Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Crossing Over

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.

Spawn #10, which as we all know was written by Dave Sim,  has a cover date of May 1993, the same cover date as Cerebus #175. So when I was perusing notebook #18, which covers issues #164 to 187, I found some dialogue for Spawn #10 on pages #24 through 27. Page #24 of the notebook starts with the dialogue that opens the story, and the next page continues it:

Notebook #18 page 25
Though most of the dialogue on that page follows along the same lines of "I am Spawn" and "I am not Spawn" dichotomy that is on page 24, the dialogue on the above page was cut out of the finished comic. On page 26 of the notebook we see why:

Notebook #18 page 26
Along the left side of the page we see the outline Dave had at this point for the issue. With the first five pages being the "I  am not Spawn", past and future inner dialogue with level 7 showing up on page 6. However, Level 7 begins on three in the finished comic instead of page 6 shown in Dave's original outline. The sketch of Cerebus with his leather jacket shows up later on page 19 when he is saying his good-byes to Spawn.

Skip ahead to page 61 of the notebook and we see dialogue between Spawn and Cerebus that starts on page 16. Originally this dialogue was supposed to start on page 11 as shown in the outline shown above. On page 61 Dave had written page nine and then crossed it out and wrote 16 and circled it - which shows that he was still working out the outline when he started this dialogue. Pages 62 and 63 continue this dialogue and the trend of crossing off the original page numbers and writing down the new page numbers.

With page 64 we get to the dialogue that begins on page 10 - the "Superman" analogue. . .sorry the "Star-Child". At the top of that page Dave had a page count and 15 was where he put "Doomsday", and that is the page in the finished issue where the dialogue is spoken.

Notebook #18 page 64
Page 65 is the final page that deals with Spawn #10 in Dave's notebook, and it continues the above dialogue. The final bits of dialogue between Spawn and Cerebus don't make it into the notebook, perhaps something that Dave just typed out in the final draft. I know many people who got into Cerebus via Spawn #10. Perhaps one of these days we'll see Dave's finalized script for it.

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