It’s not even 24 hours since the end of 2011′s Baltimore Comic Con which took place near the harbor of Baltimore, Maryland. The convention was packed, seeming to draw record crowds for the weekend. Saturday was wall to wall people making it at times difficult to make it through the crowds. It seems legends like Stan Lee did their job, sparking people to come downtown and check out the convention. Even with the massive crowds, I constantly heard from those exhibiting that sales were down slightly from last year. No matter, you couldn’t help be impressed by the crowds.
But, what I like about Baltimore is the focus on comics. It’s one of the few big name shows that keeps it’s focus on it’s roots. You won’t find movie or television celebrities here, but what you will find is writers, illustrators and publishers interacting directly with the fans. This is a perfect show to come to where you can shake hands with legends, get autographs and photos and interact directly with creators. Fans are able to ask directly what they’re working on and you can often find the greats hanging out during and after the show, completely approachable. I might be a blogger, but I’m a fan first, and it’s such a fun time to talk comics with those who are involved creating them. It’s often eye opening and you learn a ton.
But, the show isn’t all dealers, publishers and artist alley. There’s also a decent selection of panels where you can catch some industry titans talking about history or what’s coming up. There were a few bumps this year, but after sitting through Saturday’s spotlight with Shannon Wheeler, I’ve made a promise myself to attend more panels at future shows. It’s entertaining and you get stories you’ll hear nowhere else. I also had the pleasure of moderating the BOOM! 6th Anniversary Panel with BOOM! Studios founder and CEO Ross Ritchie. 1) being on panels are fun; 2) I really need to get better at it; 3) I learned a hell of a lot.
You also get to see so much you won’t necessarily find at your local shop. Small publishers, self-publishers line places like Artist Alley. You also get to find new ways people are telling stories. This show Heretic City stood out to me. It’s not the traditional comic book, instead, it tells a graphic story through t-shirts. A great idea and very unique. It shows graphic story telling can happen outside of the traditional panel format.
But, in the end, for some one like me it’s all about catching up with old friends and making new ones. Here’s the rundown.
- Len Wallace and Jessica – always great hanging out with you two. I think we’ll have to make Saturday dinner a tradition. Look forward to seeing you both at NYCC.
- The Top Cow crew – Atom! and Filip – always great catching up, and hope to hang at at NYCC. Top Cow has a special place as the first company we really covered and I look forward to continue to support them. Great guys, great product, great attitude.
- Ron Marz – I promise to get you the script – folks, one of the nicest people you’ll meet at a con, great with the fans.
- Drew Gaska – a true talent and awesome guy. Love his writing and ideas and so happy the person behind them is so smart, fun and friendly.
- The Kill Shakespeare guys – Anthony and Conor, so talented and I can’t wait to see what they have coming up. You want to watch a great pitch and interaction with fans, go see them at cons. You can’t help but dig Shakespeare after.
- The BOOM! Studios crew – Ross and Chip, always fun. Let me know when I can moderate another panel… The product is fun and quality, they’ve got a great attitude, it’s no wonder I’m looking forward to shining the spotlight on them more and more.
- ComiXology – Taking five minutes talking to this team and you can’t help be excited about the future of digital comics. John and the team are brilliant and will win you over on the digital medium.
- Shannon Wheeler – the creator of Too Much Coffee Man is a legend, and hilarious. If he’s on a panel, go see it.
- Denis Kitchen – All I want to do now is sit this industry legend down and just film him talking. Amazing stories.
- CBLDF – I finally connected with the CBLDF team and look forward to helping support them more and more in the future.
- Chandra Free – the writer and artist of The God Machine is so talented and being able to watch her sketch is amazing. It just solidifies my opinion of her talent.
Twitter/Digital friends now in person!:
- PLB Comics – a small publishing company, their book The Fall is a great read. They’re also very friendly in person and I’m feeling really good after meeting them to support their efforts.
- Joshua Hale Fialkov – the writer of Echoes and Tumor is a talent and his upcoming book The Last of the Greats is just as solid. We were early supporters of his, and so happy to continue to do so.
- I loved Rahsan Ekedal art on Echoes and was so happy to meet him at the show as well. You better believe I’ll be picking up some of his original work at NYCC.
There’s also a bunch of indie books I picked up and you better believe I’ll be letting you know my thoughts in future reviews. Next up is SPX in two weeks!