Thursday, 2 November 2017

Bureaucrat Pudding

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 last looked at Dave Sim's notebook #6 back in January of this year in Sketching the Countess. The notebook book covers Cerebus #52 through #59. Though I did find bits of #51 now that I'm looking more closely to the pages.

Look at this close up of page 7 from the notebook, which lies between notes for issue #52, which has the Elfquest story, and see the thumbnails for pages #17 through 19 for issue #51:

Notebook #6, page 7 close-up, click for close-up
Looks pretty close to the final pages, including the sound effect lettering:

Cerebus #51, pages 17 - 19
The rest of the notebook page has the text for those pages, matches pretty close the dialogue on the finish pages:

Notebook #6, page 7
The one noticeable change I see is on page 17, going from 'bureaucrat pudding' to 'bureaucrat stew'. Neither sounds tasty to me.


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

It's a small thing, but one of the things that struck me buying these issues at the time was the unusual layout. When Dave put six panels on a page, he used two rows of three panels, rather than the then-common three rows of two panels. This made sense to me, as it allowed the dialogue balloons to occupy the upper portion of the panels. And look at the middle page: one panel in the middle of the page, at a time when all comics' artwork extended right to the borders (full-bleed internal pages not being a thing yet). Here I think it strengthens the punchline of the falling potatoes. I've always said that layout is one of Dave's primary strengths.

-- Damian

Jeff said...

And the leaning of the panels, left then right, mimics the motion of a boat in the water, even though they are, ostensibly, on a barge.