Wednesday, 9 December 2015

His First Fifth Notebook Notes

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 #3 a couple times already, most recently in "Boom". It covers mainly issues #52 to 59 and had no front cover when I scanned the 158 pages contained in it. The first page scanned was loose, and I think it actually came from "Albatross Five" as it covered issues 49 to 51.

On page 95 we see some notes for Cerebus #56, well the last page of it at least. We also see some notes for the short story "His First Fifth", Dave's first collaboration with Gerhard.

Notebook 3, page 95
On page 96 there are some more notes on His First Fifth story, not much - more of the same title sequence and some sketches of items in the pub and a small one of the outside of the Pub itself. Then on page 96 we see the outline for page 7 of the story.

Notebook 3, page 97
The finished page follows the outline with only a few exceptions - instead of going from a fool and a dunce, the owner is a clown and a big baby. Instead of Cerebus seeing boots, he actually sees the owner walking by, and the kid doesn't turn white, but instead his mouth is agape in surprise.

The page continues with an outline for page 8, which is similar to the finished page 8, but stops at item #4. Item #4, which is "Did you drink. Pointing at bottle" becomes the Owner with a word balloon of a picture of Cerebus drinking and a question mark. Much easier to get his meaning with that in one panel, then the original item #4.

We also see a thumbnail sketch of the first page, which while the finish page has Cerebus  mopping, the panel layout is a bit different. Also, if you click on the picture to zoom in, you can see the bottom panel says it is 'Ress' and the year is 1385. Dave was had this to say about in Cerebus the Newsletter #10 (Feb 1984): "The story concerns Cerebus' first job -- cleaning a pub in Ress. It takes place in 1391, when he was only six years old. He was born in 1385, you know."

The next page in the notebook, page 98, is the final page to have some notes on the His First Fifth story. The outline for page two follows the finished page 2, but the outline for page 3 is a bit different as it was combined a bit with the notes for page 4.

Notebook #3, page 98
We also see Dave trying out some of the word balloon "dialogue" that he would use for the story and a few other sketches of the boy character from the story.

1 comment:

Malcolm X said...

Not like I don't have enough to do right now, but it would be great if these notebooks were made available as downloads at some point....