Anatomy of Another Commission (Part 3)


In and around January 2018

As I said in Part 2, one of my favorite comic book sequences ever appears on the last couple of pages of Cerebus #200.

Added to what I said before, the sequence also shares a great deal with the iconic music video for the A-Ha hit “Take On Me,” in the depiction of comic art pages as a dynamic narrative in which the action of the world is being captured. You can go check it out on YouTube; I’ll wait.

And as I said in Part 1, Carson Grubaugh is a young artist whom Dave Sim has been working with on some of the art chores for the (as of this writing) upcoming books called “The Strange Death of Alex Raymond” and “You Don’t Know… Jack.”

Newsflash. I interrupt this story about the “Take On Me” background information to give another piece of background information:

The 2018 Carson Commission

With Carson entering into the artistic world of Dave Sim, who (with Gerhard) is certainly mainly known for the decades-long work on Cerebus, I thought it would be fun to have Carson being (quote) drawn into the world (unquote) of Dave and Ger’s creative work using the gateway between worlds that Dave established in those last few pages of Cerebus #200.

I am only taking inspiration credit, here, for kicking the conceptual snowball from the top of the hill; the visualization and details are all Carson’s. I am super-pleased to have this 2-page spread in my hands (right click or left click or dance a jig, but if you open this image in another tab or window, you can see more of it than you can here).


“Uh… GUYS… I’m Right Here…” (2018)
by Carson Grubaugh (1981-)
2 x 11″ x 17″ 2-ply Strathmore 500 Bristol boards taped together, ink over blue-line print
Coppola Collection

You see the character of Jack (I think) reading issue #200 and she gets to page 18, as we see what she is visualizing in the upper left, and then the rest of page 18. Carson works using photo references, so she did a lot of posing for cameras.

Now, as this story goes, she is reading some background on the person behind the project. You want to know more about that, you can check out Dave’s Wikipedia entry.

Moving from page 18 to page 19, Jack is now intervening and reality takes a twist. Dave has a new comment at the top of the page now that he has been covered up. Frankly, it would take too long to explain the text in that word balloon, but you get the gist of Dave now being removed from the picture as Carson replaces him.

The reality from page 19 (see Part 2) is pulled back a bit more, and we see Carson supervening on the page, the tumbling Cerebus displaced, and panel two is now a meta-panel that has Carson drawing the pages that we are looking at, talking to Dave about making a book together now that he is in his world. Keep an eye on this scene because I will be talking about it again.

Realities collide at the bottom right, with the flying carrot stub, the GUYS logo, Dave Sim (peeking through) and the cover to “You Don’t Know… Jack.” And Jack is aware and has been privy to this conversation, and exhorts “Uh… GUYS… I’m Right Here…”

Carson notes: I don’t have any of the Letratone tapes Ger used for the greys, and from Sean’s posts it sounds like they aren’t anywhere near archival, so I tried to mimic them by hand. The noise ones are easy enough, but boy! – that even pattern over Cerebus was a beast. Not perfect, but it works well enough from viewing distance. Same with Ger’s toothbrush effect for the cover of #200: too hard to re-create using the original method, so I just stippled the thing.

Next: Take On Me

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