Monday, 1 October 2012

HARDtalk: The Virtual Tour #13

You're seeking scans from people who own original art for the digitization project; is this because the plates for physical printing don't convert well to digital format, or are you looking for a way in the digital project to provide images of original art as it looks as art rather than as a printed comics page (e.g. like the recent edition of Binky Brown, which shows white-out, corrections etc)? Or both?

Scans from the original artwork are usually the best copies you can get.  That's certainly the case with Alex Raymond's RIP KIRBY.  Even the syndicate proofs miss a lot of the finer brush strokes.  There are exceptions:  reverse lettering as an example.  A lot of the line reverse paste-ups on CEREBUS have eroded and the lettering needs to be reconstructed at some point.  The BINKY BROWN example, with the white-out and corrections and things, is one kind of reproduction but that tends to work best with corporate comics where there's a lot of idiosyncratic material on the original page.  Like the IDW WALLY WOOD STORIES book.  EC had its own original artwork pages with the name of the publisher and address printed in blue.  Handwritten notes in the margin, white out, pasted on duo-shade panels, art corrections pasted on.  There isn't a lot of that with CEREBUS pages because no one was telling me what to do or "correcting" my work.

If I had something to tell Gerhard, I'd tell him, I wouldn't write it up the side of the page.  The David Mazzuchelli DAREDEVIL ARTISTS EDITION book is closer to what a CEREBUS book would look like.  The pages are pretty well flawlessly clean.  So, you can shoot them slightly gray to get the quality of the line and the brush strokes in the solid black areas, but you don't want to overdo it as you want to do with Wally Wood's 1950s work.  Sandeep has the original scans for the JAKA'S STORY book that he did from the originals which are like that:  verging on gray so you can see the Letratape borders as the tapes that they are, the brush strokes, etc.  He got a quick printer to print out full sized copies.  It's good, but I'm not certain that it doesn't detract from what Gerhard and I achieved in the book.  You'd have to try a spectrum of print densities and find the "sweet spot" for that book.  It has to be this black to convey the artwork as it was done and this gray to give people a "behind the scenes" look.  My eyes tend to glaze over contemplating doing that as compared with doing ten pages of THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND.

As happens so often you have one question "Wouldn't it be COOL to have all 3,800 pages in the CEREBUS ARCHIVE in print in BINKY BROWN style?" and then my own question, "Um, yeah. Who do you envision doing the heavy lifting on that?"

That's why I'm taking the projects one at a time:  HIGH SOCIETY AUDIO DIGITAL first and now that my part of it is done, the Fantagraphics GOING HOME 4 volume project.  I don't want to spend my entire working life just negotiating packages of my past work and annotating it/them.  I've been basically living in 1982 for the last three months and I don't like it much more than I did going through it the first time.
Okay. Now we're going over to MILLAR WORLD for a question from Todd Gross:

As someone who bought and read every issue of glamourpuss, what lessons did you learn, as an artist and as a person, from the artists you researched?

Hit the link to MILLAR WORLD for the answer to that question. More HARDtalk tomorrow, right here on A Moment Of Cerebus.

Already signed up for the HARDtalk Virtual Tour are Bleeding Cool, Millar World, Terminal Drift, Canadian Comics Archive, The Comics Journal, The Beat and Mindless Ones. Add your question for Dave Sim at one of these fine websites before 10 October and if your question is chosen (they'll need to be tough, interesting questions!) you'll receive a personalised, autographed copy of a Cerebus back-issue, with a Cerebus head-sketch by Dave Sim!


Tony Dunlop said...

Huh? WHAT "Fantagraphics GOING HOME 4 volume project?" Kim's made it clear that that isn't on the table. Seems to me that thread over at TCJ is just for fun now.

A Moment Of Cerebus said...

Dave wrote this answer a few days ago when this still seemed to be a possibility. You never know, it may still happen. The 'negotiations' are still on going...

Michael A Battaglia said...

The fact that you put 'negotiations' in quotes pretty much sums up what's going on over there. Chiming in at is like entering a junior high school cafeteria. If Dave does in fact desire to work with a publisher, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll end up being someone more professional, reputable and savvy than Fantagraphics, just on the sheer principle of the thing.

Xtphr said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll end up being someone more professional, reputable and savvy than Fantagraphics

Which publishers are you thinking of with a better professional record and reputation for savvily bringing long-running recontextualised archival projects to a new and broad audience?

Jim Sheridan said...

Fantagraphics is at the top of the totem pole for comix publishers. It would be silly not to work with them.