Baltimore Comic Con 2010

Posted by under *like, Comics |

August 28th and 29th brought the 11th Annual Baltimore Comic Con to Charm City and Angie and I made some time to drive down and check it out. We were only able to attend on Saturday, but in the short time we were there it was clear that this is the show for true comics fans.

While the Baltimore Convention Center made for a smaller floorplan than Philadelphia Comic Con, the space was filled with more good stuff than Wizard‘s long running Philly show. Don’t get me wrong, Philly is a fun time, but Baltimore is almost exclusively comics without all of the sci-fi/celebrity stuff on top. That space is instead taken up with an artist alley spread throughout the floor and a far more pleasant atmosphere as no one is asking for your money to sign their autograph.

As far as the guests and comics industry content of the show, there was no official presence from Marvel or DC, but they did have have editors and creators in attendance and held panels to discuss their products. Todd McFarlane stood atop the guest list filled a host of great names in the world of comic books. Highlights for us included opportunities to speak with Jeff Parker, Mike Choi, and Georges Jeanty, who was shocked at how far behind I am on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 and said to catch up for #39. Other notable guests in attendance included Greg Horn, Adam Hughes, Mike Allred, Paul Pope, Tim Sale, Terry Moore and Jim Shooter. The real hit of the show for me was a surprise interaction with Richard Starkings. This is someone whose name is credited on hundreds of comics I’ve read as a letterer, but I came to learn he’s also the mind behind Image’s Elephantmen which I’ve heard nothing but good things about. He put a lot of time in with fans who stopped to talk and even provided a great sketch for me.

We only had time to attend Marvel‘s panel which consisted of a question answer session between the fans and Marvel Vice President/Executive Editor Tom Breevort and writers Jeff Parker and Jonathan Hickman. Most of the questions centered on current events in Hulk, Thunderbolts, SHIELD and Fantastic Four, with the most interesting character news being that the correct pronunciation of Wolverine’s son Daken’s name is “Dokken, like the band.” When asked about things like internet fan backlash with regard to what happens in their books, the three agreed that not every book is for every reader, it’s best to never compromise your work trying to guess what the audience is thinking, and staying true to the characters is most important. Many fans in attendance asked for a larger Marvel presence at future shows, and the Toronto Fan Expo falling on the same weekend was cited as a consideration for who can attend which event.

The show also had a great small press presence including the creators of comics like Also, Bagels and Dead Fish Comics. These are the types of things that would fly right under the radar had the creators not gone out of their way to interact with fans in attendance. A vast array of illustrators including members of the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society were dotted throughout artists alley and offered a wide array of styles to enjoy. There was even a pretty eclectic mix of collectables including things like Utilikilts and Hero Goods Decor who put together decoupage bookshelves and picture frames using “recycled” comics featuring any character upon request.

Representatives from ComiXology, creators of comic reading applications for Apple’s iOS devices were in attendance and offered their own panel on the future of digital comics on Saturday morning. We had a chance to ask them about the direction things were headed and it seems that a drop to a $.99 price point is unlikely to be in the cards for all books. They also indicated that the number one question they get regarding Marvel Comics centers around the availability of their Digital Comics Unlimited subscription service on mobile devices. I made it clear that this was the only issue holding me back from diving into reading books on an iPad, but it seems we’re all going to have to wait and see what happens with Marvel on that front.

Overall, this was a great way to spend a Saturday. Well worth the trip if you’re a comic book fan. After 11 years, this show has a strong following and seems to be growing. Fans were still lining up to buy tickets three hours after the show began. It will be interesting to see how the New York Comic Con stacks up in October, as this was the best show I’ve attended in a long time.

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is a scientist by trade and a fan by nature. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he has spent a lifetime attending local educational institutions, collecting comic books, and watching professional wrestling. He is the founder of Break Even, an independent microlabel that specializes in releasing music from unknown artists.