The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Signature Edition

by Jake Zawlacki

eastwood-210x300 The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Signature EditionSignatures 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.

The Good

secrets-234x300 The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Signature EditionWriters 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 Coloristsspidey1 The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Signature Edition

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.

The Bad


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

clooney-1024x768 The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Signature Edition

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.

The Ugly

donny The Good, Bad, and Ugly: Signature EditionWriters Drawing

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!


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Reilly Andrews May 13, 2020 - 9:50 pm

Rob Liefeld signed my polybagged copy of X-Force #1. Basically, I have a signed bag.

Jake Zawlacki May 14, 2020 - 12:10 am

Ha ha! I always wondered about the grading process of those bagged books. How would CBCS list that exactly? Signed Plastic Bag? Thanks for sharing!

Jeff May 13, 2020 - 10:04 pm

If you get a sig, get it because it’s something you have been dreaming about since you were a kid, not for resale.

There days sigs are so common they almost detract from the book in my opinion. A sig on a common book is worthless to me – I refuse to buy them.

Jake Zawlacki May 14, 2020 - 12:09 am

That’s a good point. I’m of the opinion that writer and artist hold value but most others don’t. Some of those books with 5 or more sigs can look like an etch-a-sketch.

Tony C May 14, 2020 - 10:16 am

I saw a signature and sketch (doodle) by Kyle Starks on a Rick & Morty #1 Roiland Variant. I’m guessing it doesn’t add much value. Is it possible it devalues the comic some?

Jake Zawlacki May 14, 2020 - 11:42 am

I think the signature would add value (because he’s the writer for the comic), but I think signatures and doodles narrow the salabality. A smaller number of collectors are willing to spend more on a comic that’s been signed and doodled. However, I think that book would go for more than usual because he’s the main writer and sometimes artist of the series. Also, his doodle was probably better than most. Thanks for commenting!

Cyndi SWAIN May 14, 2020 - 1:01 pm

I actually have two sketch covers with big headshots of Meeseeks and one of Rick done by Kyle Starks. I want to show u the photos here, but how? Anyway, They are Awesome! He can draw! And he even told me that he is writing for Rick and Morty TV series Now!! Now, I did have TOM King doodle on my Batman #50.. I know him personally, and did not ask him to do so, But he tried to draw a Batman head by his sig… Not Pretty!! I have over 20,000 signed books in my hoard, and have a lot of weird Ones. Let me know how to post them on GoCollect.. cyndi

Jake Zawlacki May 14, 2020 - 2:25 pm

I want to see! Hmm, doesn’t look like we can post images in comments. You could try tagging @gocollect on Instagram or here on Facebook and share them that way!

Cyndi SWAIN May 14, 2020 - 3:03 pm

Sorry, I could not post to FB page?? I’m on Instagram cyndiswain I will post them there soon with some other wipeouts done by creators. Greg Pak signed one book, and his hand slipped, and I got his thumbprint in the sig… keep check for Instagram! Thanx, Cyndi

Timothy Guerrero May 15, 2020 - 5:29 pm

with the specific examples you have given that might be true but I differ from your opinion. I got a Punisher 218 netflix variant with Jon Berenthal on the cover. That is a desirable signature by an actor on a book. Some writers may not be drawing anymore such as Rick Remender and Jonathan Hickman but they have in the past so getting a sketch from them could increase desirability of a book. For people who have no knowledge of creators your opinion would be valid but not to more experienced collectors.

Jake Zawlacki May 15, 2020 - 6:19 pm

TV shows and Film variants are a whole different ball game. I completely agree with you on that. Having an actor sign a comic that his/her face is on is a solid idea. I’m talking more about actors signing first appearance issues.

And I agree with your second point. If we’re talking about a writer who used to do his/her own art and doesn’t do it anymore, then by all means. I’m referring to writers that mainly just write and have no history of illustrating. The doodlers.

Thanks for the comment!

Pete May 19, 2020 - 8:00 pm

Hard pass on purchasing autographed books. It has turned into a racket, sellers paying artists just to turn a higher profit. It’s all about making more money, there’s nothing special about it. No thanks.

Jake Zawlacki May 19, 2020 - 8:21 pm

Definitely. But as long as the racket pays off, then it’s going to keep on going. Would you even pass on a book signed by one of the greats?


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