I like tattoos. I don't know what it is about them. Either the feeling of the needle putting the ink just under my skin to the knowledge that they are there forever, something about them really does it for me. When I wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt, you can't even see them. Most people assume I'm "not the type" to get tattoos.

Sweet innocent virginal Margaret. She doesn't have tattoo and hang with that type of crowd. Heh.

Then summer comes, and I wear a tee shirt. The tail of my dragon tattoo on my right arm appears just below the sleeve. People who know me will raise their eyebrows and look at me with that expression: you have a tattoo? They'll call me over and ask to look at it. So I show them my one color tattoo, a large dragon on my right upper arm. Wow, they say, I never thought you were the tattoo type. If they don't ask if I have anymore, I tell them that I have three more would they like to see them?

So I show them my first tattoo, an ankh on my lower left calf, and then my most recent one, a fairy taken from John Atkinson Grimshaw's oil painting "Iris". Then I show them my favorite tattoo, Cerebus and Jaka's doll Missy, taken from issue 162 of CEREBUS. I usually get three responses from my Cerebus tattoo.

The most rare one is "cool, a tattoo of Cerebus." I've only gotten this response from the guys at the comic book store and two guys at work, both of whom read comics. The next one which I got from the ex-girlfriend's family was "why did you get a tattoo of Alf?" After much laughter on my part and a funny look on their faces, I explained to them about the comic book CEREBUS.

The most common response by far though is "who is that?" Tattooing Cerebus on my upper arm has been the easiest way for people to find out about my favorite earth-pig born. I can't always carry about a copy of FREE CEREBUS with me, but I can show them my tattoo. I hope that people think since I've gotten the aardvark tattooed on me and that it is going to be there forever, that I must really like the comic book and it must really be good.

So after I tell them it is Cerebus, who is the title character in my favorite comic book, I ask them if they have web access. If they don't I give them the five minute synopsis of the comic book. If they do, I point them at my website.

Right now you are probably sitting there, wondering why I use my body as an advertisement for CEREBUS. I just really like the comic. How many of you out there have tattoos of your favorite comic book's logo, main character or some other cool looking piece of art from the series? Heck, even Jon Bon Jovi has a Superman logo on his arm.

I started collecting CEREBUS so long ago I can't even remember when it was. Like most fans of comics though, I can tell you what issue I started on: 114. It was the first issue of Jaka's Story, with a background of the playground and a young Jaka. A beautiful cover. I had heard about the series for a few months before I saw this cover, but was too intimated to pick it up. You know, I could leap right into UNCANNY X-MEN with issue 207 (I just loved that cover with Wolverine on it) and all of their history, but when it came to CEREBUS I couldn't.

But this cover, it was beautiful, unlike any I had seen on any other comic at the time. Besides, it was issue #1 of Jaka's Story, I thought perhaps that would be a good jumping on point for me. So I picked up the issue, and took it home to read. I read it and loved it, so I got a subscription though Aardvark-Vanaheim for CEREBUS. I also got some of the phone books, the ones I could afford at the time, and devoured them. I loved them. Just amazing stuff I thought, unlike X-MEN or JLA or anything else I was reading.

The only bump in my reading was the first phonebook. I read the first couple issues, but didn't really like them. The art was too raw, the story not as well told as the later issues. It was Dave Sim in his early years, and I didn't particularly care for it, so I didn't read it. Each month though, I eagerly looked forward to what Jaka, Rick and Fred were doing in their tiny apartment.

Jaka's Story ended and Melmoth started. I had enjoyed the in-between issues (with Lord Julius and his like-a-looks), but Melmoth was a little slow. I still stuck with it though. Then the momentous Mothers and Daughters came and swept me away. Then my (now ex) husband came and swept me away.

Yes, I was married. To a man. That is a long story in itself, but basically he told me to stop reading CEREBUS. So I did. Oh, my other comics, like X-MEN and JLA were okay, but CEREBUS wasn't. But it made him happy, and I didn't stop to think why he was being so controlling of me. So years passed by and I missed the excitement of Reads and Minds and Guy's Story.

Then one day, I picked up Guy's Party Pack, which collected issues 201 though 204 if I remember correctly. Shortly after that, my husband and me were divorced. Another long story. The divorce gave me the freedom to read what I wanted to read, and I picked up the back issues of CEREBUS I had missed. I read them all and savored everyone. Around issue 220 I had gotten my Cerebus tattoo, and figured if I liked the aardvark enough to get him printed on me for life, then I should get all of his back issues.

Slowly I got the back issues, at first at my local comic book store, then at surrounding comic book stores. I was stuck. I had gotten back to issue 25 and couldn't find any older issues then that. So I jumped on the internet. I managed to get most of the back issues, and finally got them all. The last one I got was issue #9, which was harder for me though not as expensive to get as issue 1. Then I was sitting here with a complete CEREBUS collection.

I was happy with the world. All was right. Then I woke up and realized I hadn't read those first twenty-five issues. So I read them, and actually enjoyed watching Sim's progress to master artist and storyteller. Then I realized what I had to do. I learned HTML within a week and started my own fansite for CEREBUS. Being the only women I know to read CEREBUS, I called myself the Cerebus Fangirl.

In this column I hope to give you reviews of my favorite aardvark. If you're worried about me being biased, I can tell you this in advance: just because I enjoy the comic overall, doesn't mean I love each and every single issue or panel of the comic or what Dave Sim the Man has to say about anything. I may be biased toward the comic, but I can still be critical. Why don't you join me and find out?

From the Cerebus Fangirl Site found on the web at: http://www.cerebusfangirl.com contents maybe printed for later reading if you so desire, just don't copy it and say it's yours though.