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 covered issue 94, "So", when Cerebus interrogates Astoria in her cell. Today we'll look at Dave's notebook #8 which covers issues 96 to 102. The trial starts in issue #98 and on pages six and seven - or pages 942 & 943 if you are following along in the phonebook - there is a double page spread of Cerebus and Bishop Powers meeting in the throne room:
Compare that to page 51 from notebook #8:
|Notebook #8 page 51|
Looks pretty much the same doesn't it? Well, other than missing Gerhard's awesome backgrounds. Even the text along the pages, the placement of the word balloons. There was only two changes that I could see and both dealt with the text. In the notebook Powers says "The harlot sorceress now before you has. . .", but on the finish page he just says "This vile harlot is. . ." before being interrupted by Cerebus. Then further down Cerebus says "Apologize and then shut up until Most Holy tells you to speak." On the finished page however Cerebus only says "Most Holy wants an apology, Powers."
Instead of Cerebus' telling Powers to shut up until told to speak, Cerebus rubs his power in Powers' face by going on with what he wants for an apology. Much funnier.
Page 52 is a small sketch of Astoria and the guard. Then on page 53 we see the layouts and dialogue for the next couple of pages in issue #98: pages eight and nine. I broke page 53 into the two halves, mostly so you could make it bigger and see Dave's pencils under the inks:
|Notebook #8 page 53, left side|
|Notebook #8 page 53, right side|
Cerebus text in panel 5 in the notebook is "Perhaps you can tell us what course we should follow", but in the actual issue it is "Most Holy would like to know how this trial should begin." Also, you'll notice that in panel 3, Posey is standing straight up, but on the finished page he is slightly tilted over. . . .cowering in fear as he is known to do. This trend of Posey not cowering in fear in the final four panels in the notebook continues, but in the finished page he bends over so far he falls over.
We can also see a repeat of text from the previous page: "the pond scum that I am." Uttered by Bishop Powers as part of his "apology" to Cerebus. It was also written on the other side of page 53 of the notebook, but here appears more like it does in the final page.