Saturday, 14 July 2018

Dirty Laundry

Hi,  Everybody!

First, today is Gerhard's "Moments of Cerebus" art auction.


If you know the words, SING ALONG!

So, 'emember the post where I listed the comiclink auctions, and all sorts of other fun stuff you guys could buy, including Tim P's eBay auctions, including his Counterfeit #1? Yeah, that one.

In the comments, Jeff Seiler said:
That's DEFINITELY a counterfeit #1. The Overstreet Guide used to list the counterfeit #1 as being worth exactly $0.00. Now, as of the 2017 issue, it just lists a brief description. Regardless, I think it is a crime that Tim should make any part of the (current) bid of £149 from selling it. Furthermore, Tim most certainly could (and should) have done his due diligence and discovered for himself that his copy is counterfeit. That he did not speaks volumes about him as a seller. He should strongly consider removing the listing, if that is possible.
 To which I replied:
Hey Jeff,

How's the weather up there on your high horse?

(Tim DID say he didn't know if it was legit or not, and I had three people compare it to the photos on Margaret's website, and WE all thought it was real...)
Well, I got an email from Everybody's friend, Sean Michael Robinson, which had a fax from the reason we're all here, Dave Sim:

There's a lot to unpack here, but let me start with the most germane part:

That Rat Bastard Seiler ratted me out!!! There's a REASON I call him "Shecky McAssrape"!

 I WAS going to post this fax ASAP, but then Ditko died, and I was working, and I needed to respond to Sean, who offered to make up a simple "how to" guide to tell real copies from the fakes.

Then "Shecky" sent me this:
Hi, Matt!  Hope you and yours are all well.  I was just wondering:  It's been a week since I last spoke on the phone with Dave, in which conversation he told me that he faxed you, via Sean, a response to my question about what his current stance is on counterfeit issues of Cerebus #1 being sold on ebay (or, elsewhere) for profit.  He told me, essentially, that he supported my view of it as being criminal and that he had, in his fax to you, indicated that he didn't think that I had been (as you put it), "up on [my] high horse", but that I had spoken the truth about the reality of selling counterfeit items for profit.  

There are, currently, multiple copies of Cerebus #1 for sale on ebay and only a few of them show anything besides the front and back covers.  And, when you zoom in on the photos, the resolution is too poor to make the differentiation on the red dot tone.  Personally, I believe that the dragon page is the "make or break", but I've only seen one recent offering on ebay that showed a photo of that page.  Almost all of them show just the front and back covers, with very poor resolution.

Oh, and, Dave told me that he had included in the fax, once again, very clear guidelines for determining whether or not any given copy of Cerebus #1 is counterfeit.

I'm just wondering:  Have you received that letter/fax?  And, if so, when will you be posting it at AMOC?  Clearly, that was what Dave wanted you to do.  In part, to vindicate me, but also to try to keep the record clear.

So, when?

Best to you and all the lovely ladies, 

When? WHEN Shecky? When I G-D D-MN feel like it!

Ya know, now.

So, before anybody gets the impression that I'ma about to pay Shecky a late night visit with a crowbar and some VERY stern words, allow me to clarify myself:

When I asked Jeff, "How's the weather up there on your high horse?", I wasn't referring to his position on the legality of selling a counterfeit Cerebus #1. I was responding to the inferred use of his "school marm" voice.

As regular readers of the Wild and Wooly AMOC comment section know (Hi, Damian!), Jeff has at times come across as... (how do I put this?)...(ya know, "nicely"?)...a bit of a... "pompous ass."

My reply to his comment was specifically made to the phrase: "Tim most certainly could (and should) have done his due diligence".

Sorry, Jeff, but to quote one of my favorite people (no, really!): "render unto me a fucking break!"

I spent ten minutes on Margaret's delicious CerebusFanGirl site, looking at the various ways of determining a genuine from a fake. I had other people look at the photos. We all agreed that Tim's copy was most likely a genuine copy. As everybody's friend, Sean Robinson said in the comments of the post:
There are other obvious differences, but they all involve having an authentic #1 on hand for comparison. 
So, short of having both, it's a bit of a crapshoot.

(There was also an inferred "peevishness" since Jeff doesn't have a copy of #1, and I figured he was pissed that he bid on it before finding out it wasn't genuine. Possibly pure fantasy on my part, but possibly not.)

So, THAT'S why I asked about Jeff's "high horse".

Back to Dave's Fax.

Yes, the form e-mail isn't the worst idea.

And everybody's friend, Sean Robinson, has kindly agreed to make up a post/email for these purposes. So, yes Sean, please do.

I do question the need to contact the local cops, but that's more my aversion to dealing with The Fuzz.

As to counterfeit #1s being immoral, I agree that the initial counterfeiting was definitely an immoral (and criminal) act. But, I believe that selling a counterfeit is only immoral if you KNOW that it's a counterfeit and DON'T disclose that. As far as buying a counterfeit, I believe it was the Romans ("terrific race, the Romans") who coined the phrase: "caveat emptor". (Which, the post/email will hopefully help to educate the buying public.) (Who would do well to remember the sage advise of the late Harry Anderson: "a fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place.")

As to counterfeits having no value, this is a "eye of the beholder" situation. What exactly is the value of a Cerebus #1? Is it the content? Or is it the physical object? If you believe that the value is in the content, then a Cerebus Bi-weekly #1 has a higher value than a Cerebus #1, because it has the entirety of Cerebus #1, plus the introduction from Swords #1. If you believe that the value is in the physical object, then one would assume that you'd not be reading it, but slabbing it to ascertain it's value, and preserve said value.

All my research into counterfeit #1s, says that CGC knows the difference between genuine and counterfeit copies. So, if you want to buy a Cerebus #1 for it's inherent value, and not to read the beginnings of our favorite Aardvark, I'd suggest either ponying up for a slabbed and certified copy, or schooling yourself in all the myriad differences between real and fake copies, and hoping for the best.

One of the BIGGEST problems, with the whole "counterfeit" issue, is that we don't know EXACTLY how many copies of Cerebus #1 there are. There WERE 2000 copies of the real Cerebus #1. (If I'm remembering right.) Now there has to be an attrition rate of copies that were bought and thrown away/read to pieces/lost in "misadventure". So that means there's <2000 copies that are real.

And, as far as I know, no one really knows how many copies of the counterfeits there are.

It would be really awesome if somebody (not me), set up a census of Cerebus #1s.

And as far as buyers/sellers sending Dave a cut of the money for the sale of counterfeits...

While the initial counterfeiting was a crime, is it REALLY a crime for retailers who were hoodwinked by the counterfeiter, to try to make up their loss by selling the counterfeits AS counterfeits? In my researches, I came across retailers who paid five dollars a copy for the counterfeits, and sold them for ten, (clearly labeled as counterfeits.) (There was also the case of the retailer who bought 54 copies for $770, that then sold them as counterfeits for 20 or 25 bucks.)

I mean, I agree that it would be nice, but I don't expect it to be the rule instead of the exception.

(I also wonder about Dave's "illegally acquired personal property" line. I'm no lawyer, but is it really illegal to buy a counterfeit? And Dave was GIVING away the story contents of Cerebus #1 when he was giving away the first phonebook a few years back. (Which was my idea (sorta), so I apologize for bringing it up in an asshole way right now. But the point kinda stands. (Especially in light of Dave's saying that Cerebus is essentially in the Public Domain.) (I mean, I get that in 1982, Cerebus #1 was VERY much a protected and copyrighted property, but here almost 40 years later, not so much.))

I'm sending this to Dave, so I'll let everybody know what he says in reply.

Next Time: All the deals on oats I can find so Jeff can feed his high horse. (I kid, I kid...)


Anonymous said...

Sim angling for money.
Seiler proving there's no ceiling for his Seilerness.
Matt backpedaling like a schoolgirl who just saw an octopus tentacle reach out from a manhole ten feet in front of her.

Just another moment of Cerebus, folks.

Benjamin H said...

Psst! Hey Sean! Do you happen to have a hi-res scan of the Counterfeit Cerebus #1? I need it for the Officially Unofficial Counterfeit Cerberus in Hell #1 I'll be circulating next year. But don't tell anyone I'm the one behind the Officially Unofficial Cerberus in Hell #1. Keep it between us. Thanks!

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...


1. Yeah, he is.
2. Yeeeeeaaaah. (I guess.)
3. How, exactly, am I "backpedaling"? From what? "Clarifying my position" would be a hell of a lot more accurate.

(I thought "dirty laundry" was a subtle enough clue that I didn't necessarily want to post the messy details...)

Jeff said...

Wow! Yes, a lot to dissect.

First of all, thank you, Dave, and thank you, Matt, and thank you, Sean.

Now, let's dig into the guts of this post. (Um, quick digression: It used to be "Shecky McAsscrape. There is a difference.)

1. A point that I had forgotten. Apparently, the counterfeit #1 started showing up in 1982, at comic book shows. So, did the indicia give a copyright date of 1982 or 1977? If the latter, then it clearly was a contrived plan to obfuscate and deceive. Perhaps the purchaser of Tim P's copy could check that indicia for us.

2. It was NOT school-marmish of me to use precise and concise language to point out that Tim P. should have utilized the widely-available metrics to determine whether or not his copy was counterfeit. Immoral. A is A.

3. Okay, maybe a little school-marmish.

4. Tim P. did not advertise it as a counterfeit copy. Instead, he utilized the time-honored approach of caveat emptor, saying that he "[did] not know" whether or not his copy was counterfeit. He should have known.

5. I have never bid on a Cerebus #1. I HAVE asked comic-book store owners around the country if they have one, but I have never attempted to purchase one online, for the very reason we are discussing. To be clear: I did not make a single bid, nor any bids, on Tim P's counterfeit copy.

6. "Pompous ass"? Coming from Damian, that's a compliment!

7. As to the intrinsic value of a real Cerebus #1, said value IS in the eye of the beholder. There were only 2,000 copies printed. Dave kept the best ten copies for himself--file copies, of which he, presumably, still has nine. (I've begged and begged him to sell me one.) Fifteen-hundred copies were sold to just two comic-book dealers. Those were sold on the secondary market over the past four decades. That means that only 490-some copies were, ostensibly, made available, originally, to the public directly (usually by Dave and Deni, at comic-book shows). Thus, while it's not The Holy Grail of comics, it IS highly desirable and was so as far back as 1982--else, why do a counterfeit?

8. I don't have an issue with anyone attempting to sell a counterfeit copy IF they advertise it as being a counterfeit copy. They did their due diligence. (I would never buy one but, hey, if you're honest, knock yourself out.) My issue with Tim P. was that he took the caveat emptor stance--"Is it real, or counterfeit? I don't know; I'm not sure." He had it in his hands (IIRC, it wasn't slabbed)--he could have done the due diligence, but chose not to. Since he is selling off a Cerebus collection, including ephemera, he surely must have known how to tell if it was real or counterfeit. THAT was my point.

Anon? Read much manga, do ya?

Ben? Sign me up for one those!

Matt, we used to be friends. I'm sorry that it has come to this, but...

I gotta go feed my horse.

See ya,


Anonymous said...

"I gotta go feed my horse." indica cookie. Get it? "High" Horse?

Benjamin H said...

Hey Jeff! I'll put aside a copy of the Officially Unofficial Cerberus in Hell? #1 when it exists! Thanks for your support! But let's keep this between us, alright? The whole world doesn't need to know that I'm the one circulating the Officially Unofficial Cerberus in Hell? #1.

Mouse Skull Entertainment said...


Now I want a high copy scan of the "black" Cerebus from the dragon page added to the Cerebus in Hell? cast as "Counterfeit Cerebus" (kinda like Bizarro. Or better yet, he keeps insisting that he's the REAL Cerebus.

Benjamin H said...

Matt, "Counterfeit Cerebus" would be an excellent addition to the CIH? cast.

Sean, do you have a hi-res scan of this page? I'm not sure WHY I assume you just happen to have a copy of Counterfeit Cerebus #1 sitting around, ready to scan, but if anyone does, it's you.

Also, Bizarrabus, the bizarre Cerebus, makes his cover debut on CRISIS of INFINITE CEREBI, which everyone can order now! Diamond order code JUL181424

Steve said...

Having been a pressman for over a decade I can say that my understanding of the visual differences between an authentic and counterfeit #1 is very likely to be better than the average fan.

But I have to tell you also, once I was comparing the real to the fake side by side, the differences are so completely obvious.

But clearly the easiest way to determine the fake is indeed the 'black Cerebus' image; there's no mistaking that!

Also, while on the topic of counterfeits, Overstreet for decades has hinted at the possibility of a counterfeit #2.

If it exists, it's got to be of a much higher quality because it's remained undetected.

And for the proposed "#1 census", I have I believe four copies of the authentic #1 and one copy of the counterfeit.


Sean R said...

>>Matt, "Counterfeit Cerebus" would be an excellent addition to the CIH? cast. >>

HAH! Yeah, the other characters are using him as an example of something negative, treating him as a pariah.

"But Counterfeit Cerebus isn't BAD. Counterfeit Cerebus was just printed this way."

Yes, I have a copy of the authentic and counterfeit #1s, used for the mammoth V1 restoration that came out January 2017. And both former AV office copies (so much so that Deni wrote page numbers in the bottom corners of the entire real #1!)

Yes, I will work on a post giving the easiest ways to tell the differences, using Dave's faxes over the years and Margaret's site as a jumping-off point. Will let you know when it's ready to run. (A week? 2 weeks?)

And will scan your new CIH? character BH :)

Sean R said...

Steve--any clue as to a counterfeit #2's existence, or not? I myself have one of what would be 15 perfectly verifiable authentic #2s, as in, they were grabbed by Deni from the initial press run, so I could supply any high-res scans that might help identify any questionable areas? if it were the same counterfeiters, with the same access (not) to original art, then the blacks density and/or fill-in would be the most likely places to look... Do you think the Overstreet reference is just intended to be speculative?

Steve said...

Sir Sean -

To quote my 2015-2016 Overstreet, "Reports show that a counterfeit #2 also exist".

Overstreet has run this line or one similar for decades; I remember it from at least the late 80's. To me, it's akin to the notes on Conan #3 and Thor #4 about 'limited distribution in some areas'.

Well, yeah - I suppose that was important in perhaps the late 70's and early 80's, but surely in the decades since the available issues have been so thoroughly re-distributed that any current 'unavailability' has nothing to do with the initial distribution.

At this stage, who knows what the 'reports' are that Overstreet refers to; I believe those reports were spurious, whether miss-informed or intentional miss-information with whatever intent.

(Sometime in the 80's I happened upon some romance comic that clearly showed Elvis Presley in Army garb on the cover - a feature not noted in Overstreet. I sent off a letter with the pertinent info, and next edition of the Guide noted the Presley cover. I'm a nobody fan in the southwest, someone at Overstreet must have confirmed my 'sighting' for verification. My guess is that some credible source informed Overstreet of counterfeit #2's and the rest is history.
A true history of a false report.)

If counterfeit #2's existed in any significant quantity I believe they'd have by this time been identified; given the complete lack of any credible evidence for their existence I don't believe they exist.


Mouse Skull Entertainment said...

Steve and Sean,

When I faxed up to Dave, I asked if he had ever heard of Counterfeit #2s.

I let you know what he says.

Tony Dunlop said...

I asked if he had ever heard of Counterfeit #2s.

Well, my dad used to have some plastic dog doo he'd leave around the house as a gag...

Benjamin H said...

Hey Sean, Thanks. I also need a scan of the bootleg cover. When you get a moment. And keep your voice down for goodness sake! Someone might here you!

Anonymous said...

Some legal food for thought:

Section 42 of the Canadian Copyright Act makes it an offence for a person to knowingly make or possess, for sale, rent, or distribution; or import or export, an infringing copy of a work.

In Canada, to "knowingly" do something also includes doing something with "wilful blindness". "Wilful blindness" means that the person suspects the truth, but refuses to make the appropriate inquiries in the hope of being able to claim ignorance and escape culpability.

For instance, a person could be wilfully blind if that person sells a comic book that they have reason to suspect may be counterfeit, but decides to not to look into it further, even though the person could easily do so. The person should suspect that the copy is counterfeit if, say, the person once hosted a website about that very comic book, and where at the time he hosted it, ways to identify the counterfeit issue of that comic had in fact been a topic of discussion. The fact that the issue has been widely counterfeited was also widely discussed and well known.

The fact that a person would admit to selling a counterfeit copy, or that the purchaser knew the copy was counterfeit, would not mitigate the criminality of the seller's conduct. The admission would be self-incrimination. I believe that the legal term is "confession".

One would think a dash of contrition would not be unwarranted in the circumstances.

- Mike Tomlinson

Jeff said...

Thank you, Mike Tomlinson! You have reinforced Dave's and my point brilliantly. If, however, in your longest paragraph, you are referring to the founder of AMOC, I have to say, in all fairness that Tim P., the seller of the counterfeit copy in question, may not be the same person as said founder, even though they both are, apparently, from Great Britain.

Anonymous said...


You make a fair point. I regret the unwarranted conclusion. My apologies to Tim P.

- Mike Tomlinson

Sean R said...

FYI not the same person for sure :)