Just read this article over at Bleeding Cool, about comics creators charging (or not) for autographs at cons:
For as long as I can remember, Neal Adams was the only guy doing this (and he even employed a carnival barker to stand in the aisle in the artist alley to try to lure people into his multi-table set-up at the last show I saw him at, which was also the first time I’d seen that, or seen that allowed). I’m not mad at Neal Adams – he’s doing what he can get away with, considering his resume and contributions to comics. According to this other article, some other creators are starting to follow suit, and there’s some disagreement about the practice.
Truth be told, it’s not a couple of comics people charging for their signatures that makes cons (and the creators, specifically) come off as second rate; it’s the fact that cons routinely bring in media guests who have no problem charging insane amounts of money to sign things. Since this isn’t really a common practice (yet) in the comics world, creators exist in a world where the bold prosper, and those that don’t charge for every second of proscribed interaction look like they can’t, and therefore aren’t worth the same as Debbie Gibson or the Honky Tonk Man. If you’re trying to ply your trade in an environment where two seconds of TV time means you can charge $50 for a signature and the lack of those two seconds of TV time mean you’re just some grubby (sneer) artist, con-goers shouldn’t be surprised if creators have to fire back by charging for something that used to be free.
Comics is one of the few art forms where you can still meet the people behind the work that you love and actually talk to them like they were people instead of shiny golden gods. Maybe we should all appreciate that while it’s still (mostly) the case, but I wouldn’t wait too long.