Some book signings are good because customers are lined up out the door and the store owner sells enough copies to pay the rent for the month. Others are good because interesting people show up and have time to talk. More salon than signing, they’re good reminders of why we do the work.
Mark Badger and I signed copies of Networked at Leef Smith’s Mission Comics and Art in San Francisco a few days ago. We weren’t expecting a big crowd, not on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon with the Giants in the playoffs, not the day after the Mission District had spent itself on the literary bacchanal of LitCrawl. But the people who came carved out the time to sit around and talk: people connected to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, a student of Mark’s at the Academy of Art, the publisher of an arts magazine who grew up on my’s comics for DC and Malibu, a young comics artist showing his sketchbook, a video game designer, and a local writer and journalist named Sona Avakian who may or may not write about us for the SF Examiner.
Leef’s store is an airy and nicely lit space, an art gallery as well as a comics shop, one of the nicest places to sit around and talk in the Mission District as an Indian summer afternoon turned to evening. We talked about art and superheroes and social networks and privacy laws and old comic book artists and generational changes and Guatemala and Chad and digital drawings and nonprofits versus for-profits and Cleveland sports and elections and video games. Leef sold a few copies of Networked and gave away some free comics. Mark did a pen and ink drawing of Batman. I signed some old copies of Guy Gardner. Then some of us went for Indian food and learned that the Giants had come from behind in the ninth inning to win game three.
And that, as much as sales figures and lines out the door, is reason enough to write and draw.
We’ll be doing another signing on Saturday the 16th, at Dr. Comics and Mr. Games in Oakland. No idea who’ll show up or what we’ll talk about, but we’re looking forward.