Sunday, 5 November 2017

Pressed Aardvark #5: 2005 to 2009

1980-83 | 1984-90 | 1991-95 | 1996-97 | 2005-09

I love researching bizarre stores from America’s past, so a few years ago I treated myself to a subscription to This gives me access to a huge searchable database of vintage newspapers - the oldest dating back to the 1700s. On a whim the other night, I plugged the word “Cerebus” into the site’s excellent search engine, selected the years 1978-2017, and started rootling through everything that came up. The pickings are getting pretty thin now – I found nothing at all worth alerting you to between 1998 and 2004 - so this will be our final selection.


Ashville Citizen Times (NC), May 19, 2005.

I wish I’d been at this North Carolina auction so I could have bid for that “No. 1 Issue of ‘Cerebus The Aardvark’ by Dave Sim, Autographed”. I wonder what it went for in the end?


Courier-Post (Camden NJ), September 21, 2006

Once again, we can rule out the possibility of a typo here, as I’ve found plenty of other evidence of a heavy metal band called Cerebus online. They’re sharing a bill here with Kiss Army and the Fryed Brothers Band at the Chopper Xpo in Atlantic City. This Cerebus has been around since 1982.

I’ve also found a solo musician working under the name Cerebus. His real name is Dawid K Wieczorek, and you can hear an extract from his debut album here. Expect a post-rock outing which, Dawid says, is “focused on more mainstream sounds created by both traditional and avant-garde use of various instruments, objects and sound manipulations”.


Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN), May 15, 2007

This is a typo – albeit one in a large and prominent headline. You’ve only got to read to the bottom of the story’s first paragraph to see that the buyer in this $7.4bn deal is actually called Cerberus Capital Management. A pity.


The Morning Call (Allentown, PA), November 10, 2008.

There’s nothing very remarkable about this write-up of an Allentown convention till you get to the ninth paragraph. That’s where the reporter drops a bombshell gathered from Brad Elliot, a fan at the show. Brad’s most prized book, he reveals, is “the first issue of ‘Cerebus’, which he recently purchased for $100.” Just so there’s no confusion, the paper adds: “That was a good deal, he said”.

I’ll say. If that was a genuine Cerebus #1 and Brad really did buy it for a mere $100 as recently as 2008, then I’d say he got the bargain of the century. Even if it’s a copy of the counterfeit issue – an interesting curio in its own right – it strikes me as money very well spent.


Arizona Republic, September 13, 2009

Our subject here is the Arizona cartoonist – and editor of True West magazine – Bob Boze Bell. He’s describing a personal challenge he took up after hearing Dave’s remark that every artist has 10,000 bad drawings in him, and must get all of these out of his system before he can start doing good ones.

“That was in the late 1980s,” he says. “I remember at the time I thought the claim was probably accurate. So I arbitrarily decided I would execute six sketches a day until I achieved the magic number. I had several thoughts and concerns: would my drawing skills improve? How much? Would there be a breakthrough moment?”

Bob started his project on November 12, 2005 and completed it on September 1, 2009. “Truth be told, my improvement is perhaps not as great as I’d like to believe, but it doesn’t matter, because I am producing consistently,” he says. “And the daily discipline all by itself almost guarantees better drawings, just by sheer volume.”

I’ve always liked Dave’s remark about the 10,000 bad drawings myself, and often wondered what the equivalent figure would be for a prose writer like myself. A hundred thousand bad sentences before you can start writing well, perhaps?

For more of Paul Slade’s writing – including a history of Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp strip and a look back at some notable comic book lawsuits – visit

1 comment:

Jeff Seiler said...

If you search "Dave Sim" or "Judenhaas" or "glamourpuss", Paul, you should find a couple of newspaper articles that I wrote in the late 2000s.