Monday 31 July 2017

On Sale 8 Years Ago: Cerebus Archive #3

Cerebus Archive #3 (August 2009)
Original cover art by Dave Sim

Sunday 30 July 2017

That Russ Heath Girl #3

That Russ Heath Girl! #3
(Glamourpuss #18, March 2011)
Russ Heath contributed three covers to Dave Sim's Glamourpuss #11-13 (2010)
as well as four 'That Russ Heath Girl' pin-ups in Glamourpuss #16-19 (2010/11).

Hero Initiative is the only federally chartered, non-profit charitable organization
dedicated to helping comic book creators in medical or financial need. 
One of the creators they've helped is Russ Heath.

Aardvark Comics #1-- Not Even A Snowball's Chance, the Last Wednesday of Every Month!

Order at your Local Comics Shop now! Diamond Order Code: JUL171242.

Saturday 29 July 2017

A Gen X Cerebus Fan Speaks! Dave Sim Interrupts!

 A (very occasional) word from Dave Sim now that he's working full-time on

Dear Mr. Sim,

I'm writing to offer a helpful and friendly correction to a mistake which I found on the first page in the third issue of CEREBUS IN HELL?. You assert, using Cerebus as your mouthpiece, that the youngest fan of your CEREBUS series must currently be in their forties.

The sentiment was Cerebus' alone. Cerebus is many things but a mouthpiece he is not.

Seeing as how I greatly enjoy CEREBUS and am, as of the writing of this letter, not three months past 28, I thought you might like to know of your egregious oversight, so that this sort of thing might not occur more than once.

My desire to know of my egregious oversights is, as all CEREBUS fans know, insatiable.

How did I come to love the earth-pig born, you may be wondering, now that you're, I assume, fully recovered from the shame of knowing you nearly alienated an entire post-Clinton fan (at the least singular) base?

I confess to liking the sound of "post-Clinton", though I think it unlikely. Go on.

Well, it's a strange tale and not one that would make a good story, I expect. I happened upon your series on Wikipedia, while reading about the Puma Blues and the distribution fracas that happened a few years before I was born. A link to High Society led me to a link to the series proper; led me to my local comic store, which led me to buying copies of the second and third phone books and a protracted quest for the first, which only recently came to a close.

Personally, I find any story where I earn some revenue, absolutely riveting.

While I was working towards finding the first volume of CEREBUS (being a natural perfectionist, I believe that not starting at the beginning is a mortal sin) I discovered your CEREBUS IN HELL? series and took it as something of a sign from Tarim and a random coincidence that could be retroactively construed as a useful signpost.

Luckily for you, the outcome was the purchase of more CEREBUS literaria and an obsession with the earth-pig which borders on the Chapmanesque.

So far as I'm concerned, as long as you keep investing in these random coincidences/useful signposts to my benefit, you are more than welcome to the minting of any Latin term that takes your fancy.

(Worry not, defenceless Canadian, this American considers violence spiritually sickening and, if we're being frank, the exact inverse of sexuality. I realize you may disagree, being an ascetic; then again, I suppose you've probably given up both, and so the issue is probably mute).

(The issue, unless speaking telepathically or, like ourselves, parenthetically, does, indeed, appear to be "mute").

Suffice to say, I love CEREBUS despite the fact that, as of now, I am only just past his first meeting with Jaka. "How can you this be?" you ask. "Are you sure you're not just another fickle American, flitting from one empty obsession to another, believing yourself a man of wealthful taste, when you're nothing more than a hedonistic little devil?"

To be quite clear, I would be delighted if every American citizen would buy three of the phone books, CEREBUS IN HELL? and then only read the latter and up to the first meeting with Jaka in the former. From what I understand, there are several generations of feminists who, in retrospect, wish they had done exactly that.

Well, I guess the best response to your (wholly imaginary) quiry is to say that I fell in love with the audacity of your opus and its inimitable flavor of sumptuous acerbity before I consumed the opus itself. You might say the wafting scent of the implaceable feast that is CEREBUS won me over to the feast itself.

Had I said that, I think I would have run quiry and implaceable past Jeff Seiler first. 

Or you might say that an unbalanced "fan" is writing to tell you how much he loves your life's work, despite not having read most of it. Not having met you I would never wish to be accused of the thought-crime of assuming anything about anyone. If you've been at all triggered by this letter, please write to me and say so, so that I may commit ritual seppuku with the sharpened olive branch of tolerance and diversity.

Not to worry, I'm of the "pre-trigger" generation (and "non-trigger" gender).

I guess if there's a point to this letter, it's to let you know that, even in these dark days of Twitter, Trump and text-messaging, your work touched another human's life before it was even properly experienced.

Maybe you'll more properly experience your thirties.

Hell, I've even taken Cerebus off the printed page and introduced him to my material world. Looking for a bit of motivation with my own creativity one day, I clipped out a Cerebus from the back of the second issue of CEREBUS IN HELL? and created a speech bubble for him reading "Where's Cerebus' masterpiece?" Hanging it at eye level on my bedroom door, it is now the last thing I see before I leave in the morning.

What Cerebus means to say (I'm sure) is "Where is the REST of Cerebus' masterpiece?" We're both VERY fond of our American-dollar revenues.

Well, there you have it, I hope I've brightened your Northern Day a bit and I hope you won't mind me saying that I think you deserve to be mentioned alongside Watterson, Kelly and Eisner. Having read your most recent excursion with Cerebus as I'm starting to read your very first issues from 1977 strikes me as poetic somehow and I felt compelled to mention this, though now I'm not quite sure why. I suppose that's poetry though: a lot of "Who knows?" (May I just say, as an aside, that I think "Years later, he died" might be one of the funniest openings ever).

Reading CEREBUS IN HELL? before reading Cerebus strikes me as very Shakespearean. [Dante and Virgil enter stage right] DANTE: Years later, he died.]

Thinking back to what I'm told the world was like 40 years ago, I wonder what you think's changed the most between CEREBUS #1 and CEREBUS IN HELL? or, more interestingly, what hasn't changed at all.

a) Computers and b) the urge on the part of most people to live inside their televisions. Two sides of the same coin.

If you started writing CEREBUS in 2017, what do you suppose you'd do differently, if anything? If you find the time to write back in between repositioning Dore's illustrations around Cerebus, I'd greatly enjoy hearing your thoughts on this matter. Would you have anything to say about Trump? ISIL? Gamergate? The Kardashians? Marvel Films? Image Comics? The role of mortality in social media's urging us towards documenting the material world in painstaking detail?

I'd probably do everything pretty much the same, except I'd start with "Years later he died" and throw in a few CEREBUS IN HELL? foreshadowing strips anytime the narrative started to get too tendentious.

Anyhow, I look forward to finishing CEREBUS by next March, at a rate of one issue per day. If the world is still habitable, I shall write to you and let you know if you still stand with the greats.

I'm breathless with anticipation.


Peter F. S.

Friday 28 July 2017

Dave Sim: Dead Bob

17 April 06

Dear Bob:

By the time you read this you will probably be dead, so I will keep it short. Craig Miller just sent me the posting from The Beat saying you had surgery yesterday for a stomach virus you contracted in New Orleans. That sounds about right. What in the hell were you thinking, cowboy, going into that cesspool (literally)? Oh, well, it was your call and you made it. I hope you had fun while it lasted because it sure doesn’t sound as if you’re having much fun now.

Craig tells me that you intended (or intend, let’s stay optimistic here) to write something for Following Cerebus about the issue 104 crossover. I hope you do because that means I can dig up all of my Bob Burden stuff to run as illustrations. Do you remember the big picture you drew on the inside cover and front page of that Oscar Wilde book you sent me? No, I didn’t expect that you would, but you did. I had forgotten about it myself until I popped it open while putting the Cerebus Archive together. It’s a beaut.

If this reaches you before you die, and you have something written already for FC or if you have anything done on the Cerebus/Carrot crossover sequel (the one where they go to Hollywood) please tell someone where they are so we can run whatever you had done in the special Dead Bob issue. Otherwise I’ll have to find a manual typewriter somewhere and fake something. Also if you can think of any Dead Bobs we can include besides yourself, Kennedy and Hope, please scrawl their names on the nearest nurse and have Roxanne forward her to the address below. Much obliged.

Keep your eye on the donut.

Your morbid amigo.

Bob Burden is the writer/artist of Flaming Carrot Comics which The Comics Journal described as "steeped in a broth of surrealism, hardboiled adventure stories, knowing innuendo and superhero comics turned inside-out." Aardvark Vanaheim published Flaming Carrot Comics #1-5 between May 1984 and January 1985, with #6-17 published by Renegade Press and #18-31 by Dark Horse Comics before ending its original run in 1994. In 1987 Cerebus and the Flaming Carrot teamed-up in Cerebus #104.

Weekly Update #193: Dave Gets a New Furnace!

Wednesday 26 July 2017

The Tavern at the Wall of T'si

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.

We've looked at Dave Sim's notebook #24 six times already, most recently with Notes for Dave's Chat with Neil in May of 2016. It covers Cerebus #192 through 211 and had 138 pages scanned in. All those times we've seen pages from it, we've never seen the front cover:

Notebook  #24, front cover

While it is another purple Hilroy - sans unicorn this time - it is smaller than most of the other notebooks. This one is 22.9 x 15.2 cm (9" x 6"). The other notebooks are 27.9 x 21.6 cm (11" x 8.5").

On page 46 Dave sketched out a layout for 'Guys No. 5'. Which as we know, isn't the cover for Guys #5, aka Cerebus #205.

Notebook #24, page 46
Dave had also marked it up as Cerebus #206, which turned out to be Guys No 6. It does look like it could be some interior pages, but  I couldn't find it.

Aardvark Comics #1- Hell is Delicious, the Last Wednesday of Every Month

Order at your Local Comics Shop now! Diamond Order Code: JUL171242.

Monday 24 July 2017

Eddie Khanna's Newspaper Clippings #1

 Chicago Tribune
(24 April 1992)
 Argus Leader, Sioux Falls
(2 May 1982)
 The Muncie Evening Press
(5 January 1984)
Quad City Times
(12 July 1982)

(Click all images to enlarge!)
Many thanks to Eddie Khanna for providing these newspaper clippings.
Eddie is currently helping Dave Sim research 'The Strange Death of Alex Raymond'
and you can read his regular updates on Dave's Patreon site for as little as $1 per month.

Sunday 23 July 2017

That Russ Heath Girl #2

That Russ Heath Girl! #2
(Glamourpuss #17, January 2011)
Russ Heath contributed three covers to Dave Sim's Glamourpuss #11-13 (2010)
as well as four 'That Russ Heath Girl' pin-ups in Glamourpuss #16-19 (2010/11).

Hero Initiative is the only federally chartered, non-profit charitable organization
dedicated to helping comic book creators in medical or financial need. 
One of the creators they've helped is Russ Heath.

Saturday 22 July 2017

Dave Sim: On Onan & Masturbation

This Aardvark, This Shepherd
Cerebus #266 (May 2001)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard 

A (very occasional) word from Dave Sim now that he's working full-time on

Thanks for your phone message, Jeff [Relaying Jeet Heer's comment on last week's article].

You can tell Jeet (and also tell him I'm sorry I haven't seen any of his work in the NATIONAL POST lately: I always disagree with him but he's always an interesting read) as far as I know these are the relevant Biblical passages re: masturbation:
Leviticus (Third Book of Moshe) 15:16 And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him then he shall wash all his flesh in water and be unclean until the Even. 17 And every garment and every skin whereon is the seed of copulation shall be washed with water and be unclean until the Even 18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation they shall both bath in water and be unclean until the Even.
I don't put too much stock in this because it's the YHWH and -- unlike every other monotheist -- I think the YHWH is God's adversary. At the same time, I infer that the YHWH thinks his/her/its self to be God so a big part of what the Torah and the Gospels consist, in my view, is the YHWH's idea of Godly laws. Of which I think God is a) relatively indulgent, as He seems to me relatively indulgent of flaws in all of His creations and b) reliant on men to amend them where those laws are "screwy" (i.e. stoning someone to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath).

[The Onan narrative you cite, I infer, is a good example of that. Genesis 38:9 "And Onan KNEW that the seed should not be his" when his father tells him to raise up seed unto his brother by impregnating his brother's widow. It is -- or will be -- part of the Mosaic law:
Deuteronomy (Fifth Book of Moshe) 25:5 If brethren dwell together and one of them die and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her and take her to him to wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her.
The YHWH's concept, I infer, was to "short-cut" the elder being/younger being enactment (the YHWH's inference is that the YHWH is the elder being and God is the younger being; God's -- which I assume is the accurate one: Him being omniscient and all -- is that God is the elder being and YHWH is the younger being) by having the younger being impregnate the elder being's wife. Which is, of course, incestuous adulterous procreation. Morally and ethically choosing not to follow the instruction costs Onan his life but I assume he will have a suitable reward with God for standing against incestuous adulterous procreation. KNOWING what was right and doing that.]

Getting back to Lv. 15:16 the compelled inference, I think, is that semen is theologically unclean and needs to be washed out of garments. But it's not a huge deal. "Unclean until the Even" as opposed to "unclean seven days" (let's say). But that's just MY inference, which is what I infer Scripture is all about, Charlie Brown: you're supposed to make up your own mind what Scripture says, what it's telling you to do and the extent to which you conform to it. On Judgement Day you find out how you did.

The Synoptic Jesus weighed in during the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 5:27-28 You heard that it was said Not you shall commit adultery. I however am saying to you that everyone the ___ looking at woman toward the to desire her already he committed adultery with her in the heart of him.
[Comic Art Metaphysics in action: I just spent the better part of a month painstakingly examining the "If however the eye of you the right stumbles you" in my RIP KIRBY Commentaries vis-a-vis William Seabrook's invocation of it in NO HIDING PLACE. MATTHEW 5 JUST WON'T LET ME GO!!]

I infer that Mt. 5:27-28 applies to the metaphysics of "innermost motivation" and (in our present day: less so in 1st century Palestine) pornography.

That is, I don't think masturbation is the sin, the sin is what you're imagining while you're masturbating, in descending order of illegality (pedophilia, incest, sexual assault, rape) and immorality (adultery, fornication). Our thoughts only SEEM secret. I infer that what the Synoptic Jesus is saying is that the thought IS the deed: on any metaphysical level above our own, what we're thinking and what we're doing have a shared level of self-evident culpability. No difference.

If you just masturbate for the physical experience of it and you aren't, mentally, committing an act of adultery or fornication (or, I would infer, more problematically actually looking at a naked woman who isn't your wife: either in person or on the Internet) then I don't think it's a sin. It's "unclean until the Even".

This being 2017, I can't imagine that anyone agrees with me (maybe orthodox Jews and Muslims), so that's why I don't really participate in these kinds of discussions. As I said before, I'm way, way, way over here and you're all way, way, way over there.

Popular Posts: The All Time Top Ten!

The 'Popular Posts' box (top-right of your AMOC screen) is an automated Blogger widget which lists the most visited AMOC posts on a rolling one month basis. But have you ever wondered what the most visited AMOC posts of all-time are? No? I'm going to tell you anyway...

No. 1
Wally Wood's 22 Panels That Always Work!!
16,208 Views, 15 Jul 2012

No. 2
On Neil Gaiman
10,666 Views, 27 May 2012

No. 3
The End?
6,405 Views, 4 Sep 2012

No. 4
Red Sophia
4,866 Views, 22 Jul 2012

No. 5
Dave Sim Checks Into Grand River Hospital
4,643 Views, 17 Mar 2015

No. 6
Neil Gaiman: 300 Good Reasons To Resent Dave Sim
3,207 View, 29 Sep 2012

No. 7
Weekly Update #97: The Great Cerebus Back-Issues Give-Away
2,890 View, 28 Aug 2015

No. 8
Dave Sim Recovering After Surgery
2,821 Views, 18 Mar 2015

No. 9
Mind Game III & IV
2,245 Views, 28 May 2012

No. 10
The Fantagraphics Offer
2,105 View, 16 Sep 2012

However, my own personal favourite all-time AMOC post is without question Sandeep Atwal's "I Knew Dave Sim..." from June 2012 - a great insight into what "evil" Dave Sim is really like. What's your own favourite AMOC post? Do you even have one? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Wednesday 19 July 2017

Drunk Attic

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.

Another notebook that we haven't seen in two years: Dave Sim's notebook #22. Last seen in July of 2015's A Creator Named Dave, this notebook had 71 page scanned and had material for Cerebus #186 through 201. Since we've not seen the cover for this notebook yet, here we go:

Notebook #22, front cover
Another Hilroy? Purple? This isn't the same cover from last week is it? No, it isn't.

One of the pages from this notebook that jumped out at me was page 65:

Notebook #22, page 65
Some word balloons are all that is on the page. I thought they looked vaguely familiar and found the ones on the left of the page on page 8 of Cerebus #201 and the ones on the right on page 9:

Cerebus #201, page 8 and 9 word balloons
The one in the notebook is pretty close to the one on the finished pages, but there are a few differences.

Monday 17 July 2017

Russ Heath & The Hero Initiative

"Bottle of Wine"
Story & Art by Russ Heath, Colors & Lettering by Darwyn Cooke
(first published in Hero Comics 2012, IDW)

Hero Initiative is the only federally chartered, non-profit charitable organization
dedicated to helping comic book creators in medical or financial need. 
One of the creators they've helped is Russ Heath.

Sunday 16 July 2017

"Gratification Is A Dish Best Savoured Cold"

'Shadow Of The Axe!' from Creepy #79 (Warren, May 1976)
Story by Dave Sims, Art by Russ Heath

24 September 04

Dear Mr. Morrow:

I’ve just received a letter from Janine Bielski, the Development Director at ACTOR [now The Hero Initiative] notifying me that a "generous donation" had been made in my honour, by you, on March 1 of this year. The letter itself is dated August 11 and was mailed to me September 16. Fortunately, at one time I dated the Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, so I know better than to take these progressively slow "turnaround times" at a charitable organization personally. The staff members are usually dancing as fast as they can.

I’m assuming that the date of your donation links it to the publication of issue 300 (now receding into the distant past of our mostly "here today, gone later today" environment) and I appreciate the gesture on your part.

Oddly enough, I just picked up the latest Alter Ego last night and, as I told Roy Thomas when I had dinner with him and Dann in Toronto (along with Michael T. Gilbert and his wife Janet and a "hanger on" named Will Eisner), I was again amazed that it was possible to read an entire magazine about comic books without once having to wince or get doubled over by a body shot. I was particularly glad to see Russ Heath's splash page for Shadow of the Axe, but then I’m glad to see that page anytime it doesn’t have my name spelled as "Dave Sims" at the bottom, as it did in Creepy 79 ['Shadow of the Axe' was my second sale of a professional script to Louise Simonson at Warren when she was still Louise Jones].

Thanks again. Gratification, like revenge, is a dish best savoured cold.



Saturday 15 July 2017

Dave Sim: On Prostitution & Chester Brown

Cerebus #275 (February 2002)
Art by Dave Sim, photo by Ken Sim

A (very occasional) word from Dave Sim now that he's working full-time on

You aren't, I don't think, going to win in any discussion with Chester Brown about the morality/immorality of prostitution.

In an... idiosyncratic?... society like our own, you aren't allowed to privilege your preferred form of fornication over any other person's preferred form of fornication. If Chester "gets off" on paying women for sex, that becomes the bottom line. Right next to "consensual". He wants to buy, she wants to sell. It's all good. End of story.

The terminology of fornication has changed to match the idiosyncrasy of subjective-perception-as-reality. In my youth it was called "pre-marital sex". That is, the presupposition was that everyone was going to get married and unusual people had sex before the ceremony. In 2017 that just seems weirdly quaint. Which I experience as moral erosion and most people (at least appear to) experience as progressiveness. All that matters in 2017 from our idiosyncratic society's perspective is what two adults agree upon at the moment. Their agreement, in and of itself, makes whatever it is inherently right.

If you ask me where our society's (reputed) epidemic of free-floating anxiety is coming from, I think that's an obvious place to look. If you don't think you're transgressing and you actually are, that's going to cause you a LOT of psychic stress.

I don't, personally, think that subjective perception determining the nature of reality is the case. In my view, the only valid viewpoint on fornication is God's and -- unless I'm misreading Scripture -- the verdict is "thumb's down" across the board. The notion that simple consent is the bottom line on fornication is, I think, a fabricated human conceit. The "deal" isn't, I think, between you and your girlfriend or you and your wife. The "deal" is between you and God, your girlfriend and God or your wife and God.

That is, I infer, it's a matter of fidelity to God. If you want to have a female counterpart in your life and have sex with her, and you don't want to experience severe consequences, then it has to be on what I infer are God's terms. You need to a) be a virgin when you marry b) commit to a lifelong marriage c) consecrate that marriage in the sight of God (i.e. in a church, a synagogue or a mosque). Otherwise you're transgressing. And that, it seems to me, is the actual bottom line.

[One of the reasons that I haven't participated in the discussion is that I'm way, way, way, way over HERE and all of you are way, way, way over THERE. All I could be is an AMOC troll on the way, way, way over THERE subject.]

When I realized back in 1997 -- after having read the Bible and the Koran for the first time -- that I don't have those qualities, I'm intrinsically, soul-deep NOT a husband...

[which I attribute at least partly to being the child of a child of fornication. My maternal grandfather impregnated my maternal grandmother sometime around March 6 of 1930 and my mother was born December 6, 1930. It takes a lot of chutzpah to call a daughter of fornication "Mary" in what was -- at the time -- a Christian society. My grandmother -- who was a devout Christian, attending church multiple times daily, in her youth -- never lacked for chutzpah. Years later I found out that my grandparents had their "shotgun wedding" on May 17, 1930 which means that I was born on their 26th wedding anniversary. The metaphysics of which -- see the emphasis on Cerebus' 26th birthday in the earliest issues -- seem particularly ominous in retrospect: I enacted their transgression starting around age 26 and didn't stop until I was almost 42; CEREBUS ran for 26 years, etc.]

…I opted for the only thing that seemed sensible to me under the circumstances: repentance (i.e. I stopped fornicating) and atonement (I haven't fornicated since 1998). In May of 2019 I will, God willing, have atoned for my previous 21 years of fornication and adultery.

Which, I'm sure, sounds absolutely crazy to everyone reading this, just as your ideas of what constitutes societal progressiveness sound absolutely crazy to me.

I wish everyone, including Chester, the best of luck with their fornication and adultery rationales/cover stories/realities on Judgement Day.

I'm sticking with my own. And looking forward to May of 2019.

Further Reading:
Dave Sim: "Avoyd Fornication" (January 2014)

Friday 14 July 2017

Gerhard: A Big Explosion In Space

Cerebus #192 (March 1995)
art by Dave Sim & Gerhard

(via Comic Art Fans)
This was 'take two' for this page, Dave wanted a big explosion in space, but in space there is nothing to give you a sense of scale, so 'big' is quite relative. My first attempt really sucked; way too 'cartoony' and it had the stereotypical ball of flames and mushroom-like clouds. But in space there wouldn't be any flames or clouds and there isn't any 'up' for clouds to rise into. I went to the library and found photos of nuclear tests in space: incredibly boring looking, just a bright ball. So I added the expanding nebulous bands of dust and debris. The little Cerebus on the chunk of throne room is a photocopy from the original first attempt.

Gerhard's 2017 Convention & Signing Itinerary:

Keep up to date with Gerhard's latest news at Gerz Blog!

Gerhard: The Nerdy Show Interview

The Nerdy Show celebrates 40 years of a comic book milestone: Cerebus the Aardvark:
It’s an independent comic that took the world by storm, changed the industry forever, and broke bold new ground with its hilarious and heart-rending story. The series was written and drawn by Dave Sim with background artist, Gerhard. Together they chronicled the life of this ill-fated aardvark with Sim drawing the characters and Gerhard anchoring the cartoon animal into immaculately rendered environments. This archival HeroesCon panel is a one-on-one conversation with Gerhard as Cap Blackard learns about the artists’ collaborative process in creating the longest-running indie comic of all-time, how to ditch school but still get some book learnin’, and breaking beyond the background with Gerhard’s new project, The Smile of the Absent Cat, written by Grant Morrison for Heavy Metal.

Weekly Update #191: Cerebus In Hell? Returns!

Wednesday 12 July 2017


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.

It has been over two years since we've looked at Dave Sim's notebook #20. The most recent time was in July of 2015's US Tour 1992 tour diary.  The notebook covers Cerebus #153 through 164, and it had 59 pages scanned, 20 missing pages and a ton of blank pages.

And somehow, while we've seen pages from this notebook many times already, we s till haven't seen the cover. Surprise! It is another Hilroy:

Notebook #20, front cover
On page 38 of the notebook there is a sketch of 'Cerebus 163 page 9' (or the phonebook 163, page 15):

Notebook #20, page 38
Looking at the finished page, it is another fine example of Sim thumbnails and Gerhard's finishing:

Cerebus #163, page 9
The finish page is close to Dave's sketch, but the building he falls into is rotated by 90 degrees - though the six window skylight is still there for him to fall through. Gerhard also put some extra detail into the finished page: top right hand corner of the first two panels show two people walking towards the top of the panel and a cart moving to the right edge of the panel.  Their movement from the first to second panel gives us a sense of time.

Dave also has written down a page by page summary of Cerebus #163, with page one being the text 'Book Two Women' as it is the first issue in that phonebook. I'll leave it to you to determine how close the rest of the notes match up with the final product.

Want to help on Jaka's Story?

Sean Michael Robinson:

Edit on 7/13/2017--

Thank you thank you thank you to David Roel for pointing me to a much better OCR solution than the two I was using! The Jaka's Story text formatting presented major problems for both Vuescan's OCR and Adobe Creative Suite's OCR techniques, but was handled easily by the fantastic A few minutes figuring out their interface, and $7.99 later, and I was in business, with only light amounts of adjustment to be done on the outputted text.

For anyone looking for an OCR solution, you might want to start there.

Leaving the rest of this post here, but I'm no longer looking for help on this. Thanks again David!

p.s. The complete Jaka's Story text, including the introduction, is just shy of 30,000 words. Just FYI!

previously, I wrote....

Well hello again! Fancy meeting you here!

Are you a fan of Jaka's Story(or Cerebus in general)?

Do you know how to do very basic text editing and formatting?

Do you have a few hours of time to spare sometime in the next two weeks?

I'm looking volunteer(s?) who might be interested in helping out the restoration effort by doing some basic formatting on the Jaka's Story text, prior to that text being passed on to Jeff Seiler for copy editing.

I've scanned the entirety of the text, done the initial OCR (optical character recognition) work, and used various find-and-replace tricks to get rid of as much of the text weirdness as possible. But owing to the various text formatting choices in the original book, the size and amount of fill-in on the text, and other oddities, there's still some formatting to be done, namely, adding in paragraph/line breaks and deleting various junk characters added by the OCR. Based on my formatting work so far, I'd estimate there's somewhere between five and eight hours of work to do on this.

Here are two screenshots, so you know what you might be getting yourself into:

The top one is the actual formatted text, with a single line break to indicate a paragraph break, and the additional line spacings resulting from the funky formatting of the original text removed. The bottom is how the majority of the text stands as of now.

I would love the help, and would be happy to add you to the credits for the finished book.

ALTERNATELY-- are you an OCR expert who believes you could transform my scans into a product much closer to the desired result? Please, contact me, either here in the comments, or by email: cerebusarthunt at gmail.

Thanks so much for your time everyone!

Batvark #1-- Savor the Taste of Sulfur, the Last Wednesday of Every Month!

Order at your Local Comics Shop now! Diamond Order Code: JUN171076

Monday 10 July 2017

Diamond Preview Picks: July 2017

Tim here, filling in again for a poorly Travis Pelkie, with a selection of picks from the latest Diamond Previews catalog for the discerning Cerebus reader (or basically all the comics I would buy if I had an unlimited budget). Travis obviously would have done a much better job, so lets all wish him a speedy recovery for next time! Visit Travis at Atomic Junk Shop for a wider (and probably much better) selection of reading recommendations. To see your comics featured here or at the Atomic Junk Shop feel free to send an email to Travis at: atomicjunkshoptravis [at] outlook [dot] com.

Aardvark Comics #1
by Dave Sim & Sandeep Atwal
Aardvark-Vanaheim, $4.00
In Stores: 27 September 2017
Diamond Order Code: JUL171242

The publisher says:
Comparing "Origin of Origin" stories; real-world historical figure in Action #1 (plus "stripped-cover returns"); "Whatever Happened to Tex Thompson, Pep Morgan, Chuck Dawson and Scoop Scanlon?" plus the earliest Super-Cerebus online strips from July 2016, Lucifer repents?!? Goldman Sachs, get it? Super-Cerebus versus Batvark the Movie; British Petroleum executives; dirty sea shanties; Atari 2600 ET;  Superhero Derangement Syndrome; Composite Batvark and more!  

Chris Ware Monograph
by Chris Ware & Ira Glass
Rizzoli, $60.00
In Stores: 11 October 2017
Diamond Order Code: APR178211

The publisher says:
A flabbergasting experiment in publishing hubris, Monograph charts the art and literary world's increasing tolerance for the language of the empathetic doodle directly through the work of one of its most esthetically constipated practitioners. Arranged chronologically with all thoughtful critical and contemporary discussion common to the art book genre jettisoned in favor of Mr. Ware's unchecked anecdotes and unscrupulous personal asides, the author-as-subject has nonetheless tried as clearly and convivially as possible to provide a contrite, companionable guide to an otherwise unnavigable jumble of product spanning his days as a pale magnet for athletic upperclassmen's' ire up to his contemporary life as a stay-at-home dad and agoraphobic graphic novelist.

Chris Ware Conversations
by Chris Ware & Jean Braithwaite
University Press Of Mississippi, $25.00
In Stores: 27 September 2017
Diamond Order Code: JUL172411

The publisher says:
Displaying both Ware's erudition and his quirky self-deprecation, these collected interviews span his career from 1993 to 2015, creating a time-lapse portrait of the artist as he matures.

Dave Sim said:
(from Following Cerebus #6, November 2005)
...later in the interview, Craig [Thompson] asked, "Are you going to interview Chris Ware [for Following Cerebus #5]?" My mind boggles at these points. I told him I had a number for Chris Ware -- he had been one of a number of participants in a Overstreet Fan jam cover I had coordinated back around 1993 -- but I was pretty sure it was out of date. So Craig volunteers to give me the Chris Ware number that he has that Chris Ware evidently gave him. As I say, my mind boggles in these situations. So I phoned the number and got an answering machine and left a message explaining what I was doing and asking him to give me a call back if he was interested in participating. And, of course, I never heard a word. So at least I know I'm not the crazy one around here...

Fred The Clown: The Iron Duchess
by Roger Langridge
Fantagraphics, $19.99
In Stores: 27 September 2017
Diamond Order Code: JUL171896

The publisher says:
This nearly wordless romp from master cartoonist Roger Langridge is the author's paean to the silent, heartbreaking slapstick comedies or the teens and '20s, spun for a contemporary audience. Though Langridge has garnered considerable acclaim the past few years for his brilliant takes on The Muppet Show, Popeye, Betty Boop, and Marvel Monsters, he is at heart a cartooning auteur, earning multiple Eisner, Harvey, Reuben, and Ignatz Awards nominations.

Roger Langridge said:
...I expect I would not have got into self-publishing as deeply as I did (i.e. regular comic-book format, distributed-by-Diamond deep; I always made mini-comics) if Cerebus hadn't been around as an example. By the time I began self-publishing there were a few other success stories, like Bone and Strangers in Paradise, to hang my hopes on, but I think all of us knew that Cerebus was the Daddy. The Cerebus Guide to Self-Publishing got a lot of my attention in 2000/2001 while I was gearing up to publish Fred the Clown...

The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell & Others
Harper Collins, $20.00
In Stores: 20 September 2017
Diamond Order Code: JUL171944

The publisher says:
The two volumes of the graphic novel adaptation of The Graveyard Book are now bound into one stunning paperback edition. Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except he lives in a sprawling graveyard and has been raised since infancy by ghosts and a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in a graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, and the strange and terrible Sleer. There are dangers though, too, and if Bod leaves the graveyard, he may fall prey to the man Jack, who has already murdered Bod's entire family. Effortlessly inventive, chilling, and magical, Neil Gaiman's Newbery winning and bestselling Graveyard Book is a classic in the making. 

Alter Ego #149
by Roy Thomas
TwoMorrows, $9.95
In Stores: 18 October 2017
Diamond Order Code: JUL172226

The publisher says:
Showcasing Gil Kane, one of the Silver Age's greatest artists-with gleaming Golden Age roots in the Simon & Kirby shop! Incisive and free-wheeling Kane interview conducted in the 1990s by Daniel Herman for his 2001 book Gil Kane: The Art of the Comics-plus Gil's incisive article from the Spring 1974 issue of the Harvard Journal of Pictorial Fiction, and other surprise features centered around the artistic co-creator of the Silver Age Green Lantern and The Atom! And beginning the autobiography of Golden/Silver Age Flash/GL scripter John Broome!

Dave Sim said in Swords Of Cerebus Vol 2:
"It was the Gil Kane interview in Comics Journal No 38 that had started me re-thinking the whole approach I was taking to doing my own comic book..."

Berlin #21
by Jason Lutes
Drawn & Quarterly, $5.95
In Stores: 20 September 2017
Diamond Order Code: JUL171839

The publisher says:
The penultimate issue of the long-running series finds Silvia Braun and David Schwartz joining forces to sabotage a neighborhood National Socialist outpost, while Marthe Müller says her final farewells to the city where she has come of age. And as darkness manifests in the alleyways of the underclass and estates of the elite, Kurt Severing glimpses the worst of all possible futures.

NOW #1
by various
Fantagraphics, $9.99
In Stores: 27 September 2017
Diamond Order Code: JUL171883

The publisher says:
Fantagraphics is proud to launch a new, ongoing comics anthology of short stories by a mix of established and up-and-coming talent. This three times per year series features all-new, done-in-one stories for comics fans of all stripes. The first issue includes new work from acclaimed authors such as Eleanor Davis, Noah Van Sciver, Gabrielle Bell, Dash Shaw, Sammy Harkham, and Malachi Ward, as well as international authors such as J.C. Menu, Conxita Herrerro, Tommi Parrish, Tobias Schalken, and Antoine Cossé. Plus other surprises, and a gorgeous painted cover by Chicago artist Rebecca Morgan. 

Poppies Of Iraq
by Brigitte Findakly & Lewis Trondheim
Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95
In Stores: 6 September 2017
Diamond Order Code: JUL171842

The publisher says:
Poppies of Iraq is Brigitte Findakly's nuanced chronicle of her relationship with her homeland Iraq, co-written and drawn by her husband, the acclaimed cartoonist Lewis Trondheim. In spare and elegant detail, they share memories of her middle class childhood touching on cultural practices, the education system, Saddam Hussein's state control, and her family's history as Orthodox Christians in the arab world. Poppies of Iraq is intimate and wide-ranging; the story of how one can become separated from one's homeland and still feel intimately connected yet ultimately estranged. 

Streak Of Chalk
by Miguelanxo Prado
NBM, $19.99
In Stores: 27 September 2017
Diamond Order Code: JUL172010

The publisher says:
On the occasion of NBM's 40th anniversary, a classic returns to print! A small streak of an island in the Atlantic. On no map. In heavy summer heat. One general store with a woman and her taciturn boy. A lighthouse with no light. Memories and messages graffitied on the pier wall. A chance encounter with a beautiful elusive woman. A Murder. Or was it? Nothing seems completely real. Only the graffitied memories are constant. A mysterious multifaceted novel steeped in magical realism that can be read a number of ways, Streak of Chalk is one of Spain's best comics authors' magnum opus, and one of the greatest most pioneering graphic novels NBM ever published.

More (and probably better) Diamond Previews picks at Atomic Junk Shop's regular Flippin' Through Previews column.

Sunday 9 July 2017

Cerebus World Tour Book 1995

Cerebus World Tour Book 1995
Collects the 'Swords of Cerebus' backup strips:
The Name Of The Game Is Diamond Back with Marshall Rogers; The Morning After with Joe Rubenstein; What Happened Between Issues Twenty & Twenty-One with Gene Day; Magiking; Silverspoon; Cerebus Dreams with Barry Windsor-Smith; A Night On The Town with Gerhard. Plus a new 19-page jam-story with Chester Brown