Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Three Saviors?

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.

The last time we looked at Dave's notebook #21, which covers Cerebus #164 through 187, was back in October of 2016 in Down In A Minute, Sweetheart. Of the 300 pages on the cover only 260 were scanned.

Part of the way in the notebook, there are some sketches for pages in Women where Po meets up with Astoria and Cerebus. The pages are approximately 2/3 the size of the notebook page and follow along to the finish page with a few exceptions.

Notebook 21, page 107
The above page corresponds to page 243 of Women, or page 17 of issue 174 if you're following along in the single issues.  The last 'chapter' so to speak of the phonebook, and a dramatic conclusion. This page's top panel has Cirin and some pretty graphic sound effects. On the final page, which made me wince when I originally read it, you don't see Cirin's face, but her foot on the victim's head, the sound effects bending over the victim's head as Cirin steps on it.

The rest of the page is much closer to the finished page, including the dialogue. If you click to zoom in the above page, you should be able to read the dialogue that Dave didn't used. I can only imagine that he didn't want the character to say he wasn't death as he was waiting for the big reveal after the page flip.

Notebook 21, page 108
Revealing the hooded character as Suenteus Po and not Death on the page flip, and showing us the reactions of the crowd, Astoria and Cerebus at the same time made me go 'whoa' just like all of them. Though now that I think about it - how does Po know what Death appears to be? Well, not really Death, but the character manifested when Cerebus sold his helmet. And while Cerebus thought he was the only one of his kind, aardvark that is, it seems a lot of the crowd knows who Po is, and doesn't seem really shocked at his appearance. . .

The sketch in the notebook page is pretty dang close to the finished page, #244 in Women, with the major difference being the panels with Astoria and Cerebus' reactions: both are given equal weight on the finished page. However, on the notebook page Astoria's reaction gets a bit larger panel.

Notebook 21, page 109
On the next page, shown above, while the characters are pretty similar to the finished page, this sketch is missing the backgrounds. Here it is with Ger's contribution:

Cerebus #174, page 19

1 comment:

Travis Pelkie said...

It would have been a much weirder book if after this page ("keep our hostess waiting"), there was one of those old "Hostess" cake ads at the end.

"Cerebus just loves the taste of that real fruit filling when Cerebus is beheading lots of Cirinists!"

There must have been some Cerebus/Hostess parodies, right? Have there been any posted here before?