Thursday, 3 March 2016

Not The Trial

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 #8 several times already. The first time was in August 2014 in The Final Ascension, next was in October 2014 in So. . .You Already Said That, and most recently in September 2015 in Endgame. Notebook #8 covers issues #96 through 102. It originally had 140 pages, but only 114 were scanned, there were 15 blanks pages and the rest were missing.

There are times in his notebooks were Dave will write a first draft, and then later in the notebook you'll see a second draft, something that is either a bit closer to the finished page(s) or exactly what appears on the finished pages. Usually the first draft can be linked to the finished page. Occasionally it cannot.

Take page 12 of notebook #8 for example. Page 12 has a summary of what Cerebus does after Astoria tells him how she killed the Lion of Serrea. It looks like originally Cerebus was going execute her, but a letter from Cirin gets read and we see what her forces are doing.

Notebook #8, page 12
In Cerebus #98, The Trial, Cirin's message is never read. In fact, it isn't read at all in the finished issues, we only get a mention of it in Cerebus #100 when we finally see Cirin.

The next time we see some material that doesn't become part of the finished paged is on page #17.

Notebook #8, page 17
At first it looks like dialogue for the issue where  Cerebus is talking to Astoria in her cell about what he should do (Cerebus #97), but it isn't. It is Astoria talking to Cerebus and then Bishop Powers chiming in.

Cerebus then says "Most Holy would like a BIG bottle of sacremental (sic) wine". That is crossed out and Powers continues asking what is Cerebus' plan. Cerebus states "Plan? Cerebus intends plans to drink until someone comes and chop his head off. . ." Powers responses in a couple different ways, and then Cerebus states "GET MOST HOLY SOME WHISKEY".

None of that happened, instead we get Astoria and Cerebus experiencing an echo of a trial that had them on the other sides and how that ended.

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