I have been fortunate enough to get a number of my favorite cartoonists’ autographs. I am by no means an autograph hound, or autograph seeker, or autograph fanatic. If I’m at a convention where, say, Craig Thompson is signing his latest book, for sure I’ll get his John Hancock. But I’m not going to track him down on the streets of Portland and throw the hefty tome at his right hand in the hopes he will spontaneously sign it.
Cartoonists are, as a general rule, nice people. This attribute, along with a few other circumstances, created a perfect storm of sorts to get me my favorite autograph. James Kochalka, (who is now Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont!), was in Chicago signing a little book he co-wrote with Craig Thompson. My friend Charlotte was kind enough to stop by the comics shop and get James to sign the book for me. I hadn’t had the chance to meet James and he was (and still is) one of my favorite cartoonists. Wondering why? Go read American Elf, then report back to me.
Charlotte arrived at the shop late and the signing was winding down. James and Craig were nice (there’s that word again) enough to sign the book despite their exhaustion and massive hand cramping. James was so tired, in fact, that he signed the book to himself, from me. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on when I got this book in the mail: