Sunday, 29 December 2013

Wickets Revisited (Again!)

Cerebus #29, Page 20
Original art by Dave Sim (1981); Recreated art by Dave Sim & Gerhard (2006)
(Click image to enlarge)
(from Cerebus The Artvark, 2006)
Had the opposite reaction to page 20 than I had to page 19. I was already thinking this early that the Elf was just an illusion fabricated halfway between Cerebus and the real Regency Elf which meant she was something of a ventriloquist’s puppet. What’s interesting is that here she just keeps asking Cerebus "And then what?" (I made it a little more playful sounding in the recreation – like a two-year old who enjoys tormenting adults with questions that become progressively more difficult to answer ad consequently keeps repeating the question in a louder and more gleeful way) so, essentially, this is a dominant and suppressed part of Cerebus that has never actually asked himself, as a barbarian, "Well, okay, so we loot a lot of money – then what? What do we exactly want to buy?" And in a real sense all people in that situation want to buy the same thing: a quiet Elf; that is they want to buy the suppression of an inner voice that says materialism is a dead end.

Of course I had to change the last panel where he says "Shut up and play." This was a swipe of Shirley MacLaine's last line in The Apartment which I believe was "Shut up and deal." Again, my enthusiasm for a good line overcomes my narrative sense. The Elf had just taken her shot and I had used two panels to show her take it. When it's your shot, you don’t say "Shut up and play." I could fall back on "Cerebus was confused by the questioning and forgot whose shot it was," but he had just said "Your shot," a couple of panels previous to this. The player who says "your shot" is usually the one keeping track of the game for the less focused opponent. "Shut up and play" also violated the later plot point of "Don't get mad at an elf." If you’re that wary of it, you wouldn't say "shut up" even in a light-hearted way. She's a female and females are notoriously literal-minded. "Shut up" is "shut up" and "shut up" is "being mean to me." He would need to be evasive instead of direct.


Anonymous said...

They should probably just redraw the whole thing.

-Reginald P.

Dave Philpott said...

I agree. Look at the shadows in the bottom panel . WOW

Anonymous said...

Well, they should at least get Gerhard to fill in the remaining backgrounds in the first half of Church & State and then colour that entire book in.

Church & State Redux. Probably be a big seller.

-Reginald P.

David Birdsong said...

Adding backgrounds and color would NOT be a good idea. Did you see how Gilligan's Island or It's A Wonderful Life turned out with added color? If they were to do it then I say redo it all. The figure and dialog improvements are much much better. Convincing Dave and Gerhard to do it is another matter. See the commentary on page 19.

Jason Winter said...

One of the joys of Cerebus, for me, is watching Dave Sim (and later Gerhard) develop as a creator. It's part of what makes Cerebus so compelling.We get to see an artist work on one project over a 26 year period, we see him apply new insights, new discoveries. We're witness to all the peculiar twists and turns. Individual pages like this are fun, but It's important to acknowledge the early work.

Anonymous said...

In all seriousness, the new pages are definitely better. Even if Gerhard's backgrounds weren't there, there would still be a greater sense of depth and three-dimensionality just because of the placement of the figures.

The flow of the croquet game is also clearer in the new pages and it subtly makes the page flow better.

The Regency Elf is much improved too obviously -- more like she looked during her last appearances in Cerebus.

I might prefer the older way of drawing Cerebus though. I don't think I can exactly define it, but the new Cerebus is a little too slick looking and looks more like modern high-end cartoon animation than a comic book character. On the other hand, the old Cerebus looks almost flat compared to the newer version -- and it's not just because of the tone, the new figures are drawn more three dimensionally. Again, hard to define, but the old Cerebus has a certain charm.

Also, don't you get a penalty in croquet if you knock the opponent's ball out of the grounds? Instead it looks like Cerebus wins the first game. So the original version and the new version don't make sense.

Also, in the new version, Cerebus hits his ball against the first wicket. Then the elf hits her ball against either the first wicket with Cerebus ball suddenly nowhere in sight -- which makes no sense -- or against the second wicket, without touching Cerebus' ball, which makes no sense either, because it couldn't have got past Cerebus ball.

And it's weird because Dave says he was trying to make the game make sense, but it definitely doesn't.

-Reginald P.

David Birdsong said...

Reggie, since the last day of the year is just a few minutes away (in my time zone anyway) I am going to arbitrarily award you the "I'm thinking WAAAAY too much about the details" award for 2013. Happy New Year from Nashville, TN Y'all.