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.


Tony Dunlop said...

I'm not sure I'd noticed the motion in the upper right corners before. Thanks, as always, Margaret.

Jeff Seiler said...

Lady M observes everything. And remembers all of it.

I'll hoist a toast to you Saturday night, M, when I'm at the Buffett show at Wrigley Field.

Well, I should say, Carmen will toast you.

Margaret said...

You're welcome Tony. Gerhard does wonders with the page, so much detail, put me in a room with the original art from Cerebus and I could spend hours just looking at it and enjoying it.

Jeff - have fun at the Buffett show. For some reason I always think of Aunt Victoria when I hear you mention Carmen. . . :D

Jeff Seiler said...

Just like Aunt Victoria, Mags, I was on full display, whilst walking down Addison Street towards Wrigley Field on the 15th. Carmen was accosted by many, many friendly people who either wanted a picture or who wanted what was under the skirt. Or squeeze her butt.

Much like Aunt Victoria, Carmen tried to keep up the facade, but got found out later in the evening, when she tired some.

Carmen, belatedly, and just now recovering, says, cigar at the corner of her mouth, "Hey. How ya doin'?"

Tony Dunlop said...

OK, not the same Victoria, but you guys made me think of this classic.