Saturday, 2 July 2016

Cerebus Archive Number Four Reviewed!

Kickstarter Campaign: October/November 2015
Raised CAN$31,640 from 250 backers
Featuring the 10 earliest pages from Church & State II in the Cerebus Archive

I received my two sets of Cerebus Archive prints today (June 29th) six months after ordering and paying for them.  But that's all I have to say about that -- it's already pretty well covered.

As usual, phenomenal reproduction values!  For example, look closely enough at panel 5 on plate 3, as well as panels 1-6 on plate 4, and you can actually see the texture of the dried Liquid Paper!

The notes, as usual, are scintillating! Leave it to Dave to actually look up and print the lyrics to "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and then discuss them, theologically, in notes on comic book pages.  And, leave it to Dave to bring the theory of penis envy and the issue of transgenderism to the same comic book pages notes.  My hero!  Really!

And, leave it to Dave to find and print a photo of the "Buddy Christ" statue! 

A little quibble with page 1 of the notes, regarding the photo on the upper right side:  It's identified as "Gerhard inking", but I've spent enough time with both Dave and Ger to say that I recognize that hair, that ear, the jawline, the brow, and the hands as belonging to Mr. Sim.  Pretty darn sure.

And, then, we come to the notes for plate 4. Plate 4 needs little background because it's simple. Any passing fan can look at it and immediately suss out how it was put together. So, instead, in these notes we get an utterly fascinating and ultimately very moving, bare naked (so to speak) page and a half of the Florida segment of his sexual autobiography.  Dave Sim -- his life pretty much *is* an open book.

Plate 5:  The cosmic shit. Again, the resolution of these plates is phenomenal. If you look very closely, you can see where the cross-hatching lines extend into the solid blacks because, hey, who cares?  It won't show up on the printed page.  More Liquid Paper, this time on Henrot's wizard hat.

So, now we're back to more autobiography, this time about Dave's growing awareness of needing to read the Bible, as well as some biography. And, again not too much to add about the art or dialogue on these pages.

Plate 8:  I always liked the inclusion of the Archie Goodwin-based character, though I suspect it misrepresented him as wanting or trying to be a mouthpiece, in real life.  The production notes here are, as ever, fascinating.

Plate 9 notes:  I would assume that the tone issues Dave mentions, as well as others (like Astoria's collar in panels 1 and 2), will be taken care of by Sean in the remastered C&SII.

You know, I always thought (and still do) that Lord Julius' step-ladder joke here had a vague sexual connotation. I also think that his joke in panel 4 was one of the best, if easiest, that Dave ever wrote.

Plate 10:  More great cosmic shit, including the string nebula in the upper right corner, just below the two big stars and to the right of the "Whoa" word baloon.  And, a bit of a problem below Sump Thing's left elbow, where lines for the motion effect fade away but then cross over the cosmic shit.  "Sean can fix that in post," I hear Dave saying.

Plate 10 notes:  Great "inside baseball" notes about using Letratape!

And, finally, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU for that gorgeous Wrightson/Totelbon page!

Okay, that's it for my review of CAN4.

*That's* a whole afternoon of my life I'll never get back, but I mean that in a good way.  :)


Tony Dunlop said...

Regarding the little Archie Goodwin figure: I had completely abandoned Marvel by 1986 but did recognize the figure, and of course knew that Jim Shooter was both tall and something of a tyrant. The notes accompanying Archive #4 was the first time I heard that Dave was not satirizing Marvel's power relationships of the time. I have always assumed that he was - after all, he was parodying "Secret Wars," right?

Jeff Seiler said...

Well, Tony, I think these notes and previous things written by Dave are his way of keeping the past in the past, in regards to his "relationship" with Shooter and Marvel. They did the Wolveroach/Spiderham dance, then decided to let bygones be just that, at least publically. And the Wolveroach (not to mention the MoonRoach and PunisherRoach) keep getting reprinted with impunity, while SpiderHam keeps on rolling.

Everybody wins (?). And you have to admit that a short little guy pretending to speak for a giant stone monster is pretty prima facie funny!

Lee Bentley said...

I'm sorry, but I read through a lot of the material on the Kickstarter page and I could not determine the answers to the questions below. I am dumb and evidently you have to do a lot of math to work out what to pay for what on that page.

1. How much must you pledge to receive CAN4?
2. Can you get it in digital-only format?

Thanks for any clues.


Tony again said...

1. It's no longer available through Kickstarter. As I understand it, an unsigned, un-numbered version is/will be available through comic stores. No doubt someone will correct me if I'm wrong. Consult your local comix dealer.
2. I'm pretty sure not.

Lee Bentley said...

Thanks very much, sir!

al roney said...

Although, it took awhile to receive I have to say John Funk did a fantastic job (again) putting it together and shipping it out.

If only my orders from Amazon had that level of TLC involved! I'd never have have to return damaged goods again!

Jeff Seiler said...

Yeah, Al, I agree. It took me a solid ten minutes of assessing the packaging in order to remember how to go about opening it. Where...I say, where to cut, that is.

Of course, it took me six months of waiting before I had the chance to make that first cut...incision, that is.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

"I recognize that hair, that ear, the jawline, the brow, and the hands" ..! So Jeffy's not just a fancy boy ...

-- Damian

Cory Foster said...

I found the notes on this CA particularly interesting.