I attended NYCC on Friday only, making the round-trip commute between Albany and Penn Station via Amtrak. Following the short walk to the Javits Center, I joined the masses waiting at one of the Green entrances (Green South I believe) shortly before 10:00 AM. The goal of my visit was to get some comics signed by creators, so early arrival to join queues for panels or screenings wasn’t necessary. For the number of people waiting at that gate, the entry process was pretty quick and painless.
In a recent post, I talked a little about my game plan for the event. While that was my “Plan A”, I was prepared to be flexible and patient. When all was said and done, I probably finished the day at NYCC closer to “Plan C”.
Upon my arrival, I headed straight for the CGC Signature Series booth in Artists Alley, where I learned that witnesses would not be permitted at the DC signing with Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair that I had won a spot for via the NYCC lottery. I had emailed CGC in advance to inquire about that signing, and was not informed it would be a problem, so that news was a bit of a disappointment.
As indicated in the screen shot of my email exchange with CGC, my plan was to have Jim Lee and Scott Williams sign a couple of Uncanny X-Men issues at the lottery signing, and then submit to CGC for their private signing with Chris Claremont. Given that witnesses would not be permitted at the Lee/Williams/Sinclair signing, CGC staff recommended that I instead get Claremont’s signature on the books in Artists Alley, and later drop off for their private signing with Jim Lee.
I was among the first people to connect with a CGC witness on Friday morning, and started by getting Chris Claremont’s signature on five X-Men comics, each of which I also planned to have signed by the artist(s). Among the books signed was Uncanny X-Men 268, Madripoor Knights, which features Wolverine, Captain America, and the Black Widow in a 1941 flashback/current day storyline. Claremont commented that the story would make a great movie with Hugh Jackman, Chris Evans, and Scarlett Johansson playing their respective Marvel characters once again. Kevin Feige – if you’re reading please make it happen!!
After getting Claremont’s signature, I took a lap around Artists Alley with the CGC witness, and to an exhibitor booth on the show floor, but none of the other creators I sought signatures from were around yet. As such, I parted ways with the witness, and headed to the DC area in the South Concourse to wait for the signing with Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair. Although CGC witnesses weren’t allowed, it was a “can’t miss” opportunity to meet them and get their signatures via this NYCC lottery event. I had them sign a copy of Batman 619, the conclusion of the Hush storyline as shown in the pic below. I’m still considering whether I’ll keep this book in my collection as is, or perhaps ship it to CBCS for signature verification and red label slabbing.
Following the Lee/Williams/Sinclair signing, I headed to the IDW booth on the show floor, to check on the details of the John Byrne signing, which I would be able to participate in due to my pre-order of the IDW published John Byrne’s Marvel Classics Artifact Edition Convention Exclusive Variant. Unfortunately, I learned that Byrne was not feeling well, and would not be in attendance at NYCC on Friday. Since I would only be in town on Friday, I opted for a refund from IDW for the book/signing package. Although Byrne doesn’t participate in witnessed signings, my plan was to have him sign one of the books signed by Claremont earlier in the day (X-Men 141) to submit for CGC’s yellow label (Claremont witnessed) with green banner (Byrne unwitnessed). As someone who grew up reading comics in the Claremont – Byrne X-Men era, and a huge fan of the Days of Future Past storyline, I was looking forward to getting both of their signatures on the comic, but at least the Claremont portion is done. If an opportunity to add Byrne presents itself in the future, I’ll consider cracking it open. The other comics I brought for Byrne to sign would only have been signed by him, so they came home with me free of Sharpie ink.
I headed back to Artists Alley, where things were quite different from earlier in the day. While earlier I was able to promptly grab a witness, there was now a very lengthy wait. I waited for a while, and was still nowhere near the front, when some good fortune struck. A CGC witness called out to see if anyone in line was after Bill Sienkiewicz’ signature – which was one of my priorities for the day. I joined a small group that the witness brought to the Alex Ross Art booth on the show floor, where Sienkiewicz was signing. As shown in the pic below, Sienkiewicz signed my copies of Moon Knight 1, and X-Men Annual 6 (X-men vs Dracula) also signed by Claremont earlier in the day.
Our little band of adventurers headed back to Artists Alley, where our witness did a great job in accommodating each of us as best possible. I joined the line for Marc Silvestri, while our witness and other members of our group visited a few other creators. The witness returned for Silverstri’s signing of my copy of Uncanny X-Men 244, the first appearance of Jubliee, also signed by Claremont earlier in the day – something of a recurring theme!
Before parting ways with the witness, he separated the signed books into different CGC security bags, with the two Claremont signed books to be submitted for Jim Lee’s private signings apart from the others.
I then jumped into Rob Liefeld’s line, where I had my copy of New Mutants 98 signed. We chatted a bit about his Twitter wars, and how his social media persona/content seems more accepted on Instagram than Twitter. Liefeld was signing at the Hotflips booth directly adjacent to CGC’s set-up in Artists Alley. As such, a separate witness wasn’t required. After Liefeld signed any items, you simply turned around to have CGC process them, or security bag them for later submission. As signature collectors are aware, Liefeld charges a lot to sign this book – the first appearance of Deadpool. Although it was a bit painful to spend that much on a signature, I went through with it, given the opportunity to also submit the book for CGC’s private signing with Fabian Nicieza, thereby capturing the signatures of both of Deadpool’s creators on the comic.
I then headed to the main CGC booth on the show floor where, you were supposed to submit any books for grading. However, I was advised that they were no longer accepting submissions for the day at that booth, but since I was there for Friday only, their booth in Artists Alley (which I had just left) would accept the books and close out my invoices.
Upon returning to the CGC booth in Artists Alley, I was informed that they were no longer accepting books for the private signing with Jim Lee. This was really my only (but significant) frustration of the day. I had discussed my desire to have books signed by both Claremont and Lee (and Scott Williams if the opportunity was there) with CGC booth staff and two different witnesses throughout the day. As mentioned earlier, the books were signed by Chris Claremont shortly after the doors had opened for the day. Had CGC staff told me at that point, or during subsequent discussions that the Jim Lee private signing was nearing capacity I would have promptly acted and submitted my books. This was particularly disappointing given my attempts to communicate with CGC about the Claremont/Lee signings by email in advance of the show. As an X-Men collector, I’m of course thrilled to have Claremont’s signature on the books, but my selection of these issues – 256 which saw Psylocke transition from British to Japanese, and 268 the previously discussed Madripoor Knights story – was with the goal of also having Jim Lee, and hopefully Scott Williams, sign them. Upon the return of these books from CGC, I’ll await an opportunity to add Lee and Williams’ signatures at some point in the future. However, any added signatures will come with additional expenses to me that would not have been necessary had CGC better communicated with me about these signings.
I had a variety of other books with me that I could have continued pursuing signatures on, but opted not to. Despite my earlier claim that I was prepared to be flexible and patient on the day, at this point I needed a break from waiting in lines, and was freshly frustrated from getting shut out of the Jim Lee signing.
I then took a lap around the show floor where I found the Marvel merchandise booth was accepting fans into its line. It’s my understanding that the line was frequently capped, so it was another right place/right time moment at the show for me. I bought one copy each of the three Marvel NYCC exclusive comics that remained available – Ghost Rider 1, Strikeforce 1, and HoX 5 (the Marvel 1001 Mondo NYCC variant had already sold out). Getting copies of these Marvel limited print exclusives was another show goal for me that I was able to accomplish. They came home with me, and I’ll probably send off for CGC grading and slabbing at some point.
Although I vented above about some frustrations, in the end I had a great day at NYCC. Had I been there more than a day, I would have tried to add some panels or screenings into my agenda, but as it was, I had a satisfying day of meeting creators, and getting some signatures from them.
With the exception of Batman 619, which I bought at Albany’s Earthworld Comics a few days before the show for the Lee/Williams/Sinclair event (unwitnessed not submitted to CGC), I was the original owner/purchaser of every comic that I brought to NYCC to get signed. I picked books of interest that I thought would grade out relatively well, so fingers crossed for some good results when they come back from CGC. When I get these Signature Series books back, I’ll post some pics and comments, so check back in a few months for an update.