Wednesday 31 December 2014

Po's Monologue About Bran

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.

Dave Sim's notebook #17 covers Cerebus #153 to 164, most of the Flight phonebook. The cover says it has 80 pages, but there were only 60 pages remaining in the notebook, one of which was blank (so it wasn't scanned). Page 53 contains almost per verbatim the dialogue from Po on page 5 of issue 161, aka page 211 of the Flight phonebook. However, you can still see Dave's edits of the dialogue:

Notebook #17 page 54

Now compare that against the text of the finished page:

Flight, page 211
Dave's edits are what made the final cut. Mostly it looks like he changed a word or a phrase rather than sentences or paragraphs. Almost like by the time he put it in the notebook, he was pretty much done with it. However, I've seen other examples of pages of the same text - text for the same page - repeated again and again while Dave  tweaks it again and again. Next week I'll either show you that or see if I can find some text that isn't crossed out, but that still did not make the final cut.

For now, here is what you can barely see on the other side of the notebook page above, a sketch of George Bush:

Notebook #17 page 53

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if those missing pages are ideas that Dave rejected, ripped out of the notebooks, and then threw away?

That might explain why Margaret has found almost nothing from the notebooks that isn't ultimately used and why the notebooks frequently have a number of missing pages.

Of course, it could also be that Dave just used the pages for private notes, shopping lists and the like, and that there never was much in the way of unused ideas, especially considering that Dave didn't have a lot of time to explore alternatives.

I'd be curious to know. Perhaps Dave could shed some light.

- Reginald P.