Signatures are great. I’m a firm believer that verified/witnessed signatures make the comic book worth more than it would be otherwise. I hope we can all agree. But what about those other ones? You know, those not so good ones.
Writers and Artists
These are the bread and butter of signatures. What’s not to like? If the person wrote the script or drew the characters, then it’s a shoo-in for a nice addition to the cover. Fellow GC blogger Matt Tuck has shown just how valuable those signatures can be between Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dave Cockrum. I’m sure he’s got more to come.
Inkers and Colorists
These are less common but can be a nice addition to writer and artist signatures. If you’re going for the whole team, then by all means. If you happen to find yourself at a convention and see the colorist for a book most people have never heard of, get it signed! Just know that it’s not going to add a whole lot of value to your book. Or at least, not nearly as much as the main people writing and drawing it.
I’m sure most of us love superhero movies to some degree. Maybe you’re a DC or Marvel or Image or whatever fan, but you’re a fan nonetheless. The problem with movies, however, is that memory fades and actors can be replaced.
In fact, this whole post came about after I’d come across an old X-Men comic that had been signed by both Stan Lee and Sir Patrick Stewart.
If you cringed, then you know where this is going.
On one hand, you have the most iconic creator of comic books ever, and on the other, you have a classically trained actor of world renown known for portraying Professor X in the X-Men franchise. If you are going to have any actor sign your comic, wouldn’t it be him?
The Clooney Factor
I was really hoping to find a comic signed by George Clooney, and luckily I did. Remember when he was in Batman and Robin? (I’m sorry if you’ve been trying to forget) I mean, he was Batman. He was one of the most well-paid actors on the planet. And does anyone really remember him as Batman? Fortunately, the answer is no.
I’ll be the first to say that the comparison is flawed. Clooney was in one film, and Stewart was in seven. Big difference. But one could say in terms of star-power alone, Clooney was more famous than Stewart (and probably still is) and yet nobody is going out and getting their Batman comics signed by him. Nobody. (We hope)
This is to say that actors’ signatures aren’t worth it. Would you get your Iron Man #1 or Tales of Suspense #39 signed by Robert Downey Jr.? (Please say no) There’s no doubt RDJ brought Iron Man to a level of popularity nobody could have foreseen, but it’s not the same.
While it might be unimaginable now, there will be a new Professor X, and maybe even a better one. But what we do know is that no matter how good an actor is in their portrayal of a character, their stamp on the character will never hold as much value as the creators themselves.
This is a funny category of signatures because you have writers doing what they aren’t supposed to. (Writer/artists don’t count, obviously) The little pen scratches added to a blank sketch variant, for example, can be funny and cute, but they aren’t worth anything near the sketch of an A-lister artist.
A lot of times these are marketed as “sketches” by the writer, but they might as well be called “doodles.” And a lot of times writers won’t go for this because they…aren’t…artists. But that’s okay. The book may be worth a little more for the “cute factor” but I wouldn’t be shelling out clams to have them doodle their hearts out on your 9.8 first appearance.
That wraps up my take on signatures. Have you ever seen some cringe-worthy autographs or sketches? I’d love to see some pictures!