Saturday, 14 December 2013

Weekly Update #9: 'Cerebus' & 'High Society' Reprinting

Previously on 'A Moment Of Cerebus':
Dave Sim, working with George Peter Gatsis, has remastered the first two collected volumes of Cerebus to restore details and quality in the artwork lost over the thirty years since they were originally published (as detailed here and here). After Cerebus' original printer Preney Print closed its doors, Dave Sim moved his printing to Lebonfon in 2007 as at that time they were still capable of working with photographic negatives and making printing plates as Preney had done. And then Lebonfon switched to digital scanning and printing - a technology which struggles to faithfully reproduce Cerebus' tone without creating moire patterns (as detailed in Crisis On Infinite Pixels). Dave Sim continues to work with Lebonfon to ensure the print-quality of the new Cerebus and High Society editions (as detailed in Collections Stalled). Now read on...

(by fax, 13 December 2013)
It turned out that George WASN'T able to get the last few digital files last weekend because of  a greater than usual amount of work he had to do in his regular job (all of George's work is volunteer and pro bono).

He's hoping that he will get to the files this weekend and be able to e-mail them to Lebonfon on Sunday.



Anonymous said...

Argh! I remember Dave once said that the likeliest outcome was that he would die in poverty with the work itself largely forgotten. It seems we're well on the way ... (Not that we can blame George at all; it's just another in the series of delays.)

-- Damian T. Lloyd, mfg

David Birdsong said...

Damian T. Lloyd, prk

Did Dave Sim wrong you somehow? If you are attempting to be humorous you have failed.

Anonymous said...

Ah well, can't win 'em all ...

-- Damian T. Lloyd, prc

Anonymous said...

Upon reflection, David, it occurred to me that that maybe you were serious and weren't making a snarky joke of your own, and perhaps I owed you a serious reply.

Dave said at one point that the odds were that he would die in poverty with the work itself largely forgotten. I still think that's the likeliest outcome. Lots of (I can't say most, 'cause I don't know) comics shops don't carry Cerebus at all, and with the most popular books being out of print there's even less chance that they will. I think this is regrettable, as I agree with Allen Rubinstein (quoted in the previous blog-post) that "Cerebus contains some of the all-time best and some of the all-time worst comics I've ever read".

Unfortunately, getting the most popular books back into print has been a tragecomedy -- a case of "two steps forward, two steps back": "The books can't be printed from the negatives, so we'll scan the negatives. Oh, the negatives are burned up in a fire ... so we'll reconstruct the books. Oh, the reconstructions won't print properly ... so we'll tweak them ..." It just goes on and on, receding as we approach like the horizon. (And I added the last sentence of my original comment because I didn't want to slam George Gatsis, who is as Dave pointed out volunteering his time. It's not the George is slacking off, it's that there's yet another factor preventing the books from coming back into print.)

I think that all of us who read and/or post on this site are united in our belief that, whatever ultimate assessment we have of Cerebus, it is a work worthy of discussion.

-- Damian T. Lloyd, flq

David Birdsong said...

Thanks Damian. I was attempting a half serious, half silly comment addressing the love/hate relationship some fans have with Dave Sim. I would rather be the more positive type of fan that wishes Dave the best and hopes he is able to live his creative life to the fullest, but I understand that some of those that follow his work get frustrated at times. He doesn't owe us a thing and there is no real reason for us to go on about him on a blog all the time and yet here we are. In our latest correspondence Dave and I agreed that there are no real coincidences so the handful of fans that follow A Moment Of Cerebus are here for a reason. I always read Cerebus and enjoyed it as one of the more challenging and rewarding comics of its time. I was also encouraged by Dave to renew my relationship with God so I more than likely will always come across as biased for Dave Sim. My gratitude to him for inspiring me to save my immortal soul will always be more important than a funny book, but at least it is a funny book worthy of discussion for sure.

Merry Christmas Y'all.