Molly Jackson: Autograph Dilemmas

autographsIt’s the fall con season! I love this time of year. It seems like there is a con every weekend and I can finally wear hoodies again. I really love wearing my hoodie while hanging with people on con lines. This past weekend was Baltimore Comic-Con, where I was sadly not hoodie in attendance but check out Emily Whitten’s recap! Over the weekend at BCC, what seemingly started as a small conversation eventually grew into a larger one on the Internet: Should comic creators be charging for their autographs?

It is a tricky conversation. A lot of people, including fans and creators, have very strong opinions on the matter. Many creators and fans think that charging is asking too much of fans, while others remark that charging for autographs is wildly done by many celebrities and no one complains.

The big argument seems to be that the creator already got paid when the book was bought and asking for autographs is too much. However, unless the book was bought at the show, the creator still needs to pay for a table and for attendance.

The other issue in all of this is the monetary gain for fans. Autographs add value to the book for the owners. Some creators only charge if they are signing for a CGC graded book; others charge for a large stack. In either case, the books signed might be resold for a higher price.

If I want their signature, it will cost me in some way. Every time I run for a signing ticket or sit in a line for multiple hours, it is costing me something. Time or money; I prioritize what it is worth to me. The same goes for the creator. They do not have to spend their time at a table in a smelly, loud, poorly ventilated, non-temperature-controlled convention hall. They determined why it was important for them to miss out on other things to pay for a table to be there.

Creators and fans have a symbiotic relationship. Creators give fans entertainment and fans give creators support. Yes, there is a monetary aspect. Fans buy product from creators. In fact, this is something I strive to do. If there is a book I want and I know I’ll see the writer or artist at a con, I do wait to buy the book. It seems like the right thing to do, plus I get the added bonus of telling someone how much I appreciate their work.

In the end, I guess I’m taking the non-committal way out from this conversation. Each creator should do what works best for them. As a fan, I will find a way to make it work for me. I am curious on everyone’s take though; what side of the fence are you on?