Bob’s “Grail Page”….. (A Cerebus love story)

Has anyone gotten a real “Grail Page” of Original Art?   Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten a lot of really nice OA pages, but in retrospect, none of them (to date) were really grails for me.  I bought my first true original art “grail page” 2 weeks before SDCC 2012 and picked it up from the dealer at the con.

This one set me back quite a lot of $$, probably more than the 25 other most expensive pages I’ve ever bought.  As a result, I did not any more Original art, sketches, or “big ticket” (more than $10) back issues for the rest of 2012.

Having a very small & limited budget for SDCC allowed me to only pick up a few things that were really insanely good deals.   It also meant spending a LOT more time in panel sessions instead of wandering around the floor spending $$$, that was a good thing.

Let me start by saying I’m a big fan of Cerebus & Dave Sim’s art.  The 1st issue I picked up was #16, off the rack at the LCS in 1980.  I was in my last couple of months of High School & I was drawn to the image with a little grey aardvark and what appeared to be Groucho Marx:

Cerebus16

I read this issue & was instantly hooked.  From that point up until issue #300 24 years later!  Lucky for me, Dave Sim put out “Swords of Cerebus” in 1981-1982 (some of the earliest TPBs) and I was able to pick up the issues I had missed.  I even picked up SoC #5 & 6, my 1st experience with “double dipping”.  I went on to pick up most of the back issues #s 1-15 after I graduated from college.

I bought a couple of Diamondback decks when they were advertised (based on a game introduced in one of the early issues).  I picked up a plush Cerebus that a fan made & was sold via an ad in the comic:

CerebusPlush

I got the Cerebus “Six Deadly Sins” portfolio:
sixdeadlysins

….and the Animated Cerebus portfolio:

animatedc1

Portfolios were big in the 80s, I bought a lot of them.  I had plates from the Cerebus portfolios up on my walls.

I had the Cerebus Dictator & Cerebus the Pope T-shirts (“He doesn’t love you, he just wants all your money”)  I wore these for years!

Over the years, I expanded my “double-dipping” as I bought every phonebook as it came out.  These were originally sold direct by Dave Sim & you needed to call A-V on the phone to reserve your copy.   You would call up & reserve the copy with them & then mail a check.  I reserved copies with Dave himself & with Gerhard.   In later years it was often an office assistant on the phone, but in those early days it was the main folks answering the phone & taking the orders.
They let you “lock in” the # you got of each signed limited edition.  I was phonebook #98 after they started doing the #’d editions.

I met Dave at a SDCC back in the 1990s.  I don’t remember what year, I got some comics autographed & gushed about my love of the earth-pig.  I regretted for years that I didn’t spring for a sketch.   A couple of years ago Dave was doing sketches (advertised on the Cerebus Yahoo group) and I was finally able to get a Cerebus sketch:

DaveSim-CerebustheBarbarian

in 2011 I was lucky to have won a very nice inked Cerebus commission sketch in a Heritage auction:

DaveSim-Cerebus-McGrew

But I didn’t have a page of Original Art from the comic itself.  Boy would I love to have a page of art from a Cerebus comic, especially one featuring Cerebus himself!

In all the years I have been collecting OA I’ve never seen a page of Cerebus art for sale.  That’s not to save there have not been any, just that they never passed in front of my eyes while still available.  Until July 2012.

And what a page.  A full page splash.  The splash page to issue #17, the 2nd issue I ever read off the rack back in 1980.  I pulled the 1st phonebook off the shelf and scanned though it.

Very few full page splashes with really good images of Cerebus.  I’d have to say, this looked like what I would consider to be one of my personal favorite images from the 1st 25 issues.  Early, but late enough that Cerebus had morphed from his original look to the shorter-snout version that carried the majority of the series.  I like this splash more than the cover to #17.

I conversed with my wife & got her permission to drop the wad of cash, promising to cool it on my spending for the rest of 2012.

Then I sent in my order & crossed my fingers.  Had I gotten to it before some other collector snapped it up?   Around mid-day the next day the seller contacted me & let me know it was mine if I wanted it.  We worked out the details & the deal was done.  I was picking it up on Previews night at SDCC.

So, here it is……  Thanks for bearing with me & reading my story.  This page makes me very happy…….

DaveSim - Cerebus 017p01 hires

Bob Bretall: bob@comicspectrum.com
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