Friday, 9 January 2015

Weekly Update #65: Do I Look Happy-Go-Lucky To You?

Hello everyone!  A bit of "chop" to start the New Year but -- at least for the moment -- we have green lights all the way around in the Aardvark-Vanaheim cockpit. So, I'm turning off the "fasten seat belts" sign for the moment. Feel free to get up and move around the cabin.

I've just reviewed the very interesting discussions on the GOAT redesign which ties in with point #1 this week:

1.  Official word from Aardvark-Vanaheim's Diamond Brand Manager, Matt Demory, that final orders will be in on HIGH SOCIETY the first week in February, which means there is a lot less pressure to make final HIGH SOCIETY decisions before the end of this month.  Three more Updates between now and then.

2.  Short delay on the fulfillment of CANT Kickstarter but all of the bookplates have been signed, the personalized bookplates have been personalized, the Bonus Prints have all been signed and the Inked Heads have all been inked.

3.  Antony Buonomo, who did the title opening for Best Motion Picture of the Year O*c*r winner (I don't think you're allowed to use O*c*r without permission) 12 YEARS A SLAVE will be doing the titles for Oliver's CEREBUS movie, CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY

4. First three production paintings pencilled and mailed to Joe Rubinstein for his amazing watercolour finishes

5. 9-page "Biography of a STRANGE DEATH Page" on its way to Eddie Khanna by surface mail which I'm asking him to post to the Patreon site along with associated visuals on the page that took me from December 29 to January 8 to finish

1.  Just got the January PREVIEWS this week, which used to mean that we were a few clicks away from the final orders coming in but -- as noted -- those orders are not going to be crunched into a Purchase Order until the first week in February.  So, this is good news in terms of our on-going discussions about HIGH SOCIETY fixes (and "fixes" and Fixes) which will now continue through until January 30, giving people a chance to weigh in and/or change their opinions.  Or other people to have a try at a fix like the GOAT story.  Or even more radical suggestions if there are any of those out there that people have been sitting on.

[By the way, I now have "in print" confirmation that the signed and numbered edition will be limited to however many Diamond gets orders for by the end of this month.  So, if you want one, now is the time to tell your retailer:  Diamond order code AUG120748]

I'm not committed either way on any changes besides the Diamondback card inserts (which look GREAT!) and will just continue to review the discussion.  It would be appreciated if people could post any further HIGH SOCIETY comments or discussions directly after the 1/16, 1/23 and 1/30 Updates so I can find them more easily.  I'm actually coming down to my "leave-taking" of HIGH SOCIETY point, as I came to it with JUDENHASS late last year.  Unless I'm missing something obvious, this is the last time I'll be going through the whole book.  It's all up to Sean now each time that a new page makes itself available.  And -- from now on --  I'l just be engaging with HIGH SOCIETY 10 pages at a time in CEREBUS ARCHIVE, every 16th one. So: roughly (calculating 3 a year) CAN18 (2019); CAN34 (2024); CAN50 (2029); CAN66 (2034); CAN82 (2050) -- the first 60 pages out of the 180 or so in the Cerebus Archive and then -- since I'll be 94 at that point, I think it's safe to say that I won't get much further when it comes to commenting on HIGH SOCIETY  :).

Oh, and I've decided to do the signing and numbering on bookplates that Bang Printing will be putting in the inside front cover.  Let's try that GOAT TRICK again and ask for submissions of what people think the book plate should look like.  Most Excellent Prize for the one that's chosen.

2.  CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER TWO, the Kickstarter edition is in a "short delay" status with John and I working out how the actual prints will be delivered to the Off-White House for signing.  This became a problem when he delivered all of the bonus prints and wasn't able to leave them on the back porch (mostly because the back porch doesn't exist any more) which is what he had done with CANO.

My left shoulder is pretty much toast (long story I won't bore you with) so hauling the prints into the house was in the "okay, something needs to be done about this" category (back in the summer when I was doing CANO I just unloaded a few at a time and carried them in through my bedroom into the studio and then signed them there and then returned them to the back porch without lifting the boxes).  Which John was up for because hauling the prints from his vehicle out back of the house to Camp David where there's an overhang was no day at the beach either for him.  So what we're going to do is get collapsible reusable boxes made that will hold a smaller quantity of prints (with some clearance around the prints that we'll fill in with styrofoam: another problem was digging them out of the boxes without damaging them).

John's also getting mylar bags to secure the mini-prints to the mailer for shipping (bearing in mind the damage to the HIGH SOCIETY signatures last time when they were free-floating).

We anticipate only a short delay, however, and John (let's have a nice round of applause) has worked out a protocol of keeping all of the prints in a specific order as I sign them so they can be packaged more quickly and then fired out in descending order of shipping payment (you pay more for shipping, you get your CANT shipped to you first).  We ARE getting this figured out, so thank you all for your patience.

On my side, all of the CANT IH (Inked Heads) are now done, as are all of the hand-lettered bookplates and final approval of the 6 commentary pages has been given.  We're literally down to the actual 10 HIGH SOCIETY plates as the only thing left for me to do.  Stay tuned!

3.   Fax from Oliver Simonsen, CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY Director:
I've just returned from the post office where I put in the mail a rough mock-up of the beginning text part according to your directions.  I had just received the progress from an artist and that version was a bit off the mark. 

Antony Buonomo, who did the title opening for the "Best Motion Picture of the Year" O*c*r winner 12 YEARS A SLAVE will now do it, so it should be in excellent hands.  

However, wanted to double check if the title was set in stone yet and if any changes would have any bearing on the opening before he starts.  I know the working title is CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY and wasn't sure if that meant it might change or if that simply is easier to refer to for internal production purposes.  Though CEREBUS: THE MOVIE seems to be fitting that bill -- which I figure, on any marquee, would probably be how it would be referred to anyway... or maybe just CEREBUS or CEREBUS THE AARDVARK.  

Anyway, let me know.  I still haven't sent him the necessary files yet, so he won't be starting quite yet, anyway.
Thanks, Oliver. I'll watch for the rough mock-up.  This is actually VERY good news because I thought, "Um, actually I'm staking quite a bit on the titles making a GREAT first impression here." I decided to try a "deflation gag" approach where it looks as if the movie begins with a "Galaxy Far, Far Away..." titles intro that's just a little TOO convoluted and content dense:  not "completely over the edge" but getting there.  Like "Am I supposed to be taking notes? Is this going to be on the final exam?" And then "deflate it" with some throwaway gag text.

Knowing that someone with world-class skills is pitching in on this means I can focus on the content and not worry about the execution.  That's a relief.  That would basically be Mr. Buonomo's instructions:  here's what I want it to say.  Your job is to make it look as Grandiose and Pontifical as possible.  Take their breath away, call attention to yourself to the point of interfering with the content itself...and then my job is to have them squirming a bit after they've caught their breath.

Presently working on a parody presentation piece for Mr. Buonomo: 37 YEARS AN AARDVARK which is almost fully inked.  Open offer for anyone working on CEREBUS: FRACTURED DESTINY.  If you've also worked on an O*c*r winning film, let me know and I'll do a parody of that film's poster/graphic for you as a way of saying "Thanks for agreeing to be just 'one of us grunts'".  In
the unlikely event that you worked on SEVERAL O*c*r winners, please specify which one you want me to do a parody of.  One per customer.

I'll be sending the inked parody to Joe Rubinstein to see if -- as "one of us grunts" -- he's interested in/has the time to water colour it for Mr. Buonomo.  If not OR if so, I'll ask him to just mail the original to Oliver who can see that Mr. Buonomo gets it.

Unless anyone has an objection, these O*c*r parodies will be made available as mini-Bonus Prints starting whenever Joe gets this first one done OR passes on it, hopefully in time for CAN3.

I'll have my inked version up here, God willing, next week.

And speaking of Joe!  

4.  I did manage to get in about three hours of work this week on pencilling the production paintings for the first sequence that I'm writing for Oliver's movie.  Hoping that the Miracle of Facebook works again and this breaks the Lariv Barrier and reaches Joe because I didn't include a letter with the package.

Also hope that the scans of them have reached AMOC HQ and Tim will be able to add them in to this post when he gets home from work.

Hi Joe!  Okay, the first pencilled piece is on watercolour paper and is a medium shot of Cerebus on the modified Spore Wagon, in the Sanctuary wearing his papal robes.  I've included a photocopy of the CHURCH & STATE issue cover with the colour scheme of the papal robes, as well as copies of the LATTER DAYS issues with the Spore Wagon and the Sanctuary interior.  Lots of flexibility on how you want it to look.  You're the colour guy, I'm not.

I took that image and reduced it about 50%, centred that on an 81/2 x 11 sheet and copied that and then pencilled around it, so the camera has "pulled back" a ways from the first one, showing more of the Spore Wagon and the Sanctuary paintings.  I'm thinking of "badgers skins" (which you might remember from your Bar Mitzvah) for the -- virtual -- mountain of fur covering the Spore Wagon's wheels.  Think: "Interiors by Genghis Khan".  Since it's a photocopy with pencil on it, I was going to suggest that you take it to a Kinko's and see what they have in the way of a watercolourISH paper and get a few different densities of it shot.  IF you're able to find something that works with watercolour then we'll be able to do this as an on-going thing: pencil a production painting and then do a reduced copy and pencil around it and you watercolour it from there on whatever Kinko's has that works.

If it DOESN'T work, then I'll just have to pencil everything from the ground up.

The third piece, I enlarged the first drawing about 200% for an extreme close-up of Cerebus where he's really showing his age -- sagging flesh, bags under his eyes, liver spots would be a nice touch, mad scientist eyebrows with stray hairs curling up and away, sort of blood-shot eyes.

The key thing is that he only looks like that in the close-up.  In the medium shot he just looks pretty much like Classic Cerebus the Pope.

Basically, these are the three images that feature the line: "Does Cerebus LOOK "LIGHT-HEARTED" and 'HAPPY-GO-LUCKY' to YOU, Young Lady?"

[Getting ready to do another audio pass on the whole sequence, Oliver. After I've signed the Kickstarter plates, I think]

I'm planning to make all of these into Bonus Prints, so, Joe? Take your time.  And, again, if you could post Updates here at AMOC showing your progress...Hey, Content is the name of the game. (email: momentofcerebus [at] gmail [dot] com)

 5.  Because I haven't been posting Updates to the Patreon site, I haven't been transferring any of the donated money to the company account for a few months.  Open offer to any disgruntled Patreon patrons:  full refund for the last three months.  Just send me a letter or postcard with the full amount that you donated and I'll send you a cheque ASAP!  As I say in the piece itself: "I'd probably do the same thing if I was in your place."

Thanks and, God willing, see you all next week!


A Moment Of Cerebus said...

What's wrong with your shoulder?
The world needs to know!

Oliver said...

Such spectacular drawings!! And second what Tim said:)

Michael Grabowski said...

Seriously, Dave spent a year telling us about Genesis in excruciating and eye-straining detail--no story is too long or too boring after that!

Travis Pelkie said...

He wouldn't injure his shoulder if he stretched more by masturbating....


You can say O*c*r, but I think you have to put that reserved mark by it (the R in a circle).

Looking forward to CANT and the new version of High Society. If we order through our comic shop, is there any way to get a specific number, or is it hit or miss (like the signed and numbered Bob Burden book I got recently)?

I will say that I wasn't a fan of the idea of the interviewer lady in the movie, but seeing these images, I will say that I am now cautiously optimistic that it will work in the movie, and I withdraw my previous vociferous objections (reserving the right to put them back in if it turns out to suck ;) )

Also, I'm psyched that now that IDW bought Top Shelf, you'll be published by a company also publishing Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell comics. Sweet!

Will Collier said...

Thanks, Dave, got my order in. It'll make a nice bookend to my beat-up copy of the first printing.