Monday, April 28, 2003

A draft of my next article at

SARAH-BUS! SARAH-BUS! Will you do the Fandango?
(or A Boy, A Void, and His Aardvark)

CEREBUS (pronounced SARAH-bus) is both the name of an anthropomorphic aardvark and the self-published comic book that chronicles his life (and, eventually, his death).  Dave Sim began the series back in 1977 and is
now within 12 months of completing its epic run (issue 288 was just released this month).

The first issue I purchased off the stands (from the now defunct Saint Paul Comics) was #44 (coverdateNovember 1982) at the tender and impressionable age of thirteen 1 and I have been hooked ever since.

That's twenty years of devoted reading (more or less) and, obviously, I must 'suffer' from a bit of 'fan-boy-ant' enthusiasm for the title; manifesting itself in a variety of different ways as I currently own:

Original issues from 12 to 288
Reprints of issues 1-25
The complete Trade Paperback collection (called 'phonebooks' due to their size) which collects 'arcs' of the storyline; currently on Volume 14 (taking the story-thus-far through issue 265)
Several posters, statuettes, and a bumpersticker (which reads FIGHT LIKE AN AARDVARK)

Yes, I am a bit of a completist...blame my Obsessive-Compulsive tendencies.

*Inexplicably*, the female of the household took Notice of this 'obsession' of mine and, in a collision of 'hobbies,' decided that the 'Little Grey Bastard' would make a suitable knitted gift for the resident 'Cerebite'
and added it to her extensive 'to-do' list of 'crafty' pursuits 2.

Hidden away in her 'Knitting Room of Needle-y Doom' and secure in the knowledge that she had married one of the most oblivious lads in the Five County area, Sarah toiled away on this endeavor for over two years
eventually springing it upon me just a couple of months ago.

I was stunned.

Sarah: Well...pick it up.
Tony: When did you find time to make this?
S: I've been working on it off and on for the past couple of years.
T: While I was home?
S: Yes (stifled laugh). Now pick it up.
T: Damn...this is cool.
S: Squeeze him.
T: Why?
S: You'll see (more stifled laughter).
T (...the Fuck?): Okay (squeeze).
Knit Cerebus Simulacrum: Hee hee hee.
T: Er...why does Cerebus sound like a Muppet?
S: Squeeze him again (snickering intensifies).
T (more confused and mildly frightened): Sure (squeezes gingerly).
KCS: Hee hee hee hee hee hee. Oh Boy! That tickles (doll begins to shake violently)!
T (slow dawning of recognition): Holy shit. You put an 'Elmo Box' in Cerebus!!!
S & KCS (together): Hee hee hee (and so on).

That's right, wife had knit a stuffed Cerebus doll with, for lack of a better term, an 'Elmo Box' hidden inside 3.

Remember the 'Tickle-Me-Elmo' craze from 96/97?

The 'Elmo Box' is the device that 'powered' the voice, laughter, and seizures of Sesame Street's little red Muppet doll 4 that drove children and adults, alike, into a Toy craze unseen since the days of the
tuddley-mud-wallowing Cabbage Patch Kids.

Flash Forward to April 5th.

Sarah had accompanied me on my planned trip to Columbus, Ohio for the SPACE (Small Press and Alternative Comics Exposition) con; a 'vacation' geared around the Guest-of-Honor of this show-- Dave Sim. Seeing that this would be his last public appearance before the End of Cerebus (both the comic book
and his character; it has been long known that the Aardvark will die with
issue 300) it was too great an opportunity (for a fan such as I) to pass up 5.

The 'Tickle-Me-Cerebus' was also along for the ride. I felt Sarah's handiwork was impressive enough that it needed to be shown to Dave Sim in order to get his reaction to it (whatever it might be).

SPACE was great great fun. Spent lots of money on small press books, talking to the artists and writers, meeting and hanging out with other members of the Cerebus Yahoo Group 6, and--most importantly-- the
entire horde of us hanging out and conversing with Dave Sim as he signed autographs, drew sketches for everyone, and answered all of the inherently Cerebus-centric questions we threw out to him (a truly patient and
genial gentleman).

*Moment of Truth*

As the day drew to a close I fetched the Faux-Cerebus from our nearby hotel room 7, weaved through the assembled crowd about Dave's table, politely interjected a "You're going to get a kick out of this" and plopped t
the Elmo-ized Cerebus in front of him.

An odd look crossed his face as he took in the knitted version of his

Dave Sim: Nice.
Doll Boy: It gets better (squeezes KCS to show off the 'Elmo Effect').
There's a Tickle-Me-Elmo box inside.
DS (after a lengthy pause): I cannot think of a better punishment for Cerebus.
DB: Yep. She made it (points to Sarah who was desperately trying to
avoid detection).
DS (turns to Sarah): How did you get that inside?
Sarah (brightening up): There's a flap on his bottom and I stuffed it up inside.
DS (mulling the answer over...a grin slowly growing): So, you fisted Cerebus?
DS: You did nice work (shakes Sarah's hand...the one that did the fisting).
S: Thanks.

Shortly thereafter, as I related this tale to the Cerebus Group, Sarah was christened with yet another alias:


or, in keeping with the Aardvarkian-slant of the day,


Appropriate enough as it was her hands that crafted the

To quote the late George Peppard (as Hannibal Smith) from the A-Team:
"I love it when a plan comes together."

Many other things happened the night following the con 8 but I'll leave
those Cerebus-related and unrelated tales for another time.

Geekily yours,

1. The same day is also notable for the fact that our Whale Time Web
and Master of Ceremonies, Gregory Sax, purchased the first few issues
of the
newly released NEW MUTANTS-- the first spin-off title from Marvel
THE UNCANNY X-MEN.  These Nerd Pools can run pretty deep, eh?

2.  See my previous article, BROWN CHARLIE, for more on how the
Knit-Mistress of the Norsk is enabling my Nerdly-Self via her craft.

3. Generously donated by the also-deviously-inclined Ms. Stephanie

4. I am almost 100% positive that the Elmo seen on the Children's
Television Network is 'powered' by the business end of some guy's arm
the same gentleman's impish vocal talents.

5. This was the third year in a row that Dave Sim was the
and my second year attending. He also awards his annual Eugene Day
Award for outstanding Small Press award named in memory of
late mentor.

6. A Mailing List dedicated to the discussion of the comic.

7. thought I was carrying the doll around
day, eh?

8. Including the executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense
(CBLDF), Charles Brownstein, and I closing a bar down (with the
assistance of Chris W).

Friday, April 25, 2003

Real or Imagined Overheard Conversation:

First Guy: If we are ever going to get around to some serious smelling we's gotstah break a sweat somehow!

Guy Two: Agreed. I, for one, am wearing electric shorts...they're plugged in and Cranked up!!!


Wednesday, April 23, 2003

My friend E is very proud of my ongoing Hockey Education (see the Minnesota Wild's recent success against the former-Nordiques).
Never much of a fan...the recent HooHah of our expansion team's first appearance in the post-season has provided me with a 'crash course' in the sport, its history and a lot of its slang.

It is in this latter department that E is of an uneasy mind.

It has been pointed out to me that 'Five Hole' is not a term to be used loosely AND out-of-context from rink-related-talk.

For example, if I were to witness a Rodeo Clown catching a tail-full of Horned Bullish Fury it *might* not be kosher to exclaim (to whomever is within earshot at the arena) "Ouch! Right in the Five-Hole!!!"

So I'm trying my best to get the particulars of Hockey Chat right.

Bear with me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

With a disturbing amount of regularity (say...most of my adult life) I am late to work.*
Most of the time (har) it is only by minutes (in increments of five) and, less often, by increments of thirty minutes GAH!!!). Contained within those few seconds of post-slumber awareness is enough self-directed F-bombs to cause a platoon of some of our city's finest former Naval officers to turn tail (blazing scarlet) and admit themselves in the nearest VA hospital (or, if a medical facility of this sort is on a bus line, an American Legion/VFW Swillin' Station).

I blame this (in)ability on the earliest years of my life and the close proximity of both my elementary and high schools (can you say 'across the damn street?'). The sheer luxury of it; sleeping in until five or so minutes prior to the bell (yes...I obviously had no regard for my fellow students as the stink lines eminating forth from me form must have been something else as the week crawled gasping for the sanctuary and promise of distance from the well-rested 'aromatic' tuddly bastard) and dashing across the street as fast as my Husky Toughskin'd lower limbs could trundle (AH...I must wax nostalgic sometime on me years as a chunkly), much to the chagrin to my peers that had to suffer on buses, in patrol lines or in transit via parental vehicles sometimes many hours before school time (while I lathed another layer of thick viscous salivic mortar on the oft-replaced pillow of my 'yoot'). I was saying...the fact that I still sleep in and am often late to work can be tied (in my mind) to the fact that my parents' home was situated so very near to two of my institutions of learning (oh the Hell of the Bus Rides for the two years of Junior High...p'raps another time, eh?). Sheer bliss.

Little would I have thought at the time that there would be such severe repurcussions from these early years of life now in the wee-Thirties I am now living (well...POTENTIAL doesn't happen ALL the time...kaff).

Late getting up?
Late to work?
Skip a shower?
Stink Lines?

Say thee YEA.

Sad but Pee-Yoo.**

(who should really consider bathing at night to avoid the strong possibility that he may be going to work a bit on the ripe-side if the alarm fails again)

*In any other situation I am NEVER late. I am always the first one to arrive to things (especially if there's a buffet involved).

**Not to be mistaken with a 'Pee-Ewe' which, I've heard from rather salacious sources, are 'fun at parties'

Sunday, April 20, 2003

From the I DID NOT KNOW THAT file


One of my nephew's, Noah, was baptised today (let's not even get into the whole Splish-Splashin' on the day that Christ was alleged to have Risen from the Dead...or, as it's known in these parts, 'Boulder Rolling Day'...nor the inherent WATER theme betwixt NOAH and his baptism; at least he wasn't wearing something from the Garanimals line of clothing). I learned later (from the folk that attended) that parents can choose one of TWO methods of baptism; a moistened forehead OR a full body immersion (the latter requires the child to be sans his/her Sunday finest).

Now it seems to me that having these options would make One appear superior to the other; that the slight drizzling on the baby's dome would come off as the 'red-headed stepchild' to the full soaking. Which Baby is MORE Baptised? Which one is going to the front of the 'meet-n-greet' line of Saint Peter? Which one allows the Great Beast to keep a talon in the child's oh-so-delicate-soul?

Okay...this is only the sort of thing that would cross *my* mind if given the option to choose.

For the record (an Earthly record...JC and his Crew were alerted instantaneously): Noah went in over his head in his birthday he should be Good for the duration of his time treading Terra Firma.

(doesn't even want to consider if adults are allowed Both options when entering the church later on in their lives...I'll leave *that* Mystery unsolved)

Friday, April 18, 2003

No...really...I'll get around to *something* soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Coming Soon...

One lad with tendencies toward teetering

One keyboard

One lazy eye

Ten fingers...Eight of which can type

inane babblings
(What? On the internet?)