|The Applicant (Cerebus #91, October 1986)|
Art by Colleen Doran, Dave Sim & Gerhard
As Neal Adams said of Stan Drake -- he knew how to put expressions on girls' faces and they would still look pretty. Colleen has also had that remarkable skill, which was a big reason that I asked her to tight pencil the unnamed Colleen clone in The Applicant over my layouts. The emotion -- complete rage -- was there in the text and I just did very rough faces and figures. Sure enough, the tight pencils came back -- COMPLETE rage -- but still cute as a button. Inking those faces was both a pleasure and an education in pencilling female characters that came in very handy, particularly on JAKA'S STORY.
Colleen seemed to me to be a natural for self-publishing. She certainly had the sales figures on A DISTANT SOIL to sustain a regular title. And as Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld concluded about the pre-Elaine SEINFELD scripts: 'This show needs some estrogen'. That was -- and is -- certainly true of self-publishing. Elaine always reminded me of Colleen. When she did make the leap to self-publishing, joining me and Martin Wagner of HEPCATS, I made a point of the three of us going out for dinner with Colleen's Mom. 'There's no way to EXPLAIN Colleen -- better to just let Martin experience her for himself.' He spent the whole dinner sitting there with his mouth open, looking back and forth between Colleen and her Mom and me. He adjusted beautifully.
Of course, Colleen ultimately opted for the mainstream success that is so justifiably hers and 'co-publishing' with Erik Larsen's Image studio. In retrospect, sticking with self-publishing would have constituted hiding a very bright light under a very small bushel.
I would certainly encourage any CEREBUS fans with a few dollars to throw around to visit Colleen's website and buy a 'Colleen Collectible' or two to help finance the mammoth project of reconstructing all of the material she's now missing as a results of her printer ditching her negatives. I mean, don't forget about CEREBUS, but let's make sure that Colleen is in good shape to cross the A DISTANT SOIL finish line!