Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Talking With Your Creator

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.

In Minds, Cerebus talks with Dave. We also get to see some Zulli art. Well, Dave "doing" Zulli art. From page 142 / 143 of the Minds phonebook, issue 193 page 16 / 17:

In notebook #19, Dave Sim starts sketching Jaka and Lord Julius for that double page spread:

Notebook #19 page 37
You can also see some of the dialogue between Dave and Cerebus from that same issue. A quote from a police song "It's a big enough umbrella but it's always me that ends up getting wet', the baker and the bread analogy from page 127 of Minds, a crossed out name: Barry Lessman-Smith. It appears as if Dave returned many different times to that same page of snippets of dialogue.

On page 41 of the notebook he would return to the Jaka and Lord Julius sketches.

Notebook #19 page 41
It also appears as if he wrote done a bunch of dialogue - the starting dialogue that he says to Cerebus, beginning on page 127 again. Where Dave talks about being Cerebus' creator, but not a god. It starts off with some similar themes, but in the notebook, it is a different from the final page.


Unknown said...

Seeing that double page spread again reminded me how exciting it was waiting for the individual issues, then I checked and #193 came out almost 20 years ago! That's almost a generation, an age in comic book terms, it made me think more seriously about Dave's comments about there being a dwindling band of people, who were there at the time, keeping the aardvark on life support.
So, in for the long haul, he deserves it...

Travis Pelkie said...

So, with the Barry Lessman-Smith, was Dave going to "do" Barry Windsor-Smith instead of Zulli, at first? Or was it another real life comics artist getting put in under a fake name (Linda Lessman being his partner when Dave met them, iirc)?

These notebooks are always cool to look at. Thanks, Margaret!

Eddie said...

Hey Margaret, These are really great. Anything more to do with the 'Minds' rehearsal section would be most appreciated, as it's part of the reason I consider Cerebus to be one of..if not THE…Greatest Literary Experiments Ever.