Saturday, 11 July 2015

Cerebus & The Jaycees

The fanzine Cerebus The Newsletter was originally published by Fred Patten and then by Aardvark-Vanaheim from January 1981 to October 1985 and ran for 13 issues. After asking Fred Patten and Dave Sim if I could use the name of the previous fanzine, Jeff Tundis and I started anew in 2009 with issue #14. I published issues #14 through 21, which was released in November 2011. Below is an article that I wrote for the Cerebus The Newsletter - albeit the article below has additional information and pictures. If you would like to purchase back issues, some of them are still in print and can be found at the Friends of Cerebus website.

It all started in May 1981 when Tom Hegeman was elected the District Director for New York's region V, District 6 of The Jaycees. Tom had been a comic book reader for a while, and wrote for fanzines, comics magazines and was very active in the fan world of comics.

When he was elected District Director, he had been reading Cerebus since he brought the first six issues at one of the many comics conventions he attended. In his district the District Directors had a tradition of having a theme or slogan during their year in office. Tom decided he'd like to use "Fight Like An Aardvark" for his slogan and asked Dave Sim if that was okay with him. Dave gave his okay to use Cerebus as their mascot, and Dave helped out with the cloisonné pin design. At the Fantacon in 1981 Dave drew the image that became the pin.

The pin was shown in an ad in the back of issue #34 of Cerebus. The pin is 1.5" in diameter, has a black in color outer rim with gold in color text, a dark red background and a gray Cerebus head. The text along the rim states "N.Y. Jaycees Reg. V Dist. 6" and "Fight like an aardvark". In the inside it says © D. Sim.

The first edition of the pin was 150 pieces and sold for $5 each. Tom says "I think that of the 150 we had produced about half are in the hands of collectors and half are owned by Jaycees." After the original 150 pins sold, Tom did 50 more pins in a second run. This second run used the same design, and is identical to the first pin with the exception that the dark red background is a bit lighter in color.

First edition of the pin (left) and second edition (right).
Since Cerebus was the Jaycee's mascot, they not only had the really nice pin - (Margaret notes: which out of all the Cerebus pins out there, I'd have to say this is by far the best done Cerebus pin!) but they used Cerebus on their newsletter, entitled "Filthy Lies!".

Filthy Lies newsletter (Click to enlarge and read Tom's notes on the new mascot)

Also the Jaycee's stationary, which as Tom says "I was so impressed with the Aardvark-Vanaheim stationary that I ripped off the design for the year." Here is the Aardvark-Vanaheim letterhead in the early 1980s:

And the letterhead Tom came up with:

Region V, District 6 Jaycee stationary header. Note: I removed Tom's Address for his privacy.
According to Tom there were "a dozen bottles of beer (that) were relabeled this way at the end of my year as District Director in the NY Jaycees and given out to whoever I liked. The joke is that the founder of the US Jaycees was Henry "Hy" Giessen-bier, and that is his most famous quote."

Tom's district also had Cerebus featured on the recognition certificate given out for a 'record of excellence':

Edited to add: In the digital High Society individual issues which have the 'Cerebus Archive' material in the back, issue #27 had this letter from Dave to Tom:
High Society No 3 2012 page 34 digital copy
The letter from Dave gives Tom permission to use Cerebus as the JayCee's mascot, but just to give Dave credit and copyright. 


Kit said...

This entry is impressively opaque as to what a Jaycee is.

Travis Pelkie said...

It's a fraternal service organization (like an Elks Club or Rotary Club, I guess. I dunno what they are either, though!), with many more words (heh) at the Wikipedia page.

Holy cow! I've met Tom Hegeman at comic cons in Ithaca, NY, and bought comics from him! (Heck, I think he's the guy I bought the 10 issues of V For Vendetta from!) Man, I'll have to remember to ask him about this stuff next time I see him! That's way cool. His own Shyster Comics, while somewhat crudely drawn, are pretty funny stuff too.

Paul Slade said...

Was Dave aware when he gave permission for the pin that all this other stuff was going to follow? Because, if not, it strikes me as being a but of a cheek on Mr Hegeman's part.

Jeff Seiler said...

According to the ordering site, only two issues are not out of print, Margaret. Is that correct?

Margaret said...

Jeff - I have copies left of the 2nd printings of #15, 16 & 17 and a few copies left of the first printing of #18. When I get some more cash money, I'll reprint the other ones.

Margaret said...

Paul - I added a letter from Dave, part of the digital High Society release, that shows Dave was giving his permission for Tom and his JayCee's district to use Cerebus as a mascot, not just on the pin.