Cerebus Vs Plaid

high_society_gold_editionDave Sim has been talking order numbers and print numbers on the 30th Anniversary edition of Cerebus: High Society.

That's when I got the phone message from my Diamond rep, Matt, saying that they have the final numbers — 702 copies — and could I call him to discuss how many MORE copies above that I want him to get approval for. That was part of the deal from the beginning. Diamond can have as many as they want but there's only one printing so it has to be a lump sum. I'm only going to do as many Gold Logo copies as they're willing to order. So, okay, it's 2013, it's not 2005. The economy sucks. Let's not get greedy here. The 702 copies will pay for about 3/4s of the printing bill for 3,000 copies. That's a Good Deal for me.

So I phoned Matt and I said, well, it seems like a sign that it's seven hundred and TWO. So we aren't going to do 700. So how about if you see if you can get 750 approved?

And he laughs and says, "I've got approval for 1,100." Okay. Let's not quibble. 1,100 it is. So, here at the 11th hour I'm looking at a whole new situation board. The 1,100 will pay the entire printing bill and that means that I can now look at printing an additional 2,000 copies so I have LOTS of inventory on the one of two books that I never want to have out of print.

Of course, it appears that there are problems with what has already been printed;

The biggest problem is the tone on Cerebus. Literally there are dozens of mistakes and maybe three of them AREN'T the tone on Cerebus. I have to ride herd on the printers more than I've been doing. I accept that you can't hit 30% exactly every time out, but I really need for them to find a lower range: between say 27% and 32%. There are just too many Cerebuses between 35 and 40%. The other problem is scanning from the original artwork where the adhesive UNDER the tone has gone bad over the years, peeling up, bubbling or discolouring. That's the thing that didn't show up in the proof stage but did on a number of pages in the printed stage.

Also, George, in restoring the two books has scanned the tone as a gray scale. That gives you a dot screen on top of a dot screen and creates what is called a moire pattern: basically Cerebus looks like he's gray plaid. George knows how to fix that: basically you shift the pattern until it warps out to one big plaid square instead of a lot of little gray squares. The same thing happened: ones that he had fixed on the proof stage were back to plaid on the printed page. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the Most Plaid George has gotten pretty much everything between 5 and 10. So, I'm trying to get rid of the 3s and 4s and living with the 1s and 2s. Signature by signature.


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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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