Thursday 1 February 2024

Cerebus #20 Part Six

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.

So far we’ve seen pages one through nineteen from Dave Sim’s Albatross One, which is the first notebook he kept during the production of Cerebus. You can find all of Albatross One posts by using the tag Notebook One. So of course this week we’re continuing on with page twenty of notebook one.

The last couple of pages was Dave working on dialogue for pages one through thirteen, and then some rough dialogue for the rest of the issue. With notebook page #20 we get the final dialogue for Cerebus #20 page 14 (or page 440 in a copy of Cerebus that is printing #11 and later). We saw rough dialogue for page 14 last week on page 18 of the notebook. 

Notebook #1, page 20

That dialogue is for Cerebus #20 pages 14 and 15, but it is only the dialogue between Cerebus and the Cirinists, no Po. Again we see the marks on the page from Dave’s brush or pen on the page. The next page of the notebook jumps to page 20 of Cerebus #20:

Notebook #1, page 21

Page 20 of Cerebus #20 is indeed “all black except for a small area of grey”, but that text isn’t there. And there is no mention of Jaka in the issue, but here it looks like they mention her saying “Jaka said dead or alive.” We then see some dialogue and plot points for page 19 that weren’t used. Down the bottom of the page is the start of what the artwork for Cerebus #20 would look like.

Then on page 22 of the notebook we go back to dialogue for page 16 and 17:

Notebook #1, page 22

That dialogue matches up pretty well with the finished dialogue. There is also a note in the upper right corner: “Richard, Deni, Dean, any other alternative comix. Send out promo to comix shops.” Any thoughts on that?

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