This week's Metro.
Thanks to all who attended our Charles Burns signing at our Mountain View store yesterday (Tuesday, October 26th, 2010.) We had a great turn-out! around a hundred people came, and we sold lots of copies of "X-ed Out" and "Black Hole." The event was cover-featured in this week's issue of the Metro, with a great article by Richard von Busack. Make sure to read it on-line if you didn't get a printed copy. It's an excellent, and article. I couldn't be happier about it.
Going into the event, I was a little apprehensive since it was on a weekday instead of a week-end. In addition, it was on Tuesday, the day before the shipment arrives, traditionally one of our slowest days. In addition, it was at noon, rather than in the evening, when people were off work. I was afraid that these factors would reduce turn-out, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a great turn-out, and a line for most of the signing time. The line was not too bad, and once you got to the front, Charles spent time with you, so it was well worth the short wait.
The people who attended appreciate what a great artist Burns is, so they managed to fit it into their schedule. I heard quite a few people say that Black Hole was their favorite graphic novel, so those that attended were quite thrilled to meet Charles, and to get that, and his new book signed. Lots of people came up to me and thanked me for putting on the event, and to them, I thank them for the support.
I was also a little worried about meeting Charles. His comics are some of the most genuinely spooky that I've ever read. Also, his pictures and self-portraits suggest that he might be a stern fellow. I was quite pleasently surprised to find Charles to be a nice, down to earth fellow. He's considerate, and smiles easily. He is also a reserved and quiet individual. I have a feeling that it would take a while to really get to know him.
He was very gracious with the fans. He signed everything presented to him, including the event flier, copies of the metro, and "Brick By Brick" the Iggy Pop album that he did the cover for. He posed for photos with anyone who asked. To my complete amazement, he did sketches for anyone who asked, and apologized that the quality was not as high as he could produce if he was at home.
Brick By Brick by Iggy Pop, 1990 illustrated by Charles Burns.
Hanging out at these events, you get to hear some great stores. Someone asked him about getting the assignment for the Iggy Pop cover. He said that he heard from his agent that a record label wanted to see some samples of his work. He was not too thrilled about having to audition until he asked who the recording artist was, and he was informed that it was Iggy Pop. He sent samples in right away by Federal Express. They liked what they saw, and they wanted a cover "yesterday", so Burns scrambled, and whipped it up. He delivered the original art to Iggy Pop in person at Iggy's Manhattan penthouse. Iggy loved it! Allan Ginsburg was there that day, taking lots of pictures. He was supposed to be the photographer for the back cover of the album, so somewhere there's lots of pictures of Iggy Pop and Charles Burns taken by Allan Ginsburg.
After the signing, I took Charles, and David, the literary agent that was driving him around, out to lunch. In conversation, I found out that Charles has two daughters, just like I do. He also mentioned that they both ave very different personalities beginning from their earliest years. The same as mine. They used to get embarrassed by some of the very ordinary things that he did in public, just like mine do. It was interesting to see that we both had some of the same experiences with our daughters.
I felt very privileged to get in on Charles Burns' book tour. He stopped at quite a few book stores, but I believe that Lee's Comics was the only comic book store on the tour. Burns is one of my favorite creators, and it was a pleasure to meet him, and to give the local fans a chance to meet him too. I'm going to keep working to try to bring the very best comics creators to Lee's Comics. Make sure you join my mailing list, so I can tell you about future events.
Here are some photos from the signing, presented in chronological order: