Midtown Comics’ Avengers Signing

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We spent the day in New York City on Monday and the main attraction bringing us there was the Avengers signing at Midtown Comics in Times Square. Featuring writers Christos Gage, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and Brian Bendis, this was a welcome event after a Philadelphia Comic Con that was light on comics. It was well worth the trip even on a day that was particularly hot in the big city.

Gage, Brubaker, Fraction, and Bendis are four or the top writers currently working at Marvel. They are the driving force behind the publisher’s new Heroic Age, and the four were in town for some top-secret business related to their recently launched Avengers titles. Prior to writing these new books, Brubaker has been writing Captain America including the popular Death of Captain America storyline, Fraction has been writing Uncanny X-Men and the critically acclaimed Invincible Iron Man, Gage has written Avengers: The Initiative and a number of House of M mini-series. Bendis has been the primary architect behind the Avengers for several years and his credits include Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Secret Invasion, and Siege among others. These are all incredibly high profile books and having this group together for a free signing is a big deal.

We arrived in Manhattan around 11AM and almost immediately saw a “tweet” (I kind of hate using that word) from Matt Fraction that someone was already in line for the signing. When we arrived at the store around 12:30PM we asked the first in line when he arrived, and he had indeed been there since the store opening at 11AM. While I’ve used Midtown’s mail-order service many times in the past, I haven’t had many opportunities to browse their stores. They’ve had a lot of books that I’ve had trouble finding locally, and they came through for me once again. After buying a copy of the David Finch variant of New Mutants #14 and talking to store owner Gerry Gladston for a moment about the signing, we headed back out into the city leaving about 5 people in line.

When we returned at 3:00PM, Angie and I were the 49th and 50th in line so it was clear a large number of people were prepared to brave the heat and spend their time waiting to meet this group of writers. By 3:30, the line has easily doubled. While we waited, we spoke to some of the people in line about who they were there to see and what they were having signed. Most had something for each member of the group, although there were some that intended to only have one creator sign anything. Items of choice included issues of Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man and Uncanny X-Men, Brubaker’s Daredevil and Criminal, Gage’s Stormwatch: PHD and Siege: Captain America, and Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man. An interesting mix of books that made me feel a little better about having an X-Men book signed at what was billed as an Avengers signing.

Many passersby asked what we were in line for and as soon as you said “comic book” most moved on. It was interesting to note how many people in line when asked who was signing simply replied “Bendis.” I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to hear that. Twittercame up again in line as one group we talked to said they had only just found out about the signing from a Bendis tweet. All four creators have feeds and are worth following if you’re looking for some insight into their lives, how they work, or just for a laugh. In addition to their own Twitter feed, Midtown Comics also has a mailing list and really does a great job of letting people know about their sales and events.

As the line continued to grow, Midtown staff came out to let us in on some good news. All four writers arrived early, were ready to start signing early, and would be available until the scheduled close to the event at 7PM. Fans were welcome to get one item signed by each of the creators, or up to three items by any one of them. If anyone wanted more items signed, they’d be allowed to get back in line if time permitted. This seemed like a very fair approach and no one seemed to complain.

Once things started, the line moved quickly as fans went from the street to the second floor store in groups of ten. The store was open for business for anyone in line or not, and some took advantage purchasing items to have signed. While there was not time for us to talk with the writers at length, we did have a chance for some photos and a brief chat. It was great to see so many people come and go through the event. The store owner praised the group saying they were truly nice guys and were very willing to do whatever they could to accommodate as many fans as possible. Marvel.com was also on hand to capture all the excitement and even interviewed us for their site.

Additional signings are scheduled at Midtown throughout the summer, including Neal Adams on July 10th and Jim Shooter and Dennis Calero on July 17th. A full list can be found at MidtownComics.com and you can join their mailing list here. The store provides certificates of authenticity for each signing to go along with all of your new collector’s items. This event was well run, great fun, and I’d recommend a trip to a Midtown signing or an opportunity to meet these creators to any fan.

More images from the event can be seen on our Facebook page.  Don’t forget to become a fan!

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