…and how I ended up getting a Green Arrow sketch from him at WonderCon 2019.
I was not planning to get a sketch from Neal this past weekend, though I have admired his art since I was a teenager, but here is the story of how I ended up with one.
Sunday at WonderCon, late in the day, I headed down to the show floor with my friend Trevor. He had seen a booth with a really good price on the slipcased Green Lantern/Green Arrow run by Denny O’Neil & Neal Adams:
It was $60, which is a great deal, less than it cost when it was originally published (which was when I bought my copy of this collection of what are probably my favorite GL/GA stories ever). We found the booth, he bought the book, and we headed over to Neal Adams’ booth:
Score! Nobody in line! Up he walked to Neal and asked about getting the book signed.
“That’ll be $50 for the signature.” Neal informed him.
“You want $50 for an autograph?” Trevor asked.
“No,” Neal replied, “I NEED $50 for an autograph!”… at least he had a sense of humor about it.
Neal explained that he was far cheaper than Stan Lee used to be… Stan had been charging upwards of $100-$130 in the last few years, and that maybe it was time to consider raising the price of his own autographs up beyond $50. I pointed out that Stan had a lot of “handlers” and hangers-on who were likely inflating the cost of the autographs because there were a LOT of people getting paid and a lot of overhead as his celebrity grew. Neal admitted that this was true and pointed out that he didn’t need a lot of people doing the heavy lifting for him. “I can bench 300 lbs” he declared. “Go ahead…feel these biceps.” he added, making a muscle. Trevor reached out and felt his arm declaring it to be quite impressive. “You too”, said Neal, motioning to me. I felt his bicep and it was both massive and steel hard. Certainly not a guy to mess with, I’m sure he could wipe the floor with me if he was of a mind to.
In any event, Trevor politely declined the $50 autograph, Neal understood, and as we turned to leave there was a guy behind us waiting to have books signed. It turned out he had 4 to be signed and a CGC witness with him as well. He was more than happy to plop down $200 for the signatures, so clearly the $50 price tag was not a deterrent to everyone.
As we were leaving, there was an open portfolio of very nice inked original sketches by Neal. “Hey, these are $200… and they’re signed. That’s like $150 for the sketch and $50 for the signature.” I quipped. Trevor & I looked through the portfolio and given what we had seen sketches from other artists selling for, plus his ‘just an autograph’, prices, these seemed like a pretty good deal. Trevor settled on a nice Hal Jordan GL, while I chose the Green Arrow shown at the top of this blog. This is my absolute favorite Green Arrow costume/look, and it was designed by Neal, so I thought this was a great choice for a sketch.
We brought the sketches back over, paid for them, and chatted a while longer. I must say that Neal was in a great mood, very chatty, and gave us a superb fan-pro interaction memory. Ultimately no $50 autographs, but we both walked away with a sketch and a great story to tell.
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