of that whole are damn near impossible to consume.

I am trying to use an image heavy-format, and so am doing most of my commentary from here on out in captions over top of the art (Sim is obviously infecting me at this point). I will try to do a better job of proofreading the captions next time around. Some of those that follow are embarrassing. I will also size the art to fit the height next time around. I thought the images were smaller than they are... [continue reading at Carson Grubaugh's blog...]

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Carson Grubaugh: Photorealist Tryout

...continued from Carson Grubaugh's Photorealist Tryout Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3:

(via email)
...Here are the finished versions of the pages to wrap up my Strange Death Of Alex Raymond tryout. I already sent them to Sandeep to show to Dave in case Dave does use them but doesn't want pages from the book floating around. Dave gave me a call today. He sounded positive about the work and gave a few minor criticisms. Not sure if he is going to use them or not, but I had a lot of fun doing them. Dave said it is fine to post them. Given that this has played out through the AMOC blog it seems like a good idea to show how they came out...

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Grade Eight Advice to Grade Sevens

A page from Dave Sim's 1968 Yearbook titled "Advice to Grade Sevens".

"Put Your Name On The Petition Or Leave Me Alone"

Continuing with the faxed correspondence, but back to posting just Dave’s letters to me, with the occasional annotation. This one picks up where we left off last week. It is dated June 6, 2008:

Hi Jeff:

Please fax me Lenny's number and "when is a good time to call" and I’ll contact him directly. [Ed: This would have been about Lenny’s father’s experiences, which were previously mentioned.]

I've reconsidered answering the questions, since that involves at least potentially entertaining people who consider me to be a misogynist.

I correspond with Rick S. because he understands that this is about feminists making opposition to feminism into misogyny. I correspond with him because he’s the only person I know besides Sandeep who is able to stay on topic, so there is a certain level of intellectual interest in trying to find a way to stay on topic. No offence, but I don’t see that in you: like everyone else, you want to run around all over the map to "how much Jeff T. has done to help you", "who is higher up in the pecking order than Heidi MacDonald and/or Jeff Smith", "let’s rehash the roast book", "let’s slag Lenny for doing late what Jeff T., Heidi MacDonald and Jeff Smith won't do at all", "let's drag in completely irrelevant aside about James Owen". I'm not reaching out to Jeff T. I'm giving him the same offer I'm giving everyone else: Put your name on the petition or leave me alone.

[Ed: Okay, here’s where not holding onto (or misplacing) all of our correspondence leads to embarrassing gaps in my recollection. The quotes (or summations) to which Dave referred above escape me now, save for the ones about Jeff T. As regards the latter, I was just trying to patch up a rift between the two of them that still, to this day, has not been patched up. C’est la vie.]

Getting back to the subject: If police standards were as high and exacting as they used to be, how many policewomen do you think there would be? 3%? 40%? 90%?

In other words, how delusional are you choosing to be just to stay on the One Big Happy Family Side of the Fence? How delusional are you being in trying to make this about all of the pointless irrelevances listed above? Why are you doing that instead of discussing empirical reality?


[Ed: Okay, this is about the time that I began to realize that Dave was not just responding to particular points in my letters to him, but had begun using his letters to me to expand his plan for what he called “reading into the record”. It confused me, at first, but I decided just to go with it, and see what happened. So can you, if you stay tuned.]

Friday, 22 July 2016

Weekly Update #144: The Origins Of Jaka

Cerebus Archive #5 will be launching on Kickstarter soon! Maybe next week! Maybe the week after that! Hopefully not any later than that! Here's a brief teaser of some of the women who provided the basis of the Jaka character. Also, a big block of concrete. In colour!

CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?

Cerebus In Hell? - Daily Strips: Week 4

CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Campaign '93 Notes

Dave Sim's Notebook #18, which we last looked at in October 2015's "Alcohol Is Free and  There Is No Last Call", covers Cerebus #164 through 187. Those particular issues had cover dates of November 1992 to October 1994. During that time Dave started Campaign 1993. In Cerebus #167, cover date February 1993, there was no Aardvark Comment letters column. Instead, the issue had eleven pages wherein Dave went over Campaign '93.

In notebook #18 on page 57 is the start of that text. He didn't want to start it off with "It would be very easy after the '92 tour to sit back and rest on our laurels."

Notebook 18, page 57
The page is pretty much the text to first page of the Campaign '93 "Dear Retailer" letter from Dave. Except starting with the paragraph that begins with "Spawn #10". That paragraph and the one afterwards were cut. It skips past them to the next paragraph. On the next page, parts of the  text are the same, and parts are different - a first draft.

Notebook #18, page 58
For example, down the bottom - "Gary thinks you're scum. That's okay. Gary thinks I'm scum, too. But we're not. And we know we're not." That bit got cut.  The next page talks about "The Direct Link In Action":

Notebook #18, page 59
And page 60 has some after thoughts for Campaign '93:

Notebook #18, page 60

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Descreening Color Printing to Avoid The Dreaded Moire: Under Cover Homecoming

Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings folks!

Another quickie this week. I'm in process working on the layout and cover of Going Home, and, since I'd yet to write about or do any de-screening work on this project, I thought it might be an interesting topic for some of you out there.

As Dave mentioned in a previous update, the original photographic slide that was the basis for the cover of the Going Home trade as well as the first issue—taken by Gerhard "from my driveway at "Camp Woolner"—has gone missing, most likely, for good. What this means in practical terms is that the cover has to be recreated from the materials available. With the Reads cover, I was able to significantly improve the image in the reconstruction, because all of the original materials were available and so could be digitally scanned and placed without losing any generations, using the original cover only as a guide. In this case, I can recreate the logo and text, but the image itself has to come from a print copy of some kind.

Why, exactly, is this a problem? Haven't I been working primarily with print copies for the Cerebus Volume One restoration, with excellent results?

The Going Home cover, like you've Never Seen It BEFORE—WAY TOO CLOSE!!!1!

The problem is the printing method. Almost all commercial color printing is produced via some kind of half-toning, i.e. printing with an array of tiny dots that vary minutely to create the illusion of tone across the image. (The effectiveness of this illusion, by the way, is dependent on the printing surface and pitch of the dot, viewing distance, and the visual acuity of the viewer.) 

So, if you're printing from a second-generation color image, i.e. an image that has previously been half-toned, you have to get rid of any sign of those previous printing dots, or run the risk of generating the dreaded moire when your previous dots get resampled into brand new dots when you print. Worse yet, you want to eliminate the previous dots without eliminating all of the detail that's apparent in the original image. And it's this part that's the real tall order.

The image above is a close-up of the cover of my copy of Cerebus 232, which also features the Going Home cover image, scanned at 1200 ppi on my Epson 10000XL. I've scanned it way higher than you'd normally need a color image because a few descreening methods (and there are several) work best when the printing dots are resolved, i.e. are reasonably round in the scan.

In this case, though, I found that the fancy-pants methods were not necessary. Photoshop's Median Noise filter did the trick.

In Photoshop, go to Filter-> Noise -> Median. The Median filter looks at the luminance of adjacent pixels to create a kind of average at a user-determined pixel radius. In this case, moving the radius to 8 px resulted in this image—

You can see that most of the "noise" of the printing dots is eliminated, leaving a color cast that's much closer to the original image. And although the detail is still soft, I can see on-screen every detail that's visible to my eye in the original image, including the heavy grain from the enlarged slide.

We can take care of the remaining noise in two more steps—first, downsample the image to the resolution we're actually going to be using it at. 

Here's the image downsampled to 450 ppi, using "Bicubic smoother" as our transformation method.

And there's still just a hint of the direction of the original halftoning, so I'm going to finish this off with just a bit of Gaussian blur, at 0.6 px across.

Okay, now that we've successfully eliminated our original printing dots, we're free to treat this image just like we would any other raw color scan, albeit a rather soft one of a fairly noisy surface. We can sharpen, adjust, color-correct, whatever adjustments will bring us closer to the printed original.

In my case I ended up abandoning my print scan and working from a scan Sandeep sent me instead. Dave found the match print of the original cover, superior to all of the other sources available as it includes the bleed area (the area overprinted and trimmed off to create a full-bleed image) and doesn't have folds, spine text etc that would otherwise need to be corrected and touched-up.

Above is the raw scan of the match print. The exposure is a bit dark and the colors seem slightly off to me, but it's otherwise looking good. I notice there's some damage under the logo, caused by (possibly) buckling of the laminate? It looks like little streaks of light.

That, combined with the fine text that I don't want to have to take into consideration when I'm adjusting the photo, persuades me I might be better off eliminating the logo and text entirely and adding them on again after the cover restoration is complete. We'll see.

The Median filter and Gaussian blur combo works perfectly. Then it's on to the cleanup.

I do some of the cleanup to the damaged area of the print, using the Clonestamp tool to sample nearby unaffected areas and varying the brush to hide the work. This is much harder than it normally is, as the visible photo grain makes any blurry edge work visible. After a bit I decide that, yes, the logo should also be eliminated and added back in when the work is complete—the sharpness has been too diminished by the noise reduction. But before I do any more cleanup, I make some levels adjustments and color corrections (as corrections layers that can be changed at any time) to get a little closer to the final appearance of the image.

And here is the color and levels adjusted image, with a rough (rough! so spare me the comments :)  ) approximation of the logo elimination. Next step will be to finalize the work on the logo, drop it into a layout program to add back in text, bar codes etc, and print a few samples to take a look at the adjustment work. Then I'll send a few versions out to Dave for his approval, of the colors particularly.

Any thoughts or questions? Hit me in the comments!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

On Sale 34 Years Ago: Cerebus #40

Cerebus #40 (July 1982)
Art by Dave Sim

Monday, 18 July 2016


by Dave Sim
(Originally published in Cerebus #52, July 1983)

(from Note From The Publisher, Cerebus #52, July 1983)
You will probably notice something quite different about this issue, namely that there are three short stories in it. Dave had been thinking of doing this for a while, but the opportunity was never there before. One of these stories, Elfguest, is a special one to Dave and I. Richard and Wendy have accomplished with Elfquest a very unique kind of success. Even though we keep in touch as much as possible, it's not always easy to find a way to show our applause for both the books and the creators behind it. The only natural thing to do for a writer/artist (with an acute sense of humour) was to do this story. It was to appear in an anthology title we were planning to do with Gene Day, and, after his death, we quietly put it aside until the right moment. The decision to do an issue of short stories made it possible to finally print Elfguest.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Jeff Seiler: Dave Sim & Me (Part 2)

Continuing from May 21 to June 5, 2008:


Hi, Dave---I was going to wait until I heard back from you, but I’m being booted off the computer in about ten minutes, so:

I went to eBay and spent a good half hour figuring out how to list a for sale item. I got it all figured and filled out, registered to pay for it, and hit send. Was told that the Internet connection was down. Did it all again, got the same message--bear in mind, I was *on* the fricking Internet. So, chalk it up to these crazy filters here at the library. I’ve got it saved in some nebulous corner of eBay, so I’ll try it again at school tomorrow, or go to Kinko’s after school. Since there’s time, here’s what I wrote in the description. Let me know if you want me to change any of it. You should let me know sooner rather than later, though.

Here’s the copy: Dave Sim is auctioning off the right to put your advertising [Ed: Dave struck out “advertising” and wrote in “advertisement”.] on the back cover of glamourpuss No. 2, which will be released in July of 2008. The cover [Ed: Dave struck out “cover” and wrote in “ad”.] will be in full color. [Ed: Dave struck out the following sentence in full.] The winning bidder will be responsible for paying for the cost of shipping his or her artwork to Sim. In addition, the winning bidder will be paying Sim directly by credit card [Ed: Dave added “or certified cheque or money order.”]--DO NOT paypal to the listed seller. The artwork [Ed: Dave struck out “artwork” and wrote in “ad in the form of PDF computer file”.] must be received by Sim no later than the third week of June. [Ed: Dave added, “Dave Sim will be contacting the winning bidder by phone.”] Glamourpuss is a photo-realistic comic parody of the fashion industry and fashion magazines, as well as being an in-depth explanation of the photo-realistic techniques of 1940s and 1950s newspaper comic strip artwork by artists such as Alex Raymond. The sales figures for glamourpuss No. 1, which debuted in April, were over 16,500 copies sold. [Ed: Dave struck out “16,500” and wrote in “8,000”. Or, “18,000”. The printout of the fax makes it difficult to tell.] This is a rare opportunity for your advertising to be seen by a large comic-book buying audience. [Ed: Dave added, “Starting bid $500 Canadian.”]

Let me know. I’ll be gone in eight minutes from right now, so I’ll look for your answers tomorrow.


[Dave’s inserted response: Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate the “above and beyond the call” very much. (Those CRAZY filters, eh?)]


The next fax in the stack is dated 5/23/08, at 3:35 p.m., from Dave to me, and reprints the fax I had sent to him earlier, with circled numbers at the end of seven paragraphs, but I don’t have the accompanying document in which the numbers correspond to responses from him. A lost document.


The next fax is also from 5/23/08, at 8:41 p.m. It is presciently pertinent to our current times:

Hi, Dave---I’m going to respond more in depth to your latest fax on Monday, but I was wondering if I could post your quote about Hillary Clinton. I noticed that, too, and thought that it wouldn’t hit your radar screen. Boy, she and Bill really are acting as if they both just expected her to be elected de facto and now that she’s essentially out of it, they’re pulling out all the stops. Enormous sense of entitlement, as if we didn’t already know that from round one of “Billary”, eh?




Mm...Better hold off on posting the quote. I’ve been dealing with the “special needs” class for a while and I know how badly they react to the self-evident when it’s pointed out to them.

Two more weeks of 24/7 Hillary rants and I’ll give them a 5% chance of actually seeing what feminism is.

Sandeep said yesterday, “This is getting embarassing.”

I said, “Oh, no, it hasn’t even started to get embarrassing. God picked Hillary specifically for this, “I’m pretty sure.”

As Bette Davis said in All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”




Hi, Dave---Sorry for the delay in getting you the info on the auction. I’ve been tied up with a lot of things, not the least of which is the annual summer job search.

The ad space did not sell on eBay. It did not even get any bids. Lenny C. sent me an email that I’m adding below, in which he explains why he thinks it did not sell:

[From Lenny C.]: Jeff--You didn’t fix any of the problems I mentioned to you in the auction. You have no bids, and no surprise--I personally wouldn’t bid on an auction which has so many inconsistencies.

1. Description says $500 Canadian, auction says $500 US.
2. Description says no PayPal, auction says Paypal OK.
3. Charging $10 shipping for an auction in which nothing is shipped.
PLUS, you are a zero-rated seller. It is possible but unlikely you will get bidders--and if you do, it will be at a lower price than if you did the auction right.

If you’d like, give me a call at work and I will walk you through the fixes. Alternatively, you can stop the auction early and relist it correctly. Also, my own eBay rating is 487, with sterling feedback. If Dave wants, I’d be happy to lend my credentials to him to list the auction for him.

Let me know.


[Ed: Me again.]: I see his points, except that, as far as I could tell when I put it up, there was no way to list a zero shipping charge. The listing site wouldn’t accept it when I tried.

Do you want me to contact Lenny about relisting this? Let me know and I’ll take care of it.




Yes, that would be fine. Live and learn, I guess. I’d say do whatever Lenny suggests. Getting him to post it is probably a very good idea. I’ve got a “fall-back” back cover if it comes to that, so nothing to get worked up about. In a way it’s funny--won’t let you list zero shipping cost and that’s what blows it. When on Planet Rome, let the Romans fix it. Hope you’re feeling better.




Hi, Dave--A couple of questions from Lenny:

1. Does Dave reserve the right to reject the ad based on content? And, if so, I would like to say this in the ad for the sake of honesty. I can email you and/or fax Dave the exact text of the auction before I list it, if he would like. But I would suggest something along the lines of: “Seller reserves right to reject advertisement based on content and refund auction price in full.”

2. He should allow PayPal--it will likely raise the final value of the auction--it’s so common now on eBay that many people will simply not bid on an auction if it doesn’t allow PayPal. I can take the payment and write Dave a check OR he can set up an account and I can link the auction to his account (but he needs a bank account and, I think, a credit card) to do this--he just need to go to PayPal to set it up. Either way, though, he will lose about 3% of the payment to PayPal. I think it’s worth offering this option.

[Ed: Me again:] I told him I would run them by you and get back to him tomorrow with your answer.

Also, he posted something interesting in the April comic book sales numbers that I thought you might not know about but that you might find interesting. Here it is, in a nutshell:

Dave Sim’s glamourpuss #1: 16,515
Terry Moore’s Echo #1: 16,350
Jeff Smith’s RASL #1: 16,346

I know you wrote me that the sales figures were 18,000, but I figured that included the direct orders that you got, right?

As Lenny wrote, “those are STUNNINGLY similar numbers and, to me, suggest this is much more reflection of the subset of the direct market retailers who support books by these successful indie creators than indicative of true, end reader demand. What would be the odds that books by three such diverse creators would be separated by 1% in their first months!?”

It’s fascinating. To me and Lenny, anyway.


[Ed: Dave’s inserted response:

1. Yes. Fine.
2. Lenny can take the payment and write me a cheque.
3. Sales on glamourpuss #1 were 9.321 Comics Ed., 7,100 Fashion Ed. I also offered “buy 5, get 1 free” which meant it shipped 19,705 copies, which I figured needed to be taken into account and arbitrarily set it as “half” orders...therefore, the rounded off 18,000.

If Lenny has his dad’s memoirs of the Holocaust, can he email them to Lou Copeland for inclusion on the Judenhass website? As is. His dad had a great literary voice.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Gerhard's Hero Initiative Auction

I'm just catching up on stuff and noticed that there is an Ebay auction for the Hero Initiative of one the coasters I did. There are only three and half days left on this auction!

Gerhard's 2016 Convention Itinerary:
March 18-20: Comicon Toronto, ON
April 8-10: Wizard World Madison, WI
May 6-8: Wizard World Minneapolis, MN
June 2-6: Wizard World Philadelphia, PA
June 17-19: Wizard World Sacramento, CA
July-August: Gone Sailing Georgian Bay, ON
September 8-10: Wizard World Nashville, TN
November 4-6: Wizard World Pittsburgh, PA

Jeff Seiler: Dave Sim & Me (Part 1)

I’m going to continue with the format of including my letters to Dave along with his responses, since he chose to communicate by fax, exclusively, in this time period and by writing his responses in the margins of the photocopies of my letters. It was a confusing way to correspond and this “experiment” did not last for long. This series of exchanges shows just how not-on-the-same-page Dave and I can sometimes be. These exchanges by fax took place between May 19th and June 5th, 2008:


Hi, Dave! Happy Birthday! 52 years: there, I got it right this time. Heh.

As I mentioned to you a week or so ago, Jeff T. gave me instructions for sending and receiving faxes via e-mail. This will make it much easier and won’t “impose” on K. [Ed: K. was my girlfriend at the time. She would send and receive the faxes for me at her office.]

You’re my first test subject, so I hope this goes through. You should know that the free fax sending is limited to twice-a-day, three pages each, and will always have an ad on the cover page.

By the way, your note to K. at the top of the last fax was well-received. I joked to her that she may very well be the only female in a very long time to whom you have written “feel free to tell me to knock it off.” Got a good laugh.

Be well and, again, happy birthday. [Ed: Well, I got his age right, but not the date. Meh.]




Came through just fine… Just finishing up my page-a-day for glamourpuss No. 3. Say hi to K.



20 May 08

Hi Jeff -

Jeff T. was supposed to be setting up the eBay auction for the ad space on the back cover of glamourpuss No. 2 (as described on the back cover of glamourpuss No. 1).

This is kind of short notice so if you have to extend the auction from the[sic] May 24 to May 31 to fit your own schedule, feel free. I’ll need the ad by the third week of June at the latest, but anytime before that is fine.




[Ed: Well, talk about your non sequiturs…]


Hi, Dave---I received your fax from earlier in the day and, man, am I confused.

Are you asking me to make an ad for glamourpuss #2? Are you asking me to set up the ebay auction that Jeff T. was supposed to be setting up? Or something completely different?

Nothing you wrote rang a bell with me. Sorry.

I’ll look for your answer soon.

Jeff Seiler



The ad space on the back cover of glamourpuss No. 2 is for sale to the highest bidder. Hopefully, an advertiser will bit $500 or more to put their ad on the back of No. 2. I was announced on the back cover of No. 1 -- eBay auction starting May 24 and ending May 31...starting bid $500.



Hi, Dave--This information is interesting, but I’m still confused as to why you faxed it to me. Your statement, “I’ll need the ad by the third week of June at the latest, but any time before that is fine” seems like some sort of imperative directed at me.

Are you asking me to pass on all of this information to Jeff T.?





1. I need someone to post an auction on eBay.
2. What I am auctioning is the back cover ad space on glamourpuss No. 2, starting bid $500.
3. Whoever wins the auction, I will need their ad by the third week of June.
4. Jeff T. was originally going to do this. Now I need someone instead of Jeff T. to do it.
5. I can ask someone else if you would rather [not do it].



Hi, Dave--Okay, sorry to be so obtuse. Sometimes, I’m just in a concrete frame of mind. What I will do is go to eBay here in a few minutes and see if I, being just a microscopic bit more advanced than you when it comes to computer skills, can figure how to put the auction up. [Ed: Yes, Jeff, the great proofreader, does occasionally split infinitives.] If I can, I will. If I can’t, I will let you know and you can see if Lenny will do it. Or, Sandeep. Whatever.

[Dave’s inserted response: Not a problem. I’ll get Matthew or Sandeep to do it.]

Margaret is working on a letter to you that may or may not affect whether you want her to repost the petition. She has, in the meantime, let me know that I can put it up if I go to a certain site and can decipher the “WYSIWYG” instructions. She doesn’t mind if Rick or I do it, so I said that I would run it by you. Do you want me to try, in her stead, even with things between us two pending?

[Dave’s inserted response: I think the petition is fine right now, but I would like the new names posted. Rick S. said Margaret has to do that, for some reason.]

Rick S. and I both posted the [Chester] Brown/Sim faxes two days ago--he at his blog and I at the Yahoo group, under Files. I am strongly leaning to posting your faxes, with quotes and obvious references to Jeff T. deleted, since Jeff T. has said very clearly that he doesn’t want his faxes posted. I do think, though, that such deletions might be extensive and, thus, render your faxes confusing. I’ll reread them and check. More on that later.

[Dave’s inserted response: I think if you just post the arguments, that would be fine. Jeff T. has no say over my words and his arguments can be paraphrased or alluded to. {Ed: IIRC, I ultimately chose not to post the arguments between Dave and Jeff T., out of my immense respect for both of them.}

David C. has been reassigned [Ed: By the military] and no longer has the “block” on communications with you or the Yahoos. He and I have spoken and I am going to fax you his email [that he sent to me], as I think you might want to see it. I’m pretty sure he has signed the petition. Regardless, he told me to tell you he wishes you well.

[Dave’s inserted response: Is he willing to identify the commanding female officer publicly? {...pause…}]

[Ed: Here, Dave refers to the fact that David C.’s commanding female officer somehow found out about David C. being a fan and supporter of Cerebus and Dave Sim. She, essentially, told David C. to cease and desist all communication with Dave Sim or any of his supporters.]

[Continuing Dave’s inserted response: We can’t just keep ignoring these strategic blunders on the feminists’ part, as if they never happened.]

Jeff T., just so you know, isn’t pouting or saying anything bad about you. He’s currently in studio, recording 30 (!) new songs [Ed: With his band, Jazz Bastards.] Very busy.

[Dave’s inserted response: So. That’s very funny.]

I have not heard that Judenhass came out today, so I guess next week. I talked to one history teacher at a middle school who wants to order a classroom set of 25, or so. Chris at SuperGeeks will give him a 20% discount: I checked. I think you’re going to see word of mouth really bloom. I’ve been talking it up everywhere, including to a principal just today.

Okay, that’s your update for now. Take care.


[Dave’s inserted response: I don’t think you understand exactly how extensive the shunning is, although I’ll be happy to be proven wrong (as always). In the meantime, I’ll just continue administering my therapy to those in need of it--which turns out to be pretty much everyone.]

Friday, 15 July 2016

Weekly Update #143: Order 'Reads' & 'Cerebus In Hell' Now!

Hey, they can't all be epics! A quick update from Dave on the remastered Reads (Diamond Order Code STAR01063) and Cerebus In Hell? #0 (Diamond Order Code JUL161105). Order today!

Cerebus In Hell? - Daily Strips: Week 3

CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?
CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 ships 28th September 2016 (Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com?

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The Unknown Given

A few years ago I scanned all of Dave Sim's notebooks. He had filled 36 notebooks during the years he created the monthly Cerebus series, covering issues #20 to 300, plus the other side items -- like the Epic stories, posters and prints, convention speeches etc. A total of 3,281 notebook pages detailing his creative process. I never really got the time to study the notebooks when I had them. Just did a quick look, scanned them in and sent them back to Dave as soon as possible. So this regular column is a chance for me to look through those scans and highlight some of the more interesting pages.

Notebook #8 covers Cerebus issues #96 through 102 and it had 114 pages of Dave Sim notes scanned in. We looked at it pretty recently this past March in Not The Trial.

The notebook has some thumbnails of full pages. Some are pretty intricate. For example, take the four pages shown on page 35. I've split the page in half and only decreased the size of the full resolution scan by half - so you can click on the images and zoom in. You'll be able to see the pencils under the inked characters.

Notebook #8, page 35, top half
The above is the preliminary sketches for pages 928 and 929 of Church & State II, or page 12 and 13 of Cerebus #97.

Cerebus #97, pages 12 and 13
The dialogue is the same, and for the most part, so are the images and layout.

Notebook #8, page 35, bottom half
On the bottom half of the page we see a bit of difference with the preliminary sketches and the finish page. Mostly with page #14.

Cerebus #97, pages 14 and 15

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Dave Sim: CAN5 Update

Sorry I haven't been posting too frequently here.  As you can see from Sean's post that follows this, we have a lot of "irons in the fire" at the moment.  I'm hoping there's a breathing space up ahead, but I think that's measured in months, rather than weeks.  Hopefully not TOO many months.

My top priority right now is getting CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER 5 prepped and that means starting with the text commentaries for the portfolio (because we run excerpts from the commentaries as part of the Kickstarter itself -- "If you want to read all of the commentaries, please pledge for a portfolio" -- so I need to see what parts of the commentaries I have available.  It's 23 pages single-spaced as a word document in 12 pt. type).

[And thanks to Eddie Khanna for saying that he liked the CAN4 commentaries: that's one!   :)]

That took several days and tends to be one of those "dentist appointment" things.  It's generally unpleasant to spend several days back in the 1960s and 1970s so I try to get it all done at once rather than enduring it for several weeks a few hours a day.  I AM looking forward to getting back to THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND, though. Hopefully in a couple of weeks.

Something we're going to be attempting that's a little different this time around is that -- for the Kickstarter video -- I'm tracking down "Origin of Jaka" clips from movies.  So this is a very weird 24-hour "3:16" fasting day since it involves basically watching 5 movies and marking where the "Jaka Origin" bits are.  I'm not sure how Kickstarter is going to feel about us illegally using film clips so I'm going to format them a couple of different ways to try to be as reassuring as possible (one possibility is of me narrating the dialogue as opposed to using the actual dialogue and using isolated images rather than the clip itself and then indicating where you can find the clips online).

It's really part of the overall exhaustive approach that we're trying to take to everything.  "This is the last time Dave Sim will say anything about the first ten pages of JAKA'S STORY, so here's exactly as exhaustive as he can be on the subject." It's the content equivalent of what Sean is doing with reproduction.  "Whatever we're doing, let's do it THOROUGHLY because we're only coming this way once."

Of course, trying to do all of this against the backdrop of the Feminist Theocracy makes it all singularly implausible if the eradication of CEREBUS is actually achieved either during our lifetimes or shortly after our lifetimes (which I would have to rate in the range 80-90% likelihood since there's no indication of the Feminist Theocracy budging from it's "zero tolerance: guaranteed eradication" approach to anything that isn't feminism).  But -- looking on the bright side -- not being a feminist, there really aren't any alternatives that I can see.  I get up and work twelve hours a day six days a week on -- hopefully -- working on that 20% to 10% possibility that I'm actually preserving something and not just prepping it for immolation.

What else are you going to do?

Rhetorical question.

And, looking on the REAL bright side: at worst, we're going to have to reproduce ONE page from GOING HOME from a printed copy and 38 pages from negatives.  The rest are from the original artwork which is always our best source.

And now here's Sean with a few thoughts on that:

Famous The Caricaturist

Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings all!

No, this is not my (ahem) long-awaited process post on "how-to-prepress-lineart." This is my "oh man this is a crazy week" post.

I'm knee-deep in Going Home restoration, working on the layout while waiting for the last batch of scans, and simultaneously debriefing with the printer on Reads to make sure we're all on the same page for the next volume/printing. Squeezing in some time to send George updated files for Cerebusdownloads.com (sorry George!) and layout for Cerebus Volume One so that can go to him as well. It's, well, really busy over here.

While working on Going Home, however, I've been thinking a lot about reproduction, and how the reading experience is affected by the sharper visual. Although this isn't a narrative change per se, I thought the following was a pretty interesting little example. Did you ever notice the caricature of a certain cartoonist and company on page 169 of Going Home? 

Working as I am from mostly original artwork for this book, it's also bracing how much visual and textural variety there is in the book as a whole. The variety of locations is part of it, but there seem to be thematic reasons underpinning those choices. The first book is represented by a tug between "designed" repeating patterns and visual motifs versus brief flirtations with wild organic textures. The second half of the book, "Fall and the River," is visually dominated by the sleek modern ship, cleanly rendered by mostly mechanical tones, sailing through and largely above the natural world around it. Meanwhile, the acting of the figures is a whole other level, attitude and thought communicated by the smallest figure or the most extreme close-up on the page.

Here are a few great single panels from early in the book. Pull out your Going Home (pg 87 and 88) for comparison.

More next week!