Finally, it all comes around. The past few years have been all about firsts when it came to conventions. Everything was new! No more, this was my second time attending Baltimore Comic-Con, and thankfully it was even better than before! Plus it lasted longer – after the success of last year’s show a third day was added, making the whole thing a Friday through Sunday affair. It’s true that the first day was a little slow in terms of attendance, but for those present it was an excellent opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Exhibitor Hall, as well as get signatures from big name creators without the lines that inevitably took shape later.
And, yes! There were a lot of excellent creators in attendance, may of which I was incredibly excited to see. Unlike previous conventions I made a point to hunt down signatures. From Gail Simone, to Mark Waid, Paul Levitz, Garth Ennis, George Pérez, Greg Capullo, Cliff Chiang, Francesco Francavilla, Cully Hamner, Carla Speed McNeil, Rafer Roberts, Jeremy Bastian, Matt Wagner, David Petersen, Paul Pope, Joe Quinones, Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Charles Soule, Jeff Stokely, Michael Alan Nelson, James Tynion IV, and Bryan J.L. Glass – I caught them all! Whew! While this involved a good amount of time spent in line, it was well worth it, and mostly mitigated by the awesome fans around me. Conversations sparked up, and generally made time pass just a little quicker, even when I spent two hours waiting in line for Pérez.
Speaking of whom I was able to get my hands on a convention special of Sirens #1, and then get it signed by the man, which was quite excellent! Fun fact, all of the women in the comic are based on real life people, many of whom will be attending conventions with him in the future (including his wife). Also, Francavilla’s Black Beetle: Necrologue is still happening, it has simply been delayed temporarily. I got to speak with him briefly while getting my copy of Black Beetle #0 signed, and was delighted learn this. Similarly, McNeil has a bunch of stuff coming up soon, none of which has been formally announced, but it seems incredibly exciting – certainly something to keep an eye out for!
Between running around and getting everything signed, I was impressed with the strong presence of publishers like Boom!, Nobrow, Top Shelf, and Fulcrum. Baltimore Comic-Con is certainly a comic-book-centric convention, and without either Marvel or DC on the show floor, this left it open to many other publishers. The majority of which had more of an alternative flavor. This, married with the presence of big-names from the mainstream, generated a very unique and eclectic flavor. One that exposed attendees to many, very awesome, creations, and didn’t limit the experience to just the same ol’ stuff.
For instance on the last day while chatting with the writers of Hacktivist, Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing,at the Boom! table (which, by the way, was excellent – between Archaia, Boom! Box, KaBoom!, and their regular stuff, they easily had the best looking table at the show), we suddenly had George Pérez materialize nearby, who then engaged us in conversation. It was surreal, and a testament to the mixture of great creators! It’s the kind of chance meeting that reminds just how amazing the world of comics can be. Whether new or old there is always something to enjoy, and all of which is vibrant with a sort of excitement and energy you rarely get to see anywhere else.
If Boom! had the best table, then Nobrow easily had the greatest concentration of awesome books. This was their first time attending a Comic-Con, and seemed to do well in spite of branching outside of shows they typically attend (which, by the way, they will be at Small Press Expo, so if you missed them, definitely check them out there!).
I walked away with many new titles to read from all of these fine places! I shied away from Top Shelf and Nobrow a little, because I know they will be at SPX, and that I’ll be dropping some more money there. That said, I did get a copy of Rob Harrell‘s Monster on the Hill, which I couldn’t resist. Plus, he was there to sign my copy! Additionally, I got my hands on Corinne Maier & Anne Simon’s Marx, which I cannot wait to read! I will need to grab a copy of Freud soon (i.e. at SPX).
By comparison, I grabbed more stuff from Boom! & Fulcrum. Like a copy of Jeremy Bastian‘s Cursed Pirate Girl, which I’ve been eyeing for a couple of years. He was fortunately present and signed/sketched my copy! Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow as adapted by Roger Langridge made it home, as did issues #21-23 of Bravest Warriors, because Kate Leth & Ian McGinty. Plus, of course, the first issue of George Pérez’s Sirens. Matt Dembicki‘s District Comics finally made it home, as well as Joel Christian Gill‘s Strange Fruit and Lil’ Nino Brown in Slumbland.
Shockingly, there was more! I stopped by the Valiant booth and got a golden issue of Quantum & Woody #1, and then had it signed by the amazing James Asmus. Worth noting that Valiant had an excellent and charismatic presence at the show – with giveaways and other fun things that involved and excited attendees about their comics! Similarly, Dynamite, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary, had a good presence, and I frequently stopped by their table thanks to the likes of Gail Simone, Matt Wagner, and Garth Ennis.
Then there was Artist Alley! I had to get volume two of Square City Comics‘ Anthology. Similarly, I had to congratulate Rafer Roberts on the quickly successful Nightmare the Rat Kickstarter, and grab a copy of Thanos and Darkseid: Carpool Buddies of Doom, which was signed by both him and Justin Jordan (also in attendance). Michel Fiffe‘s Copra: Round One made it home, as did Alex Kain & Rachel Bennett’s Beyond The Western Deep, as well as Colin Lawler & Joseph Grabowski’s Spirits: The Soul Collector. Finally, Bryan J.L. Glass was present, and I had to grab volumes 2.1 & 2.2 of The Mice Templar.
Also of note, Locust Moon was in attendance, and had a preview copy of their Little Nemo book (successfully Kickstarted), and it looked amazing! They should have some copies for sale at Small Press Expo, so definitely be on the lookout for that!
Suffice to say that after all of the above any hopes of attending panels went out the window, and perish the thought of photographing any cosplay (which is not to say that there wasn’t a lot of it!). However, what it proves once more is that Baltimore Comic-Con is an excellent Comic-Con, with the emphasis strongly on comic-books. It’s a great place to talk comics with fans and creators alike, and all the while discover new things to read or collect. Attending for the second time in a row was a joy, and 2015 cannot come quickly enough!
Also a big thank you goes out to my friend Evin McAlister for following me around with a camera for much of the weekend, and for all the lovely photos!
[Baltimore Comic-Con 2014] Longer & Better Than The Last! Finally, it all comes around. The past few years have been all about firsts when it came to conventions.