So something surprising happened this week. We ended up on auction. Okay, not us,but a piece of Dressed For Success art. Actually, it’s the second time this piece has been auctioned. Let’s go back 20 years.
Mega Con was a largely one off comic show held at the historic Royal York hotel in downtown Toronto. Unlike most shows of the time, it was a small limited show. Only a few vendors and a limited guest list. And who was on that list? Dave Sim, Steve Bissette, Ty Templeton, Richard Pace, Max (Salgood Sam) Douglas and us, the Egesta Comics crew. At the time, this was Jeff and myself as well as Greg Beetam and Stephen Geigen-Miller whose Xeno’s Arrow started out as an Egesta book. Instead of being a massive shopping extravaganza and celebrity circus, it was focused on the guests. I think it was a bit of a proto version of the Spirits of Independents Tour a few years later.
Right off the bat, being on that list was pretty awesome.
One of the elements of the show was to be a charity auction for the CBLDF. We were thinking about what we could contribute and the idea came up of doing a jam piece with Cerebus. So how do you go about doing a jam piece with a major creator when you’re doing a little black and white photocopy comic? Well, as it turns out, you just ask. Seriously, we called Dave and he said sure. Blew my little fan mind.
The plan was the original would be auctioned off at the show and we would make a limited number of ‘prints’ to give away at the show with the purchase of a comic.
So Jeff and I came up with a situation in which Alex and Walter could meet Cerebus. When in doubt, put them in a bar. Jeff drew up the image, with Alex, Walter and the bartender and their dialogue. The bar was just a penciled in line. Then it was couriered off to Dave. And then we waited. As it turns out, there was a mix up with the courier and Dave didn’t get the piece till late. When it came back, not only had he put in Cerebus and his response, he’d also done in all the bar. The bartender’s shirt was just white at this point and I quickly hatched it in to balance the piece out a bit.
We printed up I think 75 copies and went off to the show.
And what a show. The arrangement had people in a single line to meet all the guests. They had to pass our spot at the table to get to the other guests. Which meant a captive audience who listened to our pitch. And bought comics. Now it may have been they bought them just to get a print. In fact, we had people wanting to buy prints. We were offered $10 to $15 dollars each, but we were giving them away with the purchase of a $1.50 comic. And sketches! We were drawing like fiends. And so many people wanted Cerebus sketches, which seemed dumb, Dave was right over there! But we drew things like Cerebus holding the severed head of Batman. It was nuts.
Later in the show there was a panel discussion, primarily taking audience questions. And me being the group mouthpiece was chosen to join the other guests on stage. I’m on stage with Sim, Bissette, Templeton, I’m almost shaking. And some well-meaning fan asks Dave when the Dressed For Success/Cerebus crossover is going to happen.
Dave graciously said our people could call his people and see what could be worked out. I’m sure I was red.
Then there was the auction, and this time Jeff, rightly, got the nod to go on stage and take the bids on the jam piece. Well, he and Dave. And at no point was anyone checking out anyone’s butt, despite what the photos might suggest.
I know nothing about what happened beyond our table and the stage. We couldn’t move. The line never stopped.
The only other memory I have of the day was going to dinner after. Another Oh My God I can’t believe this moment. Going out to after con dinner with all of these incredible people. Seriously, spent the day star struck.
And now, twenty years later, the original art for that jam piece is up for Auction. Same auction house that has auctioned off Dave’s original art for the past few months. If you want to check it out, or throw in a bid, head over to Heritage Auctions. Last check it was over $100. Go quick, it ends November 23.