Waking up sore after a really crazy day at NYCC...
First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for the tips and advice and great information that exists on these forums.
I spent many nights prepping books with window bags, labeling, and packing everything i needed. I brought about 30 books, using two smaller folios and two larger ones with top loaders protecting my goods(more on this in a moment). I ended up with a backpack and a hand bag with a poster tube just in case I purchased anything. Lugging around 30 books this way was heavy and not ideal but doable.
I also printed out and mapped out all the locations for artists and signings i needed to get to and developed a schedule to follow.
I woke up and drove from upstate NY at 4am so that I could arrive at con early enough to be in queue 1.
here is how my day went:
when they let us in I was a big flustered, i ran up and grabbed a dc foil cover i wanted (turns out there were plenty of these all day). I ran from here right to cgc to get a witness for a 10am signing with Kierron Gillen. After waiting in a small line I was told the witnesses were only downstairs,
I ran downstairs and grabbed a witness who came up and waited with me. Kieron was awesome but liked to chat so this took a bit to get my two books done.
This was where i learned my first critical lesson. Large folios with top loaders was a mistake. So much easier to have smaller folios that you can pull books right out of and be ready. I struggled with this all day.
After Gillen, it was back downstairs to drop off a blank for a sketch then back into the witness line, which was horrifyingly long.
I had preordered an exclusive variant for The Plot that had a signing window that i was definitely going to miss given the line. After waiting 20 minutes or so with little movement, I thought I was doomed for sure.
Thankfully, the nice staff at CGC booth heard my plight and came to the rescue by sending someone up with me. This wouldn't be the first time in the day that the staff went out of their way to guide and help me. I was truly impressed with how nice everyone was.
After getting my exclusive (hope i picked the 9.8 but all of them had corner issues). The witness saw I had a ton of books and was nice enough to come down to artist alley to help me get a few more done. I don't know if they are supposed to but once again I was super grateful! In hindsight, i probably should be tipping/bribing these guys, haha.
He helped me get my Marvel 1000 by Ramos, which I wanted in black but he somehow pulled a red sharpie out of nowhere and signed before I had a chance to request. Bummer, oh well, still looked great. This book was my #1 must do so I was grateful it was done.
Next was Artgerm where I had four books done. I was still fumbling to get books out of my bag, the pressure felt real.
At this point my witness was back off to the line. I was struggling with trying not to harm all the books I was holding and I ultimately decided that I was going to go submit these instead of trying to get everything on the same invoice (i really failed at this and ended up with like 6 invoices, ouch shipping costs).
The line upstairs for submissions was insane earlier in the day but I was lucky and it was small when I arrived. Again staff was great and they helped me with paperwork. I also dropped off a book for private signing. This was another mistake as i had a few more of these but needed sigs first, i failed badly at optimizing my invoices. It still felt good to dump some weight off my back.
At this point I was hungry but determined. I went back to the dreaded witness line. It was a little over an hour long. I took this time to eat some snacks. It moved a bit quicker at the end as they called in more people to help.
My next witness was new to the process, but he helped me knock out a few biggies. First I picked up a sketch from John Timms, my very first sketch cover, very excited and it turned out awesome!
Next I had the same witness follow me to Klaus Janson where i got three books done. One was for the miller signing, I had him bag that separate. One was a copy of X-Men Omega 1 (a book i was convinced would be worth millions when i was a kid). And finally, i had a perfect copy of Gambit 1 (my fav book growing up).
Lee weeks was right next to Klaus’ table so i grabbed his sig on Gambit and had the same witness take me to Hanna (Omega) and Mackie (Gambit). These books were super sentimental and it was so cool to get them done. Cant wait to show off the Gambit as each of the three have such nice signatures and listened to where I wanted them placed. I didn’t window bag this as the locations were all on the book edges. I also must say, Weeks, Janson, and Mackie were some of the nicest people i’ve ever met.
At this point I relinquished my witness, I was incredibly happy he helped me get these books done.
I headed up to IDW to get ready for my John Byrne signings. I had a master plan to get some of my x-men keys signed by him then Claremont for green yellow label. Unfortunately, Byrne was not coming as he was sick. Huge bummer. I couldn’t even get my artifact edition preorder signed since I would not be back. Ultimately, I decided to cancel the preorder and left a little heartbroken.
I dropped by Middleton’s booth and they had their own process for cgc sig series. More cost in the end but I was grateful to be able to drop three books off (including the foil i grabbed in the morning) and get that checked off my list.
So back to the line I went. Here I learned the horrifying news that the cgc booth upstairs was no longer taking submissions as they had too many books! They were now asking people not to cash and to bring the books back tomorrow. I only had a Friday pass, i didn't know if this meant I should stop my signing marathon and just turn in my invoice before it was too late (what if lower booth reached max!). People in line were telling me not to risk it, so when i got through the line (another hour) I asked what i should do. The staff let me know I was fine since I had a Friday only badge and sent me back out with a new witness.
This witness was clearly a pro. We headed to Lupacchino but she wasn't there, so off to Jen Bartel who had a line. He asked what else, so we checked on silvestri who was also gone,
So back to Jen Bartel to wait in line. Witness broke off to deal with others and said he would return in time. Unfortunately Jen had to use the restroom, which I'm sure is not easy for the poor ladies at NYCC. When my witness returned he was patient and waited with me. He was super nice to talk to while I waited. I asked the person running Jen’s booth if there was a cgc fee and she told me, to my horror, that Jen only did CGC at the booth signings upstairs. Thank god I had a pro with me as he informed them that they are not allowed to attend those. Jen didn’t know this so she was now more than willing to allow witnesses when she returned.
Once done with this, the witness suggested we check back on Lupacchino, who was there sketching away. I got My Naomi 1 variant signed then we ran over to David Walker for a second signature.
I decided it was time to submit this batch before my luck ran out. I felt super accomplished. At the booth, the staff were so nice and helpful filling out my paperwork. Here i had to do a few different invoices as i didn't want to press the sketch and Omega 1 was a chromium cover. I also submitted the book signed by Janson for Millers private signing, so three more invoices (ouch).
I had some time before my Warren Ellis signing, so I figured I would go browse the floor. Upstairs, I found desert wind booth where Larry Lieber was sketching away. On a whim I picked up a western book at my local shop in case I had the chance at the con to get his signature. I decided to grab his signature on it without witness as I didn’t have time to wait for another witness.
After some window shopping, I headed to the Warren Ellis lottery signing at 7. There were no details on this signing. Even the staff knew nothing. I had two books i wanted, one was for a helpful staff member at my local store. Sadly they said one only or a poster (they later decided to give away unsigned posters). Warren was super nice and personalized a signature inside a trade for me. This was unwitnessed. Bummed I couldn’t get one more for my local shop.
When I got done here, I was about to collapse from exhaustion. I headed towards the exit as I had a long drive home.
As I passed Artist Alley, I noticed it was surprisingly empty with no line for witnesses. I looked down at my bag and said why not and off I went. I grabbed two signatures from Claremont. One was gold and he must have used some sort of paint pen, it really dug into the book and must take a long time to dry as even though i waited, it still smudged (RIP). I then took the same two books and witness over to Silvestri who was still around! Arthur Adams and McLeod were already gone and were the only two on my list I missed (plus Byrne).
All in all I got 20 books done with witnesses (two without) from 19 different artists. Holy smokes!
What I learned:
-ensure you can easily access your books
-let paint pens dry much longer than sharpies
-request colors before you hand the book to an artist
-be friendly to your witnesses and they will hook you up
-CGC staff are amazing
-Rich Henn is a saint, that was hard work and I can only imagine how many books he brings.