The Sig Slayer Chronicles

The Alan Moore Unicorn

BY: Mike “The Sig Slayer”

Anyone who is a comic signature aficionado knows that an Alan Moore “sig” ranks amongst the rarest signatures to obtain on books from your personal collection. In today’s comics era, any Alan Moore signatures sold on the aftermarket are instantly met with skepticism or disinterest. Skepticism because of the signature’s authenticity. Or, others may be disinterested because the signature might be on a less popular Moore story.

Then there’s the myth that Alan Moore hates mainstream comics, and really pop culture in general these days. Many collectors in the US find it hard to believe that Moore signed any comic, especially over the last 20 years. Here’s an excerpt from a recent article in GQ about the perception many people have about Alan Moore:

“When I first protested having my intellectual properties stolen,” Moore says, “the reaction from a lot of the fans was, ‘He’s a crazy, angry guy.’ He’s just inexplicably angry about absolutely everything. He wakes up in the morning, angry with his pillow. He eats his breakfast cereal while being angry with it. He’s angry about everything, so, therefore, nothing that he seems to be upset about is of any consequence. This is just an angry person. Alan Moore says, ‘Get off my lawn.’”

To add insult to injury, Moore has only visited America twice and hasn’t been since 1989 and has no plans of returning. So if we factor in that Moore has disowned all of his popular work, and hasn’t made any US appearances in over 30 years, it’s easy for signature collectors to believe that Moore hasn’t signed any books since the late 1980s, which would make Moore’s signature on comics very rare.

Fast forward to the current CGC era where many comic collectors have a “slab it or trash it” mentality because many collectors covet comic encapsulation over reading in the belief that comic encapsulation increases its value. Or, signed comics must be witnessed by CGC representatives in order for the signature to be deemed as the “real deal”. If you subscribe to this ideology then you must believe the Alan Moore signature train is OVER.

Because CGC is an American based company that was established in the year 2000, there have only been a handful of Alan Moore CGC signings. The first CGC signing in 2011 is the only documented case in which Moore willingly signed notable works like Batman: The Killing Joke, V For Vendetta, or The League for Extraordinary Gentlemen. So far, there are no Watchmen issues signed by Moore in the CGC census.

That’s why when I saw a listing for a signed, remarqued Watchmen #1 by Alan Moore, I had to try to get it to use it as an example to learn more about Alan Moore and his public appearances.

Before I continue, I have to remind you, the Stash Fam, of our philosophy when buying aftermarket signatures: Most aftermarket comic signatures signed by comic creators are REAL! [Click here for more Sig Science] Comic creators aren’t celebrities. Most people don’t know the names of Geoff Johns, Joshua Williamson, or Sheldon Moldolff, let alone care to forge their autographs. In my nearly 20 year experience of exclusively collecting signed comics, the biggest mishap behind buying aftermarket comic signatures is generally when sellers aren’t aware of whose signature is on the book. I often correct sellers on eBay and many times the sellers are family members of former collectors that appreciate the advice.

However, the three most popular signatures in modern comics (Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, and Jim Lee), I often see the most forgery attempts. So there is a correlation between popularity and forgery. Is Alan Moore added to this list now? Rest assured, no one’s forging Chris Burham’s signature. Fortunately, we still live in an era where collectors believe defacing a comic is considered blasphemy and sig slaying is a minority practice.

Moving on. The Alan Moore remarque.

Before I bought the signed Watchmen #1, I had to research when this book could have potentially been signed. After scouring the internet, I found out that Alan Moore had many public appearances in the 2000s, just not in the US. From 2008-2011, Alan Moore made appearances at Gosh comics and Orbital comics in which he signed many fan favorites. There are even videos on YouTube of the aforementioned signings.

On YouTube, fans had to request for unpersonalized autographs, and signature placement because Moore typically personalizes and signs in the interior of books:

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More YouTube vids:

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If I was a betting man, and if this is authentic, I’d wager that this Watchmen #1 was signed between 2009 and 2011. Why? Cover signatures is a phenomenon that started during the mid to late 1990s. It was customary for creators to sign the first page or first splash page of a comic. Cover signatures really ramped up after the advent of CGC. You can’t see a first page autograph if the book is “frozen in carbonite”. Below you will see plenty of signed comics during this time frame as well as various examples of signature placement. Click here to see someone who has the most Alan Moore signatures I’ve ever seen!

If there are plenty of documented Moore signatures, then why do collectors believe Moore’s signature is rare?

Blame “Before Watchmen” and The Watchmen TV show. In 2012, DC expanded upon Moore’s Watchmen universe, creating a prequel anthology series. Then, in 2019 Warner Brothers released a Watchmen sequel television series. Representatives at DC Comics contacted Moore for clarification on some of his creations that soured an already contentious relationship. Here’s Moore’s take:

“There was an incident—probably a concluding incident, for me. I received a bulky parcel, through Federal Express, that arrived here in my sedate little living room. It turned out to contain a powder blue barbecue apron with a hydrogen symbol on the front.

And a frank letter from the showrunner of the Watchmen television adaptation, which I hadn’t heard was a thing at that point. But the letter, I think it opened with, “Dear Mr. Moore, I am one of the bastards currently destroying Watchmen.” That wasn’t the best opener. It went on through a lot of, what seemed to me to be, neurotic rambling. “Can you at least tell us how to pronounce ‘Ozymandias’?” [Another of the vigilante characters in Watchmen.] I got back with a very abrupt and probably hostile reply telling him that I’d thought that Warner Brothers were aware that they, nor any of their employees, shouldn’t contact me again for any reason. I explained that I had disowned the work in question, and partly that was because the film industry and the comics industry seemed to have created things that had nothing to do with my work, but which would be associated with it in the public mind. I said, “Look, this is embarrassing to me. I don’t want anything to do with you or your show. Please don’t bother me again.”

This sentiment is why between 2012 and 2017, Alan Moore’s last public signings, he declined to sign any non- creator owned books. This is also why you will mostly find Moore’s Avatar Press work as his most signed comics in the CGC census. Here’s a promotion for a signing for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Click below to learn more.

After all this research and communicating with the seller (and having him go through hell), I pulled the trigger and bought the signed Watchmen #1. The seller accused me of being a scammer. The way I made the seller squirm, I’m inclined to think the sig could be legit. And for the reasons stated above, some friends and fellow collectors doubted the signature’s authenticity.

Then the thought occurred to me that years down the line the very thing can happen to my collection. With no knowledge of the past, people could doubt the illustrious achievement known as the “Stash”. I have books in my collection many wouldn’t think exist, so who knows what cool unknown stuff is out there.

Collector’s in the community have reached out to warn me of the things that I already knew, but couldn’t provide new information with regard to this seller getting busted for forgery, or books from this seller coming back unverified by CBCS. This signature is consistent with dozens of authentic examples online, the one outlier is the remarque. That remark could have easily been requested by a fan prior to 2012. I request cool, unique stuff all the time from A-list comic book talent on raw books. All because something is not common, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

There is no way to absolutely prove that this is an authentic Alan Moore signature, just like Beckett and CBCS can’t absolutely prove it with their signature verification program. In fact, I trust my instincts evaluating comic signatures over anyone’s. I provided several authentic examples of Alan Moore’s signature similar to this Watchmen #1. The mode of the signature is irregular, being a paint marker, but in the second Youtube clip, you see Moore signing and there are paint markers on the table.

Let’s end with the huge questions: did Alan Moore actually draw a remarque on this Watchmen cover? Was it requested by a fan? Did Alan Moore draw on the cover because of his disdain for the Watchmen? Or did a scam ebay seller forge this? There’s arguments on either side.

Are there fake signature sellers on ebay? Absolutely. Help me expose those frauds that make it hard for collectors of raw signed comics and drive others feed the beast known as CGC. As far as this book, without the facts, I can argue for cases in either direction. All I can say for certain is that the person that sold this book to me is not happy and thinks I’m a scam artist.

Is this signed Watchmen #1 real? Or did some sinister sicko spend time to painstakingly mimic Moore’s signature to ultimately forge it onto a $60 to $100 raw book? Better yet, did some diabolical dastardly demon program a autopen with a paint marker to fabricate one of the most rare signed collectibles in modern comics? A Watchmen #1 with a cover remarque?

You be the judge.