Sean Michael Robinson:
Here's a quick roundup of all the goings-on in Cerebus Restoration Land.
Cerebus In Hell? #0 was delivered to Dave and Sandeep on Thursday evening, and they came back with a quick approval Friday morning, which meant it was soon speeding off to Marquis, where it enters their line for prepress. No word yet on whether Going Home has shipped yet, although it was on press last week. I'm also still waiting on a quote and dimensions for the fully-restored Cerebus Volume One, which has been a year in the making, all told.
I had a mammoth catching-up post a few months ago, before starting work on Going Home, that summarized the issues I had to tackle in working on the book, and why the process was so long. As I mentioned in the post, with a process so complicated there were sure to be revisions.
Detail from page 79 of Cerebus Volume One, one version scanned from the sixth edition of the book, the other newly scanned and restored from the original monthly issue four.
Well, the revisions were not as bad as I had imagined. I put the finishing touches on the book this week, the final changes to the art pages occupying most of my Friday and Monday work time. The only bit left is the essay and the comparison images, which I'll be tackling this week, at which point the back matter will go to Dave for evaluation. And once it's approved, the book will go in the queue, waiting from the word from Diamond that we're ready for the next printing.
And this is where you can help me!
I'm looking for information, for foundational reading on the early period of Cerebus. Raw material that will aid me in writing what will surely be a difficult essay.
Let's break this down into categories, shall we?
The Anecdotal — Did you read Cerebus during its first run of twenty-five issues? I'm interested in your memories of this period of the book. Where you bought it. What else you were buying at the time. What you did between issues (and how patient your wait was!) What other books or cultural items (movies, music, whatever!) you compared it to or thought it had kinship with. Did you write to Dave or Deni at the time? Did you purchase artwork? What kind of relationship did you have with the book?
The Historical — Are there any "must read" materials—interviews, reviews, discussions in fanzines, even retrospectives—about the early period of Cerebus that are critical in your estimation to understanding the historical and social foundations of the book? I have the double-issue Comics Journal interview with Dave and Deni circa issue 34, I've read (and have access to about) half of the Swords introductions. I have access to original printings of the first 25 issues, letter col and intros and all. What else am I missing, and can you point me toward it?
The Referential — Borrowed characters. Borrowed voices and dialects. Parodies of current trends. Barry Smith swipes. The early book is a melange of appropriations and parodies and references. Are there any that are particularly obscure? Others that you've noticed that no one else has? A, say, pre-existing list somewhere? What are the other works that, broadly or specifically, contact Cerebus and shaped it?
Anything Else — This is your chance to have your say on the first twenty-five issues of Cerebus. What should a new reader know about it going in? How does it connect (or not) to the broader series? If I were writing this essay to your order, what exactly would you ask me to write?
Comment below, or if you prefer, you can email me at cerebusarthunt at gmail dot com! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and perspectives.