Sunday, 29 September 2013

'Cerebus' & 'High Society' Collections Stalled

Cerebus #13 (December 1979/January 1980)
Art by Dave Sim
(from Kickstarter Update #165, 27 September 2013)
...CEREBUS and HIGH SOCIETY are still stalled. George [Gatsis] got the proofs in from Lebonfon and still couldn't really TELL anything. So he's going to do his own set of proofs at Kinko's. I hadn't thought of that. Could that work? WE do the proofs and then send them to Lebonfon, flagging any problem areas? Yeah, it's a concept. I hadn't really considered it, but when George suggested it, I thought, Yeah, that might work. And I've got all the "first signatures" of HIGH SOCIETY signed and numbered - #1 to #1100 - so that part is ready to go.

There's really an amazing amount of work that’s gone into both books - cleaning up edges, making the white lettering crisp and clear, picking up the linework.

And it means that pretty much everything needs to be restored in the same way: all 6,000 pages and I keep trying to find a way around that. The LATEST idea that I had was when Menachem Luchins got me the RED NAILS Artists Edition. It's a Very Sharp Book. And it might be just really good photos of the artwork. Not scans, but top of the line HD photos. So PART of me is thinking: why not do that for right now until the technology figures out a way to scan tone without getting a moire pattern? And THEN I thought:  well, why not just use HD photos for the trades themselves? What would that look like?  I mean you would need a camera stand and lots of adjustment, lighting, etc. But ultimately it’s going to be mostly "point and shoot". Because the alternative right now is scanning at 1200 or 2400 dpi. Which is looking like a good 10 minutes per scan. That’s a LOT of time on 1200 pages of material. And that's just the scanning. There's a lot of "tweaking" that needs to be done.

So right now we aren’t really doing anything because you can’t just charge into doing 1200 pages and then go, after 300 pages. Oh, wait. No, this isn’t how to do it. We have to do it another way. And it has to do with reproduction. Until you see it reproduced you have no idea if it will work. Photos might look GREAT. But do they REPRODUCE great? Someone said they’d be happy to buy oversized books.  Not Artists Editions, but bigger than the trades.

Unfortunately that's something that needs to be avoided. I can't get into a situation where I'm keeping 32 books in print - 16 volumes in two different formats. You can't do one book in a different format and then stop so there’s only that one book that looks like that. You really owe it to the consumer and to the material to keep it consistent. Again, you have to be sure of what you’re doing BEFORE you do it. Which is very tough. It’s already costing me an extra $4K on HIGH SOCIETY.

So, then I started thinking about doing weird things. Like, I know that a full-sized photocopy on glossy stock is the best reproduction you are GUARANTEED to get. Every pen line, all the nuances in the ink.  So, I thought, "What about a 20th Anniversary boxed set of issue 186?"  The photocopies on 80 pound glossy stock in a box. Then you can - at least theoretically - just do the one issue. THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL AND SHOCKING COMIC BOOK EVER PUBLISHED. You know of another candidate? And if it sells okay and people like it, then you just pick issues. I’m pretty sure I’ve still got all of the Prince Mick, Prince Keef issues. 85, 86 and 87. How big a box is that? How much does it cost to ship? How many could Diamond sell or does it make more sense to just do 25 signed and numbered and auction them on eBay?

Believe me, I spend a lot of time thinking of this stuff, but I’m also barely doing a page every three days.  Doing a mock up is going to take time that I just don’t have, so it’s starting to look as if there’s just going to be a stretch here - if you can call 3 or 5 or 7 years a stretch - where CEREBUS just becomes (with apologies to Matt Feazell) NOT AVAILABLE COMICS until I can devote some time to it in my mid-60s.  2016 or 2018 or 2020.  CEREBUS and HIGH SOCIETY sell the best, so - once we’ve got all the glitches fixed we’ve been working on for the last six months - keep THOSE in print.

I had NO idea that converting CEREBUS to digital was going to be such a headache.

And part of me thinks, Either a solution already exists and we just don’t know what it is because there’s so little demand for it - right now, me and Eddie [Campbell] and Colleen [Doran] it sounds like - that Silicon Valley is not trying to Hunt That Suckah Down or make sure everyone in the world knows about it. "Oh, Dude! Heck. That's a keystroke! You should have said something ten years ago!" Or it soon will be. I've been telling everyone if I spend the bucks on converting all 1,200 pages of CHURCH & STATE, you can COUNT on the fact that the minute I'm done THAT's when they’ll invent the keystroke solution.


Anonymous said...

I'd suggest reprinting Cerebus Zero, if anything.

-Reginald P

Anonymous said...

make the remastered print editions slightly larger, magazine sized perhaps
and the halftone problem should disappear.

Keith said...

I reaaaaaally doubt anyone wants a box set of issue 186.