Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Joanne and Fred (not that Fred)

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.

On page 7 of issue #197 - or in Minds on page 213 if you prefer the phonebooks - we meet Joanne for the first time. Kind of. We meet her via a made up reality where Dave has given Cerebus everything that Cerebus thinks he wants. The page is one panel on half of the page and text, a conversation between Joanne and Cerebus, on the other half. This goes on for only four pages, the "getting to know each other" part of Cerebus' "affair" with Joanne.

In Notebook #21 Dave writes out ten pages by hand in an 8.5" x 11" notepad for those four pages. Most of it is used with the usual one or two words substituted. But there is some of it that isn't used. Like these three pages, bits of it are used elsewhere, appropriated for the same four pages, but in a different paragraph, but most of it isn't.

Take pages 3 through 5, they go over Joanne's relationship with her then husband, Fred. Starting almost halfway down page 3 at "the floodgates open" and going through to page 5:

Notebook #21 page 3

Notebook #21 page 4

Notebook #21 page 5
The calendar down the bottom of page 5? One of many times Dave writes down the days of the month and either crosses off days and/or writes down what he plans do on those days. This one doesn't give much insight into June's plans.

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