22-AUG-2011 Crazy intermittent storms didn’t detract from the mission of BALTIMORE COMIC CON, to bring comic fans of all ages together in one place for fun, networking, shopping and recognition. I don’t have the attendance figures but it sure seemed twice as crowded as 2010 (PW points out that pre-sales were three times higher than 2010).
Baltimore’s show is known as one of the biggest “Comics Only” shows where headliners are explicitly people from the comics industry not actors, wrestlers or porn stars. Stan Lee was the Guest of Honor and he received his Lifetime Achievement Award. Mike Gold was recognized by the HERO Initiative for his charity work and received a Humanitarian Award. From what I understand, the organizers of this show treat all the professionals very well by making sure that they have access to a VIP room for refreshments in a quiet area and that doesn’t mean only “the big guys” it’s anyone from Artists’ Alley too.
I spent half of each day at the booth called PLASTIC FARM which was a tangent booth of FUBAR. Creator Rafer Roberts was part of some of the FUBAR project so there was a line of tables with people connected to the project. You can’t possibly miss their booth covered in camo netting, a prop machine gun on the table, tons of military crates and a giant bullet-ridden FUBAR sign on top of it. Zombies in World War II? Of course!
Next year’s dates have been announced as September 8-9, 2012.
This was my first time attending the HARVEY AWARDS which I was successfully able to tweet live from the Hyatt Regency. The ceremony… well, it was much too long and there are a couple of categories that are questionable. No one seemed able to define the difference in Best Artist vs. Best Cartoonist when there were comic book (as opposed to comic strip) artists in the “Cartoonist” category.
Then there’s the moment when I once realized that I may be a fan of someone’s work but not of the creator as a person. Yes, Scott Kurtz, I’m talking about you. I know it’s just a schtick, but the awards aren’t a roast. An emcee needs to be able to be funny without taking such personal jabs at other peers in your own industry. I guess it doesn’t hurt his sales any, but it does prove that you may need to separate your appreciation of someone’s work from who they are.
It was announced that the Baltimore Con will be the permanent home to the Harveys putting an end to their con-roving hosting. These folks are deadly serious about making this show the number one con on the east coast. They’re on their way with their way of stopping the feeling of segregation between mainstream and independents. Though I couldn’t afford the price of a ticket for the dinner, I was really happy that when Press were allowed in, that the organizers at least had chairs for us along the back wall. I had been on my feet all day in heels and would have been an uncomfortable mess without a seat. Plus, other bloggers had ipads and laptops out on their laps. Chairs = win!
LINES LIKE DISNEYWORLD
One change in my schedule was that I didn’t attend the costume contest because the line just to get in was so incredibly long. I was already wiped out. I had been in my Rogue costume wearing tall heels all day and then my phone was acting like it wasn’t working which would have ruined my plans for the Harveys coverage. I decided to leave the show early, skip the contest and go in search of a Verizon store. Supposedly there’s one on the same block but I couldn’t find. My delightful companion for the weekend, Jake Warrenfeltz, put me on the back of his motorcycle and we drove around downtown Baltimore in search of a Verizon. How we didn’t end up on the news is a mystery. I can’t imagine they’re used to seeing bright green and yellow spandex on the back of a bike, but maybe they are since the con is so popular.
Other epic lines were at the Starbucks kiosk (good lord, why is it not at the kiosk directly up the stairs anyway?), Stan Lee, Jeff Smith, Amanda Conner, Adam Hughes and Jeff Loeb (pretty sure it was him).
YOU’RE NEVER ALONE AT A CON
Of course, the after parties are the whole different level of fun. This is something I didn’t get to do in my early con-going days. Now I love that I can walk into a bar and sit next to my friends Jamal Igle, Alex Saviuk and Kevin Maguire and not feel like a crazy groupie. I was able to reconnect with other people that I only get to see at cons like Sean McKeever, Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Rybandt. PS – thanks to everyone who bought me belated birthday drinks!
Met some new friends like Kate Kotler from Geek Girl on the Street and my peers at Comics Experience that I usually only “see” online once a month. As for my day to day friends that I only see at cons because of stupid geography, it was too little time. Paul Storrie, Thom Zahler, Rob Anderson, and Ken Haeser.
I picked up a brilliantly designed t-shirt that has ladies like me in mind. At first I thought the booth with a giant four-foot revolver shooting red birds from it would be just a gimmick, but then I took a look at the merch. I spent probably 15 minutes trying to pick just one shirt instead of going crazy and getting one of everything. It’s a femme fatale’s dream at HERETIC CITY where the women are drawn with pulp cover beauty and have tag lines that introduce comic stories about each t-shirt back on the website. I ended up picking the one that says, “I loved them too much,” on the front and shows a woman giving a couple men a real smackdown on the back.
As for comics, I picked up a couple of first issues from 215 Ink which is a new small press group I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about. I grabbed FOOTPRINTS and VIC BOONE. All I had to say was, “I’m kind of into noir right now,” and the guys pointed out which books I would like. They had a 2 for $5 special (win).