Friday, 17 February 2017

Finishing MINDS For Good: Restoration, Proofing & The Picking Of Nits

Sean Michael Robinson:


The restoration work is all done on Minds, as of Friday morning! Which leaves me with just a few loose ends to wrap up.

As we've done in the past, I'm looking to you, Cerebus restoration patrons and fans, to help in this final polish.

Some of these things are definitely in the "picking at nits" category, but, hey, when has that stopped us in the past? If you're the type of person bothered by minute grammatical distinctions, or horrified that we're proofreading and editing twenty-year-old comics, please consider yourself warned and read no further!

Without further ado—

Page 52 panel 2 — the reverse lettering has been damaged, either when shooting the photostat or the negative itself. Because of this, it's not clear what might be missing from the first panel. My best guess (and proofreader Jeff Seiler's guess as well!) is that there were two ellipses after each "A". Which would look like this—

So -- yay or nay?

Page 82 --

Cerebus' father visits Magus Doran for help with his problem child.

Proofreader Jeff suggests adding commas throughout Cerebus' father's speech. For instance, "Th' hat. 'Is Mum's idea it was." would become, ""Th' hat. 'Is Mum's idea, it was." He's suggesting four on this page.

To my sensibilities these are unnecessary, and the absence of the commas here is actually working to communicating the rhythm of his speech patterns. So I have a strong "no" here myself, but wanted to run this by you all as well. (And Dave!)
Yay or nay?

Page 205

In panel 3 the Dave character says to Cerebus: "...with no regard for the ideal "nature"-? A mistake grounded in his blind belief in iconolatry."

Jeff Seiler points out — "The OED defines ICONOLATRY as: the worship of religious images or icons. Thus, the phrase "belief in iconolatry" is redundant. A better wording would be "practice of iconolatry" or just take out "belief" and make it "blind iconolatry."

Normally, I'm against "correcting" dialogue. After all, couldn't the speaker be in error? But should this general tendency to leave well enough alone change when the speaker is, in a certain way, also the author?

Any thoughts on this? Leave as is, or change to one of Jeff's suggestions?

Page 152—

In the second word balloon, Dave lists the Five Cornerstones of Cirinism, followed by a colon, and then each cornerstone listed individually, terminated by a period. Jeff desires these periods to be semicolons instead, and while that might be slightly more correct on some Algebra of Grammar level, on an aesthetic level, it looks wrong, and seems to unnecessarily complicate the structure of this section.

Anyone want to stick up for Jeff's semicolon suggestion?

Page 245—

Cerebus is about to have his "injury-to-eye" experience, whilst "Dave" quotes Pink Floyd lyrics to him. In panel five, the lone balloon says,


Unfortunately, according to that pesky OED, and the Pink Floyd lyrics in question, it's "pinprick."

So, change to

or preserve the rhythm of the sung lyric by changing it to



Pages 104, 105, 100, 101, 110

These pages have larger image areas than the surrounding pages (as befits the scale changes depicted in the drawings themselves.) Unfortunately, that means when I enlarge these images to 104 percent of their original size (as the rest of the artwork has been enlarged), there's no room left for page numbers on these pages.

So I could 

a. shrink the artwork a bit for these pages
b. leave the page numbers off for these pages (what I'm inclined to do!)
c. put a small white box over the artwork to accommodate the black page number

Page 270

In the third panel, Cerebus says, 



Which Jeff believes should be 



I could go either way on this one. It's freezing, Cerebus is miserable and not at his most articulate. Is this a "mistake" of the character, or did "The Letterer" just leave out a word accidentally?

Finally, the end

The last decision is the one I could use the most input on. Unlike the majority of the books so far, MINDS is already the perfect length to accommodate the signature length of our new paper (which need to be multiples of 16 pages). Which means, we can either not add any pages of length, or we'd need to add sixteen pages to add any at all.

Which means, if we don't add any physical pages, then we have either one or two pages total to fit in the following--

a. Cerebus Archive thank-yous
b. credits on the restoration, scanning, copy edit, etc
c. Aardvark-Vanaheim address and book logo
d. Art Dragnet credits and thank-yous
e. any art enlargements

I say "one or two," because for the first time, I'm considering using the facing page of the last story page of the book. 

I've avoided it before because I think it typically looks pretty tacky, but it doesn't seem quite as bad to me this time as the last story page is really an advertisement for the next volume anyway. 

Any thoughts on this? Should I cram it all into one page to preserve that last white space at the end of the story? Or spread it out over two? Something else?? If we do use both pages, what image might you want to see enlarged for the final page? 

And that's where Minds is at! Looking forward to your magical solutions.


Travis Pelkie said...

Not to be a bother, but can you put up scans of what the panels in question currently look like, so we have a better idea of what the changes might be? That plays into whether or not we agree with Jeff.

(Spoiler: we don't.)



Travis Pelkie said...

More seriously...

pg 52 -- I think that's got to be ellipses. Nothing else would make sense.

pg 82 -- I think (and I believe Dave's said before) that Jeff is very good at getting the "technically correct" proofreading, but tends to overlook that there are, at times, very good reasons to NOT have everything be grammatically "letter perfect", and just from the example here, I think what Dave originally had in for Cerebus's da's speech is exactly what he intended.

(side note: since Diana Schutz, from what I understand, only proofed the text portions of the back of the book, did she ever read the main story and send along any notes to Dave? Any "no, Dave, you've got to have commas there!" type notes?)

pg 205 -- at first I was siding with Jeff, to a degree, but thinking about it, I need a bit more context here (as I don't know what is referenced here) (Bran?). "A mistake grounded in his blind belief in iconolatry" sounds redundant, but as I think about it, couldn't the "blind belief" be in worshipping religious icons? That is, I think it might be saying that (Bran's?) mistake was that he believed in the belief of icons, rather than worshipping the thing itself. Again, I need the context though. (And I'd also wager that if Dave was using "iconolatry", that was the word he intended to use, as it's not exactly a common term.)

pg 152: without seeing it, I'd say the semicolon thing sounds right but looks wrong. Particularly if each tenet is in its own word balloon.

Also, from the late great Kurt Vonnegut in "A Man Without A Country": “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.” ;)

pg 245: I'd have to see the panel again. From what I recall, while it may be wrong, it looks more sinister without the hyphen, and that's what it needs to look like there.

Yeah, leave page numbers off if the solution is to cover any art. Defeats the whole purpose of what you've been doing. Since it's only a few pages, the rest all have the page numbers. I read plenty of comics where not only are some page numbers missing due to artwork bleeding, but there aren't any page numbers at all, so missing a few is no big deal.

pg 270: OK, that one I'll agree with Jeff. Probably why that "Letterer" guy kept losing out to Todd Klein in the awards ;)

And yeah, since the last story page is the "ad" for Guys, go with 2 pages at the end. And for an image, maybe one of the ones where young Cerebus wets himself in church.

This phone book has issue 191, right? My favorite single issue, I think.

Paul Slade said...

Sean -

For what it's worth, I've been a journalist for the past 35 years, both writing my own copy and subbing other people's. In my view:

p52: The ellipses look fine as shown in the panel here.

p82: Add the commas. They help the reader instantly grasp what's being said. That's what correct punctuation is for.

p205: Here you're crossing a line between correcting evident mistakes and changing what the author said. It has to be Dave's call.

p152: Change the periods to semicolons. Same argument as p82 above. As a general principle, correct punctuation should trump fears that it "looks wrong". Adopting that rule of thumb gives you the best chance of ensuring that readers are never tripped up by a caption or balloon whose meaning is unclear on first reading.

p245: No hyphen. This breaks my general principle, but does so for a good reason: it better captures the rhythm of the speech.

p270: Add "do". The sentence makes no sense without it, and so falls under the heading of correcting a mistake rather than changing the author's intent.

The end: Add the 16 pages. Ideally, every volume of the newly-restored Cerebus should be consistent in the way it presents its back matter. The two-page solution you present here looks horribly crammed to me, and I'd very much miss your usual essay at the back of the book. You've established a good style with the earlier remastered volumes, so now stick to it.

Jeff Seiler said...

I'm with Paul for the exact same reasons, especially adding 16 pages. But, if the structure is


then I'd say put a hyphen after PIN.

Dave Sim said...

Sean - See what you've done to yourself?

We ALL agree.

It just WOULDN"T be an ACTUAL official remastered edition without a BIG, FAT, SEAN-ESSAY in the back. :)

WIFI place isn't open on Family Day so I'll weigh in on the suggested changes (God willing) on Tuesday.

Travis: re: your side note. Diana only got the back of the book material. She didn't read the actual issue until she got her freebie copy in the mail.

Re: Pinprick. I think there needs to be a hyphen since Pink Floyd are/is English. Good catch, Jeff and thank you Oxford English Dictionary.

Sean R said...

Thanks for the (continuing) comments, all!

Paul— re: 152, my goal in all of this is readability. That being said, what's "right," escpecially, in borderline cases such as these, is not necessarily what's most readable.

I've spotted two examples of this construction in the Richard Dawkins book I'm currently reading: a colon followed by a list of sentences, each terminated by a period. In both cases, though, they were bulleted lists, which maybe makes a difference? But it seems to me that semicolons separating each of the Pillars really does make something really simple (a list of commandments) look really complicated, by borderline-unnecessary punctuation.

Take a look in your copy and let me know if I've changed your mind :)

Hey Dave, re: an essay—there's certainly no shortage of things to write about! I bow to the tenative consensus. Anyone have other artwork enlargement suggestions or art/extras you'd like to see at the back?

Jeff Seiler said...

Thanks, Dave! I'm waiting eagerly and with baited (er, bated ;)) breath to see what you think of the iconolatry suggestion/correction...

Bill Ritter said...

No skimping. Do the essay. Add the pages. Be fabulous.

Dave Sim said...

page 82 - Agree with Sean. Cerebus' Dad is obviously intimidated and that's going to change his speech patterns from "grammatically correct" to "idiosyncratically run-on."

page 205 - Leave it as is. My inference is that a belief in a belief is a separate thing from the belief it believes in. Metaphysically, a belief in a belief is on one metaphysical level and the belief itself is on another metaphysical level. That's a distinctly monotheistic inference but, then, I'm expressing a monotheistic idea. The belief that a belief can only be one-dimensional is, I infer, secular/atheistic (the OED aside). The issue is the belief in the belief in icons. Not the belief in icons.

page 152 - Yes, I think they should be semi-colons. It's an actual list presented as such so each item on the list should be separated by a semi-colon.

pages 100, 101, 104, 105, 110 I would say you have the right idea. "Man does not live by page numbers alone" As long as you've got page numbers on the rest of the pages, even someone referring to one of the pages without page numbers only has to go back or forward a couple of pages to figure out which one it is.

Page 270 - Actually, that's intended as verbal humour. How Cerebus would express it in his mind. It might be a good idea to put "not anything interesting" in quotation marks and preface it with a colon to make it obvious that it ISN'T a typo.


finally, the end:

Sorry, Sean, you're stuck being Bill-Ritter-fabulous!