Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Cool's Right

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.

We haven't yet looked at Dave's notebook #23 yet. It covers Cerebus #224 to #230, which is the majority of Rick's Story. The cover says there were 100 pages in it, but I only scanned 58 pages. There were another 37 pages that were blanked, so they weren't scanned. 

On page 44 we see some dialogue between Cerebus, he starts it off in the upper left hand corner, and Dave from issue #229 - if you're following along in the phonebook, page 192 is where the dialogue starts.

Notebook 23, page 44
This dialogue, however, wasn't used. Well, the part about the Coors light and an ashtray was, but the rest of it? Not so much. I do like this back and forth:
Cerebus: "Do you ever get the feeling that you're being picked on? That you've been singled out for punishments that no one else has to put up with?"
Dave: "mm. No. I think everyone picks their own punishment."
Cerebus: "But someone like. . .well, like Cerebus for example. Ever since Cerebus got here it's as if everyone is driving Cerebus CRAZY on purpose."
Page 45 has a couple rough sketches of Cerebus opening up the package that Dave left on the bar. Then on page 46 we get a full page of hand written dialogue between Cerebus and Dave.

Notebook 23, page 46
The dialogue on page 46, "leapfrogging the conversational sequence" shows up on page 193 of Rick's Story (page 7 of issue 229), about one third of the way down the page. Though on the finish piece, Dave finishes it up with "my particular social vice" instead of what is on the notebook page "a conversational vice of mine." 

Another difference? When Cerebus says "Served your sentence?", Dave had originally wrote "Yeah. Yeah, I guess that was it" and crossed that off and put down "I suppose so." But on the finished page Dave says "Exactly."

There are a few other differences between the finished text and the notebook. One of the more noticeable ones is that there is more of the "stage direction" - (smiling), (smiling back), et al. - on the finished page then there is in the notebook.  

The next page shows us the same dialogue, but it is much closer to the finished dialogue:

Notebook 23, page 47
The dialogue this time continues on until page 49 where the dialogue ends with the dialogue on page 195. On the above page 47 you can see that there is  some text along the top that was continued from page 46. In it Cerebus has another good line - "...I was going crazy. Just one long argument in my head."

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