Sunday 30 November 2014

Gerhard: High Society Revisited

Commission: High Society cover recreation (2014)
by Gerhard
(from Gerz Blog, 29 November 2014)
Last year I had the opportunity to burn the Regency to the ground for the Low Society cover. This time Dean has commissioned me to recreate the High Society cover at the same size that I drew the original. I cropped off some stairs at the bottom. I resized and repositioned the Cerebus figure and thought I would add some clouds... I soon realized that I was not about to redraw all of the things that have bugged me all these years. I used this opportunity to fix some of the perspective mistakes and structural anomalies. You can see I abandoned the cloud idea and went for a "fading into the distance" effect in an effort to give the Regency more of a sense of scale and depth.

Prints anyone?

Contact me:
gerzmail [at] yahoo [dot] ca

The original High Society cover (1986)
by Gerhard
(via Comic Art Fans, 29 November 2014)
I have loved this cover since the first time I saw it back in the '86, when Dave was taking orders for the collected High Society story arc, Gerhard's illustration is amazing and it truly brought the Regency to life. And when I received my phone books from Aardvark-Vanaheim I was lucky enough to get a poster of the cover which I immediately got dry mounted and framed. It is stunning.

Now, almost 30 years later I was thinking to myself that I sure would love to get a commission from Gerhard. I picked up the hand coloured prints he offered last year (and if you missed out on those then you really missed out, they are gorgeous), as well as the World Without Cerebus pieces he offered as a set of prints. But I kept thinking I would love to get one of his cross-hatched Cerebus environments. Something spectacular, and one day I saw a photo of Dave Sim in front of the framed original cover for the High Society phone book that hangs in the Off White House and I thought - THAT’S IT!

To my great surprise Gerhard was okay with the idea. I was worried he would not want to repeat himself but he said YES!


So a few emails back and forth with Gerhard (the NICEST GUY IN THE WORLD, by the way), and voila! I am now the proud owner of an amazing Gerhard cover recreation of the Cerebus High Society Trade paperback/phone book. He was even okay with recreating it to the exact same size, and on the exact same material that he used on the original cover artwork (Bainbridge 172).

He made some adjustments, fixed a few things that bugged him about the original cover, brought Cerebus up a few steps which allowed the whole image to be shifted down and also allowed him to illustrate the top of the Regency.

He is contemplating creating a run of prints so check out his process on his blog and let him know if you would buy a print if they were available. I think if there is enough interest (which I am sure there will be) he will do it. Maybe he'll even hand colour them... who knows. Gerhard created an animated GIF of the inking process and I have to say that I have already watched it about 30 or 40 times.


Anonymous said...

It's been interesting to see Dave's recreations of early Cerebus pages, and it's equally interesting to see Gerhard's recreation of the cover here. As always, I say: Man, that Gerhard can draw!

I wonder if Dave would view replacing the cover art as going too far in changing the work as originally presented?

-- Damian T. Lloyd, rft

Dave Philpott said...

Looks amazing. Congratulations to Dean.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me that Gerhard is bothered by the original. Both look fantastic.

- Reginald P.

Jeff Seiler said...

Nah, Reggie, Ger never thinks anything he does is any good. Own worst critic.

I guarantee he could quickly rattle off half a dozen (maybe a baker's dozen) flaws in this new Regency drawing.

That's why he had ulcers at the end of Cerebus: monthly deadline + own worst critic = ulcers.

iestyn said...

In fairness, the new image is indeed far better and more accomplished than the original.

I think it shows what an amazing improvement Gerhard made over the course of Cerebus.

I think it is a crying shame how few people talk about Gerhard's skill and the massive accomplishment his work on Cerebus was. It's clear to me that the series would have MUCH less successful without his involvement and input.

Iestyn Pettigrew

iestyn said...

would have BEEN much less successful.

Terrible typist, sorry.