Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The Frustrations of normalroach

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 notebook #15 once before, in "Worm Merchant or Grand Lord of Palnu?" It covers issues 136 to 141, the end of Jaka's Story and the start of Melmoth. The issue that was the prologue for Melmoth at once made me laugh and grimace. The language made me laugh, out loud, and the thought of living in a society with military walking around telling people what to do in such a matter made me grimace. It was easy empathizing with the cursing normalroach.

I could only find two pages in notebook #15 that have more than just a sentence outline for issue #139. The first is on page 54:

Notebook #15, page 54
Most of the sketching makes the final page with the exception of the Cirinist putting her sword back in its scabbard. She does take it out, and we see it in all of its rusty? Bloody? pointiest being flashed around.

One the next page, we see the end of normalroach's confrontation with the first Cirinist, some dialogue from Janice, one of the most useless waitresses ever, and also some unused dialogue:

Notebook #15, page 54

1 comment:

Tony Dunlop said...

Heh. A couple of years ago I was talking to a colleague who teaches a "Graphic Novels" course, who didn't know about Cerebus. I suggested "Melmoth" and described it as a moving retelling of the last days of Oscar Wilde, which of course it is, in part.

I had forgotten how it starts.

Next time I reread the first few pages, with normalroach reciting his "mantra," I thought…"Oh SH*T. She'll never talk to me again."