Thursday, 29 October 2015

Boys! Dinner!

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 #6 a couple times already - "Touch Not The Priestess", "Fat Elvis Period", and "Flick", ". It covers issues #80 through 86 and only 118 pages were scanned.

On page 51 of the notebook we see Dave's thumbnails for page 8 and 9 of Cerebus #84 - or if you're following along in the phonebooks, it is page 662 & 663 of Church & State II.

Notebook #6, page 51
The two thumbnails are pretty close to the finished pages. However, the text below those two thumbnails doesn't the text of the finish pages. The notebooks have Michelle saying "Aren't you. . .umm. . .going to. . .uh. . .Say grace? Or Something?" On the finish page she says "I gave you a knife, fork, spoon and a plate for a . . .reason."

Church & State II, page 662 & 663
The other little thumbnail on the notebook page is for page 674 of Church & State II, or page 20 of issue 84. The text that you can barely see - as it appears to be in pencil is Michelle's dialogue from that page "Tarim. Will you look at that. It's snowing in the middle of summer." Then below the thumbnail is the text "Next: Missing it for the world", which is the title for issue #85.

Going along with issue #84, here is the dialogue for pages #12 to 17 (phonebook pages 666 to 671).

Notebook #6, page 56
Along with the dialogue, it has descriptions of what is to be taking place in that panel. Most of it is close to the finished pages, there are some changes though - and what is different from the finished page isn't crossed off here in the notebook.


Unknown said...

Hi. Dave Sim here. I'm going to try to post every day through the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER FOUR Kickstarter campaign. We're really in a cash crunch of major proportions. I'm literally on the way to the bank to transfer THE LAST CASH ON HAND to cover the US$ cheque for $13,000 I've just written for the printer in Singapore. I had paid a $7,300 downpayment on 50% of the printing and made sure to keep $7,300 US in the US$ account for the final payment -- only to discover that the 50% didn't include shipping ($5,000) and a $990 bill for "paper wastage" among other things.

Net result: including the payments to Sean and Mara for the remastering and the discount to Diamond for buying the whole print run, it's looking as if there will BARELY be $6,000 profit on $42,000 revenue.

It's a very tough situation because I've had to pay for scanning of negatives and original artwork for CHURCH & STATE II with, so far, ZERO REVENUE from CHURCH & STATE I -- and none in sight for however many weeks it takes the books to get over here after I've paid for them.

Also got the bill for $1,200 for the porch post and SDS (Squirrel Defense System).

We are rapidly approaching the Doomsday Scenario from 2012.

Does anyone read these comments? Please help at Kickstarter if you can!

See you tomorrow!

Tony Dunlop said...

OK, I just added 20 bucks to my pledge. As the Soup Nazi would say, NEXT!

Dave Kopperman said...

Dave - I'm definitely here every day, and I always read the comments (even if I don't always respond). Definitely going to be picking up portfolio IV.

Eddie said...

Let's get the signal boost out there about kickstarter; thr comic new sites, twitter readers and fans of Dave's and Ger's (famous or otherwise) who will retweet. It probably wouldn't hurt to mention thesr are the first Artist Editions of Ger's work ( so imagine how many more of those teeny tiny lines will be seen). Also some excerpts from Dave's commentaty on the pages, pics of the pages themselves. Maybe sending an email out to CANIII partners (although the kickstarter group email notiication system doesn't always seem to work). Some random ideas thoughts

Unknown said...

Thanks Tony and Dave. The $7,000 US in hidden charges from the printer has definitely thrown off my mental math and I'm now being forced to calculate based on DEFICIT financing. DEFICIT in my case meaning mentally chopping huge chunks out of my remaining R"R"SPs (the second R in quotation marks since I'm pretty sure I'll be dying "in harness" whenever that happens) and a line of credit based on my life insurance.

I've temporarily shut down the restoration work until we can get a clear idea of a) when C&S I is going to arrive and b) when we can get paid for it.

Diamond money is in US$ as are Sean and Mara's payments and the printer's payments. When I thought the printing bill was $14,000, it was full speed ahead on the US$ front. At $21,000 that leaves me buying US$ with Canadian $ -- 30 cents each. I can't do that too many times.

And I need to get EVERYTHING ready for when I'm dead as soon as possible because -- even with the $14,000 carved out of it -- the two restored CHURCH & STATE volume "paydays" are the biggest foreseeable "paydays" we have. After that revenue is going to plummet because the restored books will be thinner and less popular. MOST of that money goes to Sean and Mara for restoration and Sandeep and Karen Funk for scanning.

Sandeep is coming in every day to scan CGC Dave Sim file copies for the IDW covers book and I'm spending all day prepping the book. I'm at issue 100. Again. But that's being billed to IDW, as is my STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND research. Whether I keep Aardvark-Vanaheim going when this latest round of proofs is corrected is an open question. Really, the only thing that makes sense is just slashing the R"R"SPs and the life insurance line of credit to ribbons to stay current with my "death planning" obligations.

It's a nightmarish life, having to climb the Mt. Everest of Comics OVER and OVER and OVER again, but that's just the way it is.

I'll keep going as long as I'm able to.

See you tomorrow, Dave and Tony, and THANKS!

Dean Reeves said...

I've already committed to my two portfolios and I keep adding to the pledge as new prints are revealed, but here's a thought:

I know this defeats the purpose of the whole museum endeavour but could it be time for another Heritage Auction (or better yet an eBay auction so fans don't have to pay a ridiculous buyers premium)?

I ask because I just shelled out some serious cash (I feel it's serious, original art collectors might think it's a drop in the bucket) for a piece that, in all honesty, I would have preferred to buy something comparable from, and give the money directly to, Dave.

At the current market value Dave could sell 1 cover for example (and if it came straight from Dave it could probably go for more) for about $7,000 or $8,000 grand US (which is about $9,000 - $10,500 Canadian - go ahead, ask me how I know), or you could sell five and be pretty liquid for a few months until the other money comes in or sell 10 and not have to break a financial sweat for well over a year (in theory). And depending on the cover, the final price could be huge (I think there would be a bidding frenzy for Jaka's Story cover art).

Again, I know it defeats the purpose, but I think that having an opportunity to once again be able to purchase original art directly from THE MAN himself would be a dream come true (for this fan anyway).

The weekly update from October 16th, where Dave showed all of the original art squeezed into rows on a bookshelf, made me cry a little, especially when Dave wiggled the pages back into place, because that is artwork that should/could/would be proudly displayed in any fans home. And I am sure that when Dave shows the double page spreads (which are very impressive by the way) squeezed onto a bookshelf I will weep again.

My two cents.


Anonymous said...

Please don't let's forget that the pledge amounts listed on Kickstarter are MINIMUM pledges. The point of Kickstarter campaigns are not to "get stuff" - nice as the stuff is to have! - it's to support a business or enterprise you believe in, like making sure one of the towering achievements of comic art is preserved for posterity.
Ordering bonus prints is great, but each print has printing costs, which deduct from the dollar amount that will ultimately end up preserving the Aardvark.

Michael Grabowski said...

I'm not a comic art metaphysicist but if I were I would look at the situation Dave has been in for 2015 and wonder if God isn't trying to tell him "Yoo-Whoo! Dave! Over here! This Alex Raymond book--that's the story you're supposed to be telling. Look, you're done drawing Cerebus, so quit it already. You won't stop? Ok, here let me help you stop." I know that Dave has a schedule he follows for time devoted to each of his projects but truly--the effort to preserve and digitally upgrade the Cerebus work should not demand the amount of time and involvement from him that it has. He's done writing and drawing that. It shouldn't need him anymore.

Glamourpuss/SDOAR is/was remarkable new work, groundbreaking research of comics art reported in comics form, with a unique and fascinating take on the stories of these creative and personal lives that at least as reported here seems to have ended up on the back-burner. I know that Dave is still working through his own and Eddie's research and I'm sure based on his approach to Islam, My Islam and Why Canada Slept that a prose completion of the book will still be fascinating but it will be so much less than its potential. I remain hopeful and prayerful that his drawing hand can be restored to his satisfaction but I don't want it to have to go back to drawing Cerebus head sketches to sell on Kickstarter.

I understand the commercial constraints. There's no "Moment of Glamourpuss" website and the SDOAR Patreon is woefully underfunded considering the relative wealth earned by these archive portfolios. Surely the Venn diagram of the two groups of fans should have more than 89 people in the overlap? I am disappointed that it does not.

I appreciate the comment just above here that the purpose of the Kickstarter is to support the creation (in this case preservation) and not just to buy the portfolios. I've been supporting the Patreon instead of the archives because I prefer the slow-but-steady support over the "quarterly" offerings. I wonder which funding site gets a bigger % of my US cash into Dave's account? Then again, I prefer supporting the SDOAR work in advance and will support the remastering/preservation of the phone books buy buying them as they appear.

Actually, one reward I could get behind if it were offered would be a digital file of Dave's commentaries for the archives. Just the text, not the images. That would be worth, say, $10 to me. I don't know if that's being withheld to boost the value of the complete portfolios or if Dave's thinking of producing an eventual From Hell Companion-type book but if neither... maybe check the wind on that idea and see where it blows.

Anonymous said...

Pointing out the obvious here. We have a post where Dave discusses problems affording a printing bill. He also discusses flying to the southern United States (not cheap) and obtaining (not free) medical testing/treatments, and is searching for opinion on the results through the Internet. He also lives in Canada, with completely tax payer funded high quality medical care. He lives an hour from Toronto and so access to world class facilities. He chooses not to use Canadian medical resources.

No need to spell out the obvious conclusion.

I also note that Dave has been honest in that he compartmentalizes his expenses; but I think it is questionable whether the level of compartmentalization is justified. I also presume that this compartmentalization means that money for preserving Dave's house in perpetuity is compartmentalized from money used to pay the printing bill and pay for the restoration.

This situation is perhaps a compartmentalized crisis, if it's a crisis at all. Crisis is defined as "a time when a difficult or important decision must be made". It seems like many potentially viable solutions are absolutely off the table, and the allowable solutions are limited to a few preferred options. Of course it is Dave's choice how to monetize his creation, but I don't know that being picky about how to proceed is consistent with claiming a crisis situation.

I will be buying CAN4, but I think the solution here to this compartmentalized issue is to simply do a better job of selling what is available if that is at all possible, bearing in mind that these Archives are already getting quite a bit of support and it sounds like at least some cannot afford to give more.

- Reginald P.

dan said...

As a long time fan of Dave's editorials, I'd love to see a Kickstarter reward where, for whatever sum is deemed appropiate, pledgers could receive a text file or pdf of the commentary offered with the prints. As it stands I don't have the spare cash or room for a portfolio every few months, but I could certainly manage a smaller amount for the pleasure of reading the commentary, and I don't suppose I'm the only one. I don't think this would cannibalize portfolio sales either - surely the artwork is the main draw there?