Getting Celebrity Signatures: Dos, Don’ts, and Must-Sees

by Joseph Overaitis

110221C-300x157 Getting Celebrity Signatures: Dos, Don'ts, and Must-SeesThe autograph of a celebrity can increase the value of any collectible. A photograph of a baseball player may be valuable on its own, but you add a rare signature and you get a record sale for a collector.  Other collectors value the autograph, but not for the monetary value.  Instead, these collectors want celebrity signatures for the memories and interaction with the signer. I spent three days observing both types of collectors at the Motor City Comic Con (MC3).  Here are a few of my observations.

 Rules for Improving Your Autograph Experience.

The Motor City Comic Con is known for its celebrity/fan experience. I studied these interactions and talked with some of the celebrities’ con support staff to get an education on the fan-celebrity experience.  I realized that there exist unwritten rules to getting an item signed for fun and profit.   Here are some of those rules.

1. Bring Cash

WiFi strength at conventions is weak. The best way to process payments is the old-fashioned way.  You must bring cash if you want autographs.  Do not assume you can get money at the ATM machine.

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2. This is not an office supply store

Fans should bring their own supplies to these conventions.  If you want a signature in a certain color, bring it with you.  Celebrities are great.  Most bring a  wide color pallet of pens to the show, but there is a limit to how many they should be expected to bring.

3. Know the celebrities schedules

You should know the schedule of the show.  Celebrities participate in guest panels and take professional photographs with fans. The media also conducts interviews with these personalities.  As a result, their time is very limited.  You must have a plan for the event.  Ben Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.

4. Respect the Talent and their people.

A comic con ticket is not a license to invade a person’s space.  Con guests should be well-mannered and not aggressive with their icons. These individuals want to be with their fans.  Celebrities do not want to be groped, grabbed, and harassed. Fans should treat the guest like they would want to be treated.

5. Remember why you are there

If you are a professional re-seller looking to increase the value of your item, then act accordingly.  You should have everything ready and move quickly because time is money.  This will also allow those people who want the autograph for the experience to be allowed to spend as much time as possible with their icons. iron-man-55-cbcs-5-ss-signed-jim_1_c4309da52238b437dd8ae731e4fc28a7-e1636390151286-300x294 Getting Celebrity Signatures: Dos, Don'ts, and Must-Sees

6. Get the Right Signature for the Right Collectibles

Iron Man #55 should be signed by Jim Starlin.  A Thanos action figure or statue may be signed by Jim Starlin, but the better choice is Josh Brolin.  Signatures can enhance the value of an item, but the wrong signature can eliminate a vast market segment interested in your item.

Observations of Celebrities at the Show

The COVID-19 protocols implemented for MC3 did not diminish the quality of the fan/guest experience.  I spent three days watching these interactions.   All the guests were great.  Here are some celebrities I rate as “must-sees” because of differences in the way they interacted with fans:

Ice T and Coco

Autograph collectors were in for a treat at this booth.  Ice T and Coco had long lines but still delivered a great experience for their fans.  Coco was warm, while Ice T exuded a vibe that made you feel like you were on the set of “Law and Order SVU”. One fan said the experience was like being on “Ice loves Coco”.  I advise fans that if you see a long line for these two, do not walk away.  I would recommend finding a smaller concert poster from an old local venue he performed and getting Ice T to sign the collectible.

ross-300x225 Getting Celebrity Signatures: Dos, Don'ts, and Must-SeesRoss Marquand

Ross Marquand appears in Walking Dead, Invincible, the MCU and is a talented voice actor.  He appeals to a diverse group of fans. These admirers stated how nice and giving of his time he was at his booth.   Ross Marquand never short-changed fans, even with long lines waiting for him.

I recommend that you attend a panel where Ross displays his incredible voice acting skills.  You will be amazed at the level of his talent.   I was surprised fans did not have him sign more of his action figures but that may have been because of supply chain issues.

Mike Colter

The man who played Luke Cage and now is on the television show “EVIL” had an impact on fans.  One fan was in a state of awe and gasping for air when they left.  Marvel fans were out in numbers to share a moment with the actor.  If you are a Marvel fan, you have to find his booth and take it in.  “EVIL” fans not in attendance of MC3 will be disappointed to hear that the clothes he had appeared to be very similar to those worn in a TV Guide article listing his show as one of the best on television right now.

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Tom Welling was super at the show.  He was very engaging with his fans. However, the actor who portrayed Lex Luthor in “Smallville” was awesome.  Michael Rosenbaum now is the host of the podcast, “Inside of You“. This podcast plays like a casual conversation between friends.  That feel was on full display at his booth.  He connected with fans on a one-on-one basis as if they were the subject of an interview.  He really interacted with his fans.

I watched many fans seek autographs on Smallville items, but not one tried to get a  Martinex T’Naga item from the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 signed.  This may be the item then to add to your collection.

John Barrowman

His comic con booth should be called the “John Barrowman Experience”.  He actually beat some vendors and staff to the event.  John Barrowman was such a ball of energy that the convention desk could not contain him.  The showman was having fun with fans by making them strike different types of poses and then talking with the fans on a personal level.  Fans at his booth said they come to every show in which he appears because each encounter is different.

Arrowverse and Dr. Who fans flocked to his booth early because they knew they did not want to miss one minute of this unforgettable appearance. I would tell fans, if you must choose between photos or an autograph, go with the photos.

Comic Book Celebrity Row

The Comic Book guest row is a must-see at any show. The signing fee for EVERY artist was reasonable. The original art and signed prints available were more valuable than the prices the artists were charging for them. I advise speculators to visit some of the lesser-known artists in attendance.  You may find the next Frank Frazetta artwork for pennies on the dollar.

In Conclusion

In short, collecting means more than looking at the FMV of an item.  Comic Cons offer fans a rare chance to meet television, movie,  and comic insiders up close.  You should make the most of these opportunities.  Comic Cons are also a great way to add unique one-of-a-kind items to your collections. Knowing the ins in outs will put you on the path to success while the experience of getting those signatures will last a lifetime.

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Ruben Rivera November 15, 2021 - 4:03 pm

This article on getting comics signed was very helpful. Can you do a part 2 where you give advice on how to protect the comic from any damage while you are going from, say one signature to another? Also, ways to have signatures placed in the best spot on the comic and not over a character’s face or other prime spot of the art. Stan Lee was notorious for signing his name of some best parts of the comic cover art.
Thanks again.

Joseph Overaitis November 15, 2021 - 7:57 pm


I will put it on the to do list. It amazes me the interactions that you can get with celebrities and artists. Ice T and others I listed really took time to sign where the fans wanted them to sign. There are many ins and outs and one thing I notice is that you have to have the right protective equipment to keep the items safe. Many fans got signatures and immediately placed in plastic bags. Be careful as this could cause the item to be smeared.


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