Saturday, 29 March 2014

Weekly Update #24: Ultimate Cerebus!

Previously on 'A Moment Of Cerebus':
Dave Sim, working with George Peter Gatsis, has remastered the first two collected volumes of Cerebus to restore details and quality in the artwork lost over the thirty years since they were originally published (as detailed here and here). After Cerebus' original printer Preney Print closed its doors, Dave Sim moved his printing to Lebonfon in 2007 as at that time they were still capable of working with photographic negatives and making printing plates as Preney had done. And then Lebonfon switched to digital scanning and printing - a technology which struggles to faithfully reproduce Cerebus' tone without creating moire patterns (as detailed in Crisis On Infinite Pixels). Dave Sim continues to work with Lebonfon to ensure the print-quality of the new Cerebus and High Society editions (as detailed in Collections Stalled). Now read  on...
Ultimate Cerebus (2010)
Art by Dave Sim
(Click image to enlarge)

Still waiting on a price quote from Imprimerie Lebonfon for a single signature and what the minimum number of copies they would need to print would be.

Had a phone message from George Gatsis that he WILL be forwarding raw digital files and his finished files to Sean but that it will take about a week to get them all assembled. MANY thanks to George -- and Sean -- for taking time out of their very busy schedules to help out on this.

The 4 "BBC CENSORS DAVE SIM" DOCTOR WHO PRISONERS OF TIME original covers (#8, 9, 10 and 11) (well, they didn't really CENSOR me, it was work- made-for-hire, but it seems like a catchy way to headline an original art auction) have been sent to Heritage Auctions along with the "non-censored" #12 cover with all 11 DOCTORS WHO on it and the Wally Wood tribute THUNDER AGENTS #2 cover.

Watch the weekly Heritage Auctions if you're interested in getting one. I haven't done a variant cover for IDW since last April and it looks doubtful I'll be doing any more before THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND is done, so these six covers are your last chance for a 21st century Dave Sim cover until at least 2017.

I asked Ted Adams during our phone chat a couple of weeks back if IDW would be interested in publishing ULTIMATE CEREBUS: basically the "re-telling" of the first 25 issues by other writers and artists and he was VERY enthusiastic.

My thinking is basically that the CEREBUS volume is a tough "sell" for a lot of people since I was, at best, semi-professional at the time but that there's enough Warner Brothers-style funny and well-designed (though not IMHO well-drawn) raw material there to produce 25 comic books and a trade paperback if enough top-quality writers and artists want to have a go at them.

Let me emphasize "TOP quality" writers and artists -- amazing veterans or undiscovered geniuses, I'm not fussy :) -- there's not much point in replacing my semi-pro comics with someone else's semi-pro comics -- writers and artists who are able to meet a deadline obviously preferred.

This could, potentially, become a "feed-in" volume to the self-published Aardvark-Vanaheim trades starting with HIGH SOCIETY (and a Plan B if it takes much longer to get the CEREBUS trade back in print -- basically skipping printing the CEREBUS trade and going right to printing the HIGH SOCIETY trade).

You may have noticed that anything having to do with Dave Sim and CEREBUS tends to go "lariv" on-line (that is, the opposite of viral), so I think I'm safe in saying that if any TOP quality artists and writers have a favourite among the first 25 issues (and ONLY the first 25 issues) and are interested in trying out it might be worth doing a few sample pages and sending scans or photocopies of them to Ted Adams, ULTIMATE CEREBUS, 5080 Santa Fe Street, San Diego, CA, 92109. You'll be one of the few, practically guaranteed. And if you have the "chops" a regular paying gig for the next couple of years. Not without pressure attached. I imagine long-time CEREBUS fans will be very critical.

Note that IDW doesn't accept ANY unsolicited manuscripts or submissions, but I think an exception can be made in this case because I'm the rights holder and all you would be doing is a variation of what I already did. And you'd have to get a green light from Ted before he would send something to me. If you don't hear from Ted, that would tell you, pretty much, whether you were considered a TOP quality writer and/or artist. i.e. NOT! :)

And if this goes "lariv" no harm, no foul, eh?

Thanks to everyone who has been pledging monthly amounts at "for dave sim". We were pushing up towards $300 a month the last time I checked (last Friday). I'll be commenting there this weekend on Ted Adams' interview from a couple of weeks ago, particularly as regards his interest in getting a national PR firm to promote THE STRANGE DEATH OF ALEX RAYMOND -- with an eye to getting SDOAR onto the New York Times bestseller list where IDW's PARKER and LOCK & KEY collections have gone before and releasing the material as a series of trade paperbacks instead of as monthly comic books.

See you next week!


Reaction to the ULTIMATE CEREBUS proposal:
 -  Bleeding Cool
 -  Cerebus Facebook Group
 -  Bill Sienkiewicz
 -  Roger Langridge
 -  Simon Fraser


Help finance Dave Sim to complete 'The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond' 
by making a monthly donation at Patreon or a one-off Paypal donation.

Originally serialised within the pages of the self-published Glamourpuss #1-26 (April 2008 to July 2012), The Strange Death Of Alex Raymond is an as yet uncompleted work-in-progress in which Dave Sim investigates the history of photorealism in comics and specifically focuses on the work of comic-strip artist Alex Raymond and the circumstances of his death on 6 September 1956 at the wheel of fellow artist Stan Drake's Corvette at the age of 46.


Dominick Grace said...

Hunh. Ultimate Cerebus. I'D buy it.

Paul Slade said...

How about Barry Windsor-Smith doing Dave Sim doing Barry Windsor-Smith?

daryl said...

Hmmm ... Wendi Pini would be cool. Joe Staton. John Byrne. Artists from the era those issues came out ...

Anonymous said...

Maybe Frank Cho for the two Red Sophia issues? He's good with the ridiculously over-endowed and under-clothed girls, and even he might be able to handle that schedule.

-- Damian T. Lloyd, pvt

Anonymous said...

Ultimate Cerebus sounds awesome! I admit when I just saw the words "Ultimate Cerebus" I thought it would be an announcement of IDW publishing the trades, but this is very surprising. My dream pick would be Sam Kieth but just the idea of this venture is so exciting.

-Ryan Royce Williams

Dave Kopperman said...

Um. I mean, I'd totally buy it, however it comes out and whoever is the artist, but while there's some justification for redrawing issues 1-12, where Dave was in the process of finding his style and technique, it's all there by 'Black Magicking'.

But even given that the drawing is less strong on the first dozen issues, the fundamental visual storytelling and pacing is already down pat, and I have a hard time picturing another artist improving on that, even if their chops are dazzling.

Although... color?

Michael Ragiel said...

Did anyone mention Gerhard?

adampasz said...

What a neat idea! It would be fun to get creators that worked on Conan-style books as well (Cary Nord?). And I'd be all over a Bill Sienkiewicz mind games issue -- perhaps with a guest appearance by Moon Roach.

Instead of a strict retelling the first 12 issues, it might make more sense to let other creators tell Cerebus the Barbarian stories that complement the first volume, serving as an alternative lead-in to High Society.

Dave Kopperman said...

Oh my God, Langridge would KICK ASS ALL OVER THIS.

Tony Dunlop said...

How about (OK, dreaming here) Neal Adams for the three Beguiling issues? I wouldn't mind seeing Howard Chaykin's take, either...

Keith said...

I would seriously love to see this happen.

jlroberson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jlroberson said...

Johnston mentioned me for some reason. I was told. Yes, I would love to do one of these.

Anonymous said...


Dream creators (other than Howard Chaykin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Gerhard, Neal Addams, The Pini's, and Sam Keith, because those are awesome suggestions) and made up entirely of people who probably won't either due to personal problems or other commitments (or ideological issues):
Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird
Stan Sakai
Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier (preferably on the Bran Mac Mufin issue)
Jeff Smith (like I said, unlikely)
Bob Burden
Neil Gaiman and Rick Veitch
Colleen Doran
Peter Bagge
Rob Schrab and Dan Harmon
Douglas Paszkiewicz
Richard Starkings and Ladronn
Richard Corben
Mark Bode
Mark Martin
Steve Murphy and Michael Zulli
Trudy Cooper (MUAHAHAHAA)
James Stokoe
Rick Burchett
Jim Lawson and Eric Talbot
Arthur Adams

And then life would be pretty much perfect. Although I admit it'd be interesting to see more mainstream guys tackle this, it'd be super-awesome if it would stick with indy comic creators.

Admittedly it's very frustrating that Steve Gerber and Gene Colan are dead...

-Wes Smith

Anonymous said...

Steve Rude!

cool arrow said...

I love the idea of Colleen Doran but I can't imagine she'd be interested.

John Lee

Sean Michael Robinson said...

Thanks for letting me know, Dave. I'll be keeping my eye out for the files.

And when I do get them, I'll go ahead and make some printouts for you and send them along. I realize the reasons you want to put together a signature to use as a proof, but I think if you see some printouts that don't exhibit any of these behaviors you might change your mind.

(One of the main ways that digital "proofs" vary from the output of the actual press are in the behavior of half-toning. Because of this, if you're using a bit-map (1 bit) process, and you have a high-resolution laser printer for your output, you can make a much closer approximation of the eventual output. It just so happens that I just purchased a laser printer that is capable of working at 1200 dpi, so I'll be able to generate "proofs" that will be very close to what you'd expect from my files.)

Ran a few tests this weekend with the file George did send me, and am very pleased with the results so far.

Travis Pelkie said...

Hopefully I'll get this in before Dave gets to reading stuff this week. I'll add my pending comments (that I've been sitting on for a bit) on the new update.

Anyway, I will buy this Ultimate Cerebus regardless, but let me be the one to point out that unless I'm reading him wrong, Dave is thinking that the 1-25 run will be redone by ONE creative team. Perhaps that's Dave being pessimistic about who would be willing to do such a thing, or hedging his bets in case no one was interested, but I'm reading it as Dave thinking of someone doing Cerebus a la the Bendis/Bagley Ultimate Spider-Man (although perhaps without as much deviation from the original).

And that's what would probably be needed -- one team, otherwise it's too much of a deviation from the original. As much as I'd love a Sienkiewicz issue, or a Layman/Guillory issue, or Gillen/McKelvie issue, for example, I think that would present too much of a deviation from what Dave's thinking to help feed interest in the original Cerebus storyline. (However, given the mostly "done-in-one" nature of the original issues, it would probably lend itself well to individual creative teams doing an issue at a time. Also, if Ted Adams got together several creative teams, they could conceivably put together almost all of the issues by, say, the end of this year -- most creative teams could probably fit in a 20+ page story in between regular gigs relatively easily [heh heh])

Also, new creative teams WOULD present a BRAND NEW THING for IDW to promote with each issue.

I also would rather see more new stuff from certain creators than seeing anyone redoing Cerebus -- a new Stray Toasters type book from Billy the Sink would be awesome, for instance.

But it all raises questions -- if high quality creators are the requirement, what high quality people would want to devote 2 plus years of their creative life to redoing old Cerebus stories? Or alternatively, how well would the Ultimate version function as a lead in if it has numerable creative teams on the issues?

And how much would Dave have to watch over the proceedings? Does he tell Ted Adams "keep people on the individual story for the individual issue", or does he give him carte blanche? What if someone wants to work in something from a future scene (say, some of the Minds stuff, like Cerebus painting the medallions)? How much might Dave be talked into allowing that, or in just saying, no, the original stuff only? What about the extras, like the story about what happened between 20 and 21, or the Silverspoon pages?

And also, if Dave is ok with 20-something year old Dave being "shown up" by the new creative teams (and if even a few of the people who expressed interest actually do it, like Langridge or Sienkiewicz, they will most definitely "show up" young Dave), then why are the moire problems so irksome on the new prints? (I understand, I think -- it's one thing for someone more talented to do better work, even on the same stuff, whereas the moire is affecting the look of the actual art)

Travis Pelkie said...

Part 2, because I typed too much:

Also, I think one thing that would appeal to the comic nerd in us (those of us interested enough in this project) is to compare and contrast the original with the Ultimate. Which means that the original would need to be back in print if this series is to succeed. (I think, anyway. Ted Adams is highly successful and thinks it would work, so what do I know?)

So here's my crazy idea of the week -- what if, in concert with Ultimate Cerebus, IDW reprints the SWORDS of Cerebus volumes? The 4 issue books, with the original intros and extras, seems to be something people want -- I've seen online that people want some sort of context with the phone books and their bare bones presentation apparently works against the book, for some people. With the Swords volumes, you get intros, maybe a new intro from Dave, and maybe just have IDW publish one go with them and then let them go out of print.

I know your original impetus for ending the Swords volumes was to not have all those extra books in print, but this could be a limited time deal with IDW and either be published in conjunction with Ultimate, or have the same issues in the same volume (original 1-4 and extra crispy, I mean Ultimate, 1-4 in the same book).

I don't know how this might work with your relationship with Diamond, but since IDW is one of the big 5 at the front of the Diamond catalog each month, a reprint of Swords through them would get more eyeballs than the back of the book, and then Diamond might feature the other books in conjunction with that some month.

There's my crazy notion. Feel free to dismiss it, but I wanted to throw it out there. Also, I think I used the word "also" a lot in this post. I also will work on that next time. Also.

Unknown said...

Dave Sim: I'm not sure if anyone is going to see this, but I'm glad that people are this enthusiastic. I'm completely flexible on who does them -- i.e. No it doesn't need to be one team (VERY unlikely with the amount of work). I think it will take shape around the people who express an interest -- IF Ted Adams even hears from anyone.

The idea of doing SWORDS sized volumes is probably a good one: followed by a CEREBUS collection.

Or maybe it would just have been a good idea in 1982.

Black and white OR colour. I'd figure that would be up to the individual artist(s).

Anonymous said...

I have seen this post. Welcome.

- Reginald P.

Anonymous said...


I'd also note that there are TPBs out there that collect 5 or 6 issues. Assuming this Ultimate Cerebus thing pans out, it may be smart to do smaller 5 issue TPBs to collect the Ultimate Cerebus books, then maybe include extraneous Cerebus material from the Eclipse shorts, or Cerebus shorts like 'The Challenge', or 'Demon Horn,' from other publications.

I do like the Swords idea, though. Just putting that out there.

-Wes Smith