Thursday, 14 November 2019

What Could You Do Forever

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.

Last week we saw page 26 from Dave Sim's 13th notebook in Old Friends, Familiar Faces. The notebook covers issue 112/113 and "Jaka's Story Overall Map". And in the comments to last week's entry, Tony requested more of the preliminary planning of Jaka's Story. Well. . .way back in June of 2014, we saw some bits in Jaka's Story.  Then in January of 2016 in Jaka the Dancer we saw a bit more. And just because Tony asked, here are a few more pages showing some preliminary planning of Jaka's Story.

On page 18 of the notebook, we see some sketches of Pud, looking a big older and more tired. And some sketches of Jaka dancing. Notice in the first sketch of her in a very long dress she has short hair, that has another line that appears as if Dave wondered what about giving her long hair?

Notebook 13, page 18
Then on page 25 we get to see a bit more about the Guardian that was mentioned on last week's page. Along with who the sailor was supposed to be.

Notebook 13, page 25
The text that was crossed out? "Abandoned by her father under the pretense of doing good for her." "The most interesting stories don't have endings." "He told her he would be to see her when he could - a lot at first every day. Not as often. Then. . .I'm afraid it might be almost. . .never."

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Colouring Colour Your Own Cerebus In Hell? #1!

Benjamin Hobbs:

Colour Your Own Cerebus In Hell? #1 is in stores now, and the entries for the Official CIH? COLOURING Contest are FLYING in the door!

David Birdsong sends in his "Cuh-lured" strip:

David disqualifies himself from the Colouring contest because he works on CIH?.  I disqualify him because he has clearly coloured this page digitally, and the official rules for the Colouring contest strongly imply that the coloured page has to be FROM THE ACTUAL BOOK.  Sorry David!

The next entry is mine:

Panel three, coloured with a limited assortment of coloured pencils.  Panel four coloured with Sharpies.

Unlike David, I actually managed to follow the implied rules and coloured on the ACTUAL BOOK!  Unfortunately, I only coloured 1.5 panels, so I'm disqualifying myself as well.

Having used Sharpies on Panel Four of the page, I expected a lot of bleed through.  However, the pages in CIH? are HIGH quality, and there wasn't any hint of bleed through:

The panel on the reverse side of the panel coloured with Sharpie.

Send in your submissions for the  Official CIH? COLOURING Contest and be featured in upcoming AMOC posts! (See the inside back cover of Colour Your Own Cerebus In Hell? #1 for full rules and restrictions.)

Next Week: We look at the onslaught of submissions that flew in A-V's doors following this post!

Tuesday, 12 November 2019


Hi, Everybody!

Next Time: Hobbs and...GAH! COLOUR!

Sunday, 10 November 2019

New Column: [Insert Title Here.] by Oliver S.

Hi, Everybody!

Oliver S: 
So I asked Matt, hey, I was thinking maybe I could do my "Facebook column" of "Cerebus around the world and web" on AMOC, with links to various news articles/instagram/facebook/twitter posts. Both Dave and Tim on separate occasions asked if I would do a regular column about the film on AMOC, but I felt it was too soon and it still is...but I'll add some previews, behind-the-scenes and whatnot. I would have suggested this sooner, but frankly was afraid of the commitment and it's going to be more work - rather than just slap something onto the facebook group whenever something I'm working on is loading or saving.
Anyway, thank you so much to Matt for giving the go ahead, so here we go - my first AMOC column with the latest from the last couple of days. I'm btw Oliver S:).

" first he was but a curiosity...". A stranger in a strange town. A look at the Cerebus film progress 

Not to start off on a morbid note, but here is an obituary Professor of English at Indiana State University for 48 years, Steven Edward Connelly:
"A graduate of the University of Michigan, he always maintained the highest literary standards, acquiring significant collections of the works of Scrooge McDuck, Cerebus the Aardvark, Conan the Barbarian, and more, decorating his office extensively in these images that his students might always feel the gravity of literature in his presence."

Here Mike Sterling confesses his love for Cerebus and Swamp Thing and the mightiness and specificness of Dave's micro targeting PR

On Instagram Pop Culture Reviewer Roy Miskatonic posts yet another Cerebus "motion" comic

Artist and PodCaster Richard Grzela speculates on Savage Dragon overtaking Cerebus as it has 52 issues to go

Speaking of Cerebus and Spawn, CBR speculates if the Joker film will help get Spawn movie made, where they add that Todd "...has earned a place into The Guinness Book of World Records. The previous holder of the record was Dave Sims' 300-issue series Cerebus." I would think the two would each have their respective records, that Dave's will still hold.

"MarvelMan" spotlights the Cerebus/Spawn crossover issue

Writer, comic geek and horror movie reviewer Jason Grey point's out how a Marvel character is a nod to Cerebus. In a seperate thread comic shop "Comics on Green" does as well

Eisner Judge and Editor Newsarama and Futureplc Chris Arrant asks which are your top 5 comics? 
Graphic Designer and musician Corey Foster 
Publisher of Dylan’s Domain Comics David Haner
Writer Benjamin Birdie 
Britsh Comic Artist Marc Laming (Marvel, DC/Vertigo, IDW, Dynamite, Dark Horse, Image, Boom!Studios etc plus animation and films)

According to Spanish google translate Kanye West will be doing Cerebus songs 

"Cerebus Retcon" is now part of the vernacular 

Everybody give a warm welcome to "Cerebus in hell?" twitter volunteer Robert Brian L. West

Chad Lambert, creator of "Possum at Large" who guest stars in the latest issue of "Cerebus in hell?" shares how it's his creations first appearance since 2005

Jared Osborn shares a video of his comic purchases including the latest "Cerebus in hell?" 

Mike Costa (Marvel/DC/IDW/NetFlix writer) has even most Cerebus fans beat 
DC Editor Andy Khouri agrees

Well that's that for this time. That took longer than i thought it would lol. But doesn't everything?
Btw Blair Kitchen, who Dave spends his Christmases with, has his animation featured in the trailer for the upcoming NetFlix Dr Suess "Green Eggs & Ham" series

And one last thing: did you know Cerberus is misspelled more often than not? You are not alone Dave, you are not alone. Here is but a sampling - will have to make this a regular column:)

[So, Oliver sent me three emails worth of links, and I asked if he wanted them run as three columns, or one column. He said one. But they're formatted as separate columns. I don't feel like cutting together into a cohesive whole, so here's the second one...-Matt]

Another "Cerebus around the world and web" already? If I'm going to keep doing this I might need to come up with banner...also playing around with film poster ideas...

"This Is A Disaster" podcast spotlights "Cerebus", their song pick for the occasion "Fracture" by King Crimson

If Hollywood wanted to option something really good they would option Cerebus, according to Charles Evan, host of The Dinocast

"LondonSimples" says vlogger "ComicTropes" got him searching for Cerebus comics

Actor/Writer Mike Ciriaco (and host/head writer of the local Emmy award winning WeHoTV News) is searching for Cerebus High Society [Brian West, you should find him a link-Matt]
"TheSkyllion" speaking with legendary Kurt Busiek shares that his Cerebus comics were stolen:(

Cerebus pricing in discussion with legendary Erik Larsen

A stuffed Cerebus toy destroyed?:)

Augiewan shares his InkTobber drawings, including his Cerebus

"Copper Aged" shares Cerebus and Red Sophia comic panel

"Wikipedia Shuffler" spotlights Cerebus' past

Cerebus foretold?

"Cerebus Effect" is part of the current vernacular 

Menachem Luchins, owner of comic store "Escape Pod Comics", spoke with Dave and shares how Dave, of all people, has a better handle on working social media PR than most kids today.
I'm told that the column will appear possibly Sunday, so here is one more to be included.
Since I'm no longer posting these links every couple of days in Cerebus facebook group I figure I should maybe share a little bit what is going on over there over here since some folks like Jeff Seiler are very active here, but I'm not sure if he even sees what is going on there. Btw Jeff Seiler is incredible as Elrod in our film

In the Cerebus facebook group Rubin Miranda shares a Cerebus sculpt done on the spot at Long Island Comic Expo by Louis #shadowrabbit_clay_guy

also at his instagram account

Claude Parish shares his drawing of Cerebus

Legendary Bob Burden is selling Flaming Carrot art featuring Cerebus
FLAMING FRAME #112: Flaming Carrot and the Bandit Moons
Original Bob Burden artwork dimensions: 7-3/4" X 9-3/4"
Glow-In-The-Dark frame dimensions: 9-1/2" X 11-/2"
Price: $300
FREE S&H to east coast U.S. states
Cerebus on best ever list and called: "One of the most astounding achievements in all of comics-literature..."

And back to twitter:
Legendary Film Director Kevin Smith gets Cerebus advice from comic historian [And friend to the Blog. I've helped him move and stood up at his wedding and stuff -Matt] Kevin Kimmes

Cerebus and Spawn stuff (according to google Spanish translation)

And here's some Cerebus and Bone stuff

Kyle Pinion, Entertainment Editor at "The Comics Beat" shares Dave Sim, Scott McCloud, Bill of Rights history

Cerebus quoted Cerebus quoted here as well and here and yet here

Where there's Gustave there's Cerebus?

I don't remember seeing this "Cerebus in hell?" strip here, made me laugh

Well thanks Oliver! (Thoughts from the peanut gallery?)

Next Time: Something with VERY few links...

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Please Hold For Dave Sim November 2019 (Our one year anniversary!)

Hi, Everybody!

So, I faxed Dave questions, and the Astoria/Cerebus posts, and got back this:
So, The November 2019 (yep, we've been doing this for a year now,):
For Auction as soon as I mail it to Dave.

We begin with Dave's reading of John's Gospel 1-1 through 1-18, Dave explains why. And then we move to Steve Peters' questions:
Anyhoo, here's a couple questions for the next Please Hold For Dave Sim if you want them:

Dave- You recently speculated that people such as Lovecraft and Stephen King, who write about the infernal, do so with potentially harmful impact on their souls. Does it concern you that you've done a couple dozen comics depicting the infernal realm?

On a corollary note, should I be worried about making a magical Chinese dragon a central character of The Comicverse? This has been in the back of my mind since you wrote the Bone commentaries. You wrote that, in Christianity, "dragons are, CONCEPTUALLY, metaphorical distillations of the malign, devouring presence of paganism".

Part 2: Dave continues answering Steve:

Part 3: Dave answers MY question:
I wanna know what you think of Vark Wars (so we can plug the new issue). Favorite strip? Least favorite strip?
AND, Randy Gray's questions:
Do you guys want creamed honey or liquid? Comb in? Never mind, we'll send both. Just finished harvesting late summer so now we can send a proper thank you for the boxes of Cerebus you sent me.
Dave kinda gets the story wrong. I told him about how Randy's house got flooded.

He also asks: Here's an oddball question, probably someone here can answer it : was Connie Lingus ever identified? When was her first and last appearance in the letters page?

Margaret answered: Here are the issues with a letter by either Connie Lingus or just Connie, so I'm not sure if it is the same author or not (one might be able to tell by getting out the issues and reading the letters if one wants): 72, 73 (only 'Connie'), 74, 77, 86, 140, 151, 163 (only 'Connie') Her first letter is actually in 67, but only attributed to C. Lingus

Part 4: Okay, T.M.I. about Dave and Connie Lingus. Seriously, T!M!I!

Then Dan Nitzani asks:
It's always been a frustration that 51, 112/113, and 137/138 are excluded from the phonebooks. Please consider putting these into a square bound collection, basically cerebus 0 plus the world tour book. Perhaps throw in random covers/pinups/sketches to round it out
This has been asked before. This time Dave doesn't say "no":

So if you wanna be the new Sean, read Paper to Pixel to Paper series. More on this as it develops.

Dave teases what he's been doing on SODAR, and goes back to that fax from the top of this post.

Pablo Martinez asked on the faceybooks:
I finished the last few "Typings" of Dave Sim destroying Cerebus last month and I was wondering, was there any sign or commentary of Dave about what was originally going to be the conclusion of Cerebus before he retconned 70% of the lore introduced in Church and State?

He clarified:
Dave used "Typist" pejoratively to refer to Hemingway. I use that term to describe Going Home and Form & Void.

Mark Brett commented:
I can't remember Dave ever discussing his original themes in any detail, other than that they were part of his former feminist perspective.

I always thought it was significant that he'd made Cerebus a hermaphrodite, though. At the time, before the "Male Light / Female Void" essay, I thought we might see some kind of cosmic union of the sexes (at least on a symbolic level).
And, Raymond Mountford asks:
Does he have any copies of “Zootanpuss” #1 and Glamourpuss #13 lying around, and how much does he want for them? My Glamourpuss set shivers uncontrollably like a chihuahua without those two 😉

Part 7: More with Astoria and Cerebus and their marriage (my phone got another call around the six minute mark): 

Part 9: More Astoria, and then we bring it on home. (Also, Dave reveals something about Cerebus' first Ascension that I believe has been previously unrevealed):

Next Time: I'ma getting a pinch hitter... but remember to check back for Part 6!

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Old Friends, Familiar Faces

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.

Dave Sim's 13th Cerebus notebook covers "issues 112/113 & Jaka's Story Overall Map" according to my notes. The notebook itself had 100 pages to begin with, but only 80 pages had content to scan and 6 blank pages. The last time we looked at it was in June of 2018 in Not That Rick Nash.

And here is a scene that wasn't used. Jaka walking back from Pud's Tavern to the apartment and spotting Cerebus. In Jaka's Story they meet up in Pud's Tavern.

Notebook 13, page 26
We also get a couple other character sketches and some text.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

VARKING DEAD: A History Part 5

Benjamin Hobbs:

VARKING DEAD #1 will be on store shelves next March, but there has been a long and winding path to the comic that will appear on the shelves of your LCS next winter.

The next version of the cover has some curly fries added:

The Varking Dead Book 1: Your Want Fries?

David Birdsong suggested adding a third fry.  The top fry was moved behind the logo. Below is the (hopefully) FINAL version of the cover that will appear on the comic:


 Next Week: Have you Coloured your own copy of COLOUR YOUR OWN CEREBUS IN HELL?

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

The ol' AMOC mailbag returnth again

Hi, Everybody!

House of Cerebus.

And Dave's calling on Thursday, get your questions in to

The ol' AMOC mailbag got in this interesting bit:
Thought you might like this for amoc.

See... it's funny cuz to get by Cerberus (the three headed dog) the Sybil feeds him a spiked honey-cake...
... well I thought it was funny.

Have a Happy Halloween,
Why is this thus? What is the reason for this thusness? -Artemus Ward
Click for the glory...
 Next Time: Hobbs. I'm off til Friday, see ya then!

Monday, 4 November 2019

Astoria and Cerebus sitting in a tree...

Hi, Everybody!

House of Cerebus.

And Dave's calling on Thursday, get your questions in to, or else Dave and I will be spending Way Too Long talking about:

It starts with Margaret (and she wants a raise!), continues with me, and then again.

(Ya'll caught up?) ((Did ya read the comments?))

Okay, Jeff's position is that Astoria was manipulating Cerebus when he raped her.

My counter is that Astoria hadn't been able to manipulate Cerebus since the third time Jaka showed up and said:

As evidenced by the last time he saw Astoria before the rape:

But going back to earlier in High Society, there's this bit:

Which is just weird. (I trimmed the bit where Astoria really was high.)

And then there's:

Like, how many times did Cerebus have sex with Astoria?

And bonus: What was this?:
I mean, what was the play here?

Next Time: I dunno, less of this kind of thing?

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Cerebus' Second Marriage

Hi, Everybody!

House of Cerebus.

So, continuing from yesterday's post, where Jeff commented:
Okay. "She was asking for it." is no defense.
Astoria was the grand manipulator of Cerebus, to advance her ... career?
No, her cause. Her agenda against Cirin.
She had next to no interest in Cerebus, sexually, except for how he could advance her Kevillist cause. Seducing him, trying to get him to impregnant her with an aardvark baby would, most definitely advance her cause.
Also the scene with Astoria stripping her panty down to her foot and her artfully placing it on Cerebus' head, while giving him a look at his "acquired taste", was a callback to his first encounter with Jaka, IIRC. Except for the up-close look/taste. Jaka, sad to say, was waaay classier than was Astoria. I mean, just look at the source material for Astoria.
Layers upon layers, upon layers.
Induced, purposefully designed seduction. It was not a rape. In my humble and psychologically-trained opinion. Have at me, Feminists.
I would say, "Have fun," but we all know that that goes without saying. Don't we, girls?
Okay, Feminist Dave may have said and *may* have tried to draw and have written about Astoria being "raped."
But, that doesn't change the fact that she was manipulating Cerebus.
Unless, you know, she was just a "party" girl.
I think that Dave once wrote about writing and drawing her retiring to a sanctvary in order to make it up to the character for his having made her such a bad person.
Not that Cerebus didn't deserve it.
Eddie then said:
Dave talked about it in-depth a few years ago here. Not sure if answers your questions Jeff
Thanks, Eddie! (Everybody should have an Eddie...)

From the blog post Eddie shared, Dave says:
I've got my own controversial rape scene -- Cerebus raping Astoria in CHURCH & STATE. There I think I was making a more substantial point that probably didn't come through either a) at the time b) since or c) with most readers. And I tried not to explain because -- as an on-going work -- if you have to explain what you're doing it means you failed in your intention. Hope they -- or some of them -- "get it" later on. A quarter of a century later seems a different thing. READER'S DIGEST version:

I saw it as Astoria definitely having a High Level Debate with Cerebus as his prisoner: essentially saying "You're trying to make this into something that it isn't. You aren't really the Pope. You are technically, but you don't understand that that has to mean something larger than "technically". You're actually just another vile male and I'll prove it to you. And it will cost you because technically you are the Church and you are in my way and I want you out of my way. I think I can trip you up and bring you -- and therefore the Church -- down by several hundred notches on the Big Scoreboard." Which, to me, she did. She aroused him sexually. She didn't provoke him into raping her (although he would have seen it that way). Even as -- blunt-minded -- as Cerebus was and always had been, he couldn't just rape her which is a dead giveaway that he's transgressing and knows he's transgressing. Instead he blindfolds her, performs a "marriage" ceremony between them and then (in his mind) has marital relations.

At some level he must know exactly how bad that is.

But he's incontinent in the larger sense of the term (ie not just physically): if she's blindfolded it isn't really rape. If he marries them, as the Pope, it isn't really rape. And then, of course, he falls asleep right after. Which is part and parcel of trying to evade, mentally, that which can't be evaded in any way. If he falls asleep it didn't happen. He was asleep.

I had to address Astoria's nature as Lord Julius' ex-wife who was taking that stature -- and her link to Cirin -- and striking off on her own. Basically becoming the first feminist in Estarcion as distinct from the Cirinists (who were a matriarchy). I was doing the first substantial building blocks on the Cirin / Serna "How The Matriarchy Came To Be" which would take up a big chunk of "Minds" in MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS. Daughter political thinking actively opposed to Mother political thinking.

Rape, it seemed to me, would have to be factored in as an unavoidable part of Astoria's program.

The same way that rape, particularly gang-rape, is used to intimidate and "police" women in rural, tribal India today and in virtually all Muslim countries.

I had to fudge it quite a lot but what I decided was that Astoria would just become detached from it. In a context where rape would be unavoidable -- moving around a Medieval / verging on Renaissance environment mostly alone -- attempting to effect political change, empower women, etc. -- she figured out that the best that she could do was to just be an inert lump, completely detached. Which you'll notice was what she did with Cerebus. And then, as she did with Cerebus, gob in their ear. "That's basically what you just did to me -- injected your slime into an orifice of mine where it was completely unwanted". And I've always been proud of her line in answer to Cerebus' "What was that for?" "Little wedding present." Her fundamental belief in the fact that women getting the right to vote was the larger good was weighed against the sacrifice and she made the sacrifice. If becoming inured to rape was what it took, that's what she'd do.

I was still fudging it. Rapists are sadistic by nature. It's an act completely shorn of empathy. A woman -- particularly an attractive woman -- travelling alone in that historical context would be drawing a straight line between two very evil male points. Astoria would have gotten scarred at some point or several points and probably maimed. By not having that happen to her, it seemed dishonest at a fundamental level. But to actually show her physically maimed seemed a bridge too far to me. Over in the direction of splatter porn (again, I apologize for the dinosaur term).

If I was doing it now, I would probably go that extra step because there would be the real world precedent of girls getting acid thrown in their faces and getting their noses cut off in Muslim countries. Which we now know was happening at the time, and is a recurring motif in tribal societies (it just wasn't talked about in the news because it was pre-9/11). And, thematically, it's the same thing. The girls who that happened -- and happen -- to tend to just become more resolute which is what I was trying to convey with Astoria. The end -- women getting the right to vote -- justified any means for her. You would, presumably, flash on the mental image from the news you can erase from your head instead of asking "Where is this coming from? is this guy 'getting off' on showing Astoria with her nose cut off?"

That was my "backstory" for Astoria that I didn't want to just drop like a turd of exposition somewhere. Who would she discuss forcing herself to become inured to rape with? I get the sense that did not come across AT. ALL. for most readers. So I'm suggesting that could be the case with THE KILLING JOKE. Alan was saying what he says he was saying but that it just didn't make it off the page, through the readers' eyeballs and into their conscious minds.
 And then there's Trina Robbins: The Rape of Astoria.

And: Even The Pope Isn't Infallible, wherein Dave says:
I believe Cerebus raped Astoria. A number of Cerebus fans don't think so, venturing the opinion "she was asking for it". Are they wrong? It depends on your point of view. I don’t think there is such a thing as "asking for it" (unless she literally "asks for it" verbally). Cerebus changed the terms under which she was offering her "favour" (one of which was a gag to preclude any dissension). That is rape (to me). As I say a number of readers disagree. Kind of scary.
So: Cerebus. Raped. Astoria. End of discussion.

(But since I spent two hours formatting pages from various phonebooks, let's continue anyway...)

Jeff asserts "But, that doesn't change the fact that she was manipulating Cerebus."

Let us remember how Cerebus and Astoria ended up in that cell together:

So Cerebus uses his strange Aardvarkian powers...

And she kills the Lion of Serrea, and is almost immediately captured.

Which is how she ends up in the cell:

At her trial she explains what happened from her point of view:

None of which, in my view, is her "manipulating Cerebus."

Next Time: "Geez Matt, you're not done with this YET?!?" Nope. There's another dozen pages I haven't even gotten to yet...