|Cerebus #29, Page 20|
Original art by Dave Sim (1981); Recreated art by Dave Sim & Gerhard (2006)
(Click image to enlarge)
(from Cerebus The Artvark, 2006)
Had the opposite reaction to page 20 than I had to page 19. I was already thinking this early that the Elf was just an illusion fabricated halfway between Cerebus and the real Regency Elf which meant she was something of a ventriloquist’s puppet. What’s interesting is that here she just keeps asking Cerebus "And then what?" (I made it a little more playful sounding in the recreation – like a two-year old who enjoys tormenting adults with questions that become progressively more difficult to answer ad consequently keeps repeating the question in a louder and more gleeful way) so, essentially, this is a dominant and suppressed part of Cerebus that has never actually asked himself, as a barbarian, "Well, okay, so we loot a lot of money – then what? What do we exactly want to buy?" And in a real sense all people in that situation want to buy the same thing: a quiet Elf; that is they want to buy the suppression of an inner voice that says materialism is a dead end.
Of course I had to change the last panel where he says "Shut up and play." This was a swipe of Shirley MacLaine's last line in The Apartment which I believe was "Shut up and deal." Again, my enthusiasm for a good line overcomes my narrative sense. The Elf had just taken her shot and I had used two panels to show her take it. When it's your shot, you don’t say "Shut up and play." I could fall back on "Cerebus was confused by the questioning and forgot whose shot it was," but he had just said "Your shot," a couple of panels previous to this. The player who says "your shot" is usually the one keeping track of the game for the less focused opponent. "Shut up and play" also violated the later plot point of "Don't get mad at an elf." If you’re that wary of it, you wouldn't say "shut up" even in a light-hearted way. She's a female and females are notoriously literal-minded. "Shut up" is "shut up" and "shut up" is "being mean to me." He would need to be evasive instead of direct.