Saturday, 31 December 2016

Swords Of Cerebus

Swords Of Cerebus (1981)
Art by Dave Sim

"Grow Up, Son."

JEFF SEILER:
This week’s letter from Dave makes reference to a couple of things that I had written to him: First was a visit to the doctor to see what was wrong with my gut (IBS and drinking too much) and the second reference was when I told him that Senator (Candidate) McCain’s pick for his vice-presidential candidate was one Sarah Palin and that she bore a striking resemblance to Tina Fey. I had added that Senator McCain bore a passing resemblance to a certain earth-pig born whenever he (McCain) puffed out his left cheek, as he was prone to do. I then asked if Dave could do me a sketch of Cerebus as McCain, and asked for a hint about the upcoming Secret Project #3, which (IIRC) was Cerebus Archive (the comic book). 

05 Sept., 2008

Hi Jeff--

Yes, let's give Rich the exclusive [of posting images from glamourpuss #4] for a week on all images and see what that does and then do a post-op at the end of this month on whether to keep doing it or try something else.

Alcohol is always a bad idea, so I'm with the female Indian doctor on this one. As the doctor of a Scottish retailer said to him in his late 50s, "Grow up, son."

Tina Fey I wouldn't know if I tripped over her... SNL, right? All I know is what I read in the papers. I'll see about the sketch, but no promises until Gerhard is paid off.

No hints on Secret Project #3... yet.

Back to gp#5, page 12.

Dave

Friday, 30 December 2016

Weekly Update #163: WHAT DID SCRUDDER FIND?!??


John Scrudder phones in a mysterious message for Dave!

Cerebus In Hell? -- Week 27

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Thursday, 29 December 2016

What Shoreline?

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.

Going along the same lines as the last couple of weeks - here are some bits from a notebook only shown here once  before.  This week it is notebook #31 which covers issues 256 through 265. There were 67 out of 80 pages scanned and once again was another Hilroy notebook whose wire spiral was damaged after usage:

Notebook 31, front cover
Page 58 of the notebook appears to have some dialogue that wasn't used in the series. Not that I can find at least. It looks like it should be part of issue 260, when Cerebus and Jaka are trapped in the snowstorm, but I couldn't find it there or anywhere else in Form & Void. The notes in To Ham & Ham Not in the back of Form & Void skip from page 563 to page 581.

Notebook 31, page 58
Most of the conversation is Cerebus wondering where they were after they got caught up in the storm. Cerebus knows they were parallel to the shore line, but didn't know what shore line it was.

The next page of the notebook continues on in the blue pen for a bit. It appears to be the same conversation from the previous page. Then down the bottom the pen changes to black and the conversation continues on about the shore line.

Notebook 31, page 59
A big of the dialogue in the black ink, about following the shoreline north, appears on page 8 of issue 260 (or page 574 in Form & Void). However, on the finished page Cerebus calls it Iest instead of the Dead Salt Locks. Like he forgot about ("heh. going blank like that.) the destruction of Iest during his ordeal in the tent (though he does later remember in his vision of Rick).

The other paragraph gets reworded a big, but is used for the most part. Petrou Pass even gets a mention.



Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Cerebus Volume One: the Original Artwork: part 3 of 3

Sean Michael Robinson:


Greetings friends,

I hope all of you reading this have had a fulfilling and relaxing holiday season.

As you might be able to suss out from the title of this post, I've  spent the past two weeks posting highlights or (for various reasons) interesting images we're received as part of the Cerebus Art Dragnet, which managed to net more than sixty original art pages for the newly-restored (and currently at the printers) Cerebus Volume One. (Here's more information about the mammoth volume one restoration, and why the original artwork is almost always the best way forward, given enough time to restore the tone.)

This week will be the last look at those pages, after which, I'm hoping, you'll get a chance to see the new Cerebus Volume One for yourselves and see how it looks in person. But for today, we'll focus on the color scans of the original artwork, rather than the restoration itself.

And what better way to start than by taking a look at one of the only original art pages I've seen from issue 12, the one and only Cerebus issue completed with duotone board?

Dave tackles the issue in the notes of Cerebus Archive Number One (now available from your local comic shop). But the short version is, the entire issue was inked on a special paper that could produce two shades of "gray" when exposed to different chemicals that could be applied with a brush. Dave was inspired to take up the technique by Bernie Wrightson's spectacular use of it in some of his horror comics of the seventies. (A similar type of board, with a much more mechanical pattern, was used by Eastman and Laird on their run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Issue 12 didn't reproduce quite as well as Dave had hoped, however, a problem exacerbated by the original negative being replaced by a dupe shot from a printed issue, sometime after the first printing. So the issue itself has had some fascination for me from a reproduction standpoint, and every time I get a chance to see a page of original artwork from it, I'm very curious.

This page came to us courtesy of Scott. Like every page I've seen from this issue, the duotone shading has faded in a pretty extreme way, now having the appearance of a walnut ink wash than a tone that might reproduce in black and white.



You can see that the darker tone still has its intended shape, but the lighter tint has all but disappeared. I did some playing around with the color channels of the scan to see if it was stronger in one channel over another, and sure enough, the yellow channel looked pretty reasonable after some selective sharpening. But still not good enough to reproduce how it was intended to look, the light washes splotchy rather than a continuous tone. (In the end I ended up combining the original art with a print scan of the original page, to great effect. See the book when it's available in January!)







Also of note — the very funny dialogue appears to have been wholly composed in the margins of the page itself, supporting Young Dave's assertion (in the first Swords of Cerebus introduction) that he composes each page one page at a time. 



(Edit: Dave pointed out in the comments below that one could theoretically eliminate the duotone entirely now that it's changed color so much. And he's right! Below is an example of what that looks like, using Photoshop's "Black and White" dialogue controls)




And then there are the rarest pages of all — the pages where a restored print scan looks close to indistinguishable from the original artwork. These are mostly pages where the photography was exceptional, and there was very little tiny detail to pick up — no fleck tone, no spatter, no fine pen or crayon shading or anything else out of the ordinary.

Here's a scan of the splash page from Cerebus #7, which marks the first time in Cerebus that Dave Sim used a particular rendering technique (as noted in the dedication to the original purchaser.) Also of note — the use of white to mark off the foreground from the middle ground, and to clean up the border somewhat (and help finish the "rising sun by implication" negative space inside the logo, a neat bit of design, bringing a third spiral shape to the page).




Here's another original from James G's collection, this time from issue 10. This issue overall has always looked nice in print, probably a lot due to the spaciousness (owing to the snow) and the nice High Society-esque reliance on lots of white, lots of black, and only one or two mid-tones. There's also a lot of nice applied texture in the large flecks of snow (the actual toothbrush work being reserved for the two very nice splash pages) You can see, however, that even on a page like this, largely printer-proof, benefits from going back to he original artwork in the texture of the hair and outfits of the figures, places where some tighter-rendered textures crept in.





Other issue ten pages (like this one scanned by Jason C. at ComicLink — thanks Jason!) benefit in much more obvious ways. Ever seen any of that white hatching before on this panel? Well, you will now!

And with that, I'm out of time for this week! Last week's post had a special request from great cartoonish Scott Yoshinaga, who asked for a more technical explanation of the restoration work. I.e. how it's done — technical details, scanners, the works. 

Well, careful what you wish for Scott! And keep your eye on this space in January :)



"Cerebus In Hell? #0" Reviewed!

Cerebus In Hell? #0
by Dave Sim & Sandeep Atwal (with Gustave Doré)

ATOMIC JUNK SHOP:
(from a review by Travis Pelkie, 24 November 2016)
You all probably know by now that I’m a big Cerebus fan.  The recently released zero issue of Cerebus in Hell? shows the humor of the book, a big reason why I love the original series.

Cerebus in Hell? (don’t forget that question mark) is a 4 panel comic strip that releases on a daily basis at Cerebus Downloads, and it takes the character Cerebus, a gruff, obstinate, money-hungry, angry barbarian who’s low on impulse control (and those are his good traits!) and gives him a tour of Dante’s Inferno.  The funny comes from Cerebus being thrown into these situations where he meets various types of sinners, or meets up with Satan, or hangs out with Virgil and Dante, and how his reactions (almost always ill-advised) go down in Hell.

He might be disbelieving of how dumb Dante is when entering Hell, interfere with Artaxerxes Colophon’s parole, encounter multiple versions of himself, be annoyed that no one knows how to tell a knock-knock joke, or deny that he was the one who beheaded all those guys.

Aesthetically it seems like I shouldn’t like it, because it’s taking a few default Cerebus poses and pasting them into Gustave Doré etchings of Hell, essentially.  Yet somehow, it works.  Cerebus is out of place, but that’s the point.  He sticks out like a sore aardvark.

Some of the humor isn’t the most-PC, so if you’re easily offended, you probably want to avoid this.
The text pieces are funny as well, with humorous bios of the creators and an ad for a contest to create your own Cerebus in Hell? strip.

While the strips are written by both Dave Sim and Sandeep Atwal, it’s hard to tell who wrote what.  About the only one I’d say is definitely a Sandeep strip is the one about ’90s Britpop arguments.  Beyond that, I’m not sure, so both writers are working at a high level together.  And if you’re interested, there was a weekly update on AMOC with some behind the scenes stuff on how the strips are created... [Read the full review here...]


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Harvey Kurtzman's Little Annie Fanny

by Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder & Others
(Collected Vols 1 & 2 avaliable from Dark Horse Comics)
DAVE SIM:
(from a comment on AMOC, 10 December 2016)
...I think much hinges upon your innermost intention with the material which I think, in the case of Kurtzman and Elder on LITTLE ANNIE FANNY was a) to be entertaining b) to be funny and c) to have steady work. PLAYBOY was a lot more exploitive of women than I perceived it to be at the time (or, at least, I perceive it that way now) and I did get rid of my PLAYBOYs because they seemed unhealthy in that sense.

SOME of the cartoons are an exception to that. I can't pretend that I don't find Gahan Wilson really, really funny because of the context his cartoons appeared in. Likewise Jules Feiffer. Likewise Sokol (although that's more because of his brilliant painting).

That was the same reason that I bought Dark Horse's LITTLE ANNIE FANNY volume one. It's "mannered" humour but it's brilliantly executed. The Annie Fanny bodies that Frazetta painted are among the best pieces of art I can think of.

And, in the case of our present subject, Will Elder's comedic painting of Kurtzman's visual humour. PAINTING humour is on a whole other plateau from DRAWING humour and Elder made it look easy.

I would always hang onto my LAF collection and PLAYBOY CARTOON collections for that reason. The subject matter, to me, is a very minor part of what it IS.

I'll find out on Judgement Day if God thinks that way as well.

Monday, 26 December 2016

SDOAR: Pencils and Mock-Ups

CARSON GRUBAUGH:
Here are the last two pages of 'pencils' completed for the first batch of mock-ups Dave sent me. Technically these are the first page of the issue #1 -#2 bridge, and the last page of the issue #2-#3, respetively. I got my parents to pose for the fender-bender scene but played YooHoo and had Mom pretend like she had been driving Dad's truck and Dad pretend that he was driving my car ; )


Apparently there were some mysterious technical hiccups that led to me not getting the mock-ups for the next two sequences right away, even though Sandeep and Dave swear they were sent twice. So, a delay of a couple of days, which was fine by me since I was still struggling to get over a nasty and persistent bout of the common cold. But, all is well. The cold has passed and the mock-ups are in my hands.

Some of that spare time was spent testing out brushes Dave was kind enough to send my way. The idea was to play with how small can I really get these lines since that is something central to SDOAR. The following should give you an idea of how microscopically small you really can get with a brush.

This head was drawn about 2" x 3", so this is already an enlargement.


Here, you can see how small some the lines really must be. All you see when you are drawing is that things are getting darker but no one line stands out as a perceptible line to the eye.



Here I was testing out an idea for how to subordinate the head behind the walking figure as well as playing with line size. The dimensions of the head are the same as above.



A close up on the eye, again, shows how thin of a line Dave is talking about when he says that the Windsor Newton Series 7 #2 brush lets you go razor thin if used correctly. REALLY THIN!



In his re-workings of my narrative and layouts Dave continues to school me in story construction and page design. I had a very set narrative structure in mind when I took the photos, and was trying to elicit specific expressions from Jack. Many of the shots we got I considered wrong. Dave has been able to use all of those stray expressions and make the general narrative structure I proposed 100X stronger, as well as wildly funny.

Here are the first four pages from the second set of mock-ups, as re-assembled by me in Photoshop for my tracing purposes:


I am really glad this next page is going to be in black and white. In color it makes for sickening Op-Art.

I have also learned that if you brag to Dave Sim, "Oh yeah, photostatting. Pshh. I will just draw all of that stuff over and over. I mean, I painted that crazy painting of YooHoo. LIKE, TWICE! This should be cake," he will send you pages upon pages with large amounts of statted images for pretty much the rest of forever. "Here you go tough guy, lets see how long before you cave and just photostat the damned things." Ha-ha. We shall see.
Per Dave, the majority of SDOAR updates will be moved to his Patreon site, where for as little as $1 a month you will have access to all of the work that goes into these pages as it happens. I will still post here at AMOC on a weekly basis to share some of the materials from each week, but on Patreon will share all of my progress as it happens. As soon as a page is traced, it goes up. As soon as it is penciled it goes up. Etc. I will also post all of Dave's mock-ups over the next few days, along with my Photoshop recreations. In the final transition sequence there are a lot of interesting pyrotechnics in Dave's work that are not in my Photoshop versions.

Also, I am considering filming some of the work. If you are all interested.And, if Dave is okay with it, I will post those to both locations.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas Everybody!


Art by Dave Sim (1984?)

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Writing Off Everyone Alive Today...

JEFF SEILER:
This week’s entry was hand-written and dated 03 SEP 08. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Hi Jeff--

Out of typewriter ribbon so this is going to be brief: The Luke Commentaries have joined the Matthew and Mark Commentaries in safety deposit box #692 at the CIBC corner of King and Queen... Sandeep will be signed up for power of attorney sometime in the next while.

I’ve left a phone message with Claude F. -- who has the so-far finished Mark commentaries on his computer -- to dump them onto the Cerebus Newsgroup message board.

In the unlikely event that the response to them is anything besides “Dave Sim is crazy”, “Dave Sim is an asshole”, “Dave Sim doesn’t know what he’s talking about” (coupled with my so-called supporters standing around with their thumbs up their asses and silly grins on their faces serving to tacitly endorse the vituperation) then I’ll be glad to reconsider what seems to me to be the only sensible course of action: Write off everyone alive today as a complete waste of time and stake everything on some future individual or group long after I’m dead.

I put the odds at about 98:2 in favour of the latter situation.

Dave

Friday, 23 December 2016

Weekly Update #162: Cerebus In Hell? #1 ~ Coming to a Store Near You!


Cerebus In Hell? #1
Coming to a Store Near You!

Cerebus In Hell? -- Week 26

  CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
   CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com
  CEREBUS IN HELL? #0 on sale now!
(Diamond Order Code: JUL161105)
Read CEREBUS IN HELL? daily at CerebusDownloads.com

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Avoyd Fornication

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.

Another notebook we've only looked at once before is the second to last notebook, notebook #35, in Spore & Konigsberg. That is also what Dave had labeled the notebook which only had 36 pages scanned. In that entry we didn't see the cover. Once again, shocker, it is a Hilroy. It must've been the main type of notebook for sale in Kitchener.

Notebook #35, front cover
Page one has some dialogue and notes for page 1 of issue #275 (aka Latter Days page 184).

Notebook #35, page one
Then on page two there is a thumbnail for that same page. On the finish page it appears as if the majority of artwork was by Gerhard. So it is interesting to me to see Dave's thumbnail and the finished page.

Notebook #35, page two

Latter Days, page 184