Wednesday, 23 July 2014

WANTED: The Cerebus Art Dragnet Begins

WANTED: Have You Seen These Aardvarks???

The hunt is on!

Aardvark-Vanaheim is currently seeking high resolution scans of Cerebus original art, to replaced aged, destroyed, or otherwise inadequate negatives. These scans will be used to produce new, digitally restored versions of Cerebus volumes, “Legacy” editions that will honor and illuminate the innovative art that garnered the long-running series its reputation.

Greetings! My name is Sean Michael Robinson, and I'm heading the current Cerebus digital restoration.

Although it's rarely been used to full effect, the past decade's revolution in CTP (Computer to Plate) technology has made it possible for printing to be more faithful to original line art than ever before. Because of this, new editions of books sourced from original artwork can have more detail present than any previous printings.

In the case of the early volumes of Cerebus, the difference isn't subtle, not even on a screen.

Below, left: scans of existing print sources.
Below, right: scans from original art, adjusted for the Cerebus Archive restoration project

If you personally have access to any Cerebus original art, with special emphasis on the first 80 issues, we're looking for you! Or more specifically, 600 ppi color scans of your Cerebus artwork. 1200 ppi scans are even better, if your scanner is capable. If you don't have a scanner with a large enough bed, most office stores with print facilities should be able to help you.

Aardvark-Vanaheim will happily reimburse you for any expenses incurred during the scanning, including de-framing. In addition, every scanning contributor will be thanked by name in the resulting Cerebus Legacy Edition printings.

If you have scans for us, or any leads, please contact Sean and Mara at –

We're happy to announce that we'll be assisted in this dragnet by Heritage Auctions' Managing Director of Comics Lon Allen, who has agreed to supply us with high-resolution scans of any future pages that come through their auction house. Special thanks also to our most recent contributor, Calum Johnston, owner of Strange Adventures Comix & Curiosities, who was kind enough to take a page down off display to be scanned at a local office store.

Lastly, you can help us by spreading this banner image, and links to this article, far and wide. Help us in the hunt to make the best Cerebus volumes possible!

Update, day one, 7/24: 

Special thanks to illustrator Dean Reeves, our first day donor! He's brought a whopping ten pages to the table. Many, many thanks to Dean, and all of you that linked, and please keep them coming!

Update, 7/25:

And we have our second donor! This time it's Trent Rogers, owner of Future Pastimes, a Cerebus-friendly comic store in Sarnia, Ontaria, Canada. Trent says, "The page hangs in my shop where I can proudly show everyone a piece of my favourite comic series." Thanks so much Trent!

Update, 7/26:

And today we have contact with donors 3,4, and 5! Special thanks to TK, the first person to actually deliver files, of a wonderful-looking three pages! TK also had this to say: "Best of luck in reassembling that shattered vase." Thanks! Will do :)

Update, 7/30:

Our sixth donor is Gregory Kessler, who has sent us a record-breaking 13 pages! We now have a total of 25 high-res original art scans, with 4 more on the way. Keep spreading the word!


Birdsong said...

There is no argument that theses images are a vast improvement, but I thought you were shooting for as much 1200 dpi as possible. Either way the Legacy Editions are the ones I want my personalized book plates to live in.

Sean R said...

Hey David!

The source scan res (600 ppi color in this case) and the destination output (2400 ppi bitmap) are very different things. I'm using upscaling (taking advantage of the ambiguous/soft nature of the color scans to resample the image at the destination size).

A few other points--

A. the originals are 140 percent of the destination size, so more information is present than if these were at-sized originals being scanned

B. I'm actually asking people via email to deliver at 1200 ppi if they're capable, just in case :)

C. all at-size materials (negative, printed matter) has been scanned at 1200 and upscaled as well.

If you send me your address I'll be happy to send you a sample scan for you to try this out with, if you have Photoshop.

We just got the press sheets back this week from the printer, and you can trust me when I say, there's no information being left behind :)



Birdsong said...

Thanks for the info Sean, I have probably forgotten a lot of details from the earlier discussion. I live in photoshop and I would love to see a sample. I'll email you this evening.