Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Melmoth Kickstarter-- Three Days Left! and MINDS begins...

Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings!


If you haven't done so already, please check out my lengthy post from last week, which has since been buried under an avalanche of great content, on the why and how of the restoration. Why exactly are we doing this, and what is is that we're doing?

In my long essay at the end of the newly restored Cerebus Volume One (at the printer now!), I make the case that Cerebus's success as a publication involved a perfect alignment of market and creator; fanzine culture and the direct market colliding with a comic writer/artist/soon-to-be publisher capable of telling serialized stories uniquely suited to the new form of comic consumption. 

Time will tell if we make it to the end of this project, but in my most optimistic moments, it occurs to me that Cerebus is now once again in a similar position. Dave Sim has gone to great legal lengths to ensure that his creation will go to the public domain upon his death. so that anyone who wants to can benefit from it in any way that see fit—republish, rework, critique, discuss, collage. It's a concept very much aligned with some of the most idealistic thinkers of the Internet age, a concept that continues to develop as the corporate stranglehold on copyright continues. (There's a wealth of information at Duke Law's Center for the Study of the Public Domain).

It's fitting, then, that just a few hundred people have so far successfully financed this project, have paid for the scanning and careful restoration of around 3.000 pages of artwork through their pledges to the Cerebus Archive campaigns. If the project itself is unique to the print world (image quality not usually considered the domain of the Internet), the funding and organization of the project itself is uniquely digital, in that we're now entering a time where it's possible for smaller audiences to fund and sustain their interests.

Personally, I don't see Cerebus as a niche series, but an extremely unique series, that has straddled enough genre lines and weathered a remarkable series of genre changes and audience expectations, a work ripe for rediscovery. And if that process does continue, it'll be restored, with the aesthetic aspects presented as they were when they left the drawing boards of Dave and Gerhard, the care and attention they lavished on each aspect of the work evident in every panel and line.

Thank you all for making it happen.

Up next—we skip ahead to Minds! The raw scans are coming in now, as I type this. Here are a few closeups.





In fitting with earlier depictions of magic and madmen having their visions entangled with science (see: K'Cor, King of Imesh), Magus Doran has a prominently-featured gyroscope in his waiting room. 

 Sunday Best. Look at how artfully the line weight is communicating both lighting and prominence. 





8 comments:

Carson Grubaugh said...

It is really interesting how many pieces are cut and pasted together. Never would have guessed.

Sean R said...

Hey Carson,

A lot of the cut lines around the figures are just where the exacto knife was used to trim the tone. Not that there wasn't a lot of cutting and pasting xeroxes, but at least some of that is just exacto knife marks.

The first few months of Gerhard originals actually have a lot of his work on separate overlays glued to the board!

Dave Sim said...

It's definitely one of the question marks attached to restoration that we'll be dealing with in perpetuity: do you want to be 100% faithful in the reproduction of the original artwork (i.e. when you're looking at artwork with mechanical tone on it, you can see where the tone is visible against solid black) and how faithful do you want to be to the reproduction intent (the tone wasn't trimmed to the edge of the black area because it was a given that the exposure on the camera would eliminate that when the negative was produced: or it would be retouched on the negative to eliminate it).

For the moment, we're lucky to have the best of both worlds with CEREBUS because of Sean Robinson, Sandeep Atwal, AMOC, CEREBUS ARCHIVE, etc. etc. The books come out the way Gerhard and I intended them to look and everyone gets a microscopic look at the detail that's THERE, but you ordinarily don't get to see because Sean is an exceptional presence in the field. He knows how to do 100% accurate in both categories.

100% accurate reproduction IS expensive, though. I apologize for all the "trips to the well" we have to make (the "well" being your wallets), but I think posterity will be deeply appreciative that all of this was done when it needed to be done. Especially when it would be so easy for the CEREBUS fan base remnant to just give up on the book at our...political low point?...and leave CEREBUS as a problem for future generations.

Dave Sim said...

Carson and Sean - We actually used the photocopier to do "stats" for way too many years. Until Kim Preney explained to me that a photocopy only looks accurate (I was giving him grief because our photocopied "stats" looked better than their reproduction of them). Because it's really fine dust magnetically drawn into position, all of the fine lines look like little dust storms under a jeweller's loupe. Looks okay on the original though. D'OH!

Dave Sim said...

One of the big pluses with the Kickstarter money is that it's "front-end" money. We get paid and THEN we produce the Portfolios and mail them to everyone (although Sandeep is experimenting right now with "in-progress" production: pasting up the CEREBUS ARCHIVE logos on the front of the Portfolios when there's still a week until the end of the campaign).

The name of the game is Cash Flow Riptides -- $23,000 just went to our Manitoba printer for CEREBUS Volume 1 (the restored restored edition -- there's always something new) -- so getting the Kickstarter money in (it takes two weeks to be transferred into the A-V Canadian $ bank account so it should be arriving December 24) helps putty in the cracks between Diamond cheques.

We're projecting CEREBUS Volume 1 being back in print before the end of January. God willing.

Jeff Seiler said...

Well, Merry Christmas from the faithful however many and from Kickstarter, to A-V, Inc.! That sure beats my silly little Christmas and Hannukah cards...

Dave Sim said...

Jeff - Well, nothing beats your "light up tacky Christmas sweater" card a couple of years back. Zack Kitchen played that one to DEATH!

Jeff Seiler said...

I might have come close with this year's cards (Christmas and Hannukah)...