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.
Last week we saw how Dave had an overarching idea for the story, in this instance JAKA'S STORY, and then he began to fleshed it out. As shown with page 17 of notebook 10, he listed all the issue numbers in the phonebook, and then broke them up into individual books of the phonebook. Bits of dialogue were seen along with a sketch of the characters. This week I've pulled out a couple pages that show more of this fleshing out of the story - but this time we are down to the individual issue and page.
JAKA' STORY via text passages and (typically) a single picture shows us both Jaka as a young girl living in Palnu with her Nurse and then via the usual comic panels shows us Jaka in present times. For Jaka as a young girl, Dave would write and write passages looking for the exact wording he wanted. Here is one such example that didn't make the cut. A description of Jaka's breakfast time and Nurse's porridge, with a thumbnail for the page that never was comes from page 66 of notebook #10:
|Notebook 10, page 66|
An example of Dave fleshing out the issue more on a page by page case is from page 72 of the same notebook:
|Notebook 10, page 72|
A list of the individual page numbers and a quick synopsis of their contents. It doesn't quite match up page for page on to the finished phonebook, as some pages were compressed into one page - the notebook listings for page 5 and 7 were compressed into page 14 of the phonebook (page 4 of the issue). But some of the dialogue is already there - page 3 from the notebook is the dialogue on page 3 of the issue.
Next time I'll be looking at Lord Julius in Church & State, as each idea was requested separately - but like peanut butter and chocolate, they are pretty good together.