Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Outlines for The Poet

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've only looked at notebook #13 once before back in February of this year. Covering issues #122 to 125, we get a look at some notes and sketches for Jaka's Story.

Along the top of page 9 we see Rick's dialogue of him telling Oscar about how Rick would get his son a foal so he could lift a horse by the time he was a man.

I was looking at page 9 underneath this dialogue I saw what looked to be a plot outline for issues #123 to 130. However, this differed from the usual plot outlines because Dave had written it in a table format with the names of the characters along the top: Oscar, Pud, Cerebus, Jaka and Rick.  Dave doesn't include the flashback characters of Young Jaka and Nurse, but focuses on the present day. The text in the issue outline table really is squeezed onto the bottom and side of the page, so there isn't anything missing underneath it.

Notebook #13, page 9
As with many of the plot outlines in Dave's notebooks, most of what is in it is what made the finished page, but there are bits that aren't the same. For example, Cerebus does appear in issue #123, but he doesn't appear in issue #125 nor 126. Cerebus only plays 'ball and bucket', not basketball, with Rick for one issue, #127.  Though with issue #128, Cerebus is gone, looking for paint for the guffin.

I like how for issue #129, when Jaka dances for everyone, we see Dave has drawn a smiley face for Pud and for Jaka, the lettering even appears excited "This is the best night ever!"

On page 9 we saw a plan for issue 123: Oscar listening to Rick, Pud being a bit more direct, no Cerebus, Jaka was going to call Rick for 'Market Day' but Dave crossed it out, and Rick was telling his son story.

Skip ahead a few pages to page #28 where we get an outline for issue #123. Rick does tell Oscar his story about what he would do for his son, and he also gets called by Jaka to go look for a job since it is 'market day'.

Notebook #13, page 28
The rest of outline for the issue is pretty much the same as the finished issue, but instead of Oscar scraping the guffin on pages 12 and 13, we have two more pages of Jaka and Cerebus, with Jaka talking about how she needs a change and just wants to leave.

We also get a one liner at the top of the page: "Truth is as addictive and destructive as heroin."

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