Sean Michael Robinson:
There are now only three days left (THREE DAYS!!!) to support the Cerebus Archive Number Five Kickstarter, three days left to help ensure that the restoration efforts continue.
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.