Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Out of the Depths

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.

So another look at Albatross One, Dave Sim's first Cerebus notebook. We've looked at it only twice so far: Albatross One, page one and in Captain Cockroach and Bunky.

I was looking through the scans and saw something that I hadn't seen before: some artwork for Gene Day's Out of the Depths fanzine. I have issue #1 coming out in 1974 and issue #2 in 1975, with no other issues published.

Albatross One, page 151
The date on this cover sketch is May 1981 with a 'No 1' in the upper right hand corner. Perhaps they were thinking of bringing it back?

Here is what the cover to issue #2 looks like.

Out of the Depths #2
It is the only  issue of the series I've ever found. I've never found issue #1. Both of which have work from Dave in them. It is so elusive that Dave didn't have a copy so I scanned in mine copy and sent it to him. In Cerebus Archive #2, Dave prints a letter from Gene Day about Out of the Depths #2 dated June 3, 1975. From the letter it sounds like Gene was only going to get 150 to 200 copies printed, which would explain why I have a hard time finding it. In that same issue of Cerebus Archive is the story by Dave that was originally printed in Out of the Depths #2.


Travis Pelkie said...

Those notes sound like a Cerebus story (that never was?), where Cerebus is hungover at a tavern and apparently loses all his gold? Did a story like that ever appear in one of the Swords volumes? (I'm not up on all my Cerebus miscellanea.)

Very cool stuff yet again, Margaret!

Unknown said...

Gene was always TALKING about reviving OUT OF THE DEPTHS -- and publishing HELLHOUND -- and publishing BLACK ZEPPELIN -- and drawing PIGEONS FROM HELL. He just couldn't face head-on that his Marvel work was devouring his life and he was never going to get anything else done. He actually got a surprising amount of other work done in terms of single illustrations or short comics stories or commercial jobs but he just couldn't face that it was, like, over, when it came to doing any other major projects under his control.

I would always think, "Man, I don't want to be like that. That's scary." I'm wondering if I AM like that now with STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND. It is a little different because I've got 180 pages done and scanned and after I'm dead, someone will print those 180 pages somewhere. All of Gene's uncompleted work just got sold by Gale to a comic-store owner for a lump sum. "What was this for?" "How many pages of this are there?" No one would have any idea at this point, I don't think.

Relatives are usually the worst when it comes to preserving material unless they're fellow devotees. Which Gale really wasn't.

Unknown said...

Travis - yes, it definitely reads like preliminary notes for "The Morning After" which was in SWORDS 2 (inked by Joe Rubinstein). WAY early on before I had it whittled down to a series of wordless sight gags with sound effects..

Michael Hoskin said...

I have access to a copy of #1 - I scanned the cover and indexed it for the GCD: