Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Dave Sim and the Crack-of-Dawn Orchestra

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.

Two of my favorite Cerebus covers are the ones for Odd Transformations and Odd Transformations 2: issues #76 and 77:

The page below is from notebook #5, which covers issue 70 to 79, it is page 64:

Notebook #5, page 64
The text "There are many issues you have to face.  Three hundred, in fact. Do you know what the three hundred issues are?" never made it into issue #77, but did make me chuckle when I read it on this notebook page. The text immediately below it is what his mother says to him in his dream.

You can also see the above notebook page in the biweekly reprint for issue 77, however, in a bit less resolution. Dave did have this to say about the page: "Odd Transformations" cover sketch and a wee sketch of Elaine who used to be a waitress at the Athenian Restaurant (the real life "Dino's cafe" on King Street). If you ever want to see the real life Dino, Doris and Janice, that's where they are."

A little internet sleuthing turns up a matchbook that shows that Athenian Gardens and Peter's Place, the bar where Dave hung out a lot, were located at 208 King St E:

We see another sketch for the cover to issue #77 on page 67 of the notebook:

Notebook #5, page 67
We also see a sketch of Cerebus' mom from his dream, but on the finished page the staff she is using to push herself is behind her and not in front of her. The sketch of the cover on page 64 is also closer to the finished cover and not the one seen above.

Then on page 73 we see a cover sketch for issue #78:

Notebook #5, page 73
The sketch in the upper left corner that says "No 37 of One Hundred" is a sketch for what would turn into one of the hundred sketches done for the Animated Portfolio. I couldn't find a copy of the final #37 sketch in my archives, so if the Cerebite out there that has it now would like to step up, I'd be curious how the finish product looks.


Anonymous said...

Always enjoy these.

Are requests possible? I'd like to see sketchbook pages for the "So" issues -- Cerebus' interrogation of Astoria.

- Reginald P.

Margaret said...

Hey Reginald - Sure, I'll see what I can dig up on it.