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.
In notebook #19 Dave cover's the tail end of Reads, Minds and the start of Guys: issues #186 through 201. With only 71 pages scanned, it seems like a lot of ground to cover with such a small amount of notebook used. Most of what Dave has down for Reads is a block of text for pages. Today we'll look at when he talks to Cerebus and Cirin in Minds.
Cerebus and Cirin each end up on a square piece of what remains of the floor where the throne once stood. They are floating around in space, and Dave is talking to each of them separately. In issue #194 (page 147 of Minds) he brings them together to show how he cannot speak to Cirin. We see Dave's layouts for pages one through three of the issue on page 54 of the notebook:
|Notebook 19, page 54|
For page one, Dave sticks to his layout and his text, with the exception of getting rid of his first line "I know it doesn't seem like it. . ." For page 2 he stays relatively close to the layout, and for page 3, it is a bit different. Being how all of the finished page is Gerhard, Dave must've changed his mind and given some different direction - perhaps just a general outline, as the pull in shot on Saturn is still there, but the panels have changed shape and size, and Cerebus is no longer there.
|Minds page 148 & 149|
Dave also had scratched out some of his dialogue: "It is in your nature to be curious, to desire knowledge. It was more important to you - ultimately- to know what Jaka thinks of you. Than it is to cling to the false picture you have of her." This is right after Dave had told the story of Jaka and her time spent with the artist Zulli. But Dave changes the dialogue, as you can see above from Cerebus wanting knowledge, to Cerebus wanting the truth "definite answers to (Cerebus') questions". The line "an uncomfortable truth is always preferable to a comfortable lie" did make it in. One of my favorite lines in the series.
One the next page in the notebook, we see Dave's layout for page 4, the splash page showing Cirin lashing out at Dave. The dialogue that Dave crossed out was him stating he was a voice in Cirin's head and that she was being difficult, he would tell them both a story.
|Notebook 19, page 55|
He changed it so he is only telling Cerebus a story, Cirin's story. Also, on the finished page Cirin isn't on her knees, like she is here, but is standing up. Her psychic yelling disrupts Dave's thought balloons, something we also don't see on this notebook page.
|Minds page 150|