I originally said “A Brief Recap” but I cut out “Brief.”

§ August 10th, 2020 § Filed under cerebus § 15 Comments

So that thing I was thinking about doing back in this post? Well, I dood it.

A recap: my run of Cerebus single issues begins with #26 (the start of the “High Society” sequence) and ends with #300 (very famously the final issue of the series). I have the first 25 issues in reprint form, as collected in the multiple Swords of Cerebus trade paperbacks that predated the phone books.

As I state in that linked post, I’ve had a small bug up my butt about, perhaps, maybe, if I can find them cheap enough, picking up those first 25 issues. This was inspired in part by my old friend Rob bringing in some CGCed copies of early Cerebus and asking me to sell those for him. Seeing early issues of the series, for the first time since I left the previous place of employment, reminded me, even as they were slabbed in their little plastic coffins, how much I liked the imagery on those covers, and the actual just physical-object-ness of the items. Oh, and I still have that #8 for online sale, hint hint, nudge nudge.

Well, that day has apparently come, as I found on the eBays at rock-bottom prices issues 23, 24, and 25, in pretty nice shape. These issues lead right up to my already-owned #26, and as a bonus include the Man-Thing/Swamp Thing parodies. The actual 25 I received is pictured above.

I also picked up a 22 for a reasonable price, and, surprisingly, a copy of the aforementioned #8 for a steal.

I keep mentioned how I got these for cheap, because one of my qualifications for picking any of these up is that I get them for as little as possible. Even if that means lesser condition copies…well, as long as the book is intact and doesn’t smell like cat pee, I’m okay with it. I’ve been lucky so far, getting nice-ish copies (the #8 has a 1/2 inch spine split, which I’m fine with). But the trick is finding them for low prices. My assumption was, with the series over and the availability of the phone books, demand, and prices, for these early issues would drop.

But prices can be all over the map, and I’m not talking about the usual price jump a book makes once it’s sealed inside a graded-comic case. Some are priced to move, others are priced like it’s still the 1980s, but I think that disparity drops the closer we get down to that first issue. And speaking of which…I may pass on trying to buy an original #1 (especially since I have no idea if the seller would know the difference between an original #1 and the counterfeit. Heck, I’m not even 100% sure I know the differences off the top of my head. I did order a Kickstartered replica of the first issue, so once that arrives that will just have to do. And the 2nd and 3rd installments are…still up there as well, but I don’t think we have replica editions of those coming any time soon.

Heck, I don’t know, maybe someone will walk into the store with the first three issues looking to unload. That may be my best shot at getting them, unless I feel like dropping hundred of dollars just to get that last issue I needed. [SPOILER: I don’t.] And yes, I know about the Cerebus Bi-Weekly reprints. I have ’em already. I’m just looking for the originals.

But anyway, even at the cheap prices I got these for, the “old comics budget for Mike” is blown for the time being, so I’ll resume the hunt again in a little while. Feels a little weird looking to fill holes in the collection again, for something that isn’t old fanzines. Or Seaboard/Atlas comics. It’s fun, though, and reminds me that yes, I’m still a comics fan, and not just a dude what runs a comic book store. I can use that reminder once in a while.

15 Responses to “I originally said “A Brief Recap” but I cut out “Brief.””

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    This gives me another chance to play the old-timer card, but this time not in a way that reflects any glory on me. I had a chance to buy CEREBUS #1 when it was new, and I passed on it, because it looked like just another Conan parody, and there had been so many of those by then* that I was tired of the whole idea. Later, I heard that the series had moved beyond this and was going in interesting directions, so I looked at a couple of the most recent issues. These appeared incomprehensible to me–the plot was convoluted, and there was a large cast of characters presented without introduction; trying to join this story in media res seemed a bad idea. Later still, I had caught on that a lot of people considered the series absolutely essential, one of the best things being produced at the time. However, Dave Sim’s…um…eccentricities had become conspicuous by this point, and I gathered that he was using the comic largely as a way to display them, so starting the comic then looked like boarding a train just as it was going off the tracks. All of this is to explain why I never actually bought CEREBUS.

    Well, I suppose I could have bought some of the reprints mentioned in this post. I did ponder trying one of what you call “the phone books”–but, well, it was a great time for comics reprints, and my budget for that was going to things like the Fantagraphics “Little Nemo” and the Eclipse “Krazy Kat,” leaving little for new series.

    *I suppose that the parodies were more common in the amateur and semi-professional press than in what one might call “real comics.” I remember a magazine named SPACE AND TIME (mostly science fiction and fantasy prose, with the occasional comics story) running one with incredibly crude art by someone named Frank Miller. I hope that he was not planning on making comics his profession, because he obviously did not have the skill for it.

  • Thom H. says:

    I love that feeling of filling holes in my comic collection. And I similarly don’t get to have that feeling very often anymore. After a while you’ve either read it, never wanted to read it, or can’t afford it.

    I’m pretty sure some folks price their comics from old price guides with the assumption that once a comic is worth $x it retains that value forever. And they probably use the “mint” value for every book. Just conjecture, but it might explain the disparity in prices for older comics on eBay and such.

  • King of the Moon says:

    I’ve never read Cerebus but I do read the Moment of Cerebus blog daily and I will admit to a fascination with what the heck is going on in the brain of Dave Sim.

    Maybe I need to finally go back and read it.

  • Ray Cornwall says:

    I finally finished reading all of Cerebus a few years ago, and I think that those of us who read all 300 issues should get a T-shirt or something. “I read all 300 issues of Cerebus and survived.”

    It’s a wonderful read for the first 150 issues or so.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    I feel the same way about getting Adventure Comics #247 as you do about Cerebus #1. I have so many reprints/facsimiles at this point, that it’d have to be a great price (or I’d have to come into a lot of money) for me to pick up an original.

    And I never finished Cerebus. Always feel like I should, but Dave’s…problems made it no fun after a while.

  • D says:

    How many people started reading Cerebus after the famous ‘Sim sent me’ letter in that issue of X-Men? That got got me intrigued enough to buy issue 51 and keep on reading through the mid-200’s. I still have (most) of the run from 25 to 115. There seems to be a renewed interest in Cerebus for some reason – I just off my phone books on the eBays for WAY more then I thought I’d get for ‘em!

  • Brad Walker says:

    I didn’t survive Jaka’s Story.

  • Daniel T says:

    King of the Moon, I hope you see this.

    How did you start reading Moment of Cerebus if you’ve never read Cerebus?

  • King of the Moon says:

    Daniel T.

    I follow comics blogs from way way back and still visit them. That one is one that I hit from a link at one point and caught it on a day when Dave Sim had faxed in something particularly from his brain and it became something I have to check in on a few times a week to see more of.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Or Seaboard/Atlas comics”

    Those are fun! What a wacky experiment that was. I bought a pile of those a few months ago on ebay.

    Turan, Emissary of the Fly World: “one with incredibly crude art by someone named Frank Miller”

    YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT but he eventually got better. then better still. THEN he made something called HOLY TERROR which is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.

  • Steven R says:

    looks like I started Cerebus with #16 and made it to the end. At one time I even had one of the pre-Cerebus fanzines that Dave Sim did, which i had him sign and gave to a friend of mine. I still have the poster around here somewhere. Glad for him that he’s found his comfortable niche in our modern world.

  • JohnJ says:

    Just to share, I had Dave Sim sign my copy of #1 at a Chicago ComicCon years ago, telling him I intended to trade it for a hardcover EC set of one of the horror titles since I already had the pb collection. He was fine with that and took the opportunity to show those around the table how to tell the difference between the real and the fake versions.
    My other insufferable point about Cerebus is to tell you about my photo getting the back cover of Cerebus #174. It’s a picture of Dave, Martin Wagner (anybody remember Hepcats?) James Owen and Colleen Doran from a Capital City Distribution trade show. The photo had come out well enough that I had extra prints made and sent them to all four. Imagine my surprise when Dave made my photo into the back cover! I believe he also sent me a few extra copies of that issue. This was years before digital cameras as info for any teeny-boppers reading this.
    I looked for Martin Wagner online a few years ago, wondering if he would ever try again with Hepcats, to discover he was involved with a Texas Atheists organization.
    And yes, I did read Cerebus through to the end and am still buying and enjoying Cerebus in Hell, with a new #1 every month.

  • JohnJ says:

    Also I’m late with reading you after just coming off a 53 hours without electricity following a big-ass wind storm that tore the hell out of Iowa Monday afternoon. We all know we would miss the internet and television if we had to go without for a while, but the reality of it is even worse.

  • Michael Grabowski says:

    Remastered editions of all the big books of Cerebus up through Jaka’s Story are available, and they look relatively stunning compared to the original comics and the first 30 years’ worth of phone books. For one thing, far better paper is being used. Much (but not all) of the original artwork or original negatives have been carefully scanned and every single page laboriously cleaned up by Sean Robinson/Living the Line so that these books look better than they ever have before. It has made it a pleasure to look at, and see new details, while re-reading them for the umpteenth time. Many of the jokes are still funny, but the story largely still holds up as well worth re-reading. As for the less pleasant darker turn the story takes in its second half, (a few of those volumes also having been remastered), the art holds up as being worth one’s time. The text? I say it’s also worth reading and re-reading without having to agree with it, though I certainly understand why someone might not want to have to buy those books to read them.

    The Cerebus in Hell? comics were fun for a time, but they no longer make sense to me, and I missed one issue that I haven’t been able to track down. I decided that accidental gap made for a good jumping-off point. Based on what’s written about it at the Moment of Cerebus blog, Sim’s role seems to be more like a editor of the project than writer or artist, micro-managing the fan-fiction about his character’s afterlife.

  • Mister JayEm says:

    I was able to read the entire Cerebus saga because my local library had ALL of the phone books.

    God bless the mad librarians who made that possible!!

    — MrJM