Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A Gold Coin?

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.

Another notebook that we haven't looked at yet: notebook #11. Dave Sim covers Cerebus #113 through #117 in this one, with only 66 pages that were scanned and 8 blank pages out of what was an eighty page notebook.

Page 9 of issue 115 (if you're following along in the phonebook for Jaka's Story it is page 39) is where Pud meets Cerebus, who is asking to buy an ale. A rough layout on page 46 starts us off (yes, I cropped the bit off the top of the page that wasn't relevant, but hey, you're getting 3.5 pages this week instead of the usual 3):

Notebook #11 page 46, bottom half
If you compare the above, to the finish page, you can see the resemblance. On the next page in the notebook, Dave plots out some dialogue between Pud and Cerebus and then between Pud and Jaka:

Notebook #11 page 47
It also shows the reunion of Jaka and Cerebus - the look on Cerebus' face as he hears Jaka's voice is not the same as the one on the finished page. The one in the notebook is more of that happy surprised Cerebus face as opposed to the intrigued face we see on the finished page - though perhaps the finished page look allowed Dave to place Jaka's word balloon right in Cerebus left ear, which was also tilted down a bit. If it was his 'happy surprised face' both ears would probably be tilted up or both back, and as he not had yet heard Jaka's voice, how could he be happy and surprised? As we see him, he is just intrigued at why Pud is shouting.

Page 48 and 49 are young Jaka notes, and on page 50 we see the layouts for the next two pages, page 10 and 11:

Notebook #11 page 50
On page 11's fourth panel you can still see Cerebus has that 'surprised' look on his face. The word balloon that would be Jaka's is position just above and to the right of his head, not the same as the finished page.

Then on page 53 we have three pages of layouts, pages 8, 9 and 12 of issue 115:

Notebook #11 page 53
I don't know why Dave put just those three pages together. As if he was happy with what he what he had for pages 10 and 11 and didn't need to redo them.

1 comment:

Max West said...

Quite interesting to see these notebooks and get an inside look at what Sim was thinking when he did Cerebus.