Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Hunting Lodge Thespians

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 haven't yet seen anything from Dave Sim's notebook #29. It covers Cerebus #255 and while the notebook had 32 pages in it, only 18 were scanned, the rest were blank. Issue #255, or Form & Void phonebook page 467, opens with Cerebus surprised at seeing an airship for the first time. Then on page 475 or page 9 of the issue, Cerebus starts thinking to himself of a future conversation he'll have with Jaka and Ham. That conversation starts on page 2 of the notebook:

Notebook #29, page 2
The dialogue on the notebook page pretty much follows the dialogue in the finished comic. Notice how Ham's line is in a different hand written font then Cerebus' dialogue. The 'I'm back' with a musical note is Jaka's actual dialogue, and not just Cerebus' thinking of how the conversation will go. In the finish comic, it looks the same with a musical note as well.

There are small differences in the dialogue on the notebook page and the finished page - having Cerebus think Ham will say shit rather than crap, instead of Cerebus saying 'What?' just giving him a face that conveys that thought instead, having Jaka say 'asked' instead of 'said', etc.

The dialogue continues on page 3 of the notebook, and here the whole top bit of dialogue isn't in the finished book.

Notebook #29, page 3
Rather than say 'Look I give up! First you', Jaka just raises her hand cutting Cerebus off. Then when Mary comes in down at the bottom of the notebook page, she states the story she is about to tell happened about six years ago. In the finished book, she just says a long time ago.

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