Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Sane As It Ever Was

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 #5 a couple times before, it covers issues 70 to 79 of Cerebus. Dave had a lot going on back then as is witness on page 23 of the notebook, with his "calendar" for the later part of December and then January. I'm thinking it was December 1984 and January 1985, as Cerebus #71 has an inside cover date of February 1985.

Notebook 5, page 23
Looking at that calendar - he doesn't start the issue until the middle of the month, doing 2 pages a day, minus the weekends which are crossed off. The 'art prints' as far as I can guess are the First Fifth portfolio prints.

The 'Sane As It Ever Was' tagline was the cover  of issue #70 - which you can barely see a small thumbnail of on the back side of this notebook page. Looking at the calendar on page 23, Dave was "scheduled" to do the cover for issue #70 on December 28, having just finished pages 19 and 20 the day before.

Skip a few pages ahead in the notebook, to page 28, and we see another version of the calendar for January 1985:

Notebook 5, page 28
It looks like Dave managed to move up his schedule. So instead of finishing pages 9 and 10 on January 22, his schedule now has him doing those pages on January 18. Dave kept the cover due on January 30th, but then gave himself a couple of extra days off at the end of the month. It makes me wonder if he worked through weekends or if he managed to complete more than three pages per day.  Quite the pace.


Travis Pelkie said...

The original Talking Heads line is great, but "sane as it ever was" is an awesome "mishearing".

Travis Pelkie said...

Just got my copy of C&S 1 at the comic shop. Haven't gotten a chance to look at it yet, but dang, it is big!

Unknown said...

Hi Travis -- looks like you're the DAMOCV (Designated AMOC Viewer) for January 2016. Everyone gets a turn! Thanks for paying 35 Big Bucks for C&S 1!

And thanks as always to Margaret from me and Travis for keeping up with this! You must be coming up on 300 Notebooks "issues" yourself at this point!

Okay, Travis and Margaret, I'm going back to my BONE Commentaries. Two months and counting. But the end is in sight (God willing). The "Jeff Smith strips" from 1949 interrupted my RIP KIRBY Commentaries. Long story. Available only on the Patreon site. Minimum contribution of $1 a month. End of plug.

Anonymous said...

"The ComicShop" in Vancouver, BC was supposed to get copies this past week, but they weren't in the shipment. Latest word is another couple of weeks. Drat!

-- Damian