Sigs… The Hot Button Issue.

Trimpe Sig #1

I am not sure how many times it’s brought up – at least a few dozen times a year – but no matter how many times it’s asked you always have two very opinionated sides.  No, I am not talking about politics – I am talking about signatures.  A while back Gary Miller was thinking about getting his Incredible Hulk #1 signed.  I did all but beg him not to deface a piece of history like that – but he did it anyways.  Of course, he can do as he wishes with his own property, but it still stings when I think about it.  I hate scrolling through ebay and seeing just how many people have destroyed silver age comics with a markered autograph.

Peter David Sig #1

To me, having someone signing a comic is basically tarnishing what could be an otherwise perfect issue.  Not only would I NOT pay for a signature I wouldn’t even buy an already signed comic.  Now, I can see how you might want the writer – or artist – to sign a book they connected with but by doing this the book cannot be considered mint anymore – and one of the most infuriating things I see is when people have writers or artists sign books they had nothing to do with!

Adam Kubert Sig

Stan Lee signing an Incredible Hulk #1 – okay, he wrote it – makes sense.  Stan Lee signing Incredible Hulk #377 – NO!  Makes no sense – yes, Stan Lee created the Hulk – but he has nothing to do with that issue!  Having him sign a poster or something… okay… but an issue he had nothing to do with, come on!  The worst part is, if you search out Stan Lee sigs on ebay you will get a huge amount of merchandise all signed by Stan.  So it’s not like the signature is rare or anything – in fact, that’s pretty much all he does these days!  He goes to cons and charges people to autograph stuff!

Trimpe Sig #2

This is all being said, of course, as I show you more and more items that are signed in my collection.  Well, there are a few ways I will get things signed: #1 – Trades – I will have a trade signed because a trade, for all intents and purposes, is a reprint of material that has already been published elsewhere. 

Mike Mignola Sig

#2 – A comic that is signed on the INSIDE – still defacing a comic – but at least the cover isn’t ruined by it – or I will have my extra copy of a comic signed.  I would refuse to get my one and only copy signed.  (Same thing applies to action figures)

Peter David Sig #2 - inside Hulk Visionaries Vol. 1

Another way to get a comic signed – if you have a CGC comic – have them sign the case.  You are not ruining the comic but at the same time you get the sig you’re looking for!  Herb Trimpe is coming to the 2012 comic-con – I am planning on getting something signed by him – and it’s a CGC comic – I am doing exactly what I just described, having him sign the case.

Trimpe Sig #3

#3 – I would have any poster signed.  Original Art – by the artist ONLY – should be signed.  Statues can be signed on the base ONLY.  Have you seen some of these statues that people have signed on the statue itself?  They have ruined the whole thing!  It’s now an eyesore!

Aaron Lopresti Sig

CGC now has a service called the Signature Series where they grade the comic AND authenticate the signature on the book.  I see the good in this service as it is impossible for forgers to pass off bunk sigs on graded books – but this is where I am most astounded – who pays more for an autograph?  I have a whole bunch of stuff signed – it’s not really something I care about – what I hold dear is the memory of how I got the autograph. 

Tim Sale Sig - Inside Hulk: Gray HC

For example, here is Bruce Cambell’s signature inside his “If Chins Could Kill” book:

How in the hell does that scribble say Bruce Cambell?

It’s made out to me and I remember pretty much everything about that night.  Meeting him, how nice he was, cordial, looking to talk to his fans rather than just sign and then move along to the next guy.  It was fantastic!  That’s what I think about when I see this. 

Randy Queen Sketch and Sig - on Print

When I look at the Herb Trimpe signatures I think about the first commission I had him do for me – in the email he sent he said to send along a few comics and he will sign them.  So I sent a few extras and they all came back signed – it was a nice extra that he did for me (I think I sent one of them to Fiddy) – but no way would I have paid for that!  I can’t wrap my head around why people would actually PAY to have people sign something – or even worse – pay a premium for something that is already autographed.  I mean, where is the memory in that?

Tripme Sig #4 - on DF Limited Print

I know I may sound pretty harsh on signatures – but it’s one of the issues that has no shades of grey to me.  You might say “But doesn’t it add value to your comic?” and I would say… Yes and No.  Yes, obviously there are some collectors out there who are ready to pay a premium for a simple scribble on a cover – but they are a very select group.  You have now made your collectible less collectible to other collectors.  So, who is in the majority?  The people who like signatures on there comics – or people who would rather have a clean comic – I feel a poll coming on!

One of the most signatures in my collection is Trimpe’s – on the box of a Hulk bust.  Yup, someone had him sign the box… I have no idea why.  I wanted the bust and this particular auction was going for a decent price so I got it – but the signature had no bearing on my choice to purchase it.  In fact, to be completely honest, I thought it was pretty silly that someone had him sign the box – a box that ended up in storage in my attic.

Herb Trimpe Sig #5

But anyways, let me know what you think – do you guys out there collect signatures?  Would you pay a premium for one?  And why?

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7 responses to “Sigs… The Hot Button Issue.

  1. Wow…..remember to breath in and breath out lol. To each there own. Just like some people would say it’s pointless to have original comics when you can just buy a reprint and get the same thing. Having a signature can make the comic more valuable for personal reasons like you mentioned or even if you weren’t there when I got signed it could be cool just to know one of your favorite celebs touched it. And I disagee on the stan lee thing…..being the creator of the character he can sign anything hulk and it would be cool with me.

    • No worries – I am not really as heated about the issue as it comes out in the post 🙂 But Stan is so far removed of the goings on at Marvel these days – it’s silly to have him sign any of the new comics.

      And – the argument that has been surging for decades – Stan Lee came up with an idea – but the real “creator” of these characters – how they look – is really the artist that was on the book – not Stan.

      • However much stan really had to do with the creation of them he is still the only living person to have anything to do wtih the creation of hulk. Plus if you have him sign an actual book he wrote then your damaging a rare silver age book. I personally would like him to sign a peter david/dale keown book. That way I could have the signatures of the creator and best artist and writer in hulks history on one book.

      • Ohhhh – you got me there… having him sign a 90’s issue – he’s only defacing a worthless book anyways… that is interesting

  2. ….I got Peter David to sign my Marvel Visionaries Vols. I, III and IV; as well as my movie novelizations for Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. ^_^

  3. It’s great fun to have favorite artist or writer sign something, but I agree it doesn’t make sense to have them sign silver age books or anything special – however, I do buy sig series books occasionally simply because it’s basically an authenticating service, but I would only do this with new books (though, ahem, my one Stan Lee sig is on a cgc Thor 126). I’d NEVER have a copy of Hulk #1-6 signed!

  4. Whenever I see a Yellow Color Slabbed book on E ra………I mean Ebay, I just scroll right past it. I hate seeing all those copies of say ASM #14 graded 8 and above with big black marker on that great cover ( which is one of my favorites ) second only to Hulk #5 that is !! On the other hand if you’re a little kid and you take one of your favorite cheap issues to get signed is a different story, especially if you plan to keep the book your entire life as a sentimental piece and not a “lets see how much I can gouge people” by selling it at over 3 times the value for a mass produced book….AH well Nuff Said !!

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