Who signed off on this?

§ June 28th, 2023 § Filed under dc comics, publishing § 6 Comments

So every once in a while I take a look on the eBay for 1996’s Flex Mentallo #3:

…not because I need a copy (I bought mine way back when it was new), but out of perverse fascination with how the book gets listed. Specifically because of this cover detail:

…featuring the signatures of the book’s writer and artist, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Not actual signatures, mind you, but part of the actual cover image. If you look closely, you can see the comic book coloring details in the “penlines” of the signatures:

But if you only ever see the one copy of this comic, and didn’t, say, unbundle a giant pile of them after arrival from Diamond to put them on the shelf and seeing the dozens of copies with identical autographs on each one, then at first glace maybe, just maybe, you might thing you had some genuine hand-scribblings.

Such as the person who listed this item for sale:

Currently it’s just the one listing, which is unusual given that in the past I could usually find four or five at any given time. Maybe folks are learning, maybe I just caught eBay at a good/bad time, maybe enough buyers have complained in the past, I don’t know.

Which does have me thinking about buyers who did purchase one of these off eBay as a “signed” item, believing to this day that they have a rare collector’s item. Ah, well. I don’t remember anyone thinking this when they were buying the item new off the rack (because they could see with their own eyes that every copy had identical “inscriptions”). I do recall having to explain once or twice over the years when buying collections that these weren’t actually hand-signed.

To be fair, this isn’t a common cover design element, so I can’t blame people for being momentarily fooled. And I wouldn’t put it past Morrision and/or Quitely if that wasn’t a planed prank on their part, still playing out all these years later.

6 Responses to “Who signed off on this?”

  • Thom H. says:

    I do hope this was a prank they concocted ahead of time.

    I also hope they were given a copy of this issue to sign at one point and meticulously traced their own mass-printed signatures.

  • Matthew says:

    I also hope that one or both of Morrison and Quitely have traced over the signatures on these covers.

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    Oh, it was absolutely planned, given that this was the “dark age” issue of the series.

    It’s been awhile but IIRC, I’ve seen CGC Yellow slabs where they did not trace the signatures.

  • ExistentialMan says:

    Hilarious. It would also be a riot if, at a late 90’s convention, Morrison signed over Quitely’s signature and vice versa.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Signed with the same pen as with coloring the trunks.

    I didn’t enjoy Flex the first time around, but I bought the trade with WE3 and when I was done crying, I enjoyed Flex.

    Off-topic, Chicago officially has the worst quality air in the world today.

  • Tom W says:

    I must admit I bought this late, not off the rack, and I thought the signatures were genuine until my wife pointed out my idiocy…