When I first started going to comics conventions, it was enough to have my favorite writers and artists sign my copies of comics they'd worked on. It was a convenient excuse to meet them and see what they were like for a couple of seconds. Then one day Phil Jiminez offered to draw a quick Wonder Woman sketch for me and I haven't been satisfied with autographs since. Why take a signature when you can have an actual piece of art?
The problem is, that doesn't work for writers, unless you run into one good-natured enough to play along. I've seen Steve Niles draw a smiley face with fangs for a fan, and that was funny and cool, but what if you could get art from your favorite writer that actually reflects the work that he or she is known for?
Wired magazine recently ran a Hemingway-inspired article in which it asked famous sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers to each write a story using only six words. One of my favorites is Alan Moore's: "Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time"
Check out the link, because there's more from the likes of Neil Gaiman, William Shatner, Joss Whedon, Frank Miller, Michael Moorcock, Kevin Smith, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Robert Jordan, amongst many, many others. But also, next time you're at a con and you run into Brian K. Vaughan or Grant Morrison, instead of just getting an autograph or having them scribble something foolish in your sketch book, consider asking them to write you a six-word story.