Wednesday, 9 March 2016


The fullest description of "the events of May June 1979" is in the DIALOGUE: FROM HELL with Alan Moore.  Shulgan's version is pretty much what you would expect from a crack-head "pulling a cheque" appealing to a mainstream Toronto audience.

Actually, I made a math error:  the original plan had been to do 156 bi-monthly issues, concluding in  2003.  When I decided to go monthly, that got revised to 300 issues ending in 2003.  It was (I'm not sure how many) years later that I figured out the actual date was March, 2004. VERY disheartening.

I had inferred that there would be a LOT of Ground Zero Literature being produced, timed to conclude with January 1, 2000 -- had inferred, in fact, that a LOT of it was already being produced -- and that CEREBUS would be "one of many" which would "come to light" in the late 1990s.  (I think Prince sensed the same thing when he did "Party Like It's 1999": and turned out to be the only person besides me who was thinking about it).  That is, that there would be a GZL metaphysical roller derby -- all of us becoming aware of each other late in the day and charging for the same spot -- and I had decided that I wanted to avoid being part of that.  I wasn't sure how "far past" the date it was necessary to go to avoid whatever it was that I sensed on the horizon.

GZL turned out to be non-existant.  Had I known that, I would have timed the ending of CEREBUS for January, 2000.

I do think I was right in anticipating the metaphysical realities.  But, instead, they took the form of a metaphysical "head fake" --  the Y2K computer glitch which was going to bring about a worldwide
apocalypse -- and the actual Watershed Millennial Moment -- 9/11.

It wasn't I don't think Owsley's Acid that we were doing by the 1970s.  The "speed" revolution was already engulfing the remains of the pot and acid "all you need is love" context.  If it was the 1970s and it was a pill and a speed freak manufactured it, it was going to have a lot of speed in it. Speed freaks are like ketchup junkies who put ketchup on everything.  "No drug can't be exponentially improved with a generous helping of amphetamines."

That was more my experience than anything that could be described as hallucinogenic.  REALLY awake.  I pencilled a bunch of pages of CEREBUS No.11 (I was going to make note of the pages and forgot -- I'll try to remember for tomorrow) and was definitely "seeing differently".  I was TIGHT-pencilling for one thing which I tended not to do since I was inking the book myself.  It was an impressive pile of pages until I "came down" and thought, "Well, yeah, but they aren't FINISHED. They're just PENCILLED.  I still have to LETTER and INK and TONE them."  I went from perceiving myself as having done several days' work in a few hours to recognizing that I had probably done about a day's a day.  Except the day had been all night.

I reverted to my "page a day" standard:  if you finish the page, you have a page done.  Anything else and you're just kidding yourself as most semi-pro guys do.  "I GOT FOUR PAGES PENCILLED IN ONE DAY!"  How long ago was that?  "About a week!"  "So, you pencil a page every two days."  "NO WAY!  FOUR PAGES IN ONE DAY!"

Seeing "mothers and daughters" as a primary division in the nature of Reality, arguably, came out of the acid experience, because I was already embarked upon creating as plausible a matriarchy as I could. I realized that I needed a term for "daughter: ????" that was an equivalent of "mother: matriarchy".

I think acid helped me to "think outside the box", but I was perceiving it the way the Beatles had: a source of enlightenment.  A higher state of being.  A higher consciousness.

I DID experience that for the first time fasting in Ramadan.  "Oh, so THIS was what I was looking for."

The average North American is going to opt for acid in that "either/or" circumstance, I think.


Travis Pelkie said...

Cool. But why the 156, why not 150 and end a year earlier?

And when your work load "doubled" there, what was the first reaction? "Why am I popular enough to make a monthly comic book feasible?!"


I suppose there wasn't a whole lot of GZL (which, I'm not exactly sure what that would entail, per se), but there were at least a few things in pop culture that addressed the coming "change".

Electronic musician Tricky had an album called "Pre-Millennium Tension".

The X-Files spun off a show (or it was another Chris Carter show, now I don't remember) called Millennium that had to do with the coming change.

Always appreciate reading about your thinking in the making of Cerebus, Dave.

CerebusTV said...

As a designer of hardware and software from the beginning of the microcomputer revolution, I knew the whole Y2K panic was a fraud from an engineering point of view. Nothing was ever going to fall out of the sky. Mostly, it was a problem that people's whose age was measured in three digits instead of the shortsighted two that some designers had allocated were going to appear as if they had just been born again.

From the religious point of view, there was nothing special about January 1, 2000, either as the particular calendar was arbitrary and hadn't even been in use for more than a couple hundred years, and there are other calendars by other cultures.

But it was a great scam for charging a bundle for emergency reprogramming compensated way beyond the difficulty due to the media hysteria. And good for all the "End Times" charlatans, both secular and religious, who sold books, tapes, schemes for survival

CerebusTV said...

Jeff! Do you REALLY know what he did last summer?

Test your ESP:

iestyn said...

The only other 2000 related thing around the start of Cerebus, that I can think of, was of course, 2000AD - the starting place of so many comics greats.

Erick said...

I answered your 15 things in the Damian vs Seiler thread. And uh, lots of folks had thoughts about 1999 and the year 2000 before even Prince did so.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Erick, don't bother. Dave has demonstrated repeatedly that he will never accept any debunking of his "Impossible Things". It's easy to win the game when you're simultaneously a player, the ref, the scorekeeper, and the guy who makes up the rules.

Dave's best piece of advice to wannabe creators: Produce, and don't lie to yourself about your productivity. I'm sure we've all seen too many wannabe creators who walk around talking like a creator, acting like a creator, theorizing like a creator, dreaming like a creator -- in short, doing everything short of actually creating. As Dave said, "Wake up! You're deluding yourself."

-- Damian

ChrisW said...

I don't think I had even started using the internet in 1999, and even at the time, it sounded to me like Y2K was just a scam to sell a lot of extra merchandise to gullible people. With seventeen years of experience, I can at least comprehend why there might have been a bit of panic [short version: government computers are extremely outdated; I'd be surprised if any US aircraft carriers have progressed passed Windows '95 yet] but that's what it sounded like.

The "finished a page" was what mattered to me. I will never be a great comic book creator, but I have done a lot of comics pages, and to me, it always came down to finishing a page. I mostly wrote it in advance, and laid the page out in loose pencils (because my art sucks, so why waste time penciling) but on my last big graphic novel, I realized finishing a page per day was what mattered. I laid out most of the book in pencils, word balloons included, and started finishing it, hoping that my planned ending would work by the time I got there.

Early on, I did a page a day. Ink the letters, then the panel borders, then the page itself. And then, particularly after an easy page, I noticed I had 'gas left in the engine,' so why not get a bit ahead as long as I'm working? Do the lettering for the next couple of pages. And the panel borders, once I start getting ahead. Next page has seven panels, and two of them are easy? Knock them out right now and tomorrow I only have to draw five panels, Or maybe six panels are easy, but one is hard, so if I do the hard one now, tomorrow will be an easy day.

Get far enough ahead, and it really helps. Some days, I didn't feel like doing any drawing, but I did lettering and panel borders for the next 12/15/20 pages. Other days, I didn't finish a page, but I drew eight or ten panels on random pages, so it kind of qualified as a win. Some days, I literally only drew one panel, but it finished a page, so it was more of a win than those 'eight or ten' panel days.

And some days I simply couldn't get anything done. Too busy, too burnt out, couldn't find the interest, whatever, but I drew a 200-page graphic novel in just over five months. Maybe eight months if you count having the initial idea and working out the plot and writing/laying out most of it. I'm quite proud of it, and to this day I still aspire to have enough money to find an artist/letterer that will make it readable.

Dave isn't the only example of a work ethic that I take inspiration from, but his example alone is amazing. [So are the others I take inspiration from.] And I have to admit, he's the guy I take literal inspiration from, like finishing a page a day. Some days you just can't do it. So you have to work extra hard on the other days to make up for your failures.

To prove my point, I've had this 'finishing a page a day' example in my head for over a decade now, and I've always aspired to the day where I could tell Dave Sim just what I thought of his 'do a page a day' example from the "Guide to Self-Publishing." And knowing that he's not going to read these comments, I'd rather write this long post here and now, hopefully getting it out of my system (the post, not the work ethic) just to say I did it.