I'm a big hardcover collector, in fact, most of the comics I read today are hardcovers. I have no patience anymore to wait 5 or 6 months for a storyline to conclude, I'd rather wait a few months more and get a hardcover and read the entire thing in one sitting (that reminds me, I have to hop on Amazon and order Volume 9 of the Walking Dead). Besides the convenience of having an entire storyline in one place, I just like the way hardcovers look, and with that I bring you one of my prized hardcovers, Astro City: Confession.
Published in 1998, this hardcover collects the Confession storyline, featuring the Confessor, an Astro City hero and his sidekick, Altar Boy. The story mixes super heroes and horror, and is one of the best Astro City stories out there. It also includes on of the best and most emotional stories ever, "The Nearness of You" from Wizard's Astro City 1/2. For a short story it packs an emotional punch, and stays with you long after you finish reading it.
The Confession hardcover is also the rarest Astro City hardcover, limited to 1200 and featuring a signature plate signed by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, and Alex Ross, my copy is number 964.
My favorite part about this hardcover is the story behind how I got it. Back in the Summer of 1998 there was a comic convention in Des Moines, and one of the guests was Brent Anderson. Mr. Anderson was the artist on the comic book that got me into collection, X-Men Annual #5, so I was definitely going to see him. When I met him at the convention I want all gushing fanboy, telling him how influential he was in turning me into a Geek and all that. He was very nice and accommodating, as I am sure he had heard all of that before hundreds of times. As I finished my gushing, I noticed the Confessions hardcover he had brought and I asked him if it was for sale He said it was just a display to show people that it had just been published. a bit dejected, I thanked him for his time and went off to enjoy the rest of the convention.
As I wandered around looking for bargains, my eyes caught a glimpse of another Confession hardcover at a dealer table. Not wasting a second, I produced $50 and scooped up my new prize. I immediately made my way back to Brent Anderson. When he saw that I had found a copy not five minutes after we talked, he was a bit surprised. and I decided to use that surprise to make my copy an even more limited edition.
I asked Mr. Anderson if he would do a quick pencil sketch of the Confessor, and he was gracious enough to comply, even though he told me it had been a while since he had drawn him. He took my copy and a few minutes later I had a beautiful sketch of the Confessor, which really looks great on the parchment of the pages.
There is no substitute for going to a comic book convention, large or small, and it's moments like this that really make it worth while. Thank you to Brent Anderson, I really hope I said that enough back them in 1998!