Thursday 9 May 2024

Notebook One: Cerebus #23 Part One


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.


In last week’s post we ended with page 79 which finally got us off Cerebus #22 material and onto Cerebus #23 material. So does page 80 continue with Cerebus #23 material or something else?

Notebook #1, page 80

Well, look at that. More Cerebus #23 material. The top is some dialogue between Cerebus and either Madam duFort, the school’s headmistress, or one of the four female students at the school. And as far as I can tell, it was never used. In the middle of the page are floor plans of the school.

Down the bottom Dave starts off with ‘only four girls left’ but then only mentions three. And in the finished book he changed Katerina to Katrina. In the bottom left corner we see the text: “Jenette brings Cerebus wine which makes him gonzo and he repeats his Jaka devotion speech. Theresa – oh yeah – interested in a traveling companion, eh? And perhaps he would like a more attractive one. . .

The text at the top does end with a bit of the same speech he gave Jaka about traveling. None of that made the finished issue. Instead we have Theresa bring some whisky to his room, but she doesn’t leave it with him, instead she goes to defend the school from a Sepran soldier. 

The next page of the notebook continues with Cerebus #23 material. More of Cerebus talking with Jenette about leaving and going traveling all while Cerebus is drunk. I’m glad Dave didn’t go with this, the Cerebus dialogue is a bit much for me.

Notebook #1, page 81

At the bottom of the page is Cerebus being told to lay down and keep his leg raised. I’m thinking this is Madam duFort scolding him, which is in the finished issue. In the next page we see Dave revising his thoughts on Cerebus sweet talking Jenette.

Notebook #1, page 82

The sketches of the person are Madam duFort. A nice looking sketch of Cerebus in bed with his leg up along with some sketches of Cerebus’ room and a fire place. 

The text “Katerina blows him away with a cross-bow" is in the final issue as well. Katrina kills a Sepran soldier with a crossbow on page 9 of Cerebus #23.

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