Thursday, 30 November 2017

Dave Sim's Answers to Five Questions about Flight, part 6

Kickstarter ends 2 December!

Hi, Everybody!

As we close in on the last week for the Kickstarter for Cerebus Archive Number 7: Flight, I thought we should take a look back on Dave's answers to the Cerebus Yahoo Group's five questions. Specifically, his answers regarding Flight.

Preamble: So a few years ago (2005, I believe,) The Cerebus Yahoo Group started a re-read of the whole series. And then we'd discuss an individual volume and come up with five questions and send them to Dave, and he would respond. These are those questions and answers. (Please note, most questions were multi-part in nature, and Dave would break them down as he answered them.

Q5. Is there any further explanation for what K'Cor's abandoned, unfinished monument was supposed to be, or represent? In Cerebus #9, we see the plans for the completed monument. It looks like an abstract, armless, humanoid form. A little green man? An Aardvark? K'Cor's ramblings about the Venusians seem like the ranting of a madman, and one could dismiss the whole thing as an early plot idea left in the dust- but you brought it back in Flight. Po refers to K'Cors monument as being "of great and vital importance on many of the inter-connecting chessboards: alignments of power and influence ebbed and flowed in its proximity. Its completion would have wrought profound and lasting change." K'Cor is fascinated with Venus, and the moon- both astrological aspects of Woman. So, who was guiding his hand? Terim/Yoowhoo? Cirin? And if this monument was so important to the interdimensional aspect of Woman, why was it derailed by a woman in the departure of Sedra, all the while K'Cor still being in contact with "The Living Goddess?"

DAVE: Well, actually that was just my peculiar sense of humour. What K'Cor was attempting to build was a giant DNA molecule, a double helix, but he didn't have much in the way of a three-dimensional sense so that's what it came out looking like. Po was responding to the intent behind it, on the spiritual level and, there's my sense of humour again. If you are a human being (or an aardvark-let's say "physically incarnated") the danger with attempting to live a spiritual life is that you can only know it imperfectly "through a glass darkly" so your assessments become imperfect and vaguely (or sometimes specifically I'm sure) ludicrous. "There is a great deal of laughter but it's very high up and very far away." K'Cor was guided by his insights, whether he was inhabited by a higher consciousness or spoken to in his dreams or, more likely, a drug victim. You make your own choices. I suspect I was unconsciously showing myself what it was that I was about to choose-to spend twenty-six years building this giant monument which might prove to be something or might not-that might be useful as a "stairway to heaven" or prove to be as valuable as a giant two-dimensional model of part of a DNA molecule. Time will tell.

Even at the time I was quite aware that there is an enormous difference between an individual woman and womankind contemplated collectively although I hadn't yet arrived at the conclusion that in trying to satisfy and serve the interests of the latter you will, more often than not, alienate the former and in trying to serve and satisfy the interests of the former, you will, more often than not alienate the latter. And since women have, through feminism, universally adopted a collectivist identity in addition to their individual identities, it is ultimately impossible to choose one or the other exclusively. You must in any given circumstance choose to address her as an incarnation of the collective identity or as herself as an individual and whichever one you choose to address she will, in my experience, adopt the protective colouration of the other. The mistake that K'Cor made was in thinking that his allegiance to the collective female identity and unquestioning devotion to The Goddess assured the success of his relationship with Sedra when nothing could be further from the truth. She left him because clearly she wasn't his primary relationship, The Goddess and the collective womankind was his primary relationship. I think most women measure the success of their relationships by the knee-jerk quality of their partner's responses. If she's in "O" mode you have to respond in "O" fashion. If she's in "1" mode, you have to respond in "1" fashion and if you guess wrong as to which mode she is in with your initial response you have to be able to create a plausible cover story as to how you meant "0" when you actually said "1". Of course becoming adept at these things just makes you uninteresting and she leaves out of boredom while failing to become adept at the quick switch makes you perverse and she leaves out of resentment.
Next: The Wildcard (dun dun DUN!)...

A Bit O'Swank

MARGARET LISS:
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.

With the exception of last week's entry, we've been looking at Dave Sim's notebook #9 lately to see the Mick and Keef entries at the request of Jimmy Gownley. We've seen some items from Cerebus #85 and 86, but what about the genesis of Mick and Keef?

The first instance of the princely brothers that I can see in the notebook is on page 58:

Notebook #9, page 58
The thumbnail appears to be for the first page of Cerebus #85, but wasn't used and some of the dialogue between Mick and Keef when Cerebus introduces himself. And below that we see some sketches of two guys whom I can only assume are the first sketches of Mick and Keef.

Skip ahead two pages and we sketches of a 'Prince Michael':

Notebook #9, page 61
Yeah, that looks more like the Prince Mick that we all know. Then on page 62 a couple more sketches of Mick along with some dialogue:

Notebook #9, page 62
The next page is a couple more sketches, and finally the sunglasses appear:

Notebook #9, page 63


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

FLIGHT Kickstarter Coming to a Close

Sean Michael Robinson:

Greetings all!

A brief message today to remind you that the CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER SEVEN: FLIGHT Kickstarter is almost complete! 

For your pledge? A ten-page portfolio of at-sized color reproductions of the first ten FLIGHT pages in the Cerebus Archive! A 10,000 word illustrated essay about the creation of the pages, written by one David Victor Sim!  A thank-you in perpetuity in the back of whatever ends up being the next book restored and printed thanks to this campaign! 

And there are a few other specialized rewards as well. The Cerebus in Hell? ones especially stick out for me.

Pledge CA$ 150 or more

Personalized Cerebus In Hell? Strip

Have a character named after you in a future CEREBUS IN HELL? strip and get a frame-able copy of the strip personalized to you by Dave Sim and Benjamin Hobbs.
ESTIMATED DELIVERY
SHIPS TOAnywhere in the world
2 backers


Pledge CA$ 500 or more

4 Personalized Cerebus In Hell? Strips

Have a character named after you in a four-strip sequence of a future CEREBUS IN HELL? episode. And get frameable copies of the four strips personalized to you by Dave Sim and Benjamin Hobbs. $500
ESTIMATED DELIVERY
SHIPS TOAnywhere in the world
1 backer



As there's no limit to these particular rewards, if we're swamped with pledges for them in the next few days—let's say, TEN people pledging for the latter reward—then you 3,000-4,000 current Cerebus in Hell? readers might be forced to endure a few issues of the usual funny comics about the banality of eternal torture, with inexplicably-featured background characters with names that seem vaguely familiar...

Which, now that I'm thinking about it, is really not that much different than a typical Cerebus in Hell? strip if you, say, don't know who Brian Wilson is. Or Squirrel Girl. Or... you get the picture.

Is this the new "silver bullet" for halting the creeping black-and-white indie comic malaise? Will this tactic take of and soon be regarded as the 21st century equivalent of painting your patrons into your nativity or other religious paintings?

We'll see soon!

Thanks to everyone who's pledged so far! And if you haven't pledged yet but you'd like to support the campaign, please consider pledging for a Christmas card or even just making a donation. It's much appreciated! 

This work is only made possible by your support.

Dave Sim's Answers to Five Questions about Flight, part 5

Kickstarter ends 2 December!

Hi, Everybody!

As we close in on the last week for the Kickstarter for Cerebus Archive Number 7: Flight, I thought we should take a look back on Dave's answers to the Cerebus Yahoo Group's five questions. Specifically, his answers regarding Flight.

Preamble: So a few years ago (2005, I believe,) The Cerebus Yahoo Group started a re-read of the whole series. And then we'd discuss an individual volume and come up with five questions and send them to Dave, and he would respond. These are those questions and answers. (Please note, most questions were multi-part in nature, and Dave would break them down as he answered them.

Q4. Cirin reveals she wants to keep Cerebus alive (i152). We learn later that the reason for this is she hopes to create more aardvarks through Cerebus' hermaphroditic nature. Is she incapable of giving birth, and if not does this mean that Sir Gerrick is her real son and therefore her proof that she cannot produce an Aardvark?

DAVECirin was infuriated by the fact that she couldn't give birth to another aardvark largely as an element of her overwhelming maternal vanity, the same maternal vanity that keeps mothers from seeing their axe-murderer sons as anything but misunderstood little darlings. It's all a matter of your reaction to being exceptional. As I say, Po's reaction was: if I'm that profoundly different from everyone else, what business do I have interfering? Cirin's reaction was: I'm that much better than everyone else so it's up to me to produce more like me in order to run everything properly because everyone else has made a mess of everything. Even among the exceptional she was exceptional. She knew that aardvarks were spontaneous mutations and that there were few if any instances of aardvarks even passing on limited aspects to their human offspring (i.e. Shep-shep's three toes). She could accept that about others but not about herself. She had to be the Mother of All Aardvarks. The fact that her son was human was a personal affront to her. There hadn't been a lot of female aardvarks if you read between the lines of the story and you don't need much exposure to Cirin to understand why that is. The exponential magnification of female nature is intrinsically monstrous, obsessive and monomaniacal. Like the Liberal government of Canada which is basically run by its women's caucus. They got elected almost a year ago and the only legislation they have in the pipeline is same-sex marriage. That's what happens when you magnify female interests. Everything else grinds to a halt while they advance their monomaniacal interest. Massive infusion of cash into the Marxist health care money pit, National Daycare program, same sex marriage. One at a time, one after another. The Canadian people had to take the lead in this country's tsunami relief effort. The government barely looked up long enough to vaguely acknowledge that having air lift capability for our emergency response might be a useful thing to talk about sometime down the road. Right now, it's same-sex marriage or death. The fact that Cerebus might be able to impregnate himself only added to her fury since that seemed a greater likelihood of producing purer aardvarkian offspring. She produced a human infant and called it a day-it would be just too destructive of her over-inflated opinion of herself if she had had any more failures. Cerebus didn't produce any offspring for a long time which served as a kind of salve to her ego and compelled her in the direction of genetic engineering. If Cerebus was going to beat her in the baby aardvark sweepstakes, maybe she could beat him on the inside rail down the home stretch by learning how to grow aardvarks from scratch like plants. 

Next: Question 5...

Watchvark #1-- Synchronized Eternity, the Last Wednesday of Every Month!

Order at your Local Comics Shop now! Diamond Order Code: NOV171094

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Dave Sim's Answers to Five Questions about Flight, part 4

Kickstarter ends 2 December!

Hi, Everybody!

As we close in on the last week for the Kickstarter for Cerebus Archive Number 7: Flight, I thought we should take a look back on Dave's answers to the Cerebus Yahoo Group's five questions. Specifically, his answers regarding Flight.

Preamble: So a few years ago (2005, I believe,) The Cerebus Yahoo Group started a re-read of the whole series. And then we'd discuss an individual volume and come up with five questions and send them to Dave, and he would respond. These are those questions and answers. (Please note, most questions were multi-part in nature, and Dave would break them down as he answered them.)
Q3a. Po: Suenteus Po is revealed as the third Aardvark. Were all (or some) of his previous incarnations (ex. Goldsmith Po who was burned at the stake) also aardvarks?

DAVE: Well, that would be a position worthy of a certain amount of debate. It depends on what you think distinguishes Suenteus Po from others and whether you think he's right or "right" in his viewpoints. Is it better to live your life in isolation so as to avoid having negative effects on the world and is that what distinguishes Suenteus Po from others? Is Po's largest over-arching reality monasticism or aardvark nature? He would hold to the former
view, I think. He would be of the Gandhi school in that regard, passive resistance and so on. Buddha nature. Cirin, on the other hand, is of a more activist breed. You have to get out there and improve things...even if you make them worse. Po is an aardvark and he imparts as much of the history of aardvarks to Cerebus as he deems necessary, but I don't think he feels any special kinship with his genetic predecessors. How he chose to live his life was, to him, more important than the physical qualities he shares with this particular strain of mutation. It's an interesting philosophical construct: "If I'm so different from everyone else, what possible justification could I have for interfering in their lives?"

Q3b: Po states that "capricious aspects" of his consciousness have a habit of interfering. (i158) Does this mean all (or some) of the earlier Po's whom Cerebus met in Mind Games I-VI were just capricious aspects?




DAVE: It depends on whether capriciousness in this case is a reason or an excuse. If you are pledged to non-interference presumably you don't have any capricious aspects. You just don't interfere. The Buddha scrupulously just sits there. I think it's more likely that Po wasn't completely sold on non-interference and consequently interfered a lot more than he could comfortably accept as an intrinsic reality. Just telling Cerebus what his history was and showing him some of the implications of his own choices couldn't help but change Cerebus' nature. A more well-informed Cerebus was a different Cerebus, potentially a more dangerous Cerebus and he became well-informed through Po's interference. It was one of the net effects of Cerebus going from a catatonic and quiescent state to an active state and going in search of reality. He was going to corner Suenteus Po, another The Other, essentially driving him out of his own catatonic and quiescent state and causing problems for everything that he was hooked up to from his own extended period of quiescence. Interfering a little bit never works because it's impossible to limit it to a "little bit".

Q3c: Could one of these "aspects" have been involved with Claremont in the fake elf caper?


DAVE: Could well have been. One of the problems that I imagine attaches itself to spiritual levels of existence is that the "higher up" you go and the longer and more effectively you achieve a quiescent state, the more things interconnect and the less possible it becomes to limit the effects that you have. What is a stray thought in your own reality can become a transformational insight to someone you are connected with. If the transformation is a negative one, what is your level of culpability for your stray thought? In a lot of ways, Suenteus Po was just trying to get Cerebus to calm down. Calming down as a choice works, calming down as an instruction or a direct order won't. Showing Cerebus the implications of the actions he has already taken as a means of getting him to stop taking action only unsettled him and amplified his discordant effects.

 Next: We ask him one... (again.)

Cerebus In Matt's Life: Part the First

Hi Everybody!

Today on A Moment Of Cerebus, we look at the FIRST time mild mannered Interim Editor Matt Dow encountered Cerebus the Aardvark...

We set our Wayback machines to 1982. Reagan was President, Trudeau was Prime Minister, and Matt was three years old.

His dad had gotten him, and his older brother Ben (Hi-ya Jerkface!) a subscription to three Marvel comics (I think it was one of their frequent subscriber deals...), Star Wars, The Incredible Hulk, and...

The Amazing Spider-Man. (Matt's love for the wall-crawler is what led him to discover and first read Cerebus around 1993...)

And there, in the October cover dated issue:
Image copyright 2004 Marvel, see it says it right there. Not to spoil the issue, but Spidey fights the Tarantula. It does not go well.

Matt found the character that would one day consume him (wait, what?):

Of course, at three, Matt couldn't read the ad. But through sheer determination (and older brother Jerkface's refusal to read the story to our little hero,) Matt slowly learned the skill for which he would be must frequently told to, "stop that and finish [insert random task here]!": READING!

Soon the forty or so comics in the Dow brother's collection (carefully and lovingly stored in an old shoebox,) were read almost to shreds. The stories memorized. And so, young Master Dow began to go back and read the advertisements. (Because, seriously, who the heck WANTS to go out and pick dandelions?) 
CEREBUS
Cerebus is an aardvark, just 3 feet tall, tough as nails and ready to lick any 5 men. His stomping ground is the world of swords & sorcery. And if there's trouble, especially involving gold, he's smack in the middle of it! 
Short supply, don't delay! 

Who was this CEREBUS? What's an aardvark? And why was he ready to lick any 5 men?

A quick trip to the encyclopedia, proved fruitful. Aardvark's are ant-eaters. They use their long tongues to lick the ants out of anthills. Where the 5 men come into it, the people at World Book decided to leave out. Surely, it would be educational to find this Cerebus and learn more.

Unfortunately, at a dollar fifty apiece, purchasing these strange funnybooks was out of the question (not even the complete set of issues 23-38 for 21 bucks (a savings of $3!!!) was a consideration...).

If only Matt had done chores instead of rotting his mind with that funnybook trash! Wertham was right!!!

Next time: With Great Power comes an unhealthy obsession with a man who leaves the house in nothing but his long underwear... 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Dave Sim's Answers to Five Questions about Flight, part 3

Kickstarter ends 2 December!

Hi, Everybody!

As we close in on the last week for the Kickstarter for Cerebus Archive Number 7: Flight, I thought we should take a look back on Dave's answers to the Cerebus Yahoo Group's five questions. Specifically, his answers regarding Flight.

Preamble: So a few years ago (2005, I believe,) The Cerebus Yahoo Group started a re-read of the whole series. And then we'd discuss an individual volume and come up with five questions and send them to Dave, and he would respond. These are those questions and answers. (Please note, most questions were multi-part in nature, and Dave would break them down as he answered them.)
Q2a. Strange happenings: Underwater, the coins are still rising - orbiting each other and glowing. At a Chico painting session (great painting!), the nude model sees tiny Cerebi. Just as Cerebus orders the villagers to attack the Cirinists, Thatcher sees part of the city wall grow in a penis-like shape. I guess overall we're supposed to think that Cerebus rousing himself to action and becoming a player again has the effect of causing weird things to happen over the world. Is there a specific pattern?

DAVE: The idea that I was trying to get across was of a transformational state that was so widely dispersed and so various in character that no pattern could be readily discerned-it was impossible to stand far enough back to see the Big Picture (which prefigures the trip through the solar system-a genuine try at standing far enough back). I was already aware that that was the nature of reality-that, in our own world, each day's newspaper essentially documents the fitful progress of the global storyline as it has changed since yesterday. It's the reason I think the news is so compelling. Our higher natures recognize the larger pattern and are absorbed in studying that while our human natures are interested in what we perceive to be disparate and unrelated episodic chronologies. I tried to hint at the former while documenting the latter. It's a tangential observation to the old "if a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a noise?" How many things happen that we aren't around to see? How much of the debate between unresolvable dualities takes place outside of the realm of human perception?

Q2b: Is it merely a case that with Cerebus charging and slaughtering Cirinists, his amplified energy is spreading out, along with the action of the Black Lotus (another amplifier)?

DAVE: It's certainly partly that, but it's also the fact that he has accidentally achieved a dormant and quiescent state over an extended period as a result of the profound shock that he's experienced. What is the net effect of catatonia upon whatever the thing is that inhabits him/he is inhabiting? My best speculation was that the spirit enlarges under such a circumstance and effectively begins to seep outward-like the fog created by a dry ice machine-and to permeate all aspects of its surrounding reality: that is, that catatonia has a great deal in common with meditation and other transcendental states: the difference being the respective catalysts, in the first case a psychological trauma and in the second case an imperative toward self-improvement. The danger in the former case is that a comparable trauma is apt to hurl the subject out of the transcendental state with the same force that he was hurled into it. So everything he's become hooked up to through the seepage becomes subject to the same form of whiplash. Depending on the severity of the reaction (which in turn hinges on the extent to which the connection has been made) everything in the spiritual vicinity abruptly begins to rise above or in one sense or another move outside of its previous state and discharges or extrudes or divides one part of its intrinsic nature centering on The Other from the other part of its intrinsic nature centering on Self because Jaka's presumed death is the initial catalyst for the seepage and Jaka's mistreatment becomes the secondary catalyst for breaking out of quiescence. All you need is love to trigger a series of peculiar and occasionally catastrophic episodes over a wide geographic area.

Q2c: Are the circling coins attempting to re-create the sphere, and make what seems to be a physical representation of Einstein's formula E=MC2, precursor to another "big bang"? (i153)

DAVE: The circling coins are enacting, rather disinterestedly by the looks of things, the two dichotomous political positions in the debate on the preferred nature of The Other-whether it is better to just hurl off a bunch of sparks (the spermatozoa/masculine/masturbation position) or to generate small imperfect replicas of oneself (the egg/feminine/procreative position).

Next: Question 3... 

Watchvark #1-- Part of the Winning Team, the Last Wednesday of Every Month!

Order at your Local Comics Shop now! Diamond Order Code: NOV171094

Fringe Benefits...

Hi Everybody!

So, since taking the job as Interim Editor of A Moment Of Cerebus, I've discovered certain...fringe benefits. Like when I opened up the AMOC email account to find that Gerhard checked in:
Farewell Tim!
Hello Matt (sucker):

Wishing you the best of luck (and kinda questioning your judgement) in taking on this thankless task.

I've attached my latest and last batch of con sketches for the year
to do with whatever you please.

Sincerely,
Ger
www.gerhardart.com
 Thanks Ger! (I think...)
Gerebus as Kraven the Hunter


Gerebus as Morpheus, the Sandman

Gerebus and Death
Gerebus 
Gerebus

Thanks Ger! 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Dave Sim's Answers to Five Questions about Flight, part 2



Hi, Everybody!

As we close in on the last week for the Kickstarter for Cerebus Archive Number 7: Flight, I thought we should take a look back on Dave's answers to the Cerebus Yahoo Group's five questions. Specifically, his answers regarding Flight.

Preamble: So a few years ago (2005, I believe,) The Cerebus Yahoo Group started a re-read of the whole series. And then we'd discuss an individual volume and come up with five questions and send them to Dave, and he would respond. These are those questions and answers. (Please note, most questions were multi-part in nature, and Dave would break them down as he answered them.)

Q1b: Are we to believe these coins were minted by either Tarim or Po?

DAVE: It's certainly one of the prevailing belief systems which dominate Estarcion. As to whether you should or shouldn't believe it, you might as well ask "Are we to believe that there was an historical Jesus?" The core nature of belief is choice.

Q1c: Also, it appears that at least one coin bears the image of an aardvark. Does this mean that Tarim was an aardvark?

DAVE: That would be a far less commonly held belief than the belief that Tarim, when he walked the earth, minted coins. The fact that the title character is an aardvark would tend to skew belief in that direction on the part of the reader, which isn't to say that it's insupportable as belief systems go.
 Next: Question 2...

Bone vs Cerebus!

by Dave Ryan & Don Simpson

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Dave Sim's Answers to Five Questions about Flight, part 1

Kickstarter ends 2 December!

Hi, Everybody!

As we close in on the last week for the Kickstarter for Cerebus Archive Number 7: Flight, I thought we should take a look back on Dave's answers to the Cerebus Yahoo Group's five questions. Specifically, his answers regarding Flight.

Preamble: So a few years ago (2005, I believe,) The Cerebus Yahoo Group started a re-read of the whole series. And then we'd discuss an individual volume and come up with five questions and send them to Dave, and he would respond. These are those questions and answers. (Please note, most questions were multi-part in nature, and Dave would break them down as he answered them.)

Q1a. The Coins: We see coins decaying at the bottom of the ocean. Is it correct to assume the nine bubbles emanating from one of the
coins are meant to represent the nine spheres?

DAVE: Yes. And the planets in the solar system. Mercury, Venus, the Earth, etc. The first coin basically just lets off a shower of sparks and the second coin generates these perfect spherical shapes. I was labouring under the misapprehension that the planets were formed of matter "thrown off" by the sun. Which I'm not sure isn't at least partly true. The planets coalesce in much the same way that the sun coalesces and a planet, it seems to me, signifies a greater level of coherence than does a ring. I suspect that's one of the messages of the solar system. Out of the nine planets, only Saturn and Uranus have rings (or is it Neptune?). Planets and moons are more common. Of those entities orbiting the sun, only the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is largely incoherent. The system which we inhabit is 80 to 85% coherent and 15 to 20% incoherent. There is hope.


Next: Question 1, part 2...

Dave Sim, Film Consultant For Hire

16 March 07

Hi Al,

50 percent of nothing is still nothing, I’m afraid. For the last two years I’ve been working on a comic book that will be roughly 40 pages long when it’s done. After that I’ll probably do a graphic novel. Neither of these is intended to become a film, nor would I be interested in having them turned into films. Apart from that I work between four and six days a month on The Blog & Mail as a means of keeping the Dave Sim and Cerebus "brands" in circulation in the comicbook field (a Cerebus reader in Rhode Island then posts them one at a time on a daily basis). After that I can justify between three or four days a month on outside projects if those projects pay me a minimum of 500 dollars a day (based on a twelve-hour day). This is the reason that the best Marvel can hope for is a cover if they can get their rates up in the vicinity of $1,000 or so and why I can’t see doing any interior work: the rates are too low ($400 at the most) and it would take me three or four days (at least) to produce a top quality comic-book page.

If you want to hire me as a consultant on your film and give me a Co-Producer credit in order to create the illusion that you’re working on this with “the famous graphic novelist, Dave Sim” (which is really what this is about – the cachet of graphic novelists in Hollywood right now) then those are my rates. You send me your script with a cheque for $1,000 and I’ll give it my full attention for two days and make notes on it. When you get my notes that will give you a full month to decide if you want to buy another block of two days from me and what you want me to do with them, again, at the quoted $500-a-day rate.

If you want me to work on it for free with a promise of a 50-50 split of entirely theoretical profits, as you can see that wouldn’t really fit into my own situation and plans.

Sincerely,

Dave Sim

From "Dave Sim's Collected Letters 2007" -- available to download now!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

A Message From A Moment Of Cerebus

 Hi Everybody,

To all of our American readers: Happy Thanksgiving!
And to all our readers from everywhere else: Happy Thursday!

From the A Moment Of Cerebus team.

What I want to tell Cerebus

MARGARET LISS:
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.

We will be taking one  week off from Mick and Keef, and will return next week to the duo who married the Buttock sisters so their father the king would make bail for them. This week is a bit something different. Other than pages from the notebook, how about some pictures of the notebooks themselves? When I started scanning them in 2005 my camera was a . . .potato? I can't remember, all I know is I took only a few pictures of the notebooks themselves, instead just focusing on scanning all those pages.

First up is a picture of notebook 3, albatross 4 and albatross 5:

Three Notebooks
Dave would often send a couple notebooks at a time, just in case something happened to them while in transit, only a couple would be . . .damaged or . . .lost.

Notebook 20
On the top is a small post-it on which Dave would write down which issues he thought the notebook had info on. Most of the time he was correct. Sometimes however, there was a little bit of overlap. I'd get 10 pages into the notebook and find some info on an issue that was in a previous notebook. Or twenty pages before the end of a notebook, there'd be a page or two on an issue that was to be in the next notebook.

Notebooks 23 to 25
The above picture has a bit better resolution in the potato I was previously using to take pictures.  The small post-it notes that Dave put on each notebook cover are easier to see in the above picture.
I also took a couple of pictures of the pages of the notebooks, as it just fascinated me how these pages were full with almost completed comic book pages - add some Gerhard backgrounds and presto:

Interior pages: page 6 and 7 of Notebook #29 (click picture for a larger view)
Notebook #29's page six was already featured in an installment, Fall and the River. One of the few times I just opened the notebook pages and stared in wonder at it. I was like: no way! I had to get the actual issues and compare them.

Interior page: page 201 of Notebook #29
And the last notebooks which Dave sent to me:

The Last Notebooks I Received
Those notebooks are: Notebook #30 "Mind Rehearsal" or "What I want to tell Cerebus" (small green), notebook #31 (small red), notebook #32 and notebook #33 (school notebooks). For some reason that escapes me (and my quick search through our correspondence), Dave sent those notebooks to me last, instead of the actual last notebook, notebook #36.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Watchvark #1-- Optimistic Opportunism, the Last Wednesday of Every Month!

Order at your Local Comics Shop now! Diamond Order Code: NOV171094

Larger-Than-Life-Sized

Sean Michael Robinson:


Greetings all!

First off, I wanted to point you towards the Cerebus Archive Number Seven (FLIGHT) Kickstarter, which has ten days left to go, including more "Crazy Deals" (which, uh, have been truly crazy). Seriously, check out what's gone in the past few days:

CRAZY DEAL OF THE DAY - DAY#7
DAVE SIM (via fax relay): "On the SEVENTH Day of CRAZY-DAY DEAL OF THE DAY, Dave Sim gave to meee: SEVEN COPIES OF THE DIGITALLY REMASTERED CEREBUS TRADE PAPERBACK AUTOGRAPHED AND/OR PERSONALIZED ( BUT PROBABLY NOT ALL SEVEN PERSONALIZED TO ME BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE A LITTLE WEIRD ALSO) FOR SEVEN BUUUCKS!"

CRAZY DEAL OF THE DAY - DAY#8
DAVE SIM (via fax relay): "On the EIGHTH Day of CRAZY-DAY DEAL OF THE DAY, Dave Sim gave to meee: EIGHT AUTOGRAPHED AND/OR PERSONALIZED IDW DAVE SIM VARIANT COVERS THAT DAVE SIM WILL BAG AND BOARD HIMSELF FOR EIGHT BUUUCKS!"


CRAZY DEAL OF THE DAY - DAY#9
DAVE SIM (via fax relay): "On the NINTH Day of CRAZY-DAY DEAL OF THE DAY, Dave Sim gave to meee: NINE HALF-HOUR PHONE CONVERSATIONS ON HIS NICKEL (WITH ME OR ANYONE I WANT HIM TO TALK TO) for NINE BUUUCKS!"

CRAZY DEAL OF THE DAY - DAY#10
DAVE SIM (via fax relay): "On the TENTH Day of CRAZY-DAY DEAL OF THE DAY, Dave Sim gave to meee: TEN AUTOGRAPHED CEREBUS COMIC BOOKS OF HIS CHOOSING FROM THE AARDVARK-VANAHEIM ARCHIVES FOR TEN BUUUCKS!
CRAZY DEAL OF THE DAY - DAY#11
DAVE SIM (via fax relay): "On the ELEVENTH Day of CRAZY-DAY DEAL OF THE DAY, Dave Sim gave to meee: ELEVEN AUTOGRAPHED AND OR PERSONALIZED STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND TRACING PAPER DRAWINGS FOR ELEVEN BUUUCKS!"

CRAZY DEAL OF THE DAY - DAY#12
DAVE SIM (via fax relay): "On the TWELFTH Day of CRAZY-DAY DEAL OF THE DAY, Dave Sim gave to meee: TWELVE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND OUTTAKE PAGES OF ORIGINAL ARTWORK FOR TWELVE BUUUCKS"


***

Speaking of "Crazy Deal"s... I had an interesting task last week. The great actor Owen Kline, who made his debut in 2005's incredible The Squid and the Whale, is directing a new film called Two Against Nature. A scene takes place in a comic store, and for the scene he's asked Dave if he could include a five-foot-tall "Cerebus as Charlie Brown" figure. 

("Crazy Deal" connection—one of the remaining "Crazy Deal"s is the chance to be an extra in the film!)

But of course, someone has to ready a figure for print!

I started by pulling out my copy of Cerebus #275, the issue where the figure appears in color on the cover.

Here's a scan of the relevant portion of the cover.


Unfortunately the image would need to be descreened in order to work with it, to prevent moire from the original screen overlapping with the new color screen.

Here'd a close-up of the original to give you an idea of what the line screen is looking like.


So I would have to descreen the image if I were to work with this as a source.

I got to work, using the same techniques that I used on last year's Going Home restoration—some judicious use of oversampling, Median filter and Gaussian blur.

Here's the result.



But the resulting image was not really anything to write home about. There was some kind of low-level noise, even visible in the original on careful examination, that would look blotchy and streaky when enlarged. If this sucker was going to look good, or at least reasonable, blown up twenty times larger than it originally appeared, it would have to be approached in a different way.

My first thought was to strip out all but the color and then recreate the color layers with some vector tools, but fortunately, there was no need. Dave dug his original hand-done color separations out of storage and Fedexed them to me to take a look.

Aha—jackpot!

Inside the package were six sheets of paper, each one with a cyan-only printout of Cerebus, with black ink drawings atop them and instructions to the side. Each of these sheets represented a color (or two) that would be added by Chris Verhoeven at ScanColour, the organization that worked with Dave on the Latter Days covers. (Chris is credited as "color technician" in the interior front cover of the issue).

On some of the sheets Dave calls out the color by CMYK percentages. On others it's more approximate, allowing some judgment based on the appearance of the other colors.





And then at the very bottom of the stack, on what I initially assumed was just a backing board included to keep the loose sheets from bending, was the original line art, drawn on a small piece of chopped-up Bainbridge art board.

I scanned all of these elements at 2400 ppi, the highest effective optical resolution of my scanner, and then dropped them into the same Photoshop document as their own layers. Then I used the Edit-> Auto-align Layers function to align the layers, then did the last bit of alignment using my own eyeballs.

Then I used the Image -> Adjustments -> Black and White feature to knock out the cyan out of each layer, leaving only the black ink drawing. Two more  adjustment-- a little bit of sharpening and then Image --> Threshold, and I was done—left only with the drawn portions of each layer.

If this were intended to be reproduced with each color having its own printing plate, on, let's say, a t-shirt or a CD or a milk carton, then this would be the stage where you'd export each line art layer as its own 1-bit image and then add them back together in either Illustrator or InDesign, which allow you to save PDFs with multiple bitmaps all indicating their own color. But because this would end up as a single flat color image over a line art layer, I took a different approach and built up the color in Photoshop.

I adjusted each layer using the Hue And Saturation feature with the Colorize box checked, each layer set on Multiply. Here's the image with the first four colors added.


For each color I added I consulted the printed copy as well as Dave's detailed notes, sometimes making slightly different choices than were made on the original. When every layer had been added, I did just a bit more cleanup to some of the color layers, flattened the color, and then exported the line art and the color separately, recombining them into an Indesign document, the line art as a 600 ppi 1-bit bitmap, the color as a 8-bit color 300 ppi TIFF.

And here's the result, ready to be 60" tall!



If you're an illustrator who's never tried your hand at hand-colored separations of this type, I'd heartily recommend it both as a stimulating design exercise, and as a practical way to get the most out of certain types of printing. Especially designing for CDs or other surfaces where traditional screens don't do justice to full-color work, this is an incredibly powerful technique.

Two of my own more recent examples, with much more minimal color, one for a poster and one for a t-shirt. The poster color overlays were done digitally, but the shirt overlays were drawn directly to tracing paper and then scanned and digitally combined.