Only in New York City can you win a raffle to a Dream Team comic book signing that includes Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Brian Azzarello, and Andy Kubert; and meet an ex-con and an ex-cop on the same day. You just can’t make this stuff up.
I took my usual ride into Grand Central Station, NYC, via Metro North, and then headed to the subway. After jumping onto the #4 train, a pan-handler addressed us riders. Correction (and in my over thirty years of riding the subway, this is the first time I have been asked for money in exchange for a book), a writer, who happened to be an ex-con, began marketing his book. The title of the book was ‘Changin Your Game Plan: How I used Incarceration as a Stepping-Stone for SUCCESS.’ For a mere ten bucks I was offered a freshly new minted autographed copy. It was the holidays and I was in a good mood–plus I can be superstitious about what I think are odd coincidences, given that I was on my way to a different kind of book signing–so I said fuck it, and the exchange was made. After all, the “game is the game.”
I haven’t read the book in it’s entirety (I read some of it on my train ride home), but I have to say, there are some really good anecdotes in there. Replace the prison institution and slang, with a corporate setting and vocabulary, and they are eerily similar. I highly recommend the chapters: ‘Playing the So-Called Game’, ‘Staying Sucker Free’, ‘Reversing the Hustle’, and ‘Ballin a Budget’. You can check the author out here: Randy Kearse.
Soon thereafter, the train railed into the Fulton Street Station, where I hopped off, and walked my way down to the Midtown Comics store. There I followed the standard instructions to wait in the around the corner alleyway for my ticket, and turn, to meet the Dream Team. I got there an hour early, which was great because I had a good spot on line, but sucked because I had to wait a good hour outside in the cold. To make the time fly faster, I struck a conversation with the guy behind me. We hit it off. We talked about comic books, action figures, life, sports, the weather, the cold, and food. I then told him if he wanted to, we could meet at Sophie’s (a nearby popular Cuban franchise in NYC) after the signing to eat before we headed back home. I even showed him my newly purchased book, ‘Changin Your Game Plan’, and he got a laugh out of that.
Awkward Faraway Selfie
Not soon thereafter, we were called into the warmth of the comic book store, and we slowly made our way towards the signing table. I was sadly disappointed to find out that they were indeed strictly enforcing the ‘only two books’ rule, and no picture taking was allowed; but I did sneak in an awkward far away selfie (with permission).
I went with getting Frank Miller and Klaus Janson to sign my now no longer shrink wrapped leather bound copy of ‘The Complete Frank Miller Batman‘, and the Dream Team my hard cover copy of DKIII #1–both to be forever treasured.
I was then quickly and efficiently ushered out; and with my signed copies safely nestled in my backpack, I then went to get something to eat at Sophie’s.
I ordered my plate, and a few minutes later, my signing buddy arrived and sat with me for dinner. He then takes off his jacket, and I notice that his sweatshirt is embroidered with an American Flag, and underneath are the abbreviated initials ‘PBA‘. Being an ex-New Yorker, and familiar with matters of the law (both sides of the fence by the way), I know that only two kinds of people wear clothing with those initials in NYC: Cops and those who donate money to Cops (via the Police Benevolent Association). So I asked him if he was a cop. Turns out he is a retired cop, which got a silent chuckle out of me, since no less than 45 minutes ago, I was showing him a signed book I bought off an ex-con on the subway. Only in NYC can such a thing happen.
Anyway, that fact didn’t really change anything, he was really a cool guy to talk to, and it made the signing that much more a pleasant experience (for the record we exchanged names, but I didn’t get permission from him to blog about this, so I’m not posting it and keeping it anonymous; I did give him my card with my email address, and if he ever does contact me, I may ask permission and update this post). After our delicious Cuban meal, we both headed to the subway, and went home for the night to watch the Jets game– with the score as of this writing 9 -10, Dallas’ favor. Go Jets! And thank you Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Midtown Comics for another awesome signing!