Wednesday, 14 December 2016

A Face Like The Back End of a Dog

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.

So one of the few other notebooks that we've looked at only once is notebook #27. We last looked at in F. Stop is not an Aperture back in May of 2015. From that entry "The cover says there were 100 pages, but only 45 were scanned. There were 41 blank pages and 17 missing pages. While the tag from Dave on the notebook said it was for issue #225, cover date of Dec 1997 and  in the middle of Rick's Story, there are some notes regarding F. Stop and the story in Going Home some 2 years down the road in issue #240."

The cover shows us that it is another Hilroy notebook.

Notebook 27, front cover
That phone number listed in the name block is the Fairmont Royal York in downtown Toronto. A pretty ritzy hotel from the sound of it, but as Cerebus fans we are probably more familiar with another Fairmont hotel: the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.

Page one has some Booke of Ricke dialog of Cerebus asking Rick if we wants breakfast or perhaps a strong drink.

Notebook 27, page 1
Page two has more of this dialog, and then on page 3 we see the dialogue written like a page from the Booke of Ricke, which is what it ends up being in Cerebus #225 page 2 (or page 108 of Rick's Story if you're following along in the phonebooks).

Notebook 27, page 3


Jeff Seiler said...

Wow. Sounds like a few bad "guys' night outs" that at least a few Cerebites have had, eh?


Travis Pelkie said...


I can't compare these notes, because 225 is one of the few single issues I still don't have! In fact, I believe out of the last 200 issues, it's the only one I don't have. I do have a copy of the Rick's Story phone book (which of course is for somewhere smaller like Kalamazoo or Dubuque), though.

I mean, now between that book and the new remastered stuff, I have the entirety of the series, but I haven't taken the time to read it all in "one" go (not all in one long marathon session, although I wonder if anyone has done that).

In other nonsense babbling, I have read the tiny type portions of Latter Days (I believe it's called the Cerebegesis?) at least twice. Honest.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Penance for your sins, Travis?

-- Damian

Dave Sim said...

Jeff - Alcohol is an interesting metaphysical substance given that the more you drink of it, the less lucid your decision-making gets. At the exact "tipping point" where you benefit most from lucid decision-making about alcohol, it's compelling you in the opposite direction from lucid. Very few people need -- or even "need" -- another drink for last call. But, if you're still there for last call the odds are you're going to want to do some stockpiling.

I couldn't count the number of times I'd think to myself "AM I DRUNK? I DON'T FEEL DRUNK!" and that's all that I remember after, say, 12:30 am.

It was interesting "method-acting" the dialogue in GUYS and RICK'S STORY and then looking at it through "general audience" eyes once I was satisfied that I'd gotten the "guys intonation" right.

Whoa! No wonder guys don't talk IN FRONT of women like this!

Dave Sim said...

Travis - Hey! I appreciate it! That took a LONG time to do.

Dave Sim said...

Damian - Or compounding them. We'll find out on Judgement Day.

Travis Pelkie said...

Since the topic came up, I'd be interested to hear your side of the Peter David story, Dave.

For anyone who hasn't heard (and I can't remember where I heard this), supposedly at a con back in your drinking days, Dave, Peter David paid the bartender off to essentially forgo the Jack in your Jack and Cokes. However, according to PAD, you still "acted drunk" even without consuming alcohol.

I think he wrote about it in a CBG column, and perhaps you've talked about it before, but if not, and you have anything to say....

And hey, Damian, Cerebus said all the answers were right there, so I figured I ought to read it ;) I just hope whenever I get back around to reading it yet again, the tiny type isn't TOO tiny!

Dave Sim said...

Travis - No, it was Bacardi and Coke. I think Peter got that part right. Peter didn't pay off the bartender. As I recall, it was when Peter was a PR guy for Marvel -- pre-writer days -- and it was a Marvel party, so he was the boss of the event. I never mixed Jack with anything. Always a shooter. And I didn't drink Jack Daniels with rum and coke (brrr!), just with beer.

I responded at the time that I read Peter's story that it would depend on the date of the event that Peter was talking about.

I was at a comic-store party in Massachusetts when the Red Sox were in the playoffs when Bill Buckner missed the ground ball to first. It was that night. I have no idea when that was. But, at the party, they had a bartender who started slipping me mickey finns -- too potent drinks -- so from that point on, I made a point of watching my drinks get mixed. No exceptions...

[Well, actually, I made an exception for my Dad which proved to be a mistake. He mixed me a rum and coke that was almost pure rum, which was something he was...doing...then with my mother. In her case CC and Coke. If he didn't like what you were saying -- and I was speaking favourably about organized religion -- he'd mix you a mickey finn. A kind of "That'll show YOU." Basically fried her liver so she had to go into dialysis.]

...unless I knew the bartender which, at a Marvel party, I wouldn't have.

Peter never mentioned it again, so I don't know if he knew what year this happened. But if it was after "Bill Buckner Night", I would have been watching and I would have seen that the bartender wasn't actually mixing a drink, just pouring Coke.

I always tipped at "free bar" events which the comic-book field which doesn't have a lot of drinkers. Bartenders notice that the only guy who put the $5 in their tip cup is the guy drinking Bacardi and Coke and -- depending on how Peter had been treating him (like a guy or like an "underling") -- might have just decided which side of his bread the butter was on. "I swear, I'm just pouring him Coke!" How would Peter know? He's not going to stand there and watch the bartender at his own party.

It's really the only story Peter tells about Dave Sim.

Travis Pelkie said...

Ah, the type of drink was my fault -- as someone who's not a drinker, I didn't realize what the drink of choice was. I knew it was something mixed with Coke, just didn't know what. Mea culpa.

Bill Buckner night would have been the end of the '86 World Series. Game 6, so apparently October 25, 1986, according to the Wikipedia.

After thinking about it, I recalled that I believe the story was told in the wake of 186, as a sort of "well, maybe Dave's just putting on a show, like he apparently does when he's drinking, or 'drinking'".

So I guess the question then is, did you ever "playact" your drunkenness in your drinking days, or perhaps act in certain ways that you thought of as "drunkenness" for...whatever reason? Or is it just that the bartender didn't follow PAD's directives as closely as he thought he did? I suspect the latter, based on the stories you've told of your drinking days.

Or else it wasn't the alcohol that was getting to you, but all that processed sugar in Coke! OMG, that's it!

Also, based on what I've seen from Rich over at BC, while perhaps our North American comics creators are more of the teetotal type, our British creators enjoy a good...pissup, I think is the term?