Wednesday, 28 January 2015


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.

Issues 57 and 58 had a reoccurring motif on the cover: the small picture with a piece of text about it on a background reminiscent of wallpaper. The small pictures all had a hand in the foreground and Cerebus reacting. Issue 59 used many of those same elements, except for the hand.

Except originally the cover was going to use a hand, Weisshaupt's hand, and the text was going to be 'Boom'. From Notebook #3, which covers issues 52 to 59:

Notebook #3 page 150
We even get an unused Weisshaupt quote as he is talking to the seated figures "Blaming the rich for poverty is like giving the poor credit for wealth. . . It simply doesn't wash gentlemen."

On page 149 we see an even rougher draft of the picture for the cover to issue 59 and an outline for the 'Boom' story:

Notebook #3 page 149
We also get a sketch of the Countess Michelle and some text that I can't make heads or tails of: "It all began at a five thousand kilowatt radio station in Fresno California. Speech to Lord Julius, Leonardi, [unknown name], D'Gan and Cerebus. How he has matured in his beliefs."

Though the 'boom' of Weisshaupt setting off a canon came a few pages earlier on page 132:

Notebook #3 page 132
The bottom left hand corner has the text that appears on page 14 of issue 61 (page 204 of Church & State I). Though the 'beats' are a bit different. Rather than have Weisshaupt immediately answer 'magic' and then have a 'blank', 'oh', 'blank', Weisshaupt is the one that has two panels of 'blank'. And rather than have Weisshaupt state he 'brought it' the issues has Weisshaupt stating he 'paid for it'. We also see Weisshaupt was going to say "By the End of 1414 I'll have 3000 of them operational."

As we know, issue 59 doesn't have the 'Boom' story, it was moved to the end of issue 61. The cover with Weisshaupt's hand wasn't used, instead we get a picture of the hotel with the small figures of Weisshaupt and Cerebus standing in the wind at the top of the hotel.


Steve said...

I think the unknown name is Declan, perhaps Declen.


Wonderful Michelle sketch, BTW

Sean R said...

The "five thousand watt radio station" bit is the beginning of the oft-told faux humble origin speech of braggart newscaster Ted from the Mary Tyler Moore show. Presumably Weissapt was to use the same words in an address to the listed parties?

Malcolm X said...

Interesting how this foreshadowed the guns that let Cerebus defeat the Cirinists.

Tony Dunlop said...

Of course the poor do deserve credit for wealth, in that it's the work of the poor that produces wealth which is appropriated by the owners...