Thursday, 18 August 2016

Notebook 2a, aka Albatross Three

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.

We've seen some of the earlier notebooks, but not all of them. For the next couple weeks, I'll be going through these and sharing some of their pages here. Last week it was Albatross, Too and the week before that was Albatross One.

When I started scanning in the notebooks Dave sent me, I just numbered them sequentially, as that is how I was getting them. Then I got the plain blue notebook that didn't have any Albatross name on the front, just a really crushed spiral wire at the bottom of it:

Cover to Notebook 2a
In a letter from Dave to me dated August 17, 2005, Dave had this to say:
I'm not sure what I was up to with the numbering on the notebooks. As you can see from the enclosed package, these are (self-declared) Albatrosses Four and Five and an unnumbered one which seem to cover the same stretch of High Society. I think I might've mislaid one of them and bought an interim notebook to use until the actual one turned up. It definitely sounds like me. I remember this from trying to put the Notebooks in order at various points - they go a little wonky chronologically at various points. 
Looking through the notebook, it's 78 pages (out of a possible 80 pages) contained the notes for issues 37 to 40. It didn't have an 'albatross' designation on the front cover, so I just labeled it Notebook 2a, as it fit between Albatross, Too (issues 28 to 37) and Albatross Four (issues 41 to 45). 

Going back through my notes on the notebooks, there is no Albatross Three. Perhaps this notebook should've been labeled Albatross Three, but it wasn't at the time.

As you can see, the bottom of the spiral was just crushed. I remember being nervous that the pages would be ripped if I had tried to open the notebook while the binding was like that, and that I wouldn't be able to get a good scan of the full page. So I used a pair of needle nose pliers to undo the damage to the spiral wiring: 

Close-up of the cover to Notebook 2a
After I let Dave know about what I had done to the notebook in a letter to him, he wrote back in a letter to me dated February 11, 2006:
The odds are that what was stacked on top of the notebook causing the spiral binding to be a bit flatten was me. Those notebooks took a lot of abuse since they went everywhere with me. By all means anything you need to do to fix them so you can get a better scan, feel free. The blue notebook looks the best it has in years, I'm sure.
And we can't leave without seeing at least one page from the notebook. Here is page 10, with a list of what issues #37 to 50 were to be about. 

Notebook #2a, Page 10
It looks like were to originally have four issues with two days and nights of PetuniaCon, but only got two issues for the two day convention.


Dave Sim said...

Yes, everything was "moving around pretty good" at the Notebook stage. You can see I wasn't even committing myself to a one-line summary of "49" or "50". I always needed to balance "pure narrative" with "comedy fodder" and depending on which one of those was dominating the page(s) on my drawing board at the moment, I tended to err towards.

Jeff Seiler said...

Ever since I read High Society, some years ago, whenever I have seen a movie or tv show featuring a guy talking like that, I immediately say to myself (or think to myself, if in polite company) that one "Dadocks".

In all of my many, many years of being a Cerebus fan, two words remain in my general lexicon: "Dadocks" and "fonfliff". They crack me up every time.

So, you know, Dave, thanks for that.

Dave Sim said...

Actually, Phil Seuling's accent wasn't QUITE that "rich" but he could "put it on" pretty good if he was "being" Brooklyn for a reason.

Paul Sade said...

Years ago, there was a New Yorker cartoon showing two cages, one labeled "Boid" the other one "Toitle". One of the animals inside was saying to the other "Must be da Bronx Zoo!"