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NY Comic Con ’08 (Part 3 of 3) April 30, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Comics, Show and Tell.
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Last of Three Parts: The Souvenir

This is the story of the one souvenir I got for myself from the 2008 NY Comic Con. But first, a picture:

That right there is as close as I got to meeting Geoff Johns and asking for his autograph. When I found his table in the center of the show floor’s “Artist Alley”, he was already beseiged by a large number of fans, shaking hands, making conversation and patiently signing some of their comics. And boy was I jealous! See, I didn’t have anything on me for him to sign — I’ve already transferred most of my comics back home — and the one title of his I recently bought — the Infinite Crisis trade — was lying peacefully on my apartment shelf.

I began to wonder whether I should bother buying a comic — any comic — just to score an autograph. That brought about another idea: why don’t I first look up who else was around, so I know whom to line up for. Yet one more thought: if I were to get someone’s autograph, whose would I really, really want? Jim Lee was supposed to be there. I heard that Neil Gaiman and Mike Mignola were, too, though I was willing to bet the lines for them would be absurdly long. Yet as much as I love these guys, there was really just one name at the top of the list:

Darwyn Cooke.

Of all the comics I’ve picked up in the past three years, DC: The New Frontier is the one I’ve enjoyed the most. It’s just a fantastic piece of storytelling and artwork, and to my mind exemplifies everything I look for in a comic. As a consequence, I am convinced that Darwyn Cooke is absolutely brilliant.

So I looked him up and found his table.

He wasn’t there.

Disappointing to be sure, but it’s not like I had anything for him to sign, either. My copies of the New Frontier trades were in Manila, and the animated adaptation I’d purchased the week before was likewise on my shelf beside that copy of Infinite Crisis. “Oh well,” I thought to myself on my way to continue my rounds about the exhibition floor.

Yet I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. What better souvenir than a signed comic book? The artists were around, and the retailers in attendance were offering discounts like nobody’s business. Hence, I began scouring the shelves looking for something I wouldn’t mind adding to my collection and worth getting autographed. This wasn’t as easy as it sounded: there were simply too many titles to choose from, each being measured against the yardstick of whether I was willing to spend for it.

Pressed for time, I made the following decision: I’d spend for a hardcover version of Darwyn Cooke’s Batman: Ego and Other Tales on the off chance he’d still be in the building for signings. If he was, well and good. If not, at least I end up with this collection of his Batman stories that I didn’t have before.

I pulled it off one of the store’s shelves and paid for it, then made my way back to the Artist Alley to try my luck.

He was there, a line of fans quickly forming in front of his table. Practically every one of them brought their prized copies of New Frontier for him to sign, making me momentarily the only person in line with a different comic in tow. To some degree, this made me sad because I would have also wanted to have my New Frontier books signed, too. But we play with the cards we’re dealt, and before I knew it I was next in line.

He was a real pro. He took my copy, flipped it open to the first page and pulled out a silver tipped pen in order to write on the dark colored paper. He scribbled his trademark signature then began to draw on the page, adding a little doodle of the Dark Knight just for good measure. “Here you go!” he said as he handed the now autographed book back to me, a friendly smile on his face. I was beside myself with delight and excitement that it was all I could do to say thank you, which he acknowledged with a gracious nod.

Thus, I was probably the happiest person to leave the Javits Center that Saturday.

And that’s how an autographed Darwyn Cooke comic became my souvenir from the 2008 NY Comic Con.

(Previously: Impressions and Random Pictures)

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