Thursday 9 March 2023

Oscar meets Jaka and Cerebus


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 last saw a page from Dave Sim’s 14th notebook used in the creation of Cerebus comics back in February of 2021 in Bits and Pieces of Jaka’s Story. As that title suggests, notebook #14 covers Cerebus #114 through 117, the start of Jaka’s Story. So when I saw several pages of text that have Oscar mentioned in them I read through them.

Oscar doesn’t show up until Cerebus #120, but here we have two pages of Jaka, Oscar, and Cerebus having a discussion. Though most of the talk is Oscar going over his novel Princess of Palnu Jaka’s Story. A conversation that never happens in the actual comic, as Cerebus never meets Oscar. I’ve typed out the text on the pages below the scans from the notebook.

Notebook #14, page 58

Notebook #14, page 59

The text of the pages:

So there is this fellow who is elected. Like our own departed Prime Minister and Pope Cerebus Cereboise Cerebus Kereboss.

Jaka: Cerebus you mean.

Oscar: I was using the original Borealan pronunciation, my dear. For the sake In honour of charming of your guest here.  Looks at Cerebus

Cerebus: Aye

Oscar (looking at Jaka) Aye.

Anyway the story is largely about an actress. One can picture writing a good back story about a political leader, one just has difficulty picturing anyone paying money even paper money to read it reading it. An actress on the other hand is a wonderful character. Before The Trouble I knew many of the great actresses. What distinguishes them is their the gravity that they exert – the sheer magnetic animal force about them. Which is perfectly understandable of course. The nature of their profession is to draw crowds to hear beautiful untruths well-expressed, much like a poet or a prose writer, but with their own physical presence; literally every fibre of their being devoted to in service to inflicting servitude of a sort on those she draws to her, moth and flame, flame and moth.

And this particular actress has remarkable qualities and so gravitate to her the best and the brightest (as they ar e known) of their time. And this is a prime minister much like our own dearly departed, but of an extraordinary land an empire so vast that at one end of it is day and the other is night.


Well said. And it is  as powerful as it is vast, having defeated one of the three great political forces of its day there years before and settled into a wary truce with its remaining foe, (which foe it might be added had born the to so that the Prime Minister becomes Prime Minister no longer and is instead President of the Free World (which is to say chief executive of all countries under his domination).

Anyway, the part I’m working on describes the meeting of these  two figures: this actress and this president when they are young and before either have had much success.

Sounds dull

That’s not very. . .


No no, he’s quite all right, my dear. Most stories are terrible when described as one would give complicated directions to a distant destination. I can assure however that it will be a fine Read that it should be at the very least worth of me – which is the most chance at success any author could ask.

                I’m finding myself able quite readily to identify with the actress in the story and being as she is a nail and an innocent which of course I am not. One is always better able to identify in literature with those character characteristics share neither one’s attributes nor one’s flaws she has never shared which most which most repel one in real life. It’s as close I and I dare say most people ever come to a state of grace. But I find I am unable to ascribe a reasonable motivation for his the Prime Minister behavior to someone invested with such power. It’s rather like picturing  the western pontiff in the old days of the Single Devine Church as a whoring young sailor. I have taken the story as far as his seeing a performance of hers and arranging a clandestine meeting.

Is he married?

Of course. The story is immoral not with two small children and wife he loves very much. If the people want to read fairy tales.

That’s disgusting why would he want an actress?

I looked at the next page in the notebook, and this discussion between Cerebus, Jaka, and Oscar doesn’t continue there.

1 comment:

Michael Grabowski said...

Ugh. That's dreadful. I'm glad it's a deleted scene and not canon. Thanks for typing all that out, Margaret!