Thursday 8 February 2024

Notebook One: Finally Onto Cerebus #21

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 are continuing to look at Dave Sim’s first notebook he used during the production of Cerebus. He called it Albatross One, as a weight he’d have to carry around. I just call it notebook #1 out of 36. Since this is installment #7 and we’re up to page 23 of the notebook, you can find past installments using the Notebook One tag.

For the last six installments the pages have covered Cerebus #20, Mind Game. These pages are no different. Well. . .kind of. Page 23 has dialogue for Cerebus #20 pages 17 and 18. Though the dialogue near the bottom of the page starting with “Did you just drop something down Cerebus’ throat. . .” is on page 19 of the issue. 

Notebook #1, page 23

The next page, I don’t know why I scanned it. It is the back side of page #23, and was labeled page 24 by myself. And it is completely blank:

Notebook #1, page 24

Why did I scan a blank page? Normally I didn’t unless something from the other side of the page really bled through. I’m thinking it was the first actual blank page of the first notebook I was scanning in. So I just scanned it. Then going forward I realized that if I continued to scan blank pages that it’d be inefficient for both my productivity and computer disc drive space.

The next page of the notebook, page 25, shows up in Beat the Hsiffies, Buy Bonds from September 2017. Yup, we finally made it to Cerebus #21. Only 25 pages into the notebook. 

So page 26 has material for Cerebus #21, the return of two memorable characters: Elrod and Cockroach, in his Captain Cockroach outfit. We see a small sketch of Captain Cockroach and Cerebus at the top right corner of the notebook page:

Notebook #1, page 26

“Hot Wax – T-Shirt Design”. Dave was doing work for a magazine called Hot Wacks in 1980 and 1981, the same time frame that Cerebus #20 came out. You can see the t-shirt design and the shirt itself on several models over at the  AMoC post on Dave's contributions to Hot Wacks. I've never seen a shirt on eBay nor anywhere else. If you've got one to sell, email me. . .it'll be for my. . .collection.

We get some plot points for the first five pages of Cerebus #21, along with Dave working on slogans about beating the Hsiffies for the war bonds that Elrod and Captain Cockroach are selling for a new character: President Weishaupt. We only get a reference to him with one sentence at the top of the page “President has switched to Illusionism. They’ll never guess.”

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