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.
This is how Cerebus #102, book six of Church & State II, opens: Cerebus leaping out the window with the golden sphere. So Dave must've known that is how he had to end issue 101: showing Cerebus leaping up at the window.
On page #102 of notebook #8 we see at the top of the page a thumbnail for the final page of issue #101 (page 1016 of Church & State): Cerebus leaping up at the window and the title for issue 102. Dave then works his way backwards, with pages 19 / 18, 16 / 17, 14 / 15.
|Notebook #8 page 102|
There is also a sketch of Cerebus getting his fancy robes on, something that happens off panel a couple issues back - though we do see him take off his robes during this issue, as shown in the thumbnails. There also are a couple sketches of Cerebus running and then leaping up. The thumbnails are a mix of being what is on the completed page - page 14, 17 - 20, and a mix mash of some it made the final cut - page 15 & 16.
The next page in Dave's notebook shows us the first panel - though from a different angle - of issue #102. The text in the top right of the page says "too much a coincidence to be synchronicity" I don't think it was used in the book, but sounds like something from an Aardvark Comment.
|Notebook #8 page 103|
There are sketches of Cerebus asking Bishop Powers: "Cerebus' Most Holy hat...The Pope thing Cerebus wears on his head. It's gone." The dialogue comes from page 8 of issue #101 (page 1004 of the phonebook). The text changes on the finished page to "Cerebus' hat...Cerebus' hat...the thing Cerebus wears on his Most Holy Head...It's gone." Telling how in the finished dialogue Cerebus refers to himself as Most Holy, rather then to the Most Holy hat, as if he isn't Most Holy.
The text to the right of those missing pope hat dialogue sketches is not in the book, but describes what Cerebus is thinking as he hits the window - "Cerebus' first thought as he hit the window was that the tower was further away than he had anticipated. A kind of Panic pass through him in the manner of a small wave. By the time it had crested under beneath his scalp his hand his gripped the pitted surface of grip was secured."