Wednesday, 8 July 2015

A Plan for Church & State I

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.

Here at A Moment of Cerebus, we've looked at Dave's notebook #4 a few times already, it covers issues #59 to 70, and while the cover stated it had 200 pages, only 160 pages were scanned. The front cover, on which Dave had written "Albatross Encore Une Fois", is so worn that it had fallen off the notebook.

On page 108 it looks like Dave wrote down a list of things that he wanted to do in the next dozen or so issues, and then marked down issue numbers of where those items would end up.

Notebook #4, page 108
About a third of the way down the page we see that Dave crossed off "Elrod: "Hemingway is the key". It doesn't even have an issue number, crossed off earlier. Though we all know that Hemingway will show up much later in the story, but he isn't much of a 'key'. We also see that "Chap questions Cerebus about how long he has had the sword and medallions". Though instead of that in issue #66, we get the baby being thrown, which isn't mentioned on this list at all.

A few of the things on this list that aren't crossed off, still don't come to be on the finished pages. For example, slated for issue #67 according to this page is "Cerebus: "You keep your toys aimed outwards and we'll do just fine". Sounds like Cerebus talking to Weisshaupt about Weisshaupt's canons.

Also not used was something for issue #71: "A young girl named Janette Jo evidently she has seen a vision - wants the church cleansed. She sees money as an impurity. Barter only." Much later in the story - in Guys - we see that money is no longer around, but Jo never appears. There is a Janette that appears in issue #23 & 24, one of the three girls at Madame duFort's school for girls, but those are the only issues in which she appears.

We also see a note written around the list. It is from a "K" to Dave: "Hi there, remember me, I'm the one who used to write notes in your book, and your (sic) the one who crosses them out." Dave's response: "Yah, I remember. 'D'". I'm guessing the K was Karen McKiel, Aardvark-Vanaheim's administrator.


Eddie said...

I wonder if Jo was supposed to be "Joan of Arc," and she was replaced by Astoria and her trial in book 2. I think Dave mentioned it in one of the notebooks?

JLH said...

Interestingly, I recently saw a mention during one of the Aardvark Comments during High Society that Dave claimed Janette and Katrina from issues 23 & 24 would return. Nice to see he did indeed have an idea for at least one of them!

Tony Dunlop said...

Issue 71: "Feldan Flagg(!) Roach" (Dave left off the mandatory exclamation point) ended up on the cutting room floor. That could have been good...

Paul Slade said...

Damn - I really want to see Feldan Flagg(!) Roach now.

Anonymous said...

This week was a good one.

Interesting that issue 72 as planned never happened with Cerebus being given a hallucinogen and seeing the past. The closest thing to Cerebus being drugged was in C&SII with Mick and Keith. Along with what others have pointed out, there were quite a few ideas that went unused or heavily altered. Neat.

- Reginald P.