Thursday, 19 April 2018

Venus Rising

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 saw Dave Sim's notebook #20 was in July of 2017 in POIT! SMASH. The notebook covers Cerebus #153 through 164, and it had 59 pages scanned, and 20 missing pages out of a total 80 pages.

On page there is a preview of the cover of issue 155 with Cerebus flying through the clouds.

Notebook #20, page 5
Dave also wrote a list of items for the issue, though Dave has some superb lettering skills, these notes are so quick that I can barely read some of them.

Looking at the page you can see a sketch of a woman.

Notebook #20, page 6
Turning the page, that is the one sketch that was inked, the other two remain pencil sketches.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Successful CIH? Covers

Benjamin Hobbs:

Last week I showcased rejected CIH? covers  In the comments, there was a discussion as to what makes a successful cover.  This week I'll share my thoughts on this subject.

When selecting a cover for parody, there are three things it should be:
-Not drawn from extreme angles.

All of the Cerebus and Dore images are drawn at about eye level, so while a parody of something drawn from a bird's eye view or a dog's eye view is possible, it's a much higher level of difficulty.  (This rules out Justice League '87 and possibly The Death of Phoenix, at least for me. Hi Travis!)

The actual parody cover needs to:
-Be funny
-Have Cerebus on the cover
-Incorporate Dore etchings
-Have some resemblance to the cover being parodied.
-Imply some amount of story.  (Which, hopefully has the effect of enticing the browsing customer to buy the comic.)

An example of an successful, and accepted, parody cover would be CEREBUS WOMAN:

CEREBUS WOMAN was accepted with just a few tweaks to the cover gag. Dave wrote a comic to go with the cover in very short order.   The success of this cover, to my thinking, is that it was made including all of the above criteria.

An example of a cover that has been accepted, but has not yet been used is SEX AARDVARKS:

SEX AARDVARKS meets most of the above criteria.  The biggest pitfall is that the cover I submitted (above) wasn't that funny. Dave wrote some hilarious cover copy that really livens it up.  This is a weaker cover than CEREBUS WOMAN because no story is implied.

Another example of an accepted cover that hasn't been used is  THE AMNESIAC SPIDER-VARK:
Dave re-wrote must of the dialogue on this one but, to me, the biggest failing of this cover is that it doesn't showcase what the book is selling, which is Cerebus and Dore images together. 

An example of an unsuccessful cover (one that has been flatly rejected) is FOR THE LOVE OF CEREBUS:
The cover being parodied isn't Iconic, it doesn't appeal to the casual browser at a LCS, it's not a specifically popular cover, and no story is implied.

Did I miss any key elements that would make for a successful CIH? cover?  Let me know in the comments!


Don't forget! You can place your orders for THE UN-BEDABLE VARK NOW!

Next week: Something related to Cerebus in Hell? no doubt.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Follow-up to "Lunch in La-La Land Weekly Update 227: 23 Mar 18":Request from Dave (could this Message Header be any longer?)

Hi, Everybody!

Let's drop some money:
And you should know the rest by now..bonecrusher86 on the eBays

Eddie Khanna dropped in with:
Hi Matt! Hope you're doing well, and the "Interim" position is treating you all right. It looks like things are going good so far, and you've brought some much needed humour to the site. 

After the Mar 23 2018 Weekly Update regarding the response from Oscar Wilde's grandson, Merlin Holland, Dave had me contact him and relay the following: 

Thank you for your wonderful letter of 23 February which I read for the CEREBUS fans on my weekly Update at A Moment of Cerebus which was posted earlier today (Mar 23, 2018). I hope that was all right.

Still don't have e-mail but I do fax Eddie Khanna in special cases like this one and he relays the fax as an e-mail. Is it okay if he solicits the AMOC readership for their thoughts on your grandfather and relays the most interesting posts and e-mails to you?

Hope you are well and thank you for your efforts on my behalf. I’d rather have Merlin
Holland in my corner than tout le monde bien pensant Francaise (please pardon the
execrable spelling)

Dave Sim

To which Merlin replied: 

Hello Eddie,
Many thanks for relaying this. Delighted to have Dave’s response to my letter and very courteous of him. It was quite unnecessary for him to to take the trouble as mine was by way of an apology, but I was happy that he felt it worth of sharing with the CEREBUS fans.
In his fax Dave asks if it is OK for you to solicit the AMOC readership for their thoughts on Oscar and to relay the most interesting posts and e-mails. Sure. I’d be interested to hear what they think.

Best wishes,

So AMOC readers, if you have any thoughts at all about Oscar Wilde and/or his works, feel free to either post them here in the comment section, or email them to me at, and I'll forward them to Merlin. 

So there you go my little amoc-amucks, sound off like you got a pair! HOO-RAH!!!

Next Time: "North Dakota Hobbes and the Raiders of the Lost Aardvark"

Reading Cerebus #16

Hi, Everybody! they say, is the root of all evil tooday...
And you should know the rest by now... bonecrusher86 on the eBays

"Hey kids! What time is it?"
"Time to eat laundry soap and snort condoms!"
Kevin reads Cerebus for you,
It’s such a nifty thing to do.
Let’s give a rousing cheer,
Cause "Reading Cerebus" is here,
"Eat laundry soap and snort condoms"?
What the HELL is wrong with you?
Kevin Kimmes:
Welcome back to “Reading Cerebus”, a new (some-what) weekly column here at A Moment of Cerebus. The goal of this column is to bring a fresh perspective to the 300-issue saga of Cerebus as I read through the series for the first time and give my insights into the longest running independent comic book series of all time. Think of this as part book club, part lit-crit, and part pop culture musing. Oh, and they told me Dave Sim himself may be reading this, so I hope I don’t screw this up. Let’s continue.

"Silverspoon" - Originally appearing in Comics Buyers Guide, Reprinted in Cerebus Weekly #26 and later pressings of the 1st phonebook
I didn't think I had digital copies of the Silverspoon strips, but I was wrong. Thank!
Can I make a confession? As a kid, Prince Valiant bored me to tears. I loved checking out the comic strips in the newspaper, but Prince Valiant was a constant avoidance.

Why, you ask? I guess I really don't have a definitive answer, but it always felt a little impenetrable due to the length of time it had been going for. No matter what week you read it, it always felt like you had missed so much that it was impossible to get caught up. Or, maybe that just has to do more with a time when everything wasn't so readily available. Regardless, I let out an audible groan when I saw what my next reading assignment looked like.

The Arrogant and Insufferable Silverspoon
There may never have been, or will be, a character more aptly named than that of Silverspoon. He is the embodiment of spoiled rotten and pandered to children the world over, a fact that Cerebus is unafraid to make clear when he believes that Silverspoon has perished at the hands of Onliu pirates. 

The boy wants a sea serpent? The boy gets a sea serpent.

The boy wants to fight Onliu pirates? The boy gets to sacrifice all at his disposal in his fight with Onliu pirates.

Then, the locals show up.

Sha-Boom Sha-Boom

Doo-wop speaking natives? Sure, what the hell!

Tied to posts and left to the elements, Cerebus and Silverspoon are the test cases for the locals who are betting on which will get them first: exposure or starvation. Four days go by and Cerebus is sure that the boy is near death. That's when dear old dad shows up with the cavalry.

Rufus T. Firefly
So, who is Silverspoon's father? Well, none other than comedic film star Groucho Marx...I mean, Lord Julius. The characterization here is perfect with Lord Julius delivering the kind of snappy dialogue that has become a hallmark of Groucho.

Cerebus: "What will happen to the br... uh... Silverspoon when he wakes up?"

Lord Julius: "I hadn't really thought about it. I suppose I'll send him to a boy's military school..."

Cerebus: "But Silverspoon has travelled the world. Won't a boy's school be a little bit... well... boring?"

Lord Julius: "You know, you're right. Maybe I'll send him to a girl's school instead."

When I realized I had digital copies of all the Silverspoon strips, I knew I was gonna run all eleven of them...

Final Thoughts

I have to admit that this weeks reading turned out to be better than I originally thought it was going to be. Dave again pushes forward with his parody/critique of famous artists and comics, and still finds the right notes to hit to keep the humor rolling.

Join me back here next week as I take a look at "The Palnu Trilogy" and learn more about Lord Julius.

Currently Listening To: Frank Zappa - "Joe's Corsage"

Kevin Kimmes is a lifelong comic book reader, sometime comic book artist, and recent Cerebus convert. He can be found slinging comics at the center of the Multiverse, aka House of Heroes in Oshkosh, WI.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

"T.L.:D.R." DAVE SIM (YAWN) ON JOHN 19!" Part 8, Part the Last

Hi, Everybody!

Anyway, From Dave Sim:
17 Feb 18
Hi Matt!  
Since you were asking about Biblical commentaries, I thought I'd send this to you.  It's part of my RIP KIRBY COMMENTARIES which hit a religious off-ramp requiring a lengthy digression (about a year or so now) into the "Song of Deborah" (Book of Judges) with the November 8, 1950 strip.  Which then dovetailed with John's Gospel, which then dovetailed with my commentaries on Gertrude Stein's THE WORLD IS ROUND and BLOOD ON THE DINING ROOM FLOOR, finally circling back to John 19. So this is, really, the 17-page punch-line.
I can't imagine anyone would be interested, but you did ask about Bible Commentaries. 
You could maybe run it a page a week on sequential Sundays.  "T.L.:D.R."

Grab a Bible and follow along!

 Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4 Part 5, Part 6Part 7 and now Part 8 (The big finish!):

17 Feb 18 pg.3

I think it's necessary to see the "fell upward upon the breast of him" as a visual metaphor reiterating the essential character of the excision of A Dam's rib -- from which this epoch's first woman was "builded" -- itself a metaphor, I infer, for the creation of the seminal YHWH by God. That is, that the seminal YHWH was derived from God's Essence in a way that the excision of the rib echoes in extreme microcosm (itself, I infer, a metaphor for the distinction between gestation and creation; itself a metaphor for the distinction between creation and Creation).

John is, in a real sense, I infer in a central monotheistic sense, the Johannine Jesus' rib. 

Like the Johannine Jesus' physical rib, John "fell upward upon the breast of him."

That is, as A Dam's rib came from a place near to his heart but well below his "well-minded" intellect so, it seems to me, is the essence of the seminal YHWH relative to God.  That is, I infer that the human body represents an iconic metaphysical topography of the proper interrelationships of higher-natured beings: the lower-natured heart is below (or, rather, Below) the higher-natured head just as the lower-natured genitals are below (or, rather, Below) the higher-natured-than-genitals/lower-natured-than-the-head heart. The metaphysical hierarchy is the physical hierarchy and vice versa.  And this is nowhere more true than in the interrelationship between John and the Johannine Jesus.  Which culminates in:

"Had stood however beside to the cross of the Jesus the mother of him and the sister of the mother of him, Mary, the ____ of the Clopas and Mary the Magdalene. Jesus therefore having seen the mother and the disciple having stood alongside, whom he was loving is saying to the mother, Woman, see the son of you; next he is saying to the disciple See the mother of you. And from that the hour took the disciple her into the own."

[One of the few things we know for certain about the mother of the Johannine Jesus was that she wasn't named Mary, for the obvious reason that her sister's name is given as Mary.  You wouldn't have two daughters named Mary. The corruption/inference that there is only one Jesus would result in a perceived triune YHWHist Mary construct at the foot of the Johannine Jesus' cross -- and centuries of Church contortions to explain how Mary had a sister named Mary. I digress.]

It seems to me a distillation of the essence of seminal Creational as opposed to creational maternalism: an attempt on God's part for those "with ears to hear" to understand the purpose, the larger Reality behind the symbolism of gestative maternalism.  That is, that maternalism -- the gestative function -- has, in its purist form, a single Deistic masculine point of origin and metaphysical analogue.  The link between John and the Johannine Jesus -- of which their physical proximity to each other is a minor

17 Feb 18 pg.4

manifestation -- is actually a conjoining of their mutual faith in God, and that by this enactment means God intended/intends/will always intend to communicate His essential character to mankind, thereby drawing a distinction between the YHWHistic portrayal of Him by the Synoptic Jesus and His actual nature as enunciated by the Johannine Jesus and documented by John.     

As John himself puts it in John 1:18:  "God no one has seen at any time; only-begotten god the ___ being into the bosom of the father that explained". It is literally the Last Word on the nature of Reality in John's "In beginning…" preamble to his Gospel (which, I infer, represents a fine-tuning -- the first and only fine-tuning -- of Genesis 1 since its revelation)  before switching to the formal historical narrative of the Johannine Jesus' ministry, beginning with John the Baptist.   

One of the compelled inferences of the passage is "God the Father", which I think both John and the Johannine Jesus believed to be the relationship of the Johannine Jesus to God, although I believe they inferred it differently.  The Johannine Jesus, I think, inferred it in the "sons of God" sense as per Genesis 6:2: he was just the first to express his stature as one of the "sons of God" by referring to God as his father.  And, arguably, as the best of God's sons. John, I think, inferred that literally:  that the Johannine Jesus was God's "only-begotten god".  Which is why, I infer, when he uses that phrase, it's followed by the corrective "the ___ being into the bosom of the father that explained." 

To believe in "God as father", I infer, is to adopt a misapprehension analogous to confusing gestative maternalism with the larger idea behind gestative maternalism of which gestative maternalism is merely symbolic.  Which is why, I infer, "the ____ being into the bosom of the father, that explained" strikes the exactly appropriate note. 

God didn't, I infer, create the Johannine Jesus by means of a procreative carnal act with the Johannine Jesus' mother, which is what is implied by the term "father".  Rather, I infer, God created the Johannine Jesus at the same time and in the same way as He created the seminal YHWH and the Big Bang: the macrocosmic Event for which and of which the excision of the rib from A Dam "the being into the bosom of the father…" is a microcosmic prototype i.e. "…that explained." 

God would, I infer, allow John's "only-begotten god" misapprehension to stand so long as it was side-by-side with the actual circumstance "the ___ being into the bosom of the father that explained."  It's, I infer, a comparable temptation: to believe that there are other gods with God, just another variant of the YHWHist "he/she/it" corruption and conceit. The Johannine Jesus chooses to be absolutely faithful to

17 Feb 18 pg.5

God while conceiving of God one way; John chooses to be absolutely faithful to God while conceiving of God a different way; the YHWH, by contrast, chooses to be entirely disloyal to God while propagating a triune lie about Him. That, it seems to me, is the essential difference.        

Expanding on where I see this line of thought dovetailing with the current subject, it seems significant to me, that the Johannine Jesus addresses his mother not as "Mother" but as "Woman" as he does in the Wedding in Cana narrative. 

I think this was intentional: i.e. that there is a resonant fidelity implicit in the term "Mother" that had become critically lacking in female nature and that that critical lack was exemplified by the Johannine Jesus' own mother (more concerned with her personal desire for more wine -- I assume she was already tipsy -- at the wedding than with the proper sequential unfolding of the Johannine Jesus' ministry/enactment). The Johannine Jesus' attitude towards her, it seems to me, is,
appropriately, that mandated for a devout and loyal monotheist in contemplating a completely-beside-the-point  biological implication of his personal, physical genesis :  "What to me and to you, woman? Not yet is arriving the hour of me."

Still, "Honour thy father and mother…" is one of the Ten Words (Hebrew) Ten Commandments (Christian), placing the Johannine Jesus between the rock of his loyalty to God and the hard place of his fidelity to the Law of Moshe. He capitulates. In actual fact, God changes the water into wine.  And it's a very fine wine, attested to by the governor of the dining room.  Much finer than the wine that had already been served.     

It seems to me that the larger point remains the same. That is, the mother-to-child relationship is supposed to resonate with the God-to-woman relationship, as the John-to-Jesus relationship resonates with the Jesus-to-God relationship, but usually doesn't.  It's a female vice to see themselves as creators of babies rather than gestatory-custodians of babies. It's an easy vice to slip into but that's part of the potency of God's gift of free will. Temptation is never further than a stray thought away.  The "well-minded", accurate, monotheistic apprehension is that the baby is God's. God created the baby and created the process by which the baby was created. Just as God created all mothers before they became mothers.

The concept of "he/she/it" is, I infer, a primary rebellion model against God. It attempts, structurally, to corrupt and marginalize and externalize the Central Fact of God as the creator of all things.  The Johannine Jesus' address from the cross, as I read it, redresses and provides a corrective to the "he/she/it" misapprehension at the highest metaphysical levels: i.e. this is as close as Actual Reality gets to he/she/it and vice versa:

17 Feb 18 pg.6

"Woman, see the son of you." 

On one level, the surface meaning, I infer, he's discussing himself.  Behold your son, physically born of your womb, on the cross. 

On another level, what I infer is the higher-natured level of what he's saying, he's discussing John: This person is going to be a son to you with all of the fidelity implicit in that.  It's John's fidelity to the Johannine Jesus expressing itself as a microcosm of the relationship of the Johannine Jesus to God that makes John's compliance a certainty. And it's that certainty that is an essence of the Larger Enactment of what genuine maternalism is. 

John, presumably, had a birth-mother of his own.

That relationship, however, is not just secondary to but inconsequential and irrelevant to the enactment taking place. John's fidelity to God enacted in his fidelity to the Johannine Jesus means that caring for the Johannine Jesus' mother takes priority over his biological link to an unknown woman who never enters into or is alluded to within the Scriptural narrative.  Genuine maternalism -- maternalism which echoes and resonates with God's Act of Creation -- supersedes mere biological linkage and physical happenstance.  

"See the mother of you."

Again, there's the surface meaning:  the Johannine Jesus is appointing his mother to be John's mother. His connection to God and John's connection to him, I infer, not only allows him to do this, it compels him to do this.

But, above that, I infer, is the Larger Meaning. That the Johannine Jesus' absolute fidelity to God and John's absolute fidelity to the Johannine Jesus does resonate with God's Act of Creation, the larger idea behind maternalism. That is, the Johannine Jesus is telling John, at the threshold of his death in service to God, that he and John are linked by that larger idea.  The essence of the Johannine Jesus is the mother of the essence of John.

Okay, God willing, back to Deborah and Freddie and "The Missing Nightingale".         

Next Time: Dave sent me this: "You must be running out of my Biblical commentaries along about now. So…" There's more if we want it!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Happy Birthday Gerhard!

Hi, Everybody!

Got THIS in the Ol' AMOC Mailbag:
Hi, Matt--Just a reminder that Ger's 59 birthday is Saturday, in case it slipped your mind.

Best to you and Paula and the girls,

Jeff Seiler

This is this year's version of my standard internet birthday card.

Here's a photo of the Birthday Boy from 2006. This is the NEW A/V ad campaign, taken at Night Flight Comics in Salt Lake City, the weekend Ger QUIT Aardvark Vanaheim. Ah...memories...

And you can wish Ger a belated "happy birthday" IN PERSON at S.P.A.C.E. April 28th and 29th.

Next Time: We all wish a happy birthday to...that guy! (I have know idea...)

Friday, 13 April 2018

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Travel to the T'capmin Kingdom

Just last week we looked at Dave Sim's fifth notebook used in the production of Cerebus. Going through it I saw several pages of dialogue between Cerebus and Jaka from when she returned in Cerebus #48.

Notebook #5, page 70
Notebook #5, page 71
Travel  to the Wall of  T'si? Nothing up there but a tavern, too much snow and Cirinists.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Rejected CIH? Covers

Benjamin Hobbs:

Dave sent a two page fax on Monday, which included an important message for anyone submitting CIH? covers (or thinking about submitting one):

The cover parodies Dave is referring to are:

AARD Comics by Benjamin Hobbs.  Parody of Zap #0.

 Flaming Cerebus Comics by Lee Thacker. Parody of Flaming Carrot Comics #1.
The Cerebus Journal by David Birdsong.  Parody of The Comics Journal.

And now it's time for another round of...
Comment Commentaries

Last week David Birdsong wrote in the comments: 

"t would be nice to see a checklist of every issue so far for newcomers to the series."

A checklist of all the CIH? issues to date? We can do that!

  On the left is a BRAND NEW checklist featuring all the CIH? titles to come out in 2016 and 2017.  On the right is an updated checklist for 2018. Note that several issues, including The Amazing Cerebus, have now SOLD OUT!

Next week: Find out how the new rule about not using " Box Office Poison parody titles" effects Box Office Cerebus' chances of seeing the light of day!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Women's History Month

Hi, Everybody!

The Ol' Plugola:
And check the  bonecrusher86 on the eBays to see if they got any other stuff you want...

Did you know March was Women's History Month here in the good ol' U.S.of A.?

Well it was.

Trust me.

Here's the sign at a Half Price Books store for Women's History Month from a few years ago:

I've always wondered if it was a happy accident, or an inside joke...

Next Time: Cerebus & Hobbs. So, I don't have to.