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Should I Get My Comic Books Signed

Updated on December 20, 2014
Infinity Gauntlet #1 signed by Jim Starlin
Infinity Gauntlet #1 signed by Jim Starlin | Source

The Basics

Of you are asking whether or not you should get your comic books signed, you are not alone; there are collectors on both sides of the fence when it comes to getting autographs on your comic books. There are some that will look to have their comic books in their original condition and therefore reject the idea that any writing (even autographs) are damaging to the book so they do not like them. The other side however says that to have a book that has been signed by someone in the industry is really cool and they want as many autographs as they can get.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to getting your comic books autographed, but there are some things to keep in mind when you do. The value of the comic book may be altered positively or negatively depending on the book and whether or not you had that signature witnessed by one of the big comic book grading company. That said here are some tips when you have decided to get a comic book signed.

Witnessed Signature

A witnessed signature is one that guarantees that the signature of that author or the artist is real. There are several ways that you can do that including comic book grading companies and certificates of authenticity. You may feel that taking a picture of the signing is enough to prove that an artist signed a book, but the truth is that the industry’s people sign so many comic books that having a picture of the signature itself is not really good proof. A picture proves that the writer or artist signed a book, but it does not mean that they signed THE book.

Certificates of authenticity are also not generally taken as solid evidence. The problem is that COA’s are counterfeited and so are signatures. While a certificate of authenticity makes it more likely that a signature is real it does not prove it one hundred percent.

Grading company witnesses on the other hand are pretty trusted in the hobby. In order to have a witnessed signature you need to contact a grading company BEFORE you get a comic book signed. Hey would go with you when you are about to get the autograph and stand to the side making sure that the signature is real. Once signed, they will take the comic book and have it graded and will indicate with a special label that the signature is authentic and witnessed by them.

Green Lantern #48 signed by Ron Marz
Green Lantern #48 signed by Ron Marz | Source

Not Every Book Deserves The "Witnessed" Treatment

Having an autograph witnessed will cost some money at the convention. You will have to usually pay for a COA and a higher amount to grade the comic book if you are using a grading company, so not every comic book deserves that treatment. Some comic books are not worth it because the comic book itself is very cheap while others are not really that desired because the person signing it is not followed a lot. The decision is up to you of course because there could be an artist or writer that you know has a lot of potential in the industry or you just love their work and want to have that verified signature in your collection.

There are some personalities that you should have a witness for if they are signing the right book. Getting Stan Lee to sign one of his early works in Marvel is a great example of that and the easiest one. There are other artists and writers like Greg Capullo, Peter David, Marv Wolfman, Jim Starlin, Alex Ross, John Romita (Sr. or Jr.), Frank Miller, etc. that if you get the right book signed for them it can instantly increase their sentimental and monetary value. Not every book will increase in monetary value though so be careful and make sure that the book you are giving them to sign is actually worth the charges to have graded.

Justice League of America #11 signed by Gene Ha
Justice League of America #11 signed by Gene Ha | Source

Preparing Your Comic Books

You do not need to prepare your comic books to be signed unless you want the artist or writer to sign it on a particular spot. If you do not have them prepared then the person signing them could sign it anywhere and while they will probably place the signature on a particular spot that does not harm the look of the comic it is all up to them.

If you want the signature in a particular spot then you can either ask the person signing it or prepare the comic book ahead of time. Preparation is as simple as getting the spot on the comic book to be obvious and that can be done by cutting a comic book bag on the spot where you want the signature to go. Make sure to remove the comic book from the bag before cutting it to prevent accidental damage to it. Once you have cut a hole in the bag you can put the comic boo back in it. It is not necessary to do this, but if you really want the signature in a spot then that is the best way to do it.

Spider-Man 2099 #4 Deadpool Variant signed by Peter David
Spider-Man 2099 #4 Deadpool Variant signed by Peter David | Source

For Your Own Collection

If you have your own collection and you are planning to keep it and not sell it then you can get any comic book signed and having the signature verified or witnessed is not really that important. It is however a good idea to have the best ones in your collection verified just in case you ever needed to sell them. Any valuable comics that you own should be verified just in case.

A good compromise if you cannot get the signature witnessed is to get comic books signed that are not all that valuable; that way you can have the signature of your favorite people in the medium without reducing their value. A couple of the grading companies have a signature verification program where they have an association with a particular company to verify the artists/writers signatures which helps, but that is a new service that has not been out in the market for too long so it is yet to be seen if collectors will accept those as much.

In the end it is your comic book collection and you are free to do with them as you please. If you want to get your comic books signed then you can do so and if you want to keep them unsigned then that is fine too. You should collect comic books for your own pleasure and not for what others think is right. So when someone tells you what you should do with your comics you can tell them that you appreciate their input but the decision is yours.

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    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan Robert Lancaster 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Good question. I don't know whether the same ideas that apply to books also apply to comic books, but I would have thought there was a way around the signing of comic books for purists. Getting a postcard or other printed material signed and dated and inserting it into the comic book might be a solution for the sake of provenance.

      I always sign and date books on the title page, with a short message, "enjoy the read" and maybe the location (if it's been signed at an event) so it might be an idea to have comic books signed the same way

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