Cullen Bunn Signing at Distant Planet Comics
On March 3rd, my Local comic bookshop, Distant Planet Comics in Columbia, Missouri hosted Cullen Bunn to promote his newest title Pumpkinhead from dynamite and sign issues. Representing outright Geekery, I donned my outright Geekery shirt and headed to my home away from home.
Preparing for the Signing
I’ll admit I went a little overboard when the signing was announced. I’d never been to a comic book signing before and didn’t know what to expect, so I began asking questions. I was in the shop (on a Wednesday of course) when Alfonzo mentioned it. I thought about all the fantastic titles Cullen has written. Regression, Harrow County, Dark Ark, Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe. Would he only sign issues of his newest title? I started going through the back issues in the shop, cherry picking issues I wanted from what was in stock. How many is too many? At this point the signing was a month out. Alfonzo noticed what I was doing and laughed. Closer to the even he would be pulling all of Cullen’s issues for a display.
Reading up on comic book etiquette, I learned about removing the issue from the bag before your turn. I hadn’t thought about that. Bringing a long box full of issues was definitely frowned upon. I decided I’d take a few issues and split them up by bringing a friend. Or small children. How early is too early?
The Big Day
My sons and I showed up right at opening time, the door propped open inviting us in. With our issues already removed from their bags and boards (thanks Gaumer), off we went. There was Cullen Bunn sitting in nice green high back chair at a table with different color sharpies. To the left was a big display of all his work. Dark Ark, Regression, X-Men, Star Wars issues and Harrow County trade paperbacks. I walked up and introduced myself, shook the hand that was offered and introduced my sons. Outright Geekery’s Co-Chief editor Māria Beth’s had spoken to Cullen about having some issues signed for future giveaways (whoops, spoilers?), and talking pictures, so he started first with the stack of…well..you’ll see, and then I started taking pictures.
My youngest son, all of 8 years old, had the light bulb in his head go off. This man in front of him wrote the comics that he read. He began peppering Cullen with questions, moving his head back and forth from the display to Cullen, fixating on the Star Wars issues. Cullen smiled and answered all his questions patiently while signing issues. I noticed how he alternated pens, picking a signing spot to best fit the issue being signed. I watched him waving his hand over it so the airflow would help it dry and not smudge.
We thanked Cullen and moved out of the way for the next person. He began by pulling out a Funko pop to be signed. Cullen asked where he’d like it signed, taking the time to talk about drying time on box. I was really impressed with how took the time to connect with each fan.
At this point my 8-year-old had gravitated to the display of Cullen’s, work, circling it, looking at the all of them. He picked up Dark Ark #1A and started flipping through it.
“Dad, can I get this one signed?”
“I’ve got some signed already, would you like one of those?”
“I didn’t get to pick it out.”
Back in line we went.
My friends, Cullen Bunn, and Distant Planet Comics really made my first comic book signing and enjoyable experience. Talking with my friends and listening their own experiences at conventions with their favorite writers and artists, listening to their advice “Adam, don’t be the guy that does this <insert newbie mistake or convention faux pas>” was a great learning experience and enjoyable time with friends.
It was a great occasion me for me to spend time with my sons, teaching them something new. They learned why we bag comic books, why there are boards, what’s a variant cover and first printing. My sons met new people and practiced their people skills, making eye contact, shaking hands, saying please and thank you (parenting win of the day!). Their horizons were expanded and I watched them get excited about meeting someone who creates something and saw it connected to their lives. The comic book collector population in my house tripled this weekend, and if this keeps up, I’m going to need a few more long boxes.