Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Dave Sim's Notebooks: Selling Insurance

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.

Along with notes for Cerebus #63, I found notes for some of the first stories that Dave worked with Gerhard on: the Epic stories. On page 57 of notebook 7 there is a sketch of young Cerebus with his hat, and a couple of title ideas "A Little Protection", "Down and Out in Iest and Beduin", and "Protector of his Neighbourhood".

On page 58 we see two small page layouts for the story still entitled "Protector of his Neighbourhood". Two pages, someone going down some stairs with something bumping down the stairs behind him. The second page of layouts was never used.

Notebook 4, page 58

On page 60 of notebook #4, we see that Dave is still thinking over the title for the story with a couple of the same ones from before along with "Making Ends Meet" and "Selling Insurance".

Notebook 4, page 60

On that same page we see a sketch for the first page of "The Protector of His Neighbourhood" (or is it "A Little Protection"?) and a sketch for the 2nd page of the story. Other than the sketch having Cerebus holding the rope over his right shoulder instead of his left shoulder, it is the same layouts as page one from the story, and pretty close to the first page of layouts on page 58.

Then on the very next page we see a couple different layouts for page 2 of the story, which appears to now be called "Selling Insurance", with the tagline "By Dave n' Ger".

Notebook 4, page 61

Both layouts have the final page in them - the three panels on the bottom right of the top layout and the three panels on the right in the bottom layout.

And if you look close enough at the text that was crossed out? "Anything done for the first time unleashes a demon."

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


Anonymous said...

You can see the word "devil" crossed out under the word "demon" too. Fun stuff.

- Reginald P.

Margaret said...

Ah-ha! Thanks Reginald. I was wondering what the other crossed off word was, I couldn't make it out.

Unknown said...

Heyo! any word on releasing the notebooks digitally for a fee?


Mike Niederer

Anonymous said...

Just looked it up, and apparently that little maxim is a paraphrase of Emily Dickinson. Did not know that.

- Reginald P.

Anonymous said...

Someone else has probably asked this, but is there any chance the Epic stories will ever be collected? Or is that art lost in time and/or legal limbo?