Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Fred Hammer Wins the Jakirbee Cup

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 #33, the final Cerebus notebook, twice with the last time being in November of 2015 in Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk. The first time we look at it was The Final Notebook. It covers issues Cerebus #265 though 300.

Cerebus #267, If Five-Bar Gate Be My Destiny, is Cerebus' time as a Five-Bar gate player who, much like the Toronto Maple Leafs, had a long losing streak, but unlike the Leafs, Cerebus broke his streak.

Fred Hammer

There are a couple pages in notebook #33 that have notes for issue #267. None have any sketches, just text. It was the text on page 6 that made me pause.

Notebook #33, page 6
The bit that caught my eye starts near the bottom - after "Paul and 'Coffee' Anan fell over dead". In the comic Cerebus' opponent, Paul "Coffee" Annan collapse and the guy with the Laura Concord Sweets & Swine apron came out (Mr Van Hellemond, the Chief Medical Officer). Moosehat Gardens was very silent until Paul "Coffee" Annan was pronounced dead from old age. Cerebus left Moosehat Gardens (whose real life counterpart, Maple Leaf Gardens, is now a Loblaws grocery store, with a red dot on the store floor where center ice once was) to a chorus of boos.

But on page six shown above, you see that Paul "Coffee" Annan's wife stands up and started screaming at Cerebus "How old are you" "Who are you". "What are you". Then as he started to blank out again "it occurred to Cerebus that Jaka was probably eighty years old by now."

Instead of that gut punch, we get a left hook with Cerebus heading south to get the Cirinists to kill him.


Travis Pelkie said...

Definitely the better choice, what we got in the book. Probably for the best that we don't get too much into "what" Cerebus is (am I crazy, or did Dave suggest once that while he's seen as an aardvark, Cerebus is really just a weird looking short dude?). We should have forgotten about Jaka for all that time, and not had ANY mention of her, until that gut punch (at? near? the end -- can't remember when exactly it is in Latter Days) where we get the reveal of who Cerebus has been telling all of this to.

Speaking of that end, was I the only one who had a "Usual Suspects" thought to the end of Latter Days?

Ibis said...

Two of my favorite "mini-scenes" in the entire epic are in Latter days. For some reason, I love that goose sliding across the ice and that bit where Cerebus guffaws about a talking snake. Those kill me. (Pretty sure those are in Latter Days.)

Ibis said...

All right, all right, if you are going to pester me, I will provide pincites, pages 103 and 285.

Stephen R. Bissette said...

Ah, the day begins!