Saturday, 3 January 2015

Restoration Bulletin-- CONTINUED...

Sean Michael Robinson:

Hello again everyone,

We're looking for your input on this next decision. In my notes to Dave about the book, I asked him to consider allowing us to delete some of the extraneous captions in the book that were functions of the monthly publication, but out of place in the book edition. Specifically, the small "continued..." at the end of "Mind Game II" and the "Next: Hsiffies" that appears towards the end of the book.

Well, once the door was cracked, Dave ran with it. He has condemned virtually all of these "end of issue" captions to death. Should any of them be granted clemency? We're looking for your input. Some further discussion follows. (You'll notice Dave is also reinserting page numbers, I had requested that Mara leave off any page numbers that were on pages with graphic elements at the bottom of the page, hence their reinsertion when the graphic element is eliminated.)

To which I replied:

I am in agreement with you on all with the following exceptions--

I would spare the captions on 188, 208, 372, and 432. Mainly for visual reasons-- the pages are obviously composed with those elements in mind. And they look great! Well, maybe 208 is arguably disposable. And I will definitely correct the semi-colon on 188 regardless-- correct it and then delete it, if necessary... And from a thematic perspective, I think they're all (except possibly 208) useful in punctuating the inter-issue rhythms that are already present in the storytelling. Like the one on 372-- it's a visual "time to put the book down and get a snack before I read the whole damn thing." (Getting rid of Astoria's bubble on that one, though, is brilliant. Great idea.)

To which Dave replied:

So-- what do you say, AMOC readers? Give the axe to them all? Spare a chosen few? 


KevinR said...

There may be reason to keep the "Next: Hsiffies":
(1) Unlike most of the others, 'Hsiffies' is not the title of the next issue. The term doesn't appear until the second page of that next issue, and then only in passing.
(2) 'Hsiffies' actually is informative, since up to that point the invaders are just "under unknown colours".

If "Next: Hsiffies" is intended as a spoiler, go ahead and drop it. But I like it as the continuation of the invasion report.

KevinR said...

Briefly, on the others:
* end of #27 (p. 48) -- Is this ever actually continued? Drop the false promise.
* end of #28 (p. 68) -- dropping this seems reasonable. #29 opens with the next panel and so actually is a continuation, but is also on the facing page...
* end of #30 (p. 108) -- this one seems to detract, so dropping makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of all of the "nexts". It's a very good idea that probably should have been done originally. I would say that Dave is 100% right on this one.

The "nexts" make sense in the individual issues, but I find they're clunky and an interruption in graphic novel form. They mostly serve as a periodic reminder that you're reading a comic book and that the story was originally serialized.

As you point out, the inter-issue rhythms are already there anyways. I actually prefer, as in Mothers and Daughters, where those rhythms are implied. The extraneous titles just detract from the natural rhythm of the book.

As the book is rich in negative space, I can't see that getting rid of these extra elements will compromise the overall look of the book.

- Reginald P.

Paul Slade said...

I'm with Sean on those four exceptions - particularly where 372 is concerned. Removing the "next" copy there would completely unbalance the page to my eye.

I'm also not so sure it's a good idea to remove Astoria's speech balloon there. It's true that it adds no information we don't get from the pad, but it does provide the emphasis of a proper punctuation mark which that moment in the story demands.

Eddie said...

The other thing about Astoria's comment is that it helps create a stronger resonance way down the road with pg 225 of Latter Days when Cerebus as Spore is asked what happens if the vote ends in a tie. I personally would prefer the line to stay, but in the interests of the democratic process will yield to the majority vote.

And I'm for page numbers.

Jeff Seiler said...

I want respond page by page--it's the proofreader in me, Dave.

So: First shown example--delete the "continued".

Jeff Seiler said...

And add page number on 1st page shown above.

Second page shown above: Add pagenumber and keep the "continued" since, IIRC, it was in the style of the ongoing theme spoofing Nightline's "America Held Hostage".

If that theme had NOT started yet, then delete the "continued".

M Kitchen said...

Sean - you put it perfectly when you said:

" ...useful in punctuating the inter-issue rhythms that are already present in the storytelling. Like the one on 372-- it's a visual 'time to put the book down and get a snack before I read the whole damn thing.' "

That's the best thinking in my humble opinion.

Jeff Seiler said...

Third page above: Delete the "continued" and add page number.

Jeff Seiler said...

Fourth page above (Petuniacon invite): Change semi-colon to colon, then delete all of the "next".

Also, in the parentheses at the bottom, capitalize "lord julius" and "ranking diplomatic representative", unless not capitalizing those words was a stylistic choice.

Jeff Seiler said...

Fifth page above: Can't read it on my smartphone, so defer to Dave.

Keep the page number.

Jeff Seiler said...

Sixth page above: I concur.

Jeff Seiler said...

Seventh page above: I concur?

(Toga! Toga! Toga!)

I really hope Dave didn't caffeinate and walk yesterday...)

Jeff Seiler said...

Eighth page above: Keep page number. Consider minor corrections using Dave Sim font.

In the first panel, Lord Julius seems to be saying he failed, so "I should have known better than to try and save" more correctly should be, "I should have known better than to try to save...".

"To try and" implies accomplishing the goal. "To try to" indicates either a plan not yet set in action or, as in this case, a goal not achieved.

Just sayin', asserts The Punctilious Proofreader...

Jeff Seiler said...

Oops! Delete "save" and make that "reshape" in my comments above.

Jeff Seiler said...

Ninth page above: Yes, keep the "Next: The Deciding Vote".

Yes, delete Astoria's word balloon. Make the reader work a little bit.

In panel 2, though, insert either an ellipsis or an exclamation mark after "It can't be".

And, in panel 3, insert an apostrophe after "Julius", as it should be "Lord Julius' goat."


Jeff Seiler said...


Yes. A minor one.

I assume you're referring to "Cerebus' two-front war" (where you *did* use the possessive apostrophe!).

I think it anchors the page well, whereas, without it, the panels would seem to be floating and not centered.

Plus, I don't think the next chapter opens with the same title, though I could be wrong. I don't have the book in front of me.

Jeff Seiler said...

Last one: I'm with Kevin on this one, for 2 reasons. First, I agree that it introduces some characters who don't get nearly enough "marquee name space" in the book, and

Secondly, it's my second favorite word in the series, after (of course) "Fonfliff!".

Lastly, shouldn't it be, in panel 3, "Mr. Mak Mufin's army"?

Although, IIRC, his name often had various spellings.

So, Dave (and, Sean and Mara), you asked for it. ( areful what you ask for, eh?)

Thanks for letting me get my groove thang on again, Dave. You know I love proofreading!

PS: When do I get back those first 66 pages of Collected Letters I, Dave? ;) ;)

Travis Pelkie said...

I'm with Paul Slade -- keep what Sean said to keep, but also keep Astoria's "It's a tie!" as a nice punctuation for the end of that issue/chapter.

The one thing I assume Sean and Mara would be doing is to "paint over" any "next"s or "continued"s that are taken out by filling in with black (if necessary) or otherwise matching the background. I've seen trades from Marvel and DC where they take out the "next"-type text, but leave the box that the words were in, so you can see that there was something there, but not see what -- that's as bad as leaving in the "next" stuff, to my mind.

I also wonder if certain of the other proofreading issues that Seiler brings up gets us into another realm -- if some parts are proofread and corrected, doesn't all of the book need to be (re)proofread? And that gets us into much more work and issues of how much you're changing the work as it was....

And on the more work front (ha ha!), if you're keeping the page numbers (or not), would you consider adding a table of contents? (And forgive me if there is one -- I haven't yet flipped through the new version of the first trade or really looked at old ones, as I have most of my Cerebus in singles, so if there already is one in trades, ignore me) If you drop the page numbers, you could at least have a table of contents (perhaps with some page numbers, if you don't drop them all) with the story titles and "issue x" listed, a la "The Night Before...issue 36".

Most of the people who read Cerebus know it was a monthly comic, and wouldn't (necessarily) be put off with indications as such like that. And some of us anal retentives like to see where everything came from....

biglou said...

Unless wholesale changes are made to make 25 comic books to look like one 500 page graphic novel, I would prefer to see the book reprinted as they were originally printed. I don't like the idea of minor tweaks. Each issue was a “chapter” and I see no reason to change it. I like the idea of the reprint mirroring the original issues. Maybe I'm old-fashioned. Or maybe just old. That's my two cents. Looking forward to the final result!!

Michael Grabowski said...

I am 100% against losing "It's a tie!"

Most importantly you're talking about losing a line of dialogue, words chosen at that time by Dave the Writer and laid out by Dave the Artist of that time. It's not a mistake by Dave the Letterer or a hook inserted by Dave the Publisher.

It's a line that is perfectly natural for a person in Astoria's position to say. It's not redundant. She wouldn't have said "Something is wrong here," and just showed Cerebus the tablet. She always talks down to him so she would both say it and show it (as Dave had her do here). It would be put of character for her not to announce the tie.

It's also an essential design element to the page. Her eyeline in the fourth panel of the second tier goes straight to the balloon in question and then to the pair of 50s on the tablet. (Granted, that unfortunate stem to the word balloon is not Dave the Letterer's best work even at that time, but he would never allow that to be fixed.) Eliminating THE DECIDING VOTE is going to create an entire half-panel of black space and removing the balloon adds another third, creating an uglier off-balance panel that I contend pulls the reader out of the book nearly as badly as leaving in all the Nexts.

Lastly it sets a dangerous precedent for future alterations to the written work any time actual changes to the art or script are made. I think something like that needs to be seriously considered and argued against, decision solely in the creator's hands, not decided by committee.

Dave, and Sean, please don't take out "It's a tie!"

Jason Penney said...

My first exposure to these stories was in phonebook form, and I can still remember the "next"s throwing me out of the story, so I won't miss them if they're gone, but I'm not bothered if some are kept.

Did Dave really want Astoria's line removed from the book, or only from the image being posted to the site (as spoiler protection)?

Sandeep Atwal said...

Sean R said...

Hah! :)

Dave Kopperman said...

I'd prefer the 'next' labels be kept, for sort of an odd reason: by the time Dave was weaning himself off of individual issue titles late in C&S vol. 1, the next issue labels became interestingly artful, almost a commentary on comics language. If you take them out of HS, there's no point in keeping them in C&S, and I'd be sorry to see them go.

Sean R said...

Hey Travis--

You assume correctly :)

Thanks for the great comments everyone! I've sent this all along to Dave to take a look at and make a final decision. I suspect the difference of opinions here is pretty well split amongst what one's first exposure to the book was-- serialized, or in trade form. We'll see what Dave decides!