Thursday, 5 March 2020

Chasing the Roach up the Tower

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.

As Matt mentioned waaaay back last week, "VGDC Maroro" had several requests. Matt took care of the first one. The next two were these:
2. Drugged Cerebus from Church & State II
3. How Dave created a sense of heart-pounding intensity with Cerebus and Roach's "chase" up Skull Mountain.
I'm thinking drugged Cerebus is when he met up with Keef and Mick and he got so wasted he was holding onto Mick's leg, though pieces of himself were coming off, and then exclaimed "Cerebus feels really good!!" That was from issue #86 in Church & State II and covered by notebook #9.

Since I've done nearly 300 of these notebook entries for AMoC, I don't think everyone can keep up with the different articles. Plus my annual listing doesn't really give much of a hint of what is in each article, just the notebook it falls under and a vague title. . .so here is the listing of entries that covered Mick and Keef from issue #86 as well as drugged Cerebus:
Item #2, the chase of the Roach by Cerebus up the tower starts at the of Cerebus #86 and finally ends in Cerebus #88 when Cerebus finally makes it to the top of the tower, with Roach having beat him up there. So it must be in notebook #9 (issues #80 to 86) and in notebook #10 (issues #87 - 95).

Looking at notebook #9 there isn't much on issue 86 that isn't Cerebus getting stoned with Mick and Keef. Though page 99 (out of the 118 pages scanned) has some thumbnails for pages 8 through 10 of Cerebus #86 wherein Elrod hears Roach coming, and we see the Roach thapocking up the side of the tower.

Notebook #9, page 99
After that page, it is a lot of Dave writing about things other than issues 86 through 88. So I went to notebook 10. And viola, right on page 1, we start off with issue 87 notes. Including where we see the typical page layout for this issue: many long tall thin panels:

Notebook #10, page 1

Those are the same panel layouts as used on page 1 and 2 of issue 87. Page 1 is Cerebus climbing up the tower and the next page is Roach carrying Elrod.
The dialogue at the top of the page must be Cerebus - though it wasn't what he was used in the finished comic. Most of the page appears to be dialogue between Elrod and the Roach as the Roach carries Elrod up the tower.

The phone number at the top of the page is for the Monte Carlo Motel in New Orleans, Louisiana, as of this entry. Looks like Dave changed the issue name a couple times - from Analagous Terrors. To Analagous Towers. To the final Towers Analogous.

Next week: Cerebus continues to chase the roach.


Birdsong said...

I remember my friend reading issue 87 and showing it to me. On the inside front cover when Dave said that Frank Miller read half of the issue and pronounced it "Brutal" I was very interested to see what it was about. I had no idea what was going on, but I remember thinking that this was really good stuff. My friend had borrowed issues 77-93 from someone so I went back to 77 and read them all. The next time I went to the comic book store they had issues 94 and 95. Been hooked ever since.

Lee Thacker said...

Hi, Margaret. I don't comment often enough but I'd like to thank you for posting these notebook pages. Any chance of getting them converted to a PDF format at some point? No pressure...

Tony Dunlop said...

I seem to recall the Notebooks offered as a download, maybe as a "premium" on one of the Kickstarter campaigns? Is this a "false memory?"