Saturday, 10 December 2016

Kickstarter: Cerebus Archive Number 6

CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER 6
A Portfolio of 10 Signed & Numbered Prints with Exclusive Commentary by Dave Sim
Raising Funds For The Restoration & Preservation Of The World's Longest Graphic Novel 

Monday, 5 December 2016

The Cerebus #201 Ashcan Edition


DAMIAN T. LLOYD:
(via email 22 November 2016)
I don't (yet) have a complete collection of Cerebus's original issues. I'm doing pretty well, though, and I fill in the odd gap here and there as I'm able. A couple of years ago, I found myself in a different city and wandered into their local comics shop. They had Cerebus 201 -- one of the issues mysteriously missing from my shelves -- sealed in a nice plastic bag for less than cover price.

It wasn't until I returned home and opened the bag that I found the bonus, tucked into the centre-spread of the comic. I hadn't seen one of these before: a digest-sized mock-up of the issue, sent to retailers as a promotional item. It's interesting to Cerebus scholar-squirrels and to cartoonists for showing the pages as they progress through Dave's and then Ger's hands (in reverse-chronological order). Cool!


(Click the following images to enlarge!)





Sunday, 4 December 2016

SDOAR: Tracings, Batch 1

CARSON GRUBAUGH:
In between my classes coming to an end for the semester I have been busy at work pasting up and tracing the pages that Dave mocked up for me last week. The tracings include information that I will likely simplify out or black over in later stages. I like having the options.

For this first page I still need to photograph a faux fender-bender. All the people I know who would help me with it have been sick with a cold this last week. Hopefully this weekend I will get that out of the way.






I am really looking forward to the above spread. I think the crazy warped star field and all of the little effects I have planned are going to make for a really special drawing. (BTW, Dave, looking at it now the arm between the legs is too overt, so I am going to just have the arm in front of the legs in the end, but I am still going to change that bag of coins into an apple.)

The star field in the background is also very rich in meaning, for me. One of my favorite painters, and the most feminine photo-realist painter ever, Vija Celmins, is very well know for painting insanely accurate and loved-over star field images.

This is an oil painting:

If you ever get a chance to see one of these in person they are absurdly beautiful, delicate images. There are a ton of subtle coloration changes in each star that you cannot see in reproduction, and the way she exposes and utilizes the tooth of the canvas to create the glitter effect around each star is phenomenal.

Here is a video of Vija at work on a star painting in her studio.

If you are worrying, "I hope you are okay getting yourself into the amount of effort that spread is going to take," no worries. I have done my own Celmins'ish star-field painting. Twice in fact, because I was dumb enough to glue stickers all over the first version. Both were 4 feet wide x 5 feet tall, to give you an idea of the amount of paint that had to be laid down.




I do not know what I was thinking gluing those information graphics all over a painting that took me over a month to finish. When I got done with the sixty-five other paintings in the series (about eight year of work) I had to go back and repaint this entire image! I hadn't seen a Celmins in person for the first one, so at least I got to steal the technique for the second go round.


 
And, having learned my lesson, I stuck the graphics on a piece of Plexiglas over top of the whole thing this time!
Anyway, not only does this page actually look like an easy task, relative to the paintings at least, it is also highly symbolically loaded for me because of the fact that in my own art practice I associate star-field images with fierce femininity, something I think that two-page spread is thematically all about.

Okay, back to the rest of the pages.



I painted that painting two times, I can handle re-drawing the same freaking panel sixteen times over, right? RIGHT!




 All of pages, minus the first one, have been printed out in light grey and are ready for me to start "penciling" on top of.

See you next week.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

LAST WEEK FOR CAN6!

Kickstarter $30k Stretch Goal
Cerebus #120 Free Bonus Cover Print

The CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER 6 Kickstarter comes to an end one week from today.  Having mulled it over pretty extensively, we've decided to offer a Free Bonus COVER print to everyone pledging for a Portfolio if we manage to hit the $30K mark as we've done with the last two Kickstarters.

It's a bit of a climb, but I'll be right here watching and commenting all day December 10th.  Didn't think there was a chance last time (we were $1K short of the target when I had to pack it in), which just goes to show:  you never know!

And, just to make things a little MORE "interesting", we're going to make the offer that there's a Free Bonus COVER print on the line for each $1K we go past the target you've hit the last couple of times. That is:

$30K - 1 Free Bonus COVER print
$31K - 2 Free Bonus COVER prints
$32K - 3 Free Bonus COVER prints
$33K - 4 Free Bonus COVER prints

and so on.  Appropriate to this being the first MELMOTH Kickstarter, the Bonus COVER print will be CEREBUS No.120, the first Oscar cover.

Start your engines!

Jeff Seiler: Minding Minds

Cerebus Vol 10: Minds (1996)
by Dave Sim & Gerhard


JEFF SEILER: MINDING MINDS
(Or: Tending to the proofreading of MINDS for the next remastered volume.)

Having read in one of Sean Michael Robinson’s posts about doing the remastering of Cerebus, Volume I, that he thought that the next book in the queue would be MINDS, I ordered a copy of it from Menachem Luchins, who owns Escape Pod Comics in Huntington, NY. I received it on Tuesday of this past week and set to work on proofreading it on Wednesday night.

This was the easiest book to proof so far, primarily because it’s short (279 pages, including Dave’s introduction) and because, by my count, 62 pages contain no dialogue whatsoever and many more pages contain (literally) just one word. Of course, this makes sense because much of the story is set in the vacuum of outer space. Now, having said that, there are a lot of pages with very dense text. Nevertheless, I powered through the book in one night (7 hours, 30 minutes), making my usual handwritten notes about the various things that needed correcting, IMHO.

The good news was that, this being volume 10, the dreaded P’s that look like D’s (the primary issue I had to deal with in proofreading Cerebus, Volume I) were practically nonexistent. Only 14 examples of that, that I could find, plus a few other letters that need touching up.

I should mention that, since Dave had informed me earlier that he does his writing based on proper English (as in, Great Britain) usage, I decided that I would purchase a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary. I called around, here in Minneapolis, and found a bookstore in Dinkytown (yeah, for whatever reason, that’s what they call the neighborhood near and around the University of Minnesota) that had a copy of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Now, anyone familiar with the OED will not be surprised that the Shorter OED consists of two volumes, comprised of over 3,700 pages. I certainly was not going to purchase the 15 or 20 volumes that comprise the unabridged OED. But, I got a steal--leatherbound, in a slipcase, for just $75.

So, armed with my new weapon and able, for the first time, to be absolutely sure when correcting Dave’s misspellings or usage, I cranked out the whole book Wednesday night. I still have to go back and highlight all of the corrections in the book, so that I can send both the notes and the highlighted book to Sean, so that he can make the corrections. The process that Dave, Sean, and I have evolved to is that I send a copy of the written notes and the highlighted book to Sean, while sending the original handwritten notes to Dave, for him to include in the Cerebus Archive. And, I keep a copy of the notes for myself.

The vast majority of the corrections for MINDS are of punctuation, and the vast majority of those are double quotation marks instead of single quotation marks. And then, commas where there aren’t any; an occasional ellipsis where there isn’t one; and, rarely, a period where there isn’t one.

More good news: I found only two outright typographical errors. The first one is on page 155, where it should be UTENSILS, not UNTENSILS. The other one comes about 30 pages later and I will leave it up to your eagle eyes to find that one.

There are several cases of Dave inserting hyphens into compound words when the OED says that there should not be hyphens. For example, on page 205, OFFSPRING is one word, per the OED, with no hyphen.

One particular example of a hyphen out of place, but which gave me difficulty, was the use of LIFE-MATES, on page 158. I could not find the word in either the OED or my American Heritage Dictionary, which lends credence to the idea of it being two words, with no hyphen.

There was a couple of instances where Dave used a word I had never heard of before and for which the OED came in very handy. The oddest one was on page 205: ICONOLATRY. This comes during the sequence wherein Dave is talking to the pouty Cerebus, who is floating through space in a variety of different chairs (drawn very creatively by Gerhard). Dave asks Cerebus, “I don’t suppose you’re interested in hearing about how the Shaman-King’s mistake was in seeking the ideal Aardvarkian ‘form’ with no regard for the ideal ‘nature’? A mistake grounded in his blind belief in iconolatry…?”

Well, having only a vague idea of what the word might mean, by breaking down its parts--icon + olatry--I looked it up in the OED. “The worship of religious images or icons.” This struck a chord with me and I thought at length about Dave’s use of the word here. Finally, I wrote this note: “The OED defines ICONOLATRY as: The worship of religious images or icons. Thus, the phrase on this page, ‘belief in iconolatry’ is redundant (I think). A better wording would be ‘practice of iconolatry’, or just take out ‘belief in’ and make it ‘blind iconolatry’.”

And, in closing, I would add that this example really illustrates the difference between reading MINDS and minding MINDS. Having read this book at least a couple of times in the serialized version, and at least once or twice in the phonebook, I never stumbled over that word before. But proofreading requires a different mindset: You look at each word, one by one, and then at the entire word balloon as a whole and decide if it works or not. Obviously, typographical errors stick out like sore thumbs (when you’re proofing), but the more subtle things take a great degree of concentration. It requires a combination of looking at the big picture while, at the same time, focusing on each element, right down to the missing or misused punctuation marks. That’s what really eats up the time.

And, it’s why I get paid the big bucks. Like the 12-pointer my sister got on the first day of rifle season, down on our family farm.

Okay, it’s on to the highlighting now, for me. Look for the remastered MINDS in your LCS soon (I hope). And, I hope that these updates are interesting to some of you, especially those of you whose Kickstarter donations help fund the entire remastering project. We’ll plant that flag at the summit one of these days, God willing.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Weekly Update #159: Jerry Siegel


Dave Sim on a missed opportunity to work with Jerry Siegel.

Cerebus In Hell? - Week 23

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Cerebus-Ending Crisis: Can We Keep Going? - Part 14

CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER 6
A Portfolio of 10 Signed & Numbered Prints with Exclusive Commentary by Dave Sim
Raising Funds For The Restoration & Preservation Of The World's Longest Graphic Novel 


HI! DAVE SIM HERE! ANNOUNCING THAT KICKSTARTER CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER 6 (CAN6) HAS LAUNCHED! CLICK HERE TO LINK TO IT! AND PLEASE JOIN ME HERE EVERY DAY AS I DISCUSS, WITH CEREBUS FANS, THE "CEREBUS-ENDING CRISIS" WE'VE BEEN IN SINCE JULY OF THIS YEAR:

CAN WE KEEP GOING? THE TMI ANSWER!
FOURTEENTH AND FINAL PART!

More responses to the survey question "Do you have any suggestions for future Kickstarter campaigns?".

Peter S Waterloo ON :
maybe t-shirts

Hi, Peter! There are several problems with t-shirts. One is that they're different sizes so you can't just order, say, a dozen. You have to order a dozen S, a dozen M, a dozen L and a dozen XL and a dozen XXL and then you run out of one of the sizes when you still have a half-dozen of the others left. All of your money tends to be tied up in your inventory and as soon as you sell out, you need to print more of whatever size(s).

They're also expensive. The t-shirt itself is a fixed cost and people have a mental image of what they'll pay for a t-shirt and those two prices are very close together.

The reason that CEREBUS ARCHIVE works (so far, anyway) is that we're printing copies that cost 59 cents each and selling them for 10 dollars. On the scale that CEREBUS has dwindled to, you literally need to have that size of a profit margin to have any way of keeping going. That's why I designed CEREBUS ARCHIVE the way that I did: What's the least expensive format and number of pages I can imagine that I can charge the most for?

Are there are other things like that that would work? So far, we haven't come up with anything, but if we all keep focussing on it, maybe we will.

Margaret L Buzzard's Bay, MA:
I really liked the collected letters volumes, more of those please. also, a digital / pdf of the CEREBUS ARCHIVE comics - I know I have them all, but there are many out there who would like to get them. Also, if Dave's hand is still on the mend, he doesn't need to sign my prints. I rather his hand get better for TSDoAR.

More COLLECTED LETTERS on the way, Margaret!

I appreciate your thoughtfulness in offering to have me not sign your prints, Margaret, but SIGNING isn't a problem with my right hand. It takes a while for me to find the exact right position: by making sure that the right hand is FULLY extended so that the index finger is in a straight line from my elbow and my forearm is resting on a folded up towel. But, once I'm "there" and Rollie (or whoever: it's usually Rollie) is pulling the plates off as I'm signing them, I blow through all of the plates -- roughly 3,000 signatures -- in about four hours.

We take a pen and mark where the corners of the plates go on the desk. The stack can only be "so" high, but as long as the stack goes in the same place and as long as I keep my hand in the correct alignment, everything's fine.

We don't converse, while I'm doing this: if we start talking then I lose focus on keeping the hand in a straight line and the wrist starts to tighten up: it's just four hours of pure focus in absolute quiet.

[In fact, that part is getting better. It used to be -- CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER FOUR -- that I could do about 10 or 12 signatures and then there would be a "hiccup" in the wrist where the signature would land about a quarter of an inch to the left of where it was supposed to and I had to "roll" the forearm about a quarter of an inch to the right when I could feel it was about to happen. That didn't happen signing CEREBUS ARCHIVE NUMBER FIVE a couple of weeks ago.]

It's one of the few things I CAN do without having any impact on the wrist. It's all fingers and thumb, there's no wrist involved. I get a stiff neck on my left side because maintaining a FULLY extended right hand/arm at right angles to my torso and keeping it there, the stress has to go somewhere and it's my neck. But it's very gratifying that there is at least ONE USEFUL THING I can do with my right hand and it's sign my name. As many as you want. All day and all night.

It's the reason that I don't have much confidence in medical science for this: people don't hear what it is that I'm saying when I explain it to them, so I've stopped trying to explain it. "We treat HOCKEY PLAYERS who make MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!" Yes, but what hockey players use THEIR wrists for is like a monkey wrench and what I used to use MY wrist for was like a Stradivarius. You can't repair a Stradivarius as if you were fixing a monkey wrench. Which is, I'm afraid, what they were talking about doing.

Signatures are zero problem. Ask me to pull open the waxed paper inside of a box of cereal and THERE there's a problem or to open a cardboard box and THERE there's a problem because it's ALL wrist. Or ask me to draw something which requires the interaction of wrist and fingers and thumb -- and ALL drawing requires the interaction of wrist and fingers and thumb -- and it just doesn't work. The line doesn't go down where I want it to go down because all I'm aware of is the wrist and that it isn't doing what the fingers and thumb need it to do. You can't draw if all you're aware of is your wrist.

Jan E Malmo SWEDEN:
Get that IDW Cerebus covers volume out sometime SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON

It finally arrived at the end of October, Jan. Hope you managed to find a copy!

Dave Sim's Notebooks: The Overview

MARGARET LISS: 
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.

There was a question in the comments of Dave's The Cerebus-Ending Crisis: Can We Keep Going? - Part 6 column last week from Benjamin Hobbs: "Margaret, the 3rd note book is the one you describe. (80 pages, blue Hilroy) The PDF didn't have a the back cover. It would be great if you could post it!"

So here it is:

Albatross Three, kind of, back cover
I've discussed the absence of Albatross Three, well, more specifically the lack of a notebook named 'Albatross Three', and I've gone over I think almost every notebook, but never gave the big picture of all the notebooks so I thought I'd put it in table form.

The 'notebook name' is what Dave had written on the cover, so if there was nothing written, it was left blank. The 'archive notebook number' is how I numbered it for the archive. Arbitrary at the time, now a bit confusing. Time for a renumbering - since they are just files in a folder, they are easily renamed to the # given in the first column.

#
Notebook Name
(on cover)
Archive Notebook Number
starting issue
ending issue
# of pages
1
Albatross One
1
20
28
194
2
Albatross Too
2
28
37
196
3

2a
37
40
78
4
Albatross Four
2b
41
44
99
5
Albatross Five
2c
45
49
79
6

3
49
59
158
7
Albatross Encore Une Fois
4
59
69
160
8

5
70
79
86
9

6
80
86
118
10

7
87
95
115
11

8
96
102
129
12

9
102
111
133
13

10
112113

80
14

11
113
117
66
15

12
118
122
98
16

13
122
127
67
17

14
127
135
72
18

15
136
141
64
19

16
141
149
47
20

17
153
164
59
21

18
164
187
260
22

19
186
201
71
23

20
mothers & daughters 
36
24

21
197
211
138
25

22
213
241
96
26

23
224
230
58
27

24
225

45
28

25
227

40
29

26
240
250
150
30

27
Minds rehearsal 
74
31

28
256
265
67
32

29
255

18
33

30
251

32
34

31
289
290
4
35

32
Spore & Konigsberg 
36
36

33
265
300
58

And a list of what has come thus far (with the updated notebook #s, far left hand column):
So it looks like every notebook has had an article with some pages shown, but more have had more articles than other notebooks. It also looks like there are quite a few covers that could be shown.