Thursday 2 May 2024

Notebook One: Cerebus #22 Part Five


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.

Maybe instead of rewriting this opener every week, I’ll be a bit more efficient with my use of time and have this standard opening: 

Have you got your copy of Albatross One? That is Dave Sim’s name for his first notebook used in the creation of Cerebus. If you want a copy of the notebook – and trust me, as someone who has held the actual Albatross One, it is a pretty close duplicate and looks great – you can check out this post right here. Well not this post. The one at this link. Go check it out, this post will still be here.

And if you don’t want to buy one, you can wait as I release a couple of pages a week and check them out using the Notebook One tag. But trust me, the notebook is much much nicer then my silly little posts.

Okay, now that is done, on with this week’s Notebook One post.


Last week we ended with page 76 out of 194 pages scanned, and so far with only items for Cerebus #22, The Death of Elrod. On page 76 we ended with Dave giving a page by page outline for Cerebus #22 that ended with the note for page 13 of ‘Bring in Elrod’s body. We have Bunky. . .’ Then on page 77 Dave works backwards from page 20:

Notebook 1, page 77

The numbering skips around though. Starting with page 20 to page 17, and then page 12 up to page 15. Like he was trying to see if he could get all the plot points in he wanted. The note for page 13 on this notebook page says This crisis. Practice Carter speech. Practice Kennedy speech. How do we get inside need clearance through two legislative secretaries can’t take over both bodies.’ That is a bit different then what was on page 76.

While some items on notebook page 77 showed up in Cerebus #22, not much of it, just the general direction of Weishaupt and Cerebus making a run for it. The top right corner shows Cerebus squeezing through the bars which is very similar to panel two on the final page of Cerebus #22. 

The next page of the notebook is more Cerebus #22 material, but near the end of the issue when Weishaupt and Cerebus are running from the guards:

Notebook 1, page 78

And with that, are we done with Cerebus #22 material? Perhaps. The next page has Cerebus #23 on the top and Dave starts with page one material:

Notebook 1, page 79

While the top of the notebook page says one, this material covers the first four pages of Cerebus #23. While the basic plot points of Cerebus making his way through the blizzard, being taken in by the school, and told to stay away from the students. It is just that some of the fine details have been changed. 

For example, instead of Cerebus saying “Cerebus is not interested in your girls, madame – Cerebus needs only a dry place where his leg can heal.” Cerebus says “as a bell, now if you don't mind. . .Cerebus would like to lapse into a coma. . .for about a week." But the as I mentioned, the main plot outline does follow the first four pages of the issue. Next week will we see more of Cerebus #23, go back to Cerebus #22, or something else? We shall see.

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