Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of our 2018 New York Comic Con coverage. To get a complete feel of our coverage see Part 1 article here where we talk about our first hand convention experience. If you’ve already done that or just want hear about our NYCC’18 Artist Alley experience keep reading below!
I spent a good portion of my time at New York Comic Con’s (NYCC) Artist’s Alley. This is where artists, some big name and other lesser known, have booths set up where you can meet them, talk with them about their art, and buy art from them. Also located in Artist Alley is a Certified Signature Series (CGC SS) booth.
Now you might be wondering, what is CGC Signature Series? Let me give you a quick rundown. CGC is a company that charges comic book owners and collectors to have them analyze the condition of their comics and assign them a grade. There are a couple reasons you might want to have a comic graded:
- To get a better idea of its value based on its condition or to increase its value for resale.
- You might want to preserve the comic as they are placed in sealed plastic slabs for display after they are graded. Personally, this is why I like getting comics graded.
Here are examples of what graded comics look like. Left: Outcast #1 signed by Robert Kirkman (graded 9.6/10) and on the right Witchblade #1 (also graded a 9.6/10 and signed by Marc Silvestri).
CGC provides special witnesses to accompany you to have a comic signed before it is graded. This is to verify the authenticity of the signature. Interestingly, in the comic book collecting world, unless verified, a signature could actually negatively impact the value of a rare comic book. While there are other companies that grade comics and will verify signatures after the fact (CBCS or PGX), CGC is the industry’s gold standard. Books graded by CGC tend to hold higher value for resale; however, each company truly has their pros and cons. I knew that I wanted to have a couple of comics graded with witnessed signatures, as I had never had it done before.
One comic that I wanted to be signed, witnessed, and graded was Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress. If you’re not aware, Monstress is an epic fantasy work about a teenage girl with a monstrous demonic power, won a total of five Eisner Awards (most prestigious comic award) this year. I was lucky enough to get one of the final spots in a capped line for Marjorie Liu. They will often temporarily close lines when they are too long, sometimes reopening them later. After about 20- 30 minutes of waiting in line with my CGC assigned witness, we finally made it up to Marjorie’s booth. Waiting around this long is very common at larger conventions and 30 minutes isn’t too much of a wait for a famed creator.
Marjorie was even more charming and warm in person than what you can tell from her social media presence. I told her about how I serendipitously came across her book while on a business trip, and how it had inspired me to try my hand at comic book writing. She told me how honored she was that her work had affected me and personally thanked me for reading her work. I was on a good one after sharing that moment with her. My girlfriend told me I looked like an excited 8th grader. It figures that my forehead had to look shiny when I was taking a picture with her. But you judge for yourself:
But Marjorie wasn’t the only artist I met in the alley. I met and chatted with several other artists and writers of comic books I love. Creators like Jen Bartel, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Donny Cates, Sean Gordon Murphy, and Wes Craig. I learned that Wes Craig was inspired by Frank Miller for a lot of his work on Volume 7 of Deadly Class, particularly by Miller’s work on Daredevil and Ronan. I discovered that Donny Cates and I both share a love for Deftones, probably not all that uncommon, but cool nonetheless. And I got to watch Matteo Scalera, artist of Black Science, doing his thing (pictured below).
One of the coolest things about artist alley is that artists will often have their books for sale and other assorted goodies like posters, sketches, and other exclusives you can only get at a convention. Something to keep in mind is that some artists are always at their booth and others keep strict hours posted; they will often post this on some form of social media. I found it super helpful to check on that before the convention. Sometimes lines will form when artists first arrive at their booth. Don’t panic. Often the line will dissipate leaving your favorite creator open to talk to without the pressure of a line of people behind you. This happened after I had waited in line to see Marjorie Liu.
Bottom line: if you ever go to a convention and are interested in meeting comic book creators or other artists, I can’t recommend spending some time in the artist alley enough. It’s the best place to have a one-on-one chat with your favorite writer or artist, and support them by purchasing their work directly from them. Here’s some of my favorite items I purchased and had signed by the creators:
And that’s it from us for NYCC’18! Hope you enjoyed this post. To hear more about what it’s like to attend comic conventions, some of our best experiences and stories keep following here at the Planet Skkaw!
Informative and interesting. Had no idea comic books were graded like that. Sounds like it’s fun to be there. Maybe I’ll go someday!