Well I time traveled for the first time this past weekend. I took a trip back to 1992 and the dawn of Image age of comics. Or at least that’s what it felt like, and believe me I’d know, I was there the first time.
The Image Founders reunion signing at Atomic comics went off bigger and better than I would have ever imagined. Seriously, I didn’t expect to be signing non-stop for 8 hours straight for a thousand fans all who waited in the blistering Arizona heat for this experience. The fans were patient and extremely enthusiastic over the course of the marathon signing. First and foremost hats off to Mike Malve the owner of Atomic comics and his hard working staff for going above and beyond the call of duty attending to the needs of the customers, founders and their families. Mike is a standout guy and easily the best promoter in the comics business. This is the fourth event I’ve attended at Atomic comics in the past few years and Mike and his staff always have all the bases covered and put on a great show for the fans and the pro’s.
No one else could have pulled this off. No one else dared try. All 7 original Image owners signing together for the first time ever. A collossal effort at the very least. Mike did it and to his credit it went off without a hitch. Take a bow Mr. Malve, you deserve it.
Joy and I arrived in Phoenix Friday afternoon and were met by Mr. Malve who quickly whisked us to our hotel where we were able to chill for a few hours before gathering for dinner at Todd’s house. Wanda McFarlane had worked for weeks to put the dinner together and the result was a stunning 5 course dinner and one of the most pleasant experiences we’ve had together as a group in the history of Image comics as friends and collaborators.
The conversation was great and we reminisced about our years together. Funny Jim Lee stories seemed to be the theme of the night. Jim couldn’t make the dinner at the last moment due to family scheduling and his presence was missed.
We left the McFarlane’s in the wee hours of the morning and headed back to the hotel to get rested up for Saturdays signing.
We had an early breakfast together with a reporter from Wizard magazine for an upcoming article covering the signing. Cue more reminiscing about old times as well as a debate over wether or not Image comics could ever happen again. Not surprisingly, the verdict was a unanimous no. All agreed that Image comics was a once in a lifetime event that caught lightning in s bottle.
We gathered a few hours later in order to catch our shuttle to Atomic comics. A few of the Atomic comics crew had mentioned that there were people in line since 5am and that the line had swelled to over 300 people already.
The deal with Todd was that he would arrive late, an hour and a half after the start of the signing because he manages his son’s baseball team. The people in line for the six of us would then wait in a separate line for Todd after he arrived. Todd showed up about 90 minutes after we started and stayed an extra hour afterwards to catch everyone up. It went off without a hitch.
The signing went on four 7 hours and we signed each and every comic book that fans gave us. The good times were genuine, the laughs were deep and the smiles were spread all around.
At 9pm we all gathered for dinner to keep the good times rolling. There were more great stories and good times. Truth is, we all like each other a great deal. Sure there were business differences, all of which occurred over 12 years ago, so those are deep in the past. We each have a greater appreciation for the good times and the history we made together.
Following dinner, there was a mini-gathering at the bar that went into the morning and then the inevitable plane ride home, back to reality.
I hope the fans enjoyed the experience as much as we all did.