Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Origin Of The Mothers

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.

Starting in issue 194 Dave tells Cerebus the origin of how Serna took over the Cirinist movement from the real Cirin.  While it spans pages 148 to 170 in the phonebook Minds, in notebook #19, Dave writes out some of this story over the course of four pages. It starts at the bottom of page 46:

Notebook #19 page 46
The top of page 46 is the dialogue between the artist Zulli and Jaka (which takes place in issue 193, pages 14 and 15 (or pages 140 and 141 of Minds), which I discussed the sketches in this same notebook a couple weeks ago. The bottom of the pages is the beginning of (not the real) Cirin's story. It looks like Dave originally called (not the real) Cirin by the name Elizabeth Rose instead of Serna.

The story continues on page 47:

Notebook #19 page 47
Elizabeth Ivy Rose was the real Cirin's senior military advisor instead of "communal safety officer" which is what Dave tells us that Cirin let Serna have jurisdiction of. The last paragraph on the page is where Dave touches upon "daughterism", aka "Kevillism", or the "individual sabotage against the corrupt state" something Dave doesn't mention the story of Cirin / Serna.

On page 48 Dave has finished his telling of the history of Cirin / Serna and continues his dialogue with Cerebus, "I had to remove two things from you as likelihoods; Jaka and world conquest." Though on page 5 of issue 195, or page 171 of Minds, Dave doesn't state he removed those two things, but told Cerebus that Jaka "doesn't love you 'that way'" and that Cerebus dreams of conquest "are just that  -- dreams". Interesting that Dave changed his phrasing.

Notebook #19 page 48
The dialogue ends on page 49 of the notebook, and only takes up half the page:

Notebook #19 page 49
We get a tidbit about Sir Gerrick and confirmation that he was her son - "Sir Gerrick her son has no such capabilities and so she has chosen the lie that he is adopted." Dave also states that "the not real" Cirin "will die alone, unmourned and unloved." Sounds familiar, eh?

Hat tip to Eddie K for the request.


Anonymous said...

Any notebook material for the death of Weisshaupt?

- Reginald P.

Margaret said...

I'll take a look Reginald. I should be able to dig something up. Hopefully. :)

ChrisW said...

Worth noting, that according to these notes, Cirin was the one dealing with Astoria, and by inference, Sir Gerrick, while "Elizabeth Ivy Rose" (if that is indeed her real name) had nothing to do with it except after the fact. She supplants Cirin, she has to deal with all the baggage Cirin was dealing with, and at the same time pretend that she was Cirin all along.

I like the finished result better, where Serna the Aardvark took over from Cirin and then had a son and Astoria. But I like this glimpse into Dave's creative space where the story could have gone a totally different direction.