Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Alcohol Is Free and There Is No Last Call

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 looked at Dave Sim's notebook #18 four times already. Part of the reason for that is the amount of pages that were scanned for it. Notebook #18 had the most pages scanned in one notebook, far surpassing notebook #2's 196 pages scanned, notebook #1's 194 pages scanned and notebook #4's 160 pages scanned. Notebook #18 had 260 pages out of 300 pages scanned. There were only nine blank pages and 31 pages missing.

Notebook #18 front cover
On page 21 we see dialogue from (the real) Cirin, or Vera's Prisoner or Serna as she is sometimes called. It is dialogue that takes place on page 43 & 44 of the phonebook Women, or page 17 & 18 of issue #164. For the most part, the dialogue is the same as on the finished pages. However, on the notebook we see Dave had written down "Peter's Tavern" instead of "Horseshoe Tavern".

Notebook #18, page 21
Peter's Tavern is a reference to Peter's Place, the bar that Cerebus Dave spent a lot of time at in the 1990s.

Spawn #10, Cerebus and Spawn walk past Peter's Place
The few changes to the dialogue start with Dave substituting men for males, which is what is on the notebook page. You can see that for the line 'This is enough money for a cot and ale for several weeks", Dave crossed  off the 'several weeks' and put down tonight and tomorrow, which is what ends up on the finished page. The next line he modified as well - going from "I've already told the owner to put you on account for you after that" to "I've arranged an account for you after that."

We skip over a bunch of pages - as we've look at some of them already in the entry "Crossing Over" where we looked at Dave's notes for Spawn #10, and in the entry "Notebook 18: Ends & Odd Bits", where we covered a few other pages before this next page.

Notebook #18, page 31
This page gives us a page by page list of what happens in issue #165. I couldn't figure out what the X's and check marks stand for. I did check each page - the only switch that Dave did was to move the Cirin and Astoria pages on the alcohol sanction to after the 'Snuff shooting up the joint" page.

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