Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Reformer

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.

Just last month in King's Pawing, we just looked at Dave Sim's 20th Cerebus notebook, which covers issues #153 to 164 and had 59 pages scanned.

Page 32 has some writing about the comics industry, but the thing that stood out to me was the Suenteus Po dialogue. In Cerebus #160 page 7 (Flight, page 193) is where you'll find the finished version of this speech from Po to Cerebus. The one in the notebook is a bit different:

Notebook #20, page 32
Po's dialogue continues on the next page of the notebook:

Notebook #20, page 33
As with the above example, this text appears to be rough draft of the text that appears in issue #160.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Dave once wrote to me that I had/have *very* distinctive handwriting. He was implying that I copied his handwriting. I don't try to copy him. I just write in the style that I learned, growing up. Cursive, but I made it my own. But, it is a lot like his, by no design of mine. I just wrote/write to him in my own handwriting, as I do to all correspondents. I have the letters to prove that. Having said that, maybe I subconsciously copied his style, but I'm pretty sure I was writing that way before I read "Cerebus" or his letters. Maybe, just maybe, it was b/c we were both taught by excellent teachers how to write proper cursive English the right way.

As a comparison, I have begun receiving and sending letters from a nationally syndicated sportswriter, in which he prints with a pen in non-cursive writing, which writing it usually takes me two or three tries to read coherently. (Not because he writes incoherently but because his handwriting is VERY hard to decipher.)

And, I only write to him because he asks every week for fans/readers to send him handwritten letters. Which I do, because I agree with him that that is the best way to connect with people who you may never meet in person. Hi!, Will! He's coming up here (Minneapolis) for the Final Four in March/April, and he asked me where is a good place to eat. I may finally get to meet him in person and hang out with him, which I would enjoy immensely, because he's one of the good guys.

But, cursive writing is a lost art.

So, I can tell you that, in the second page in this post, about a third of the way down, the word that looks like "Taramik" (at first glance), is in fact, "Taramite".

It's hard to make it out, but if you zoom you can see it, faintly.

Part of what I've profferred in my proofreading of the remastered volumes is suggesting that they clean up the lettering.

It (the proofreading) *is* a lengthy process that I may not live to finish.

Plus, Dave says I'm his biggest expense on the remastering.

I'm callin' B.S., but I could be wrong. (I often am.)

So...the lesson, kiddies, is: Learn how to write in the cursive style. Oh, and, send handwritten letters to Will Leitch: P.O. Box 48, Athens, GA, 30603. Please make sure to tell him I sentcha.

Seriously, he wants letters. Seriously. He really does. You can write about anything but, if you write about me, please be kind.

And, it has to be handwritten. So, to all of my frenemies out there, get to writing, and don't forget to mention who sent you.

Thanks. And Will thanks you, too.