Am I obsessive or is it just being passionate?
You see I'm an obsessive Cerebus fan. I must have everything Cerebus. But when did this occur? When I first started reading the series I didn't go for back issues, which can be very expensive and hard to find, but I went for the more cost effective "phone books." I remember a statue being put out by Dave, which I didn't get. I remember other prints being offered that I neglected to buy. I was happy as long as I had the book to read.
Then something happened. A switch was hit. I sold all my phone books, at least the ones that I still had - some had been loaned out to friends and never returned. I use that revenue to pay for the back issues. Over a six-month period, I hunted down all the back issues of Cerebus I needed. Then when I had all of them, I started with the 'extras': the Animated Cerebus portfolio, the diamondback cards (both sets), all the posters and prints and pins I could find. Cerebus had become an obsession. From Cerebus #1 to the fan club newsletters to the website to my tattoo, I really enjoy Cerebus.
But, I am so obsessive that I dream of purchasing original art from the series. To be in that close of contact with the actual art, a piece of Cerebus for myself to drool over in the privacy of my own home, it would be really nice. I have gotten sketches; I've even got some preliminary art for the series (issue 255 page 482, that scene where Jaka is talking to Cerebus around the campfire, the upper 2/3 of the page) , but it just isn't the same.
I check Ebay everyday for Cerebus 'stuff.' I tell myself it is to keep the checklist up to date, to get pictures for the checklist and all that good stuff. But the fan in me, I check it for Cerebus art. Original art is out there, but on Ebay it'll cost you a few bags of gold. I was hoping Dave would bring some with him to SPACE, but no, like in 2002, he brought nothing but himself, a pen and a diet coke. However, instead of getting a chance to get some Cerebus original art, I got a chance to meet up with some of the fine (yes, really!) folks from the Yahoo!Group Cerebus list.
So to be around other people who felt, maybe not as quite or perhaps even more, passionate about Cerebus, well, it blew my mind.
You see, at SPACE 2003, held on April 05 in Columbus, Ohio (on the Ohio State Fairgrounds again), there was a meeting of, shall I say, Cerebites. Fellow Cerebus fans. I know they are out there, I see the Yahoo!Group where some hang out; a few of the vocal ones make their presence known. I see the hits on my website, and I hope it isn't someone looking for info on the band Cerebus, or someone who misspelled the mythical dog's name.
I got into the Columbus Airport about quarter past 9pm on Friday night. A fellow Cerebite from 'the list' as the Yahoo!Group is known and his lovely wife picked me up at the airport. We stopped and picked up another Cerebite - three of us! - and we went to dinner. It was nice to be able to tell a Cerebus joke, or make a subtle Cerebus reference, and for someone to actually pick up on it. Suddenly I was funny. And I don't mean looking.
The next morning, we met up with another (!) Cerebite and all of us went out to breakfast. Many pictures were taken, and there was much talking. Some was about Cerebus, some of it wasn't. For those of us so passionate about Cerebus to fly or in some cases drive a very long ways across many states to meet the creator of the little gray earth-pig, we didn't talk so much about Cerebus. Sure we did talk about the comic and related interests, but we didn't obsess over it.
Going to the show, I had scanned the list of attendees beforehand. I remember last year, how about two thirds of the way though the show that I had run out of money and time. So this year I made a deal with myself to see those creators that I really wanted to first, and then visit the tables I thought looked interesting.
So we all show up en masse to con just about 10am, just when the doors were to be opened to the general public. Many of the exhibitors hadn't even set up yet. We all took our con booklet and opened to the table layout. Where was Dave? We found his table, and took a look over the heads of the other attendees: he wasn't here yet. Word got back that his flight though Chicago O'Hare International Airport had been delayed since the night before and he would be arriving in an hour or so.
So the Cerebites parted ways and went out in search of comic goodness on our own. The first stop on my list was Jasen Lex (There is a website, but his part isn't up yet). About a year and a half ago he was pimping his stuff on the (now defunct) Warren Ellis Forum on the DelphiForums. I sent away for issue one and two and was completely blown away. Jasen was at the con last year, and I got him to sign my copies and got a few ashcans from him. This year he was back in full force with the collected Gypsy Lounge trade paperback. I grabbed a copy, I stood there holding it so no one could take my copy, listening to Jasen talk about his plans for the second collection of Gypsy Lounge. I could go on for a whole column about Jasen's work (and perhaps I will later), but right now, all I can say is buy it. Jasen uses still photography backgrounds, he draws the characters and the story is what if super-heroes had to put up with everyday shit. A girl who breathes fire who complains everything tastes like cigarettes, a hero who goes crazy because of all the drugs he is taking to ease his physical pain. . .oopps, I'm rambling again. Jasen Lex's "The Gypsy Lounge" published by Aweful Books, it's good stuff. Great stuff.
Last year I picked up Tony Consiglio's Double Cross, and loved it. So this year I went back to his table and picked up a few goodies. Derf who does the weekly strip "Life In The City" was there. I had to see the man in person, and shake his hand. His weekly makes me laugh, plus I had to ask him: "Is Derf really your name?" Man, I come up with some winning questions, and the answer was yes it is his name. On a recommendation of a fellow Cerebite I stopped by Jason Yungbluth's table and picked up "WeaponBrown" a twisted take on the Charlie Brown gang. I also managed to see Jeff Nicholson whose stuff I've enjoyed for quite some time. Patty Cake creator Scott Roberts was there sitting right by Markus Lutz of Tales from the Bog. I also had to see Farel Dalrymple, creator of Pop Gun War, from whom I brought a piece of original art from last year.
Now in between all this fun, I was meeting fellow Cerebites. It was a bit discerning, but at the same time kinda neat, to have people walk up to me and say: "Margaret?" I had printed out a nametag, but had forgotten it in my sinus headache induced haze in my printer. However, that didn't stop people from knowing me by face recognition.
Dave finally showed up. The circling began. I saw him, but I got a bit nervous, so I made the circle around the show, getting ready to land, so to speak, and see Dave. When I finally came back around his table, most of the other Cerebites had shown up and were gathered in a huddle around the table.
There was no real line, as we grouped around Dave and the Cerebites starting asking him questions. I couldn't hear much of what was going on, I was standing near the back for most of it and Dave wasn't speaking loud enough to be heard over the crowd. I managed my way to the front finally and got the first issue of Cerebus I ever brought signed (#114, Dave did a really nice Jaka head sketch, but he was so distracted by all the questions that he forgot to sign it, and I was so excited about the cool sketch that I didn't even notice 'till I got home). My two questions: how is Gerhard doing and does Dave think he'll keep the deadline of March 2004. His responses: Gerhard is doing okay now, he had a bit of a rough spot and so he is taking a vacation during the con. And as for March 2004, he says he'll make it. For more of the different questions and answers, go to the Yahoo!Group where many of the Cerebites who were there posted their recollections of the day's events.
Dave gave a talk, a two-hour talk, about religion and his views about it. It was a lot to think about. One of the Cerebites recorded it, we'll see if the recording is decent enough to listen to, or perhaps get a transcript from. Dave's talk was a lot, and I'm not going to talk about it here - I'm saving it for the next column. Mostly 'cause this column is getting quite long already. But I digress. Heh.
One of the Cerebites had asked Dave if he'd like to come to dinner with us, he said no, because he was hosting the exhibitors. He said we could come, but he wouldn't pay for our dinner. I don't think he told us were they were going, but one of the Cerebites knew which restaurant chain they were going to be at, so we took a guess at which one in town it'd be and we went there. Surprising enough, we got a table for the lot of us, and we sat down to a pretty good dinner. The discussion at my end of the table ranged from love of differential equations to using SQL databases to why budgets that begin on July 1st don't really work so well for getting stuff done. And yeah, a bit of Cerebus, but not really that much.
All at the con had a good time. There was much discussed, I was left with a lot to think about and it was nice to put names to real faces. I also learned that I wasn't the only one that was obsessed, or passionate, whatever you want to call it, about something. Be it my fellow Cerebites and our passion for Cerebus, or the comic book creators who were at the show. They were passionate about their comics, because they sure weren't in it for the money. I also learned that people can be passionate about their jobs, about yarn, about almost anything that is out there. I thought I was just crazy, obsessed. But if I am, so is the rest of the world.
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.