This could be nearly as cool as the original character sheet (see top of the "Cerebus" art list).


Like most of us ("us," figuring only Cerebus fans are actually reading this), I was totally geeked by the end of Issue 299: "He's Cerebus, and if he wants to go out with knife in hand, then who am I to argue." That we would be immediately greeted on the first page of 300 with a "tung" and then perhaps a series of "something fell" echoes was, I reckon, predictable... but there was that eensy-weensy thrill...

And... wait, wait... I am getting ahead of myself. Just before 299 came out, I had e-mailed Dave (via Gerhard) over some original art question or another that I had (this was the morning of Feb 4, 2004). I was sitting at a Starbucks early that afternoon, about half way through reading 299 for the first time, when my e-mail beeped on with Ger's reply to that morning's queries:

Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2004 11:12:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Gerhard ??? <>
Subject: Re: contact

Hi, Brian
Wow, that's going way back before my time. Your best bet is to fax Dave directly with your question
(519-576-0955).I'm sure he wont mind. If anyone can help you, it's gonna be him.
Best wishes,

I messaged back about 10 words: like, leave me alone... I am in the middle of reading 299 (note - I was probably 4 pages from the reveal of "that which was in the box"). In great synchronicity, Ger (bless'm) messaged back immediately after I had turned to the last page:


Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2004 11:20:19 -0800 (PST)
From: Gerhard ??? <>
Subject: Re: contact

hope you didn't spill your coffee.



So I ended up with this great interactive reading of 299. And I also went totally apeshit over the last page of 299. The next morning (my birthday, as it turns out), I made a generous offer on the page. Ger replied:


Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 06:49:36 -0800 (PST)
From: Gerhard ??? <>
Subject: Re: contact

Happy birthday Brian!

I did see your letter in the Guide and it was much appreciated.
I will confer with Dave on your offer for page 20 of 299. My vote is on the 'yes' side.
I'll keep you posted.
Best wishes and many happy returns (whatever that means),



Zing. And then, a few days later...

Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 15:32:48 -0800 (PST)
From: Gerhard ??? <>
To: Brian Coppola <>
Subject: Re: contact

Hi Brian,
If your still interested, we'd be happy to sell you page 20 of 299 for the price you quoted.


Zing. And then, a few days later... I started to think that maybe the first page of issue 300 would turn out be a great companion piece to the last page of 299. So, rather than waiting until I saw it, I messaged Ger and asked him if he thought it would be a terrific companion piece, and if I might extend their good graces and pick them both up [and, because fortune favors the bold, I asked if they would do some sort of appropriate commenorative sketch for me on the page(s)]. Because I didn't know how "public" Dave wanted our little negotiation, I also said I would keep mum on this if that is what he wanted.

And then, a few days later...


Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 16:02:13 -0800 (PST)
From: Gerhard ??? <>

Subject: Re: contact 2

Hi Brian,

I've been in the office all week doing year-end stuff (yuck, bleck, gag, choke). I talked with Dave about your comment and questions. You can mention purchasing the page if you want, as long as you mention how much you had to pay for it and that it was a special circumstance. (Special in that it was a good offer, your history as a Cerebus art collector and that it was your birthday.) [NOTE ON THE MONEY THING: SEE WAY BELOW]

I think we could do a little sketch of some sort. I don't know if you want it on the back, though. The illustration board is a sort of newsprint colour and it has stuff printed on it. We could do a little something in the margins on the front maybe? Signed to you? We have to wait for the page to come back from the printer in any case.

As far as page 1 of 300 being a good companion piece, I guess companionship is in the eye of the beholder and you'll have to decide for yourself.

Best wishes,


So, issue 300 came out; and (what a surprise) I loved page 1 as a companion to 299; so I remade the offer; and they accepted. As it turns out, the original pages from 300 were committed for display during the summer (2004), so it would be a while before I got them (which was fine). Dave and Ger suggested that they would matte the two pages side by side and think of an answer to the question: "what happened between issues 299 & 300." I got a jpg copy of the preliminary sketch from Ger on 08/17/04, and decided it was time to share the story (so I finally posted all this - well, up to here - after sitting on it since February).


"What happened between issues 299 & 300?" (the sketch from Ger)

And thanks to the wonders of inviso-text, the answer to the burning question is: I offered $2K per page.

And then, a month later...

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004 15:11:48 -0400
From: Ger
Subject: the long awited Cerebus pages
Hi Brian,

Hope you are well.
You'll be glad to hear (I hope) that Dave and I have finally done the little 'bridging' illustration for your pages.
The attached jpg is a quick little mock-up of a possible way to frame it. Rather than doing the drawing on the matte board, we did it on a separate illustration board and it will have to be trimmed and mounted between the two pages. Then a matte could be cut to surround the whole thing. We haven't had them mounted, matted or framed. Kinda figured you'd like a say in how they're presented. Plus, once they're all together it becomes a very large piece and then packaging and shipping become an issue. Not to mention duty and/or taxes getting it across the border. Dave suggested that he could meet you halfway (or thereabouts) in London Ontario and give you just the individual pages or the whole thing all framed up (depending on your preference) and you could take it with you back to Michigan.

Let me know what you think.

Best wishes,


Eat your hearts out, kids: a cloak & dagger art drop from Dave and a run for the border (cue the theme from Mission Impossible on your iPods... me, I'm dancing the happy Snoopy dance).


"What happened between issues 299 & 300?" (the final version from Ger)

"What happened between issues 299 & 300?" (the close up of the inset from Ger)


And then, 3 months later...

Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 15:19:30 -0500
From: Ger
Subject: getting together
Hi Brian,

Well it looks like the 17th would be good for trying to meet. Dave figures London would be good. I could find a restaurant for lunch. What are your preferences?

Best wishes,


And then...

Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2004 11:19:11 -0500
From: Ger
Subject: Re: getting together Friday

Hi Brian,
How about the Hilton right in downtown. Big, tall, well labelled building. Hard to miss. You take the Wellington Street exit north from the 401. Drive to the heart of town, turn right on King Street and there it is on your left at 300 King. We could meet in the lobby or in the London Grill restaurant. How's that sound? How about noon?

Looking forward to it,


And finally...

One of my oldest and dearest friends in the world (Hi, Will!) and I set off to London, Ontario, at about 9 am on Friday, December 17, 2004. About that time, I figure, more or less, Gerhard picked up Dave (who does not drive; never has) and they headed out towards London, too.


Interstate 96 crosses south from Detroit to Windsor and becomes the 401. The lady at the border crossing asked her usual questions: "where are you coming from?" "where are you going?" "for how long?" and then that impossible-to-answer question: "business or pleasure?" Really, the question is "commerce, professional, or pleasure?" but I figure it would delay border crossings by days as people's brains froze up with too many choices. The answer is always "pleasure." (repeat after me: the answer is always pleasure; good, next...).


The CANADA 401 is straight, flat, and boring. Looking forward to lunch, on the other hand: anything but that!


We got to the London Hilton just before noon. Will stationed himself at the entrance to the restaurant and I was in the lobby one floor below. After about 15 minutes, Dave walks into the lobby with a cardboard package under his arm, looking around. Dave reports later that my eyes lit up when I saw him, so he was pretty sure that it was me. Ger followed a tik or two later. We headed upstairs and met Will, and were seated at a terrific 4-person table, at a sunny, window-side corner location, overlooking London.

We had a great chat over about 3 hours.

The original art market for Cerebus (Dave: "Has then been much happening lately?" Me: "No new pages in a while." Dave (fairly animated in his seat): "Goody!").

• My standard discourse on why I think people collect stuff: the ego wrapped in being a good curator (it is not just collecting stuff, it is your discrimination for presenting a collection) and a sense of legacy for the future (someone will judge me as clever when they study my collection).

• A long series of talks about academia, the rise in entrepreneurial activity, and its effect on higher education.

• Dave & I share a bit of the same genes where "done it my way or the highway" is concerned. That was fun to share.

• They showed us a preview of the next lithograph.

• I got one of the 2004 Christmas Cards. Hope you get yours, too.

• We examined the art pages; talked about how to display them; went over the onion skin paper technique.

• I brought one of my signed limited edition copies of "The Last Day" and asked them to add a sketch (naturally).

• Dave had a vegetable pasta dish. Me and Ger had fish & chips. Will had salmon. Ger paid the bill, and Will thought to try to check out the full name on the credit card.

• Dave asked if they had V8 juice. The waitress, who was a riot, said that they had V1 juice, paused a moment, and said "we have tomato juice." I thought that was pretty funny, and a line Dave might write.

• Ger turned to Dave (a total set-up, I wondered?... but Ger reassures me that it was spontaneous) and said "Happy Anniversary." December 17, 2004 is the one-year anniversary since Dave completed his part of "Cerebus." It is right there on the last page of your copy of "The Last Day" phone book. Dammit. I wish I had noticed that.

• We talked some about how much auctions suck because of snipers, setting up competition between people who would rather be supportive of each other (in general) and what other models there might be for making original art available.

• I totally asked about some additional pages that I was interested in. Stay tuned. We'll see.

• I am supposed to be working on a regular "original art and art market" feature for "Following Cerebus," but I have not settled the genres in my mind, yet.

So, we took some photos. So did Ger. And we said our pleasant good-byes and headed back on the 402 (in order to avoid what can be a great big back-up getting back into the States at the Detroit entry). The 402 comes into the US through Sarnia.

Questions from the lady in the customs booth:


"Where were you?"

"How long were you there?"

(at this point, the photo of the licence plate cross-referenced the entry made in Detroit, I think)

"Are you bringing in anything from Canada?"

Here are some of the pictures from my camera. and some from Gerhard (who needs a camera with more pixels or something).


The Money Thing.

After I let Margaret ( know about the trip, and after I had posted this story, she posted a note to the yahoo group (hi, guys). One of the yahoos (sorry, Billy) posted:


Did anyone else here note the descrepency in the write-up /correspondence that Brian did on the piece, Gerhard informs him that Dave says: "You can mention purchasing the page if you want, as long as you mention how much you had to pay for it and that it was a special circumstance. (Special in that it was a good offer, your history as a Cerebus art collector and that it was your birthday.)"

OK most of that is mentioned clearly enough, but we were not told (I want to know) how much our lucky and rich comic-art collecting friend Brian had to pay for this?


To coin a phrase: inviso-text (nyuk nyuk nyuk).