Wednesday, 30 May 2018

What IS truth?

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 saw Dave Sim's 11th Cerebus notebook in Purple Unicorn from July 2017. The notebook covers Cerebus issues #96 through 102 and had 114 pages scanned. Looking through the notebook, Dave has drawn very detailed thumbnails of several pages from several different issues. On page 63 we see pages 18 and 19 from Cerebus #98, or if you're following along in the phonebooks, Church & State II pages 954 & 955.

Notebook #11, page 63
I cropped this page to the material on it and changed it to a JPG (from a PNG), but didn't reduce its size. That way you can click on it to see the pencils underneath the pen.

Other then missing Gerhard's background, the thumbnails for page 18 are pretty dang close to the finished page. The thumbnails for page 19 are almost the same but some subtle differences. For example, in panel 4, instead of Astoria's full body in the frame, we only see her from mid-chest and up. Dave also changed the last two panels to move the text from above Cerebus' head to below him on the stairs - as it seems to make the eye move more easily from the word balloon echoes in the previous panel.

Cerebus #98, pages 18 & 19


Jeff said...

Could we, perhaps, someday, get a collected volume of just all of the thumbnail sketches, since most of them are nearly fully formed? You're the most powerful docent, M., so you could get this done. Call it "Injury to Eye" or, more accurately, "Injury to Ear". It's a well-used trope, but it still works. Regardless, this was a good entry in what will go down as a great augmentation of the CerebusFanGirl website.

Tony Dunlop said...

That last panel on p. 18 is a lot more dramatic with the angle Dave ended up using. I love these little glimpses into the creative process that went into my all-time favorite comic. Thanks, Margaret!

Margaret said...

Jeff - I wish I had the time to do such things, but nowadays my efforts are expended elsewhere. Getting this weekly article / blog entry is about all I can do. :(

Tony - You're welcome, I'm glad to hear you like it.