Sometimes you just need a picture of Cable leaping at you, guns blazing.

§ January 28th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Sometimes you just need a picture of Cable leaping at you, guns blazing.

He’s shoutin’ at Magneto, in case you’re wondering.

And here, also for no good reason, is a shot of the cast from the first page of this comic:

There’s a happy bunch, he said sarcastically. Well, okay, Boomer’s smiling behind those “I just had an eye exam” shades. And Sunspot might be smirking a bit. But the rest of those folks look like a bunch of poutypants. And if my name were “Rictor,” I’d pout, too.

Anyway, these images are from X-Force #25 (August ’93), a comic I’ve discussed before, and you can read that pulse-pounding story, featuring Canadians and toilet paper, right here. But at the moment, I have a stack of funnybooks I’m processing for sale in our eBay store, and one of them happens to be a copy of X-Force #25 from one of those companies that offered autographed copies (with “certificate of authenticity”) directly to retailers for premium prices.

This particular comic is signed by artist Greg Capullo, and is numbered 5903 out of 7,500 copies. I always try to picture what that’s like, the poor guy with 25 or 30 cases of these comics crammed into his studio, spending hours each day slapping his signature on comic after comic. I wonder how many copies end up getting spoiled, with accidental smudging of the ink, spilled drinks, pet cats, or maybe the signature just gets mangled as it’s being written…distracted by a phone call, or just had a brain fart, or something. And then someone has to come along and number each cover “n/7500,” which is probably an even bigger drag.

At this point in comics history, the early ’90s (just after “The Comics Boom,” and just before “The Burning Times”), “insta-collectibles” were the big thing, so pre-autographed books were (and still are, actually) a common sight in the order forms. We ordered some, here and there…didn’t carry a huge stock of them, but occasionally we’d get some that we thought might do okay in our shop.

Now there a number of X-comics in mid ’93 that were extra-sized tie-ins to the “Fatal Attractions” X-crossover, each with a trading-card sized hologram affixed to the cover. That signed-comic company offered autographed editions of all these oversized “Fatal Attractions” comics, and we thought “Hey, kids like the X-Men…they like autographed books…they like the holy-grams…let’s give these a shot.” There were $24.95 a pop, but these were special X-books, after all…they were certain to sell. And given the kinds of things people were buying at the time, a $24.95 autographed edition of a popular comic book series seemed like an easy sale.

Fifteen years later, I still have two of these “Fatal Attractions” books left (the other being X-Factor #92, signed by Joe Quesada). The other three I’ve managed to sell on the eBay at vastly reduced prices in recent years. I’m not so anxious to move the last two for too cheap, so I’ll ponder some kind of price I can live with and put ’em in the eBay store.

In our brick and mortar store, the unsigned “Fatal Attractions” tie-ins remain popular, particularly the Wolverine issue. But the signed ones? Nah, too expensive, and probably should have dropped the prices sooner on them…but just never seemed to get around to it. Seemed like there was always something more important to do, and those last two comics managed to avoid my attention. Until now, when hopefully someone online will be willing to pay the price I want.

Nowadays the only “pre-signed” comics we get today are the “incentive” ones, that show up if we hit certain ordering plateaus. And, of course, any that our customers asked for (like that $70 signed Dark Tower hardcover we got in — good gravy!).

The moral of the story? “Collectibles aren’t,” maybe, or “Don’t order overpriced pre-signed X-Men books,” which may be unnecessarily limiting. But I’m sure we learned something here at the funnybook shop from these signed comics, even if it’s just “thank goodness for online auctions, (theoretically) clearing out our dead stock.”

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