Comic book conventions by their nature have numerous industry stars in attendance. This makes them a great place for celebrity autograph-hunters, and many cons allow room for organized signings. But getting celebrity autographs can be intimidating or confusing for the uninitiated.
Celebrity Autographs at Conventions
Most of the creative talent involved with comic books artists, writers, and the like will give autographs at comics conventions. Larger cons, such as Comic Con International or Fan Expo Canada, which encompass other media like video games and movies, will invite actors and other celebrities for signings too.
Signings at conventions have become increasingly regimented, as cons, and the demand for autographs, have grown. Signings generally come in three kinds: free, paid, and ticketed.
Free signings are usually conducted for a short time at a sponsored setting. For example, a comics publisher may have some of its artists giving autographs at the publisher’s booth.
Paid signings are offered by celebrities in high demand, or by those whose appearance may not be sponsored by any publisher or studio.
The hottest celebrities may give autographs at ticketed signings only. For this type of signing, organizers hand out a limited amount of tickets to fans; a ticket allows a place in line for an autograph, which fans must then pay for as with regular paid signings.
It is possible to run into a celebrity casually and get an autograph, though this is highly unlikely at larger conventions. Those who get lucky must have a pen or marker and something to sign at hand fans without them can’t expect the celebrity to hang around while they get supplies.
Cons will often sell merchandise and collectibles featuring their biggest celebrity guests. Even lesser-known stars will at least have headshots available. Of course, items sold on-site tend to be more expensive, so cost-conscious autograph-hunters should bring their own items to signings, if it’s allowed.
Convention signings are also an opportunity to get rare collectibles signed (items impossible to get autographed by mail, for example). Getting a picture with the celebrity in question can also help with future authentication.
Getting Comic Books Signed
Comic books are obviously the most popular memorabilia signed at comics conventions. However, fans should be aware that some collectors believe a signature doesn’t necessarily increase a comic’s value (since it is technically no longer in mint condition).
For instance, the Certified Guaranty Company, which grades comics, does not consider a signature a defect, but only considers it of added value under certain circumstances. CGC representatives travel to some large cons and, for a fee, will seal and certify comic books signed on site.
Original comic-book art may also be signed at cons, and this is one area where an artist’s signature is less controversial. Many comics artists will do sketches on the spot for fans, and comic-book companies will often sponsor sketch-offs between artists as a publicity stunt.
Since conventions bring together so many comics fans and creators, they are the perfect place for getting memorabilia and collectibles signed by celebrities. But with such opportunities in high demand, fans must keep in mind how signings work to make the most of them.