Once upon a Cerebus Time…


Though I’m no longer the same utterly committed Cerebus fan that I was from 1981 through to about 2001, and whilst I’m one of those who’s never going to sign the Petition that stipulates that I don’t believe Dave Sim is a Misogynist, I lived with the series and the character and the creator for far too long to totally abandon the link.

So, for at least the last year, one of my daily sites has been A Moment of Cerebus, an independent blog dedicated to all things Sim, Cerebus, Gerhard and relevant topics. Today, I had a shock.

If you log into http://momentofcerebus.blogspot.co.uk/ and scroll about for the June 13 2015 blog, you will find reprinted in full, an interview with Dave Sim, published in the once-and-former comicszine, Arkensword, edited by Paul Duncan from Coventry. The interview took place on the Sunday of the 1985 United Kingdom Comics Art Convention (usually known as UKCAC). It was conducted by Paul, his main collaborative partner, cartoonist John Jackson (from Manchester) and a Cerebus expert roped in at the last minute, my good self.

If you link to the interview, you might wonder what the hell I was doing there, given that I ask the opening question, and one other, close to the end, but disappear completely in between. Well, I may have been the Cerebus expert among the three of us, but this was my first (and last) interview and they’d done dozens, so every time Sim was done with his answers, they were ready with the next question and I wasn’t.

I did transcribe the interview though (and I still have a cassette of it), so if you ever discover a copy of that double-sized issue of Arkensword, you are looking at the actual typescript, tapped out painstakingly on my sister’s electric typewriter.

It was the first of not quite a half dozen occasions when I met Sim (not counting the time I phoned his offices to order the limited, numbered edition of the next Graphic Novel and found Sim himself taking my credit card details, and recognising my name). We’d actually met the day before when I got him to sign some of my Cerebus collection, including all the first five (Oh, a Number One! he said. How much do you want for it? Two hundred? Three hundred? Four hundred? We’d got up to Five hundred before I got it back out of his hands. Of course, we hadn’t decided whether he was talking pounds or Canadian dollars, but even so.)

And later that Sunday, doing a signing session, Sim started selling off the original pages for the next issue, no 78, at £30 a page. I’d promised to get my mate John’s comics signed for him, and to request an ‘Elrod Bunny’, so I was going frantic as people at the other end of the table pored over and divided the pages between them whilst I was stuck doing my duty for a mate.

As soon as I was free, I shot off there to look at the remaining pages – no more than a third of the issue. And to my astonishment, no-one had grabbed page 3, an astonishingly powerful page, so I latched onto it and forked out the cash, and I still have it, framed, thirty years on, and I won’t part with it.

But what gave me a shock, as opposed to a pleasant sense of nostalgia, is that, unlike the Arkensword issue, the reprinted interview includes photos, taken for Sim, and which I’ve never seen. And one of them features me, together with Sim and Paul (so it must have been taken by John).

There are very few photos of me on the internet. In fact, when it comes to the ones I know of, this unexpected shot doubles the total to two (the other’s on this blog). So that’s what I used to look like when I was 29? Not as bad as used to think, thirty years ago.

Seeing my face staring back at me out of the internet is an unusual situation.

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