Official Press Release
Aardvark-Vanaheim, Inc. and Paradise Comics of Toronto have announced plans to produce a limited edition run of 100 CGC-graded Signature Series copies of Cerebus No. 300 - signed and numbered by Dave Sim and Gerhard, as part of Aarvark-Vanaheim's "Own a Piece of 300" promotion to coincide with the publication of Cerebus No. 300, the last issue of the 26+ year comic-book series.
Comics Guaranty, LLC (CGC) is the first independent, impartial and expert third party grading service in comics, and the CGC Signature Series offers the only authenticated signature service in comics as all comics are signed in the presence of an authorized CGC representative, then graded by their experts and encapsulated in CGC's state-of-the-art tamper evident holder. Previous CGC Signature Series books have included DC Comics' Catwoman No. 1 signed by Darwyn Cooke, Marvel Comics' Captain America No. 1 signed by artist John Cassaday and Spider-Man: Blue No. 1 signed by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale.
"I know a lot of comic-book people who aren't part of the 'collectibles' side look askance at slabbing (grading and encapsulation) of comic books in the first place and particularly at the slabbing of new comic books" said Aardvark-Vanaheim president and Cerebus creator, Dave Sim. "But, I've always been a big supporter of the CGC phenomenon. To me it represents a vote of confidence in the future collectible value of today's comic books. Starting in 1938, no one tended to take comic books seriously and the watchword was always 'comic books won't even be here in five years.' The fact that sensible people invest real money in the highest grade of comic books tells us that we've moved past that point. We now believe that comic books will be here, and will have value, fifty years from now, a hundred years from now. I considered it a great vote of confidence that CGC thought Cerebus No. 300 was worthy of being part of their Signature Series."
"We knew that our Signature Series was really taking off," said CGC's Vice President and Primary Grader, Steve Borock "but we didn't think we would get the endorsement of someone of Dave Sim's stature this early in the game. I mean, not only is Dave Sim a pioneer in our industry, but he is someone whose work has entertained me for many years, I am very flattered that he even considered CGC for this!"
Peter Dixon, owner of Toronto's Paradise Comics store, will hand-pick the best 100 copies from an initial quantity of 500 which will be supplied by the long-time printer of Cerebus, Preney Print & Litho of Windsor, Canada.
"With Dave's cooperation, I've spoken with Kim Preney to specify what I will be looking for when selecting the top 100 copies such as: tightness, flatness, sharp trim at the top and bottom of the spine with no curl, roll or fraying. These are the distinctions that separate the top-graded CGC books from the second-tier grades" said Peter Dixon, who has submitted thousands of books to CGC for grading over the last three years and ranks as one of CGC's top submitters and supporters.
The "Own a Piece of Issue 300" signed-and-numbered limited edition will be previewed on the Paradise Comics website (www.paradisecomics.com in April) along with photos of the actual signing which will take place at the Aardvark-Vanaheim offices in the second week of March 2004. After that time the higher numbers (starting with #91 through100) will be offered individually on eBay, each bid starting at $21.45 (the cost of the grading service plus the cover price of the comic book).
"As we work our way down to the #1 graded signed and numbered copy of Cerebus No. 300 over the next few months, we'll be discussing charities we can donate the first five books to. Gerhard and I will pick three charities and Peter Dixon of Paradise Comics will pick two charities to benefit from the auction of the first five numbered copies."
"Sim File Copy" Pedigree Collection To Be Encapsulated
The Signature Series limited edition signing will take place as part of a larger program attached to the Cerebus Archive - which will see the "Dave Sim File Copy" Pedigree collection of issues 1 to 149 signed on their covers in the presence of a CGC grader Paul Litch, then sent to CGC's Sarasota offices for grading and encapsulation over the next few years.
CGC designates as a Pedigree collection any comic book collection that can be authenticated as having had a single owner prior to coming onto the back issue market. Examples of other Pedigree collections include The Mile High (also known as the Edgar Church) Collection from the 1970's, The William Gaines File Copies of E.C. Comics, and the Stan Lee File copies of early Marvel Comics.
"One of the few pictures I have on my desk, right next to my wife's photo, is a Cerebus print that I picked up from Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, signed by Dave Sim & Gerhard." Said Paul Litch, CGC's Modern Age Specialist, "At the 2003 MegaCon ACTOR auction I won the 1987 Cerebus Tour Jacket. To me, Cerebus is a triumph of will and perseverance not only shown through the lives of a beloved cast of characters, but also through the dedication of Dave Sim to his work. Needless to say, it is a true honor for me and for CGC to be a part of this historic event."
"By the time I started Cerebus, the story of Bill Gaines putting away twelve copies of each E.C. comic, fresh from the printer was pretty widespread in the collectibles market" says Sim. "I had no idea if it was an urban legend or not. I had heard that he put twenty of each away, so that's what I did." Sim laughs, "I'm glad I got that part wrong."
Part of the property settlement when Sim and his wife, Deni, divorced in the early eighties, involved each taking half of the Cerebus No. 1's. Over the next few years, Sim bought copies of Cerebus No. 1 when they were selling for between one hundred and one hundred and fifty dollars. Because they aren't "single owner" copies, they will be certified separately by CGC and will not be included in the "Dave Sim File Copy" Pedigree collection.
"Fortunately", says Sim, "they're easy to tell apart. The copies I was able to buy on my own were usually in Very Good to Fine condition, at best."
Highest-graded "Dave Sim File Copy" Pedigree Collection Cerebus No. 1 to be Auctioned at the Toronto Comicon on June 19 to Benefit A.C.T.O.R.
The biggest news on the charitable front is that Dave Sim will be donating the proceeds from the auction on eBay this summer of the highest graded Cerebus No. 1 in the "Dave Sim File Copy" Pedigree collection to A.C.T.O.R. - A Commitment to Our Roots (an organization formed to benefit veteran comic-book creators in need of financial assistance). The conclusion of the auction will be timed to coincide with the June 18-20, 2004 Paradise Conventions' TORONTO COMICON being held at the Queen Elizabeth Building on the Canadian National Exhibition's fairgrounds in Toronto, Canada.
All of the encapsulated "Dave Sim File Copy" Pedigree collection copies and all twenty pages of original artwork from Cerebus No. 300 will be on display at the Toronto Comicon.
"This is where I'll be saying goodbye to the highest graded Cerebus No. 1, which has been with me ever since it was sitting with 1,999 other copies in our living room on the second floor of - the long since demolished - 48 Weber Street East" (in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada) says Sim "I hope it goes for a million dollars. Ger and I have been so lucky in the comic-book field, it's time to share some of that luck with the guys who came before us who weren't so lucky. We stand on the shoulders of giants."