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Baltimore Comic-Con by Drew Bittner
Review by Drew Bittner
Date: 06 October 2008

Links: Baltimore Comic-Con /

Baltimore Comic-Con is NOT the monster that the San Diego Comic-Con has become. It is much smaller, though it boasts an impressive roster of creators (particularly artists) and a strong dealer's room. For a regional con, it's kept its focus on comic books rather than the vast array of comics-derived media, which is appealing to longtime readers like yours truly.

In short, it's a great place to go if you want to enjoy meeting pros, talking about the books, and finding that rare back issue (or piece of original art) you've been dying to get since you were 11.

I was at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year and wow, what a difference a year makes.

Some quick thoughts:

  • Attendance appears to be WAY up; there was a definite San Diego vibe at one point, given how densely packed the aisles seemed to be. It didn't last all afternoon but... it felt a lot busier than last year.
  • Adam Hughes is one of the most talented artists out there -- he is also one of the nicest. Visit his website and buy his sketchbooks; they are a bargain at any price. And if you're lucky enough to get a commission from him, I envy you greatly.
  • Darwyn Cooke is a riot. He was willing to chat with Kat on my cellphone while he signed my two volumes of DC: the New Frontier. He and his wife struck me as real nice, genuine folks. Consider me a fan.
  • Jim Lee is immune to the passage of time, except that his art keeps getting better.
  • Saw Pop Mhan again this year and enjoyed it even more than last year. He's an ex-WildStormer like me and it's great catching up.
  • The bar at the Sheraton doesn't stay open late enough -- though I was ready to bail at 12:30.
  • Rain, rain everywhere. Lucky for us, there was a roof over the line going into the con on Saturday.
  • the Kirkman-Bendis panel was great (you had to be there to see Kirkman pull out graphs of relative sales and how working for the Big Two doesn't necessarily mean a spike in your creator-owned work)
  • So was the "Marvel: Your Universe" panel, where I asked a question about the way events lately seem to reset the status quo to a decades-past iteration OR strive to create a new status quo; Tom Brevoort, Brian Michael Bendis, Dan Slott and C.B. Cebulski were very good at answering the audience.
  • Said hi to Jim Shooter, Bernie Wrightson and a flock of others (reminding them of either long-ago or trivial connections in the process; I interviewed a bunch of Shooter's team at Valiant back in the day and was working at Chaos! when he drew a story for our horror anthology mini).
  • Thought Howard Chaykin was astounding in his Sunday panel with Adam Hughes. He gives Harlan Ellison a run for his money when it comes to snark.
  • Caught a glimpse of Tim Sale, at the tip of a long line of fans.
And that's the quick notes from the con. I might blog a bit more later but... it was a fantastic two days.

I suspect Baltimore has been "discovered," though, which might be good or bad. The number and celebrity of the professionals here is amazing; plus, it's a comics-driven show (until SDCC, which has been Hollywood driven for a long time now).

If you have the chance, come to Baltimore next year. I think you'll find it is an event you'll want to revisit over and over again.

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