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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 13 September 2018 at 4:09pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I went to the LCS today to get a long box and, while I was waiting for other customers to check out, I flipped through some back issues and found a Doomsday +1 #11 and decided to pick it up even though I know it's a reprint because I don't have much Charlton stuff by JB. Anyway, as I'm paying for it a guy a little bit older than me (I'm 49) commented on the comic I was purchasing and said, "Doomsday +1. Years and years ago, I was at convention and got John Byrne to sign the first issue of that and he said, 'Why would you have me sign THIS?'" I should note he was smiling when he said this and it didn't seem like he meant this as a bad Byrne story, so much as JB insinuating his early work was not very good. He even said after that after we discussed our mutual love of John Byrne comics that he'd had a file of like 30 comics that day and he ended up getting nervous meeting JB and picking the two worst books for him to sign.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 6:39am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Interesting anecdote, Shane, thanks for sharing.
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 7:00am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I don't think there's such a thing as a "worst" book-- most creators have some affection for all of their work. And I've seen creators light up when someone brings them a "deep cut" book from their early days, because THAT person is almost always a long time and devoted fan.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 7:17am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The guy telling the story may have been smiling, but he seems to have neglected to mention that I would have been, too!

This is an example pf an all too common way "Big Bad Byrne" stories get started. Tone of voice, inflection, expression, get left out, and something said in jest becomes, well, something else entirely.

Elsewhere, I read a transcription of one of my panels in Toronto. Plenty of errors and snarky comments, but, surprisingly, the "host" actually made the point that I range thru a lot of tones and voices on my panels, something that cannot come across in printed words. One has to depend upon the reader to supply context, and, as I have said many a time, the internet is where context goes to die.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 9:58am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Indeed, I wouldn't trust the internet to get "... and JB was smiling"... any better than...

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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 10:05am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 11:01am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

LMAO!
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 1:51pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Odin!
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 9:48pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

The way he told the story I definitely got the vibe that you were joking though he never actually said that. It came through in, as you say, in the tone and inflection and facial expression that he was amused that you were joking around with him about the comic he chose to have signed. He did agree with you though that of all the books to have you sign he didn't make the best choice, although I wasn't sure if he meant that from a resell value or what, as Andrew said, there is no worst book when it comes to a fan's love of a certain comic. The other comic he said he got you to sign was  Next Men #1 and I definitely don't agree that would be a "worst" choice, as that's a great comic and art-wise a vast improvement over your earliest Charlton work. 

Edited by Shane Matlock on 14 September 2018 at 10:20pm
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 9:59pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

If I ever got a chance to have a JB book signed, I'd probably pick Alpha Flight #3 as I think it's one of your best covers ever. 
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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 14 September 2018 at 10:34pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Mine would be the Captain America and Batman one-shot.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 1:35am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Great choice, Wilson. I love that comic. Also loved Darkseid vs. Galactus: The Hunger. JB has done 2 of my 3 favorite DC/Marvel crossovers. My other favorite being the original Superman vs. Spider-Man, the big Treasury sized one circa, I think, 1976. Got it when it came out as a kid. Wish I still had it.
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Jason Scott
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 4:41am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

That's a great anecdote, and I kinda know exactly what you mean. Because the very same thing happened to me. Alas not with our host, as I've never been lucky enough to meet JB, but way back in the 80es I did meet Chris Claremont when he came to do a signing at the Glasgow Forbidden Planet. And it all occurred because I asked him to sign a copy  of this:-


Now to be clear, I was also getting him to sign a copy of the actual Dark Phoenix story that went out in the regular X-men books. But for whatever reason, this issue somehow landed at the top of the books I was giving him to sign. He immediately, laughed and exclaimed, "Wait! You're asking me to sign this? The crappy version?"

But even as a nervous kid, I could tell he was just having fun and playing to the crowds a bit. And he pretty soon did tell me that he was just joking with me, and that he'd be happy to sign it. So it was just a mock indignation thing on his part. But in relating this in text, I always have to be make sure I'm explaining that properly. As I imagine it would be very easy to turn that into a 'bad' story if you're not careful to explain the tone of it. I suspect this is how whatever Bad Byrne stories might be out there, get their origin. Like a typed version of the old Chinese whispers game!
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 5:27am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

If I met JB, and he was signing books, I'd probably ask him to sign an issue of JBNM or the Puck solo issue of ALPHA FLIGHT. I'm not an autograph hound, but he is my favorite comic book creator, sooo...

(That's if I were unable to build up the courage to respectfully ask to take a picture with him.)
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 5:29am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Hmmm... Looking back at what I just wrote, I am surprised to see that I didn't say, "...a copy of FANTASTIC FOUR."
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 6:20am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I actually do have one signed comic by JB that a friend gave me back in 1993, Uncanny X-Men #121. He was a mutual John Byrne fan and I had just given him about 20 other John Byrne comics that I'd gotten as extras during a Mile High comics sale because I knew he was a fan. I wasn't really expecting anything in return but he gifted me his signed copy of X-Men #121 and I was blown away. I will never part with it. Same with the copy of Silver Surfer #1 (volume 1) that another friend gave me for my birthday. Both books are probably pretty valuable but their value to me is both sentimental and I deeply love both comics so I'll never part with them and one day they will pass to my son. All of that said, it would be really nice to meet JB myself and get him to sign a book or two. I've never taken more than two comics to have signed no matter what the actual limit is as I feel it's unfair to the people waiting in line. The last time I was in a signing line it was for Amanda Connor and people had stacks and short boxes with them and the line was painfully slow. I brought a copy of the Pro to have her sign. One comic. And not to sell on E-bay later either. I can't stand speculators or the speculator mentality. They get comics out of the price range of people who genuinely love the medium and buy books to actually read them and keep them.

Also, great story, Jason and great comic to get signed. And, indeed, the context and tone of what is said is every bit as important as what is actually said. It could misconstrue what JB, in the case of the guy I met at the LCS, or Claremont, in your case, said in jest to being cruel and mocking, which in both instances was not the case at all. 


Edited by Shane Matlock on 15 September 2018 at 6:23am
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 6:26am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Wallace, I think a JBNM is a great choice as is that Puck issue of Alpha Flight. JB's Alpha Flight remains one of my favorite comics runs ever. When the guy telling me the story about getting the Doomsday +1 told me the other "worst" choice of the two books he got signed that day was JBNM #1, I actually said, I thought that was a pretty great choice. I think he was gauging it possibly more from making the book more valuable and the value of a comic to me is in how much I love it, not what it's worth.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 8:54am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

My copy of the Phoenix issue got the stamp. Loved it. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 9:26am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

 Shane Matlock wrote:
...and the value of a comic to me is in how much I love it, not what it's worth.

Love you. 


Edited by Robbie Parry on 15 September 2018 at 9:26am
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Jason Scott
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 1:14pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Thanks Shane! It was a fun meeting. And despite selling most of my comics collection later in the 90es, I do still have that issue to this day.
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 3:06pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Jason, yes, there are certain comics you hold onto even when you sell the rest. During some financial hardships I sold most of my Byrne Uncanny X-Men run, but I didn't part with the 121 my friend gave me as a gift. I've recently started repurchasing the Byrne X-Men issues I parted with and, man, do I wish I'd never parted with them because issues I paid 10 dollars for back in the early nineties are going anywhere from 40-75 dollars. Ugh. As pricey as omnibuses are, as a reader, you're probably better off just getting the issues that way. 

Robbie, back atcha, man. I also share your love of letters pages. I've been glad to see them coming back in some titles over the last few years. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 3:09pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Shane, what titles are those? I can think of SAGA and IMMORTAL HULK. I can't think of any DC ones. I hope it becomes a trend. Glad you like letters pages!
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 3:16pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

Of the books I buy, Saga, Kill or Be Killed (all of Brubaker's books have them though sometimes it's just Bru), Lazarus (great letter's page there, very informative), Black Magick, Paper Girls, plus a few Marvel titles, but I think you're right about DC not having them anymore which sucks.
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Robert Kowalewski II
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 4:43pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I got him to sign one issue of Doomsday +1, a Space: 1999 issue, Fearbook & Whipping Boy when I went to MOC in 2004...
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Shane Matlock
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Posted: 15 September 2018 at 4:59pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Robert, I loved Fearbook. I've been wanting to read Whipping Boy for years. I keep meaning to get a copy on Ebay to read.

Robbie, speaking of letters pages just reminded me of my favorite letters pages/column ever, "A Flame About This High" from John Byrne's Next Men. 

Edit: On digging out my old JBNM issues I discovered the letter's page was actually called "Next!" and I've been incorrectly remembering the whole thing as "A Flame About This High" which was just the name of the column JB wrote at the end of the "Next!" letters page. Probably because that was my favorite part of the whole thing.


Edited by Shane Matlock on 15 September 2018 at 6:09pm
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