Growing up in New York has allowed me the privilege of meeting some of my favorite comics creators. I find signings genuinely fun: either you’re in-and-out with a few kind words exchanged, or you get to hang out on a line with a bunch of other fans of this thing you’re fond enough to wait on line for.
My friend and coworker Val, whose boyfriend worked at Forbidden Planet, the enormous comic book shop in the East Village, informed me of a Grant Morrison signing. The day of, I showed up at about seven in the morning. Considering the signing wasn’t until ten, there were only a half-dozen of us sitting on the Broadway side of Forbidden Planet in the August heat, killing time and exchanging trivia. I struck up a conversation with the dude directly in front of me. Usually crippled by anxiety in these sorts of moments, the fact that we were both wearing Sonic Youth t-shirts broke the ice enough to get some camaraderie going. Otherwise, there wasn’t anything particularly eventful about the wait, except for the moment when the manager asked us to re-queue onto 13th Street instead of Broadway, apologizing because he “[knew] there’s sun over there.” They distributed raffle cards for comics. I was excited; my raffle number was 6 – Mister Six being one of my favorite Morrison characters. I talked to some guy about Frank Quitely’s detail-driven illustration of All Star Superman. That guy may or may not have been the boyfriend-at-the-time of one of my good friends, who was also there. We once tried to figure out if we did meet, but even a green pompadour isn’t exactly memorable in the front of the line of fans of works like The Filth.
We slowly made our way to the front. Shannon, the gentleman I struck up a conversation with, whipped out a fancy camera and we agreed to take pictures of one another. The manager was standing near the front, gaping at Morrison just like the rest of us were. “Man, I’m really nervous,” I related to him. “Yeah. Me too, man.”
He was seated at a desk, looking tired as all get-out. Behind him, they had made a collage of all his recent covers: mostly Seven Soldiers and All-Star Superman, but a few rarities thrown in as well. I was getting my copy of Invisibles #1 signed, bought on a whim years earlier in Philadelphia. Shannon whipped out what may be considered the holy grail of Morrisonia: the complete 4-issue run of the unreprintable Flex Mentallo. Morrison signed his set with a chaos symbol on each issue and I snapped a couple of photos. Now, it was my turn. We exchanged a few words about some personal experiences I’ve had with his comics that I’m not about to relate, although his reply was a barely comprehensible “whatever doesn’t kill you, right?” He signed my copy with a big anarchy A. It was over before I could believe it. Shannon invited me to accompany him to the Museum of Comics and Comic Art convention going on at the same time, and we went off, still giddy from meeting not just a personal idol, but one of the most influential writers in modern comics.