Today's entry is a little bit different. A while back, when I was working on proofreading Jaka's Story, Dave asked me to post up something that could be put into the Cerebus archive about how I decide what needs correcting and what doesn't. So, today, I'm going to give you some insight into how I have been going about proofreading volume I of Cerebus. Originally, I thought it would not take too long, as it was almost all comics pages with either thought or word balloons. That was before I took into account all of the P's that look like D's, the Y's that look like V's, and the occasional G that is nearly illegible.
Obviously, outright misspellings need correcting whenever and wherever one sees them, such as the word APPENTICES, instead of APPRENTICES, on page 420. (I am using the first remastered volume, printed back in 2014.) There aren't many such misspellings, but they are there and need to be corrected.
Punctuation is an issue, as well. Missing commas, the occasional semi-colon instead of a comma or colon, the infrequent comma that looks like a period or period that looks like a comma, et cetera. Alone, not one of these throws the reader off very much, but the aggregate can wear down the reader. I am going to go ahead and say it here, tactfully, that this IS volume I, reprinting the first 25 issues (plus the Silverspoon strips from the Comic Buyer's Guide) that represent the first sustained foray into comic book publishing that Dave ever did. Jumping around, during my proofreading, from volume to volume, out of order, I get a greater insight into just how much Dave improved, in all areas, over the years.
The largest issue with volume I is, however, the lettering. The P's that look like D's are the greatest offenders. Say what you will -- all very positive, I’m sure -- about Dave’s lettering skills in later years, but the lettering in volume I is, at times, atrocious. Without speculating about why that is so, I will go on to tell you (at long last) about my decision-making processes about the lettering and where it needed correcting.
I broke out my ruler earlier and measured a random, good-looking P. (Insert joke here.) In the normal-sized word or thought balloons, a standard letter P has a tail that measures just about one millimeter in length, the tail being what is below the loop of the P. A badly-lettered P looks very much like a D. However, a badly-lettered P and a standard D (almost all of the D’s are standard-looking, though occasionally a D can look like a P) do have dissimilarities. Thus, it is up to judgment of the proofreader, giving it the old eyeball test. Literally. I take off my glasses and peer at the page while holding it about one inch from my eye. And, that's even since I got new glasses, with bifocals. It is often not an easy decision to make, as to whether the loop of the P goes all the way down to the bottom of the tail or not. A half-millimeter length for the tail of the P is okay, but when the loop almost, but not quite, touches the bottom of the tail, then it really is a judgment call. Take a look at your copy of Cerebus and I think you will see what I’m talking about.
For what it's worth, it really helps in making the judgment call to have a couple of bad P's on the same page or in the same balloon as a good P. (Insert joke here.) Also, one test I have relied on, over and over, is the second glance. I look away, then look back, and if it still looks like a D, then it gets a notation.
Okay, the Y's. The Y's are actually pretty clear-cut. Either they look like V's, or they don't. But, since Dave lettered most of the word and thought balloons on a slant, when you look at Y's that are straight up and down, versus the Y's that are on the slant, then it can get a little bit difficult to discern whether or not it looks like a V. I think, when you get the second remastered copy, you will see what I'm talking about. Or, again, check out your copy. Also, every so often, but not very often, there is a V that looks like a Y. So, I correct that, too.
The S's that look like G's. This is actually a thing for me. I probably should add here, or should have added it above, that part of my decision-making process on the P's is whether or not the P maybe looking like a D would be mistaken because of the word. Occasionally, if the P looks like a D, it still can be a legitimate word, just not a word that makes sense in context. So, if that’s the case, then the P definitely needs to be fixed. That is mostly the case, as well, with the S's that look like G's. However, it seldom happens that an S looking like a G makes a word that is an actual word. So (and because the S's that look like G's come along so often), I decided to leave them alone. Once again, I think you can look at your copy and see what I mean. Every now and then, you will find a G that looks like an S but, again, it doesn't make a real word. So, easily overlooked.
So, that's most of what I've been doing. As of today, I'm at the bottom of page 427, the first page of issue #21, the first Mind Games. I have about 120 pages to go. Mind Games is a very text-dense issue, and it's late and the cat is outside and I have rows to go before I sleep.