Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Dave Sim's Notebooks: Form & Void Shooting Script

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.

With issue #248 - 250 Dave wrote his first shooting script in 25 years (not counting Spawn #10). He stated in the Chasing Scott notes in the back of FORM & VOID that he lost the better part of an entire day from "reducing all of the script pages onto half-sized photocopies, spraying the backs with spray adhesive, and pasting them into (his) notebook, two to a page." Those small script pages take up pages 44 to 60, eighteen pages in total, in notebook #26, which used for issue 240 to 250.

Here is an example of a page were Dave was marking up the script he had pasted to his notebook in an attempt as he says in the Chasing Scott notes to document where and why he had chosen to deviate from the art descriptions. As we can see in the script below for part of page 335 through page 337 of FORM & VOID.

Notebook #26, page 47
(Click image to see bigger version that makes all that small type more legible)

Dave penciled in all the 'THROB THROB THROB' that he lettered around F. Stop's pounding head. And changed a close up of F. Stop going from unbuttoning the top of his pants to unbuttoning a shirt cuff. Amazing how close he stayed to the script.

On the second page of pasted in script on page 55 of the notebook, we see him having some fun with the notes with a quick note to Gerhard "I was going to mention that there should be buoys or little lighthouses or something to mark where the wall is and signal the various vessels to steer clear, but then I thought, No, I won't have to mention that because Ger will know it already".

Notebook #26, page 55 part 2

Later in the notebook, Dave has handwritten notes that appear to state that he doesn't mind if Ger sticks to the script or not with regards to the descriptions of the hole in the ground that is now Iest, but I don't know if he just photocopied it and gave it to Gerhard with the script, verbally told Gerhard or something completely different.

From reading the script to comparing to the issues, it would appear that Gerhard did exactly what was in the script. The one thing I'd thought Gerhard would do was add more ships, per Dave's direction page 51 for page 350, "Okay, you're kind of on your own over the next bunch of panels. We are PANNING still from left to right, west to east across Dead Salt Lake... Could be a good chance to draw some boats, anyway."

Notebook #26, page 51 part 1

Margaret Liss is The Cerebus Fan Girl and maintains the Cerebus Wiki.


Eddie said...

This is awesome!!! Thanks for sharing Margaret!

(pssst. Mags. Down here. It was for Fall and the River.)

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see a different method of the "writing" part of crafting the story than past Notebook efforts have shown.

-- Damian T. Lloyd, ste

Tony Dunlop said...

I just read the "Throb Throb Throb" issue yesterday, in my latest Reread. Is that Comic Book Metaphysics?

For what it's worth, I think the first two books of "Going Home" are my second or third favorite part of the saga - after "Jaka's Story" (favorite, no contest) and "Church and State" (second or third favorite).