Friday, March 22, 2019

Con Signatures, Preamble

Autographed by Jim Shooter and Mike Grell
Hey all,

I'll be starting my look at Legion books I have had signed by creators starting next Friday. But I thought it might be nice to give you my Convention Manifesto and some tips regarding meeting creators and getting signatures.

One of the biggest thrills of conventions is to meet the creators who make the books that I love. Conventions give you the opportunity to walk up, shake hands, thank the creator for their works, and hopefully chat. This is an even bigger deal when you get to meet a creator you consider a legend or who is one of your favorites. It is even better when you can have the creator sign some of the comics you cherish. A couple of things things I have to keep in mind.

When meeting a creator, try to estimate the crowd who is also there to meet that creator. I tend to think about it the same way I think about planning out my commissions. Is the creator hugely popular? Is there going to be a huge line? How much time do you want to devote to waiting in line to meet the creator, especially in the context of how much time you are going to be at the con?

Signed by Scott Snyder, Jim Lee, and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

For example, a couple of years ago, I knew Scott Snyder would have an enormous line, so I had to plan when in the con I was going to stand for hours.

Now, for someone whose work I absolutely love, I usually have to take a deep breath before meeting them so I don't sound like a gushing fanboy. Usually I try to come up with something cogent to say when I meet them although in the end it often degrades to 'hi, I love your work!'

When in line or at the table, take stock of the environment around you. Is there a huge line behind you? If so, picture yourself as one of them. Even if you have a great ice breaker and a burning question, understand that others are just as eager. Try to move things along. Now if the creator is engaging you and talking, you can stretch the time out a bit. If there is no line, feel free to linger and chat as long as it feels comfortable. But try to be courteous. If you are staying late, consider wandering back to the table as the con winds down. A lot of the crowd thins out. You might be able to re-engage when there are no lines.

One of my favorite con moments was meeting Howard Chaykin at the Boston Con a handful of years ago. I am a huge Chaykin fan. It was the middle of the afternoon, there was no one at his table. I actually was able to sit down and talk to him for about 15 minutes. It was fantastic.

Signed by Stan Lee, Jim Steranko, and Joe Sinnott

A tried and true ice breaker is bringing comics to get signed.

Now personally I try to limit the number of books I bring to get signed to 5. I will expand that to 10 if it is a creator who I highly admire. But I never break the 10 rule. It isn't fair to the creator or the other fans behind me. I also might try to cherry pick a bit to see if there is an issue that I can get multiple signatures on.

Some creators limit the number of books they will sign. So when putting together a stack to bring, prioritize in your mind which are the ones you want signed the most. Don't be flummoxed trying to figure that out at the table! Also, know that many creators charge for signatures these days. So make a mental calculus of how much you are willing to pay. That makes prioritizing the order of ‘importance’ for the issues that muc more important. Preparation is key!

Think about. If you are a Legion fan and Mike Grell is going to be at a con, you'll need to pick which books you want him to sign. Decide which to bring, which is most important to get signed, and how much you'll be willing to spend. Several years ago, he was $4 a signature. I knew I didn't want to spend too much, so I pulled out the predetermined books to meet my financial limit.

Signed by Wolfman, Perez, and Ordway

For me, nothing irks me more than someone bringing a brick of comics up to a creator to get signed. Part of that is my take on these signatures. I think it should be limited to specific issues which I think are special. Sure I'll bring up my share of #1's, first issues of historic runs, or 'important issues' to get signed. That's why I have Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 signed by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, and Jerry Ordway. That's why I have Thor #337 signed by Walt Simonson. I once stood behind someone getting literally 100 Green Arrow issues signed by Mike Grell. Literally 100 issues. That’s a long time to wait.

Signed by Waid, Kitson, and Hughes

As a big Supergirl and Legion fan, I will always prioritize Supergirl/Legion issues over other stuff to get signed. For example, years ago, when Carmine Infantino was a guest in Boston, he limited signatures to two items. Infantino is best known for the Flash and Adam Strange. But I brought up Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1. Because that issue means more to me than other stuff he did. His signature wasn't a speculating mission to increase the value of an old book. This wasn't a mainstream 'important' issue. But it meant a lot to me.

It's why, despite having a trove of Adam Hughes covers of Wonder Woman, I brought up a variant cover of Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes to him.

Signed by Marty Pasko, Walt Simonson, and Joe Kubert

Lastly, I also like to try to pick out an unusual issue that means a lot to me to bring up to a creator as that can sometimes lead to a conversation (should time and courtesy permit).

I adore 1st Issue Special #9 Dr. Fate issue. So I brought this issue to get signed by both Walt Simonson and Joe Kubert several years ago. There are plenty of 'more important' issues by those creators to get signed but not for me. This issue is one of my favorite of all times! It merits getting signed.

When Frank Quitely was a guest at a con I went to, I had All-Star Superman #1 and New Xmen #114. But I also brought All-Star Superman #10, my favorite issue of that run. When I mentioned that to Quitely, he said it was his favorite of the run as well which led to a nice little chat.

Lastly, the creator may ask to personalize the signature, adding "To ___" your name on the cover. I suppose it is a way to separate speculators from fans. Let them do it.

Hope this con prep post was helpful. Next week, the first creator post.

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