Saturday, 10 December 2016

Cerebus Cover Art Treasury: Behind The Scenes - Part 1

by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(IDW, 2016)

(From a post at A Moment Of Cerebus, 31 March 2016)
The latest -- and, I've decided, last -- proof for the IDW covers book has arrived clocking in at 350 pages.  As I've written to Justin Eisinger, in light of his decision to override my last three suggestions of what needed to be done with the book, I'm doing a LOT of left-handed typing to explain what I think needs to be changed in the book with no guarantee that anything will be done.

That's fine.

CEREBUS COVER ART TREASURY has been a lot more work on IDW's side than my side and we're now coming up on the fourth anniversary, so at some point, rationally, we have to just say "close enough for government work" and let it go.

It's as much Justin's project as it is mine so it seems sensible to have one more "kick at the can" on my part and then let Justin finish it up.

So, what I've decided to do is to type my last set of recommendations in the form of an AMOC article called CEREBUS COVER ART TREASURY: BEHIND THE SCENES and have Sandeep e-mail it to Tim W at the same time that we send it back to Justin along with the pages that I think "need work". Tim W will hang onto it and post it here when the COVERS book arrives in stores so people can see what was done and what wasn't done.

I don't know how much left-handed typing it's going to be, but just explaining WHAT the image they have for the CEREBUS No.1 cover IS as opposed to what it's SUPPOSED TO BE is...lengthy.  Lengthy, and I think, of interest to long-time CEREBUS fans, which is where I got the idea for "double duty":  hopefully we get a more appropriate image in that space and AMOC viewers get the thorough "cover of No.1 story" that there just isn't going to be room for in the book itself.   Or, if they decide to stick with the image they've got, at least I'll be "on the record" about why I thought it inappropriate. And anyone who buys the book can judge for themselves. 


It was a massive job that began in October, 2012 with IDW's legendary book editor Scott Dunbier and IDW Publisher Ted Adams both coming to Kitchener to get a close look at the sheer volume of material -- and raw material -- that would need to be sifted through.

Scott himself put in three full days on that visit, scanning at the Off-White House and only got through about half of the available candidates for inclusion.

That's really the biggest challenge that's been facing us all along: how much of the material could be made to fit in a single volume?

Over the next few days AMOC will be running "the last twenty-two suggested changes" to the book. I left the decision to change or not change "the last twenty-two" up to Justin Eisinger, IDW's equally legendary Books Editor. THE CEREBUS COVER ART TREASURY is coming up on its fourth anniversary of pre-production. Hopefully, you'll be reading this before then!

I have to warn you that where we've used actual scans of the page proofs in this series of reports, they are EXTREMELY DARK. We've been assured by Justin that that always happens on the proof stage. One of those weird things that seems to have become a universal constant in the printing realm: "Oh, it won't look like that when it's printed." I've gotten that a number of times myself. "Then how can you call them PROOFS?" Just get a blank stare on that one.

Onwards and upwards:

The front and back covers of the book in the last set of proofs


Personally, I liked the front cover that Scott Dunbier "threw together" when he was up here four years ago -- and which has been running in the A MOMENT OF CEREBUS sidebar ever since.

For some reason, at the first proof stage, that got replaced by a cover featuring the #166 cover image (Cerebus asleep and holding Missy and hovering over a chess board: VERY popular cover) and --- on this latest go-round -- by a cover featuring the #91 cover image (which actually looks very stylish "inset" so you can see the edges of Gerhard's background that got trimmed off).

My opinion is that the original cover is the best. But, then, it's not MY money tied up in this, so whatever IDW thinks will sell the best is fine by me.

Scott Dunbier's original design for the CEREBUS COVER ART TREASURY from 2012

I also suggested to Justin that the byline "Introduction by Kevin Eastman" should be added to the front cover and a "sub-head" "TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES co-creator" (if that's allowed: how sensitive is Viacom about that?) and the same thing on the back cover where they have an excerpt from Kevin's -- very flattering -- introduction.

I also wrote Justin that it seems a little odd for a publisher to refer to an artist whose work that they're publishing as "polarizing". It's not as much of a pejorative as, say, "controversial" but (I wondered) is it possible to leave those kinds of (inevitable) comments to the book reviewers? Just saying.


Rose Kragiel's "Somewhere in France" photo covers

Page 2: In the acknowledgements, Ruse Kragiel should be Rose Kragiel. I told Justin that I'm sure she would really appreciate it if she could get a copy (or two) of the book sent to her since several of the photo covers are from her photos "somewhere in France" (#233, 234 and 252)

The line after "copyright Dave Sim" which reads "OR WHATEVER SPECIFIC ENTITY HE EMPLOYS" should be deleted. The rights to CEREBUS are TECHNICALLY owned by Aardvark-Vanaheim Inc. but, as the sole owner of the corporation, I think it's safe to say that the covers are "copyright Dave Sim". And, after I'm dead, they're going into the public domain, God willing.


Jeff Seiler said...

Fascinating insights, Dave. I do think that "accidental" mistake of Ruse, instead of Rose, might not have necessarily needed correcting, in hindsight.

Just sayin', as an outsider, looking in.

Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Any idea why people might think Dave Sim is "polarizing" there, Jeff?

-- Damian

Jeff Seiler said...

Here is my first comment after comparing Dave's last 22 corrections to the finished product. This comment corresponds to the first five of Dave's corrections. The rest will correspond to the other two posts.


1) N/A, not as requested

2) Yes, as requested

3) I couldn't find the page to which this correction referred.

4) Corrected to "Rose" on the indicia page.

5) Done, as requested