Bound Together | Signed & Sketched

The comic convention season will be upon us in Ontario this weekend, kicking off with Wizard World Toronto.  For collected edition collectors that means two things: hunting and signing.

A convention is good opportunity to find newer books on discount and to a much lesser extent locating a long sought after volume.  Older trade paperbacks and hardcovers rarely make it to a convention as the retailer has to gauge space and weight versus sale and profit.  That attitude is changing but really for new books and not older dusty volumes that hard core collectors are searching out.

That leaves signings and sketches for those trade paperbacks and hardcover collections that you want to lug around the show for a signature and if you’re lucky a quick sketch.  Above is the first and best sketch in a book that I have: it’s by Moebius in my Incal Volume 1 softcover.  He said everyone in Canada ice skates so he drew this girl.  Ironically it was 1989 and I wasn’t that interested in sketches but The Silver Snail in the 80’s had regular guest appearances at their four stores.  The Hamilton store didn’t get a large crowd for these so the guests were pretty generous with their time.

Creators seem to appreciate hardcover volumes, absolutes and omnibus editions more than your run of the mill trade paperback and so they may do a little sketch or doodle in the front like the two examples above from Chris Sprouse and Darwyn Cooke.


If creators are selling their own books they may offer a premium like the sketch above from Karl Kerschl in his self published The Abominable Charles Christopher hardcover.  I don’t normally get a paid sketch in my books: it limits what you can do with it and I’d rather have it on a larger scale so I stick with 11×14 heavy duty art paper.  Unfortunately Karl wasn’t sketching at TCAF last year when I bought the book so it was this or nothing and it was only $20.

Prepare yourself before the show: compare the list of guests to your bookshelf and pull out all the books you could get signed.  No decide what’s worth carrying around, especially if you’re taking public transportation to the show.  If you’re driving then the decision is a little easier since you can bring in as many as you’d like, get them signed and then swap them at your vehicle.

Saved the big question for the end: is it worth it?  If you enjoy collecting collected editions then adding a signature is a worthwhile effort.  If you’re lucky you’ll get a quick sketch or doodle and best of all creators don’t charge for signatures, except Stan Lee.

Scott VanderPloeg
Scott VanderPloeg

Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at AE Index and eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans.

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Kevin Boyd
13 years ago

I also like to get my hardcovers signed so I usually start about two weeks before the show by looking at the guest list and assembling the possible books in my collection. I consider top priority the guests who I won’t be seeing again anytime soon (generally it’s the out-of-town guests or people that don’t do many shows) and prioritize there. Then I’ll select the books that I already have multiple signatures on already to which I would be adding more to, and last on the list are books by people I know I’m going to see again (generally the local creators who do most shows).
The great thing about a local show as opposed to a show one has to travel to is that – depending on your success rates on the previous day(s) – you can reconsider the books you leave behind
It’s always a good idea to make friends with an exhibitor or creator and ask if you can leave your bag with them so you don’t have to drag everything around in a shoulder bag or in a cart.
When you are traveling to a show by plane, the space issue becomes a serious concern. Since I’m going to Chicago instead of WWTO this weekend I can only fit in my laptop carry-on bag a maximum of a dozen hardcovers plus some single issues, or if I have many I consider a priority I can put some in my check-in luggage. If I want to read another book on the flight or actually bring my laptop I have to make cuts. I also have to consider what I might pick up at the show and make sure I’m able to bring a few purchases back, although shipping it to myself is always an option.