Swords Of Cerebus Vol 3 (1981)
Art by Dave Sim
Published between 1981 and 1984, Dave's six Swords of Cerebus volumes were his first attempt to collect the book in a more permanent form. He gave each story included in these volumes a prose introduction, explaining where the book stood when he’d been working on that particular issue and how he was thinking of its prospects at the time. This is the first of the five intros from Swords volume 3.
It's worth pointing out that the Kim Thompson comment Dave quotes here came in the context of a very positive review. Looking at Cerebus issues 1-12, Thompson calls the book "a true heir to Carl Barks' duck stories", and credits Dave with better storytelling skills than John Byrne, Paul Gulacy, Jim Starlin and the Buscema brothers. Where he does quibble, it's with relatively minor issues such as a speech balloon which seems to come from the wrong direction.
Thompson mentions Barry Smith's habit of filling every Conan panel with elaborate decoration, and then adds: "Sim, aware that this more often than not diverts the eye from the basic flow of the action, frequently draws page after page set against backgrounds composed of very simple designs – mostly simple pen strokes – after establishing the décor in the opening shot. Despite some goofs that crop up here too (the "marble patterns" during the fight with the Panrovian in #9 are coarse and distracting, for instance) this technique serves Sim, who can indicate a persistent rainstorm merely by filling the page with vertical lines, very well indeed."
"The tonal pattern I had selected did not work at all," says Dave.
Next week: The unhealthy origins of Red Sonja.