An American Comic Book Reader In London – Extraordinary Gentlemen

Jake Capps writes for Bleeding Cool;

I just spent five hours in a line wrapping around the back alleys of London’s Soho district. This was my first British queue.  Today Gosh Comics hosted the release of Alan Moore, and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Century 2009.  I arrived at 1030, and found myself a spot about 50 people back from the front door.  Not a bad start.  I have attended comic signings before but this was my first with actual rules.

No more than four items would be signed.

Only Moore/O’Neill League of Extraordinary Gentleman items would be signed.

Tickets would be given out to the people as the queue built.

It broke my heart that I would not be getting my copy of Watchmen, and Swamp Thing signed but these simple rules worked. The line moved quickly when the event started at 2PM, and being able to leave the line to use the bathroom was nothing short of a blessing.

A few years ago I went to Kevin Smith’s 10th anniversary DVD release of Clerks in Los Angeles.  The same event that resulted in his now legendary 12 hour autograph session.  That signing at Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash had absolutely zero rules.  People brought stacks of DVDs, comics, and action figures, and it moved at a snails pace.  In the 9th hour I saw a father take his son to the bathroom, and when he returned a few minutes later his place in line had been absorbed.

I can honestly say British hospitality is alive, and well.  After only a few short minutes the strangers I joined the queue with became friends.  Our conversation ranged from Charles Darwin’s affinity for eating exotic animals to spoiler heavy Prometheus plot points that made me cringe as I have yet to see the movie.

Before I knew it I was standing right in front of Alan Moore.  Mr. Moore was in rare form today humoring questions about beards, birds, and birds in his beard.  He said his preference was “hummingbirds, as an eagle would be too ostentatious”.  When talking about new authors he said “I like it when people fool around with words.  Some people are good at it while others are great.”

And just like that it was over.  Books signed, hands shaken, and pictures taken.  Before going about our separate ways the small group of strangers that I met only five hours ago banded together, and headed out to the pub.  Extraordinary Gentlemen indeed.

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