Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Restoration Update: Minds, High Society, and the Work So Far

Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings folks!

Paper to Pixel to Paper Again is taking a week off so that I can present a few hilights from the previous few months work on the Cerebus restoration.

First off, I've seen a few posts here and there recently about which volumes, exactly have been restored, and which are already in print and available for purchase. So I thought now is as good a time as any to present an updated list that indicates exactly where each volume is at in the process—

1 Cerebus—RESTORED, PUBLISHED January 2017
2 High Society—RESTORED, PUBLISHED March 2015
3 Church and State I—RESTORED, PUBLISHED January 2016
4 Church and State II—RESTORED, unpublished
5 Jaka's Story—restoration in progress and almost complete
6 Melmoth—artwork and negs scanned
7 Flight—no progress
8 Women—no progress
9 Reads—RESTORED, PUBLISHED August 2016
11 Guys—artwork and negs scanned
12 Rick's Story—no progress
13 Going Home—RESTORED, PUBLISHED November 2016
14 Form and Void—no progress
15 Latter Days—no progress

You might wonder about the jumping around involved in the above list. We're restoring in the order of demand, getting to each volume as the sales figures indicate it will be up for reprint next. 

You might also notice from the above that Minds is finished! I received some final corrections on Friday for the finished draft of the 6,000 word essay/back matter, as well as the cover, and so now it's up to Dave to work out the details with Diamond, and then I'll get us on the print schedule with Friesens, the fine folks that did the outstanding job on the fully-restored Cerebus Volume One back in January.

Speaking of that Cerebus Volume One, just this morning I received a very kind email from a certain Internationally Renowned Cartoonist And Super Nice Guy Who Might Prefer His Private Correspondence To Remain Private, who had this to say about the new volume—

"I have to say. If you haven't seen this version of the first volume then you haven't seen the first volume. This is a quantum leap. Congratulations!"

Which, come to think of it, might make a nice pull quote.

"I have to say. If you haven't seen this version of the first volume then you haven't seen the first volume. This is a quantum leap. Congratulations!"
—Internationally Renowned Cartoonist And Super Nice Guy Who Might Prefer His Private Correspondence To Remain Private


Anyway, if you haven't picked up a copy yet, it's a really good indication of where this project is headed with future books and future printings. Very little visible dot gain, rich lustrous blacks, and zero (or next to zero) technical issues that cause me to grind my teeth and curse the heavens for months afterwards. 

Speaking of reprintings—

Despite the Jaka's Story progress, it's likely by the numbers that a new printing of High Society will be up next. No surprise, I suppose, since it's the most popular volume of the series, and had a bubble of unmet demand during its long period of being out of print.

It'll be an interesting exercise, too, as the first restored edition was printed by a printer that was not really up to the task, bringing way too much dot gain and a really thin/gray black to the finished book. So it'll be exciting to see that same careful restoration work presented in a much better light by Friesens. 

The new edition will also include whatever new original art boards pages we've made scans of since the first edition, which, as of this count, is around ten pages of new original art scans.

About half of these come from the prodigious collection of James Guarnotta, including one of my favorite sequences from the book (below)—

This is a really interesting, design-heavy look that Dave began in this period and seemed to perfect right as Gerhard came on board the book. With Gerhard as the background artist, this look—lots of flat planes filled with textures, with lots of stark black and stark white set off by a few choice middle values—disappeared for the majority of the series, with only Going Home and Form and Void bringing some brief reappearances.
 The above image is clearly Dave trying out for Moon Knight and Mad Magazine simultaneously.

Some images, like the above, can look downright bizarre in color, when you can see the arbitrarily-cut tone overlapping the black areas. It takes a whole different set of skills as a cartoonist to imagine what this would look like in print.

Note the un-inked blue lines, which contribute to the designy-ness—line by implication in the printed image.

Good question, Cerebus. Good question.

And now! It's back to Cerebus in Hell? for me. I've completed the finished files for the first four of the one-shots, and they're now at the printer (Marquis. Thanks folks for the great job you're doing!) And now it's time to tackle the next four, in the hopes of building up six months or so of lead time on the book, so the future ones can be completed in a more leisurely fashion.

Any questions? Comments? Wanton insults? Gratuitous praise? Hit me up in the comments!

Sean Michael Robinson is a writer, artist, and musician. See more at


Tim said...

Great post, thanks. Quick question - I bought the reissue of vol 1 from the kickstarter campaign a couple years or so ago. How do I ensure I get the restored version from this year? Thanks

Sean R said...

Hello Tim!

The restored version had a banner that says Remastered Edition across the top. It also has a higher $40 cover price. If you order from your local comic store, you'll be sure to get the new edition as its the only know currently in stock at Diamond. Hope that's helpful to you!

Michael Grabowski said...

I liked the Everest digital print from a few CANs ago. Time to update that?

Anonymous said...

In the original art images the blacks are not uniform. when the book is printed are the blacks solid or do the reproduce as is shown on the blow ups

Sean R said...

Hello anonymous,

They will be reproduced as line art, i.e. with the blacks uniform/solid. We're using original art scans when possible because of the detail I can bring out of them as compared to negatives or scans of previous printings. I'm just using this opportunity to show the art in color for your enjoyment :)

Sean R said...

Here's an article about restoring the early issues, the problems they presented, that includes a section about restoring from original art (with lots of visual examples)--

Carson Grubaugh said...


Eddie said...

I just got the remastered Vol 1.
Beautiful. Just beautiful, beautiful work on the remastering. It's the best looking version of vol 1 I've seen. The solid blacks are especially striking and captivating.

Eric Bahringer said...

Just wondering if you had any dates for the reissue of Vol 10 or 4?

Sean R said...

Hey Eric,

Still waiting for a purchase order for Vol 10--it'll happen when Diamond is completely out of inventory. Vol 4 is further off still for similar reasons. But both might make a digital/screen appearance sometime in the next six months or so on a Well Known Digital Comics Platform. Stay tuned...