Friday, 2 February 2018

Tackling the opioid crisis, just say no! (Dave's Weekly Update #220)

Hi, Everybody!

Heeeeeere's Dave:

And then there's this:

Kitchener, ON--A Moment Of Cerebus has learned, according to a high-placed source who is familiar with the matter and who is speaking on the condition of anonymity, that Dave Sim will, within the next few months, begin putting up for auction Off-White House Black Boxes.

According to the source, the so-called Black Boxes, each with an official Off-White House label affixed, will be auctioned at an online auction house that has not yet been determined.

"I have been told by Mr. Sim that it is up to me to determine the best, most user-friendly auction house to utilize, so I will be doing the due diligence soon," said the anonymous source.

The source went on to say that each Black Box will contain ten of the rarest, but not necessarily earliest, Off-White House back issues of Cerebus.  Each bagged and boarded copy will have been signed by Mr. Sim, with the initials OWH added.  The source added that only copies of Cerebus that are in the Off-White House collection will be contained in the Black Boxes.

The anonymous source added that more information will be forthcoming, if the source obtains clearance to speak to the matter further., stay tuned and stuff...

Next time: More from "Debbie Does Dallas" as it comes in... (I feel dirty. I'ma gonna go take a shower until NEXT Friday... )


Gary Boyarski said...

Well... I going to go on the record as saying I'm in 100 percent agreement with Dave. Best update ever.

Michael Grabowski said...

Actually, I appreciate and agree with Dave's point here, too. And personally, I found this way more interesting than his readings of Colin Upton's (otherwise fine) comics.

Jeff said...

Black boxes?

Sounds mysterious.

Well, a little bit, I guess.

Deep Throat, huh?

Both Mark Felt and Debbie must be spinning in their graves!

Tony Dunlop said...

Anonymous sources? FAKE NEWS!


Steve said...

So, not to be too contrarian, it seems to me that the only "value" in the Black Box issues is that they are signed by Dave.

There are very few truly 'rare' Cerebus issues, in the sense that relatively few of those (or more precisely, those type) issues exist.

What most immediately comes to mind are the #7 and #14 issues miss-prints (no cyan on the cover, and I believe blank inside covers), the 'Guys' ashcan edition, and the two signed editions of the second edition of 'High Society', for the Capital (93 copies) and Diamond (167 copies) events.

It's likely there are less than 10 each of the #7 and #14 issues, and perhaps 100+ of the ashcan - I can't recall what event Dave and Gerhard were at when those were distributed.

But do an eBay search... go ahead, I'll wait while you take a look.

Yeah, I know -- over 4000 listings on both comics and graphic novels, plus the odd shirt or whatever. And as best I can tell, every single issue is available individually.

Do y'all remember when Dave was selling those ball-point pen head sketches some years ago, at $35 a pop?

Well, one of them recently sold for over $80 on eBay; it seems to me that he might do better financially selling those sketches again rather than boxes of comics.

But maybe not.


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

"Fentanyl junkies"? I see Dave's reading comprehension remains at his usual level.

-- Damian

Jeff said...

Steve, I vaguely remembered a post at AMOC from a few years ago, so I did a search and found the December 5th, 2014, post about the Off-White House copies. If you look at that, you'll see that they are pretty high-quality copies that have been in Dave's possession since they were printed. Thus, I think that they have some intrinsic value beyond just being signed by him. Maybe?

Steve said...

Jeff -

The primary aspect of this is simple supply vs. demand.

The supply of Cerebus issues vastly exceeds the demand for those issues. My point about the 4,000+ issues listed on eBay (something I brought up back when the warehouse copies first was a topic on AMOC) is pointing to the fact that the market is already flooded with more issues than can be absorbed by any interested parties.

There will certainly be some interest in signed warehouse copies - predominately drawn from the population that reads this blog, which I'd wager is also the largest part of those who purchase the Archive portfolios.

I simply think adding more expense (by way of Dave / AV purchasing 'Black Boxes' and certificates) to the warehouse comics will not be reciprocated by any significant buying public. More money into existing inventory, but certainly not enough income returned on the investment.

That said, perhaps a small project of only 10 boxes, or boxes produced only to the limit of those who have subscribed / paid for them - that's a more feasible and executable plan.

With a pre-set limit on the boxes, Dave can pretty easily calculate what the net income will be.


Jeff said...

Steve, I think that *you're* missing the point. The so-called Black Box copies are *not* from the Leamington warehouse, as I take it. They are from Sim's personal collection that have been in his studio/house since they were first published, is how I interpret this.

Again, my take on this is that these are very, very good copies. Perhaps gradeable and slabbable (if those are words).

My understanding is that the warehouse copies, or most of them, are being given away for free at conventions in the northeast of America and shows in and around Toronto. Those are, presumably, the not-so-good copies of Cerebus. Because, ya know, they've been in a warehouse.

I would add that I think it likely that Joe Comic-Book's copies of Cerebus that he puts up on E-bay are very unlikely to be in as good shape as the Off-White House copies.

At least, that's how *I* interpret the "leak". YMMV.

Glen said...


You make an excellent point on the market for these black boxes.

Presumably many of the black boxes will end up on eBay in time with the unintended consequences of decreasing the value of the already over supply of Cerebus copies there.

There is a demand for original artwork but sadly Dave is unable to draw anymore. Plus he doesn't want to part with the original series pages because of his desire to archive it.

Steve said...

Mr. Jeff -

You are quite correct, I hadn't paid close enough attention and got stuck in 'warehouse' mode rather than 'OWH' mode.

But the salient point remains the same, that I doubt there's enough interest in 'Black Box OWH' sets beyond some pre-paid sale, or an add-on to Kickstarter Archive campaigns. The interest from the general comic buying / investing population will be minimal to nonexistent, and I'm sure at best from active Cerebus fans the interest will be slight.

And the way the grading companies work, if a purchaser submits one of the BBOWH (or should it be OWHBB?) issues for grading, it will come back as "Qualified" because of the cover signature - a designation which is a kiss of death for most any but truly high value comics.

The grading companies must have a witness on hand at the time of the signature for the 'Signature Series' designation to apply. Even with early Cerebus issues (say, #5 to #10) there's not much demand for very high grade examples (9.4 and higher, roughly), and results on the first four issues are so all over the place it's very much a hit or miss arena.

Possible solution: do the signing as an event at a comic shop or con with a grading company rep in attendance - the BBOWH owned then has the opportunity to submit those comics at that time for grading. Logistical nightmare, but that's what the grading reps do for a living at shows.

But grading comes at an additional cost of roughly $50 per issue, which yields a ROI deep in the negative for any issue after #10 or so.

We certainly all want Dave and AV to be able to continue, and it would certainly be wonderful to have some income source, but I believe the BBOWH project isn't a quality option.


Steve said...

Glen -

I've wondered just how much value is actually in the art archives.

Perhaps to Dave's chagrin, even with currently active Cerebus fans I'd expect the interest to be heavily weighed in favor of the first half of the series - and interest is what sparks demand.

Vast stretches of later issues are so striking, so imaginative and innovative - largely due I believe to Gerhard not only coming into his own but barreling past Dave artistically (at least as far as creating the landscape the characters inhabit).

But I doubt there's the dollar value in those pages that's been found in the earlier pages.

That said, let's say there's an average value of $575 for the last 400 pages still in the Archive - that's still quite a nice amount of money.


Jeff said...

I got a page that was all Gerhard, except for a tiny Cerebus at the top.

Three hundred dollars, US, was a steal.

It was from Latter Daies (the Jacobean spelling), and it showed the church windows upside down. IIRC, he said that he wanted to foreshadow something bad.

He did.

Jeff said...

Steve, thanks for getting back to me. I think that the crux of the matter is what perceived value the Off-White House signed copies have, over and above the Overstreet assigned value.

I mean, I recently paid many hundreds of US dollars above the Overstreet assigned price of $300 (9.2) for a signed (by Liefeld), graded (9.8) and slabbed copy of New Mutants #98.

I think it comes down to: Do you as a lifelong Cerebus fan/collector believe that a one-of-one #67, signed by Dave Sim with the OWH notation, along with a few other such one-of-ones, plus a few more "rare" (or, rare) Church & State issues that comprise Black Box #1 are worth more than the thumbed-through, water-stained (in my case) copies that you already have, for which you paid cover price, minus your Valued Customer 10% discount?

In my case, yes.

I just wish Deep Throat and Dave would get on with it.

Whoa! Sorry, Dave. What I meant was that I am looking forward to the

Travis Pelkie said...

Wait, Jeff's a Deadpool fan?

Jeff said...

Love Ryan Reynolds. But not in *that* way.

Not that there's anything *wrong* with that.

Deadpool ROCKS!!!

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...


Let me get this right. You're saying that a copy of Cerebus #177 that would be graded at 9.2, is more valuable then a copy that would be graded 9.9 or 10.0, because it's from the Off White House, and has been stored for a couple of decades 13 and a half feet from where Dave takes a dump?

MY understanding is that the warehouse copies are all uncirculated, and that Dave kept up to 250 copies of the best condition of each issue.

Last I checked, Dave used to be a heavy smoker. How many issues were stored in a smokey environment for how long?

And, I looked at the 2014 post you mentioned. Rarity in an Off White House copy means LITERALLY dick. There were NO copies of issue #91 in the OWH, and a thousand in the warehouse books. So granted, I think the warehouse books started around issue #88, but that's a VERY limited number of issues from the OWH that are "rare" (especially given Steve's point about what is available on eBay.)

I dunno, it seems like the OWH/warehouse distinction is kinda pointless. Any books Dave has from either place should be lumped together.

Steve's right, only Dave's signature is significant.


Steve said...

You know, I want Dave to make money, and hopefully he will able to monetize the OWH books.

But I believe putting MORE money into the OWH copies will yield less income to Dave. And I can't imaging the BBoxes selling at auction (via whatever auction venue is used) for substantially more than what they would to the handful of die-hard AMOC readers who would buy a box when they were available.

So again I go back to some sort of tiered offering: say only eight 'gold label' BBoxes, as an add-on to the next Archive portfolio.

Make the BBoxes in fact a quite limited item and PERHAPS there will be more completest fans interested in them than there are boxes available: make the demand greater than the supply.

I'm apprehensive Dave will invest resources and time in TOO many boxes, resulting in another not-quite successful project that barely covers expenses.


Jeff said...

Matt, I really don't think that anyone except Dave has any copies of Cerebus that could be graded 9.9 or 10, and those would only be file copies. (For future reference, there are essentially four different kinds of copies of Cerebus: File Copies--10 or fewer of each; Off-White House copies--also a limited number; Leamington warehouse copies--uncirculated, but hundreds to thousands of copies of unknown and most likely varied quality; and circulated copies. I would venture to say that nearly all, if not actually all copies for sale on ebay are circulated copies.)

Having been to the Off-White House, I would estimate that either bathroom is approximately twenty yards from where Dave stored the Off-White House copies.

I honestly don't know where you got the idea that Dave culled up to 250 copies of each of the warehouse issues. I must have missed something. But, remember, any such culled copies came from out of the cardboard boxes wherein they had been stored, unbagged, for years. I would hazard a guess that with very few exceptions, the warehouse copies would not be in very good condition. There's a reason why they're being given away for free so far.

Your point about the smoking may stand, unless he only ever smoked outside. Not likely, but possible.

Obviously, yes, Dave's signature is the key element, but I think that the OWH designation holds a cachet that the warehouse copies do not hold.


Jeff said...

Steve, I share your concern about overhead biting into profit. I can see a good case for tying the Black Boxes to a or a few Kickstarter campaigns, especially since the Cerebus Archive Kickstarters are ongoing.

The only reason that I can see for auctioning off the Black Boxes is a bidding war, and that seems to have limited, but possible, feasibility.

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...

To paraphrase the great Dan Aykroyd, "Jeff, you ignorant slut."

You presume that ONLY Dave has 9.9 or 10.0 copies. But that's just your opinion. Your slightly informed/mostly uninformed opinion.

(And there are FIVE different kinds of copies. Dave's file copies, Dave's gift copies, Dave's working copies (all 300 issues that he used as reference while working on the book,) The uncirculated warehouse books, and all the copies of all the issues Dave had the gall to sell to people...)

20 yards as the Seiler schleps, 13 1/2 feet in a straight line. (I estimate. I mean the actual distance is beside the point. The POINT is that YOU think proximity to Dave's crapper is something that INCREASES the value of any given book.)

Where did I get the idea that Dave culled 250 copies? From Dave: Damn man, pay attention... And I hate to burst your "Dave's crapper copies are superior" bubble, but Dave culled the bestest copies. Which are uncirculated. Yes they were in a box, but I GUARANTEE that some of Dave's crapper books are bagged and boarded with old ass NON-acid free bags and boards, which would cause them to degrade just as badly as the warehouse copies (if not worse).

Yes, yes, I'll leave it to your detractors around here to point out your belief in the superiorness of comics stored closer to where Dave takes a dump over copies that are in superior or similar gradeablity, but were stored a five hour drive from Dave's toilet...

(And yes, it's crude to point out the Dave's toilet thing, but it is a valid point. I wonder if the OWH certificate of authenticity is going to include a blueprint of the Off-White House, and a list of the distances to various OWH points of interest like Dave's crapper, his drawing table, the chair where he records the Weekly Updates, his breakfast nook, that weird stain on the back hall carpet that Gerhard was always Nervously Quiet about, etc, etc...)

The value of any given issue of Cerebus is in the eye of the buyer (contrary to what any seller (or Seiler,) might tell you.)


Jeff said...

Wow. Haters gonna hate, man. But, you're right, I forgot about Dave's working copies.

And, as I said, I must have missed the Weekly Update #97 of 08/15.

But, I made essentially the same point as your last one when I talked about "perceived value" vs. "assigned value". I "perceive" more value in the OWH copies; you, clearly, don't.

BTW, you're out of my will.

Oh, and..."superiorness"?

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...


I literally said, "I wonder if I'm being too mean?" thirty seconds after posting.

Hey, I hope Dave makes mondo bank with his little black boxes. I hope three or four "Yentas with more money than brains" turn the auction into an insane bidding war.

All I'm saying is I won't be one of those yentas.

And, echoing Steve's comment about Dave's signature being the only real thing of value here. I mean you can get a 9.4 #67 off of eBay for ten bucks (shipping included).

(You're just jealous of my innate superiorness. Jealous, I say!)

Jeff said...

Well, finally, you hooked me! We haven't done this in a long time.

Aw-ite, ya wanna go, let's go.

FIRST of all, "superiorness" ain't a word, unless it's about your lovely wife, who clearly is superior to you, in every way, except for her knowledge of comics...but, even then, her "superiorness" slightly exceeds yours. Hi, Matt's wife (who clearly is smarter, better looking, and, lately, nicer. To me, anyway. *She* hasn't posted anything mean about me.)

And I intend that in the "superiorness" way; but, kindly. 'Cause, ya know, Matt--I am. Ki--ah say, kindly. Sweeet, that is.

SECOND: Jealous?!? Ah say, jealous!?!

Son, ah say, SON? Who is BACK in my will and will get the autographed Cerebus issues and whole lotta water-stained issues and some thumbed-through but signed-and-sketched phonebooks and a butt-load of other related stuff and a nice bit of original art pages and signed sketches, as well as an odd assortment of whatever the fuck I felt like buying whenever I made my bi-monthly visit to whatever Reads store was closest to me?


THIRD: What the heck is a yenta? Is that like a Schmuck?

FOURTH: I don't "schlep". I walk awkwardly to *my* crapper and God forbid I should step on my cat's tail. He barely puts up with me on a good day.

FIFTH: I'm willing to bet that Dave has *never* "taken a dump over" ANY comics he has ever sold, be they monthly, collected, archived, or warehoused. Just guessing here.

SIXTH (and finally {well, almost}), I think that Dave's signature, as he returns to form, is worth more than whatever price your "perceived" value might be for whichever issue you might care to bid on. But, you may not agree, and you may feel free, as the AMOC-Meister, to tell me that I'm full of shit.

[Insert here: "Okay! Wow! I finally get to do this? Wow! You're full of shit!!!

"Wow! Wow! That felt *really*, *really* GOOD!



What if...I'm just spitballin' here...but, what IF...the Black Boxes could put your lovely daughters through college?

Um, no...not so much. But I'd pay maybe a hundred bucks for it.

I tend to agree with Steve that it would be more efficacious to attach it to a Kickstarter. But, one box at a time, *especially* the first box.

Well, I know I'm getting into Debbie Downer territory here, but I've been doing the math. I'm not convinced that the OWH Black Boxes could sell well beyond the first five and I don't think six through ten would do well at all.

Attached to a Kickstarter, despite the overhead*making*...a Black Box, I think that #1 could do well. Number Two could do fairly well, maybe attached along the next Kickstarter, or the next.

There might be a few guys who would bid on stand-alone BB's, but very few, I think. Plus, the stock market is

This has been one fan's considered analysis.

Hope you're following, Dave.

Jeff said...

Um, Matt?

"the weird stain on the back hall carpet"?

"Nervously Quiet" about?

*I'm* "nervously quiet" about you (don't worry, Matt's lovely wife).

Was it pasta sauce? I's house?