The 24th annual Baltimore Comic-Con will take place at the Inner Harbor’s Baltimore Convention Center on September 8-10, 2023. The Baltimore Comic-Con is announcing creators that worked at one of the early indie publishers in the industry, First Comics, to include Howard Chaykin, Mike Grell, Marc Hempel, Steve Rude, Joe Staton, and Mark Wheatley. Get your tickets online now!
Howard Victor Chaykin is a longtime veteran of the comic book business. As a cartoonist — both writing and drawing — he has been a major influence on the direction of comics, referred to frequently as one of the principal architects of the modern comic book. His signature creation, American Flagg!, introduced a new level of narrative complexity, depth of character, and point of view in its text, not to mention a previously unseen level of design and craft to the visual nature of an all-too-frequently staid and timid medium. Chaykin continues to produce work that pushes the envelope of concept, context, and content in comics…in last year’s The Divided States of Hysteria for example, a comic book which, thanks to social media, enraged an entire new generation of the willfully ignorant who might have had a better case if they’d actually read the damned book. Chaykin’s new series, Hey Kids! Comics!, is a fictionalized history of the comic book business, a love letter written with just a frisson of acid in the ink, to the field he’s loved and called home for over four decades.
Mike Grell is a writer/artist with a uniquely cinematic style of storytelling. His creations include:
- The Warlord
- Jon Sable, Freelance
- Shaman’s Tears
- Bar Sinister
- Maggie the Cat
These, along with successful runs on such features as Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Batman, Iron Man, X-Men Forever, James Bond: Permission To Die, the Tarzan Sunday comic strip, and the internationally acclaimed, Eisner Award- Nominated Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, have won him the comic industry’s coveted Inkpot Award For Outstanding Achievement in Comic Art. His graphic novel series Jon Sable, Freelance was adapted for TV by ABC in 1987. Grell has been voted to Wizard Magazine’s Top Ten List of Comics Writers and was recently named to Wizard World’s Hall of Legends and the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Hall of Fame. It was recently announced that, beginning in 2023, the widely acclaimed Shaman’s Tears will become an “audio movie” podcast on The Fantasy Network, produced in conjunction with Native Voices under the artistic direction of DeLanna Studi out of the Autrey Museum.
In addition to his collaboration with Neil Gaiman on the climactic story arc “The Kindly Ones” in The Sandman, artist and writer Marc Hempel is also known for his critically acclaimed work with Mark Wheatley in the titles Breathtaker, Mars, and Blood of the Innocent. His own creations Gregory and Tug & Buster have been nominated for Harvey and Eisner Awards, and his humor anthology Naked Brain was named Best Comic Book in the Baltimore City Paper’s Best of Baltimore 2003 issue. Hempel’s art has also appeared in Marvel Fanfare, Epic Illustrated, Heavy Metal, Jonny Quest, Tarzan the Warrior, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Flinch, My Faith in Frankie, The Dreaming, Lucifer, and Disney Adventures. He has created advertising art for print and television, and character design for HBO Animation. More recently, Hempel produced CD art for the Nashville band Swamp Rat, drew an episode of the online strip Munden’s Bar for ComicMix.com, illustrated a 21-page story for Michael Chabon’s The Escapist: Pulse-Pounding Thrills, and has contributed to both MAD Magazine and Nickelodeon Magazine. Marc’s latest work includes a full page comic strip for the lavish hardcover Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, as well as art for SpongeBob Comics, the Planned Parenthood benefit book Mine!, and Short Things: Tales Inspired by “Who Goes There?” (The Thing) by John W. Campbell, Jr. He is the recipient of the Speakeasy Award and the Inkpot Award. Originally from the Chicago area, Marc currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.
Steve Rude’s career began in 1981 with his and co-creator Mike Baron’s groundbreaking Nexus comic series. This space saga catapulted Rude into the field of comics, where he became highly sought after by major publishers. During his first few years in the industry, Rude’s efforts led to numerous awards, such as the 1984 Russ Manning Newcomer Award, the Kirby Award for best artist in 1986, and numerous Eisners for artistic achievement. For over two decades, Rude has drawn hundreds of comic’s greatest iconic heroes, and has galvanized the art world as a comic magazine artist and illustrator.
Currently, Steve and his company, Rude Dude Productions, are bringing the past into the future with comic strips of Nexus and the Moth.
Joe Staton has been drawing comics since he started working for Charlton Comics in 1971, where he co-created E-Man and Michael Mauser. Though the bulk of his work has been for DC Comics, at last count, Staton has worked for at least 30 publishers and 100 different editors. Among his many comics credits are Action Comics, Green Lantern, The Legion, Classics Illustrated, and various incarnations of Batman. During his time on Green Lantern, he co-created several GLs, including Kilowog, Arisia, and Salakk. He also designed GL Guy Gardner’s “bad boy” look. More recently, with his writer-wife Hilarie, he produces medical comics such as Pete Learns All About Crohn’s and Colitis and Amy Goes Gluten-Free. In 1998, he received the Eisner Award for his work on World’s Finest: The Superman-Batman Adventures. He penciled over 100 issues of the Cartoon Network’s Scooby Doo comic. He illustrated a graphic novel adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Anthem for NAL and a graphic biography of Ronald Reagan. Since 2011, working with writer Mike Curtis, Joe has been the regular artist for the long-running Dick Tracy newspaper strip (available online at www.gocomics.com/dicktracy). Dick Tracy received Harvey Awards in 2013, 2014, and 2015 for Best Syndicated Strip or Feature.
Mark Wheatley, Overstreet Hall of Fame inductee, has been awarded the Eisner, Inkpot, Mucker, Gem, Speakeasy, Golden Lion, Robert E. Howard Foundation Outstanding Achievement and nominations for the Harvey and the Ignatz. His work has appeared in Spectrum, the Library of Congress, The Norman Rockwell Museum, and other museums. He has designed for Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas, ABC’s Beauty and the Beast, and Square Roots, as well as Super Clyde, The Millers, and 2 Broke Girls on CBS. His most recent print projects include Songs of Giants, Doctor Cthulittle, Tarzan and the Dark Heart of Time, Swords Against the Moon Men, The Philip Jose Farmer Centennial Collection, Mine! and Wild Stars. Past creations include Breathtaker, Return of The Human, Ez Street, Lone Justice, Mars, Black Hood, Prince Nightmare, Hammer of The Gods, Blood of The Innocent, Frankenstein Mobster, and Skultar as well as Tarzan, Baron Munchausen, Jonny Quest, Dr. Strange, The Flash, Captain Action, Argus, The Spider, Stargate Atlantis, Torchwood, and Doctor Who.
Among Wheatley’s latest projects, Skultar, has just been announced to start in Dark Horse Presents #7. Written by M.J. Butler, Skultar is a loving (but none-too-kind) send-up of barbarian stories. The Spider: Satan’s Murder Machines collects Norvell Page’s epic crime drama in a deluxe hardcover for the first time with a cover by Wheatley, and The Mark Wheatley Gallery collects a number of the artist’s 2010 13″ x 19″ art prints in book form for the first time.
This year’s confirmed guests for the show include: Dan Abdo (Blue, Barry & Pancakes), Arthur Adams (Longshot), Sarah Andersen (Sarah’s Scribbles), Art Baltazar (Yahgz), Jeremy Bastian (Dune: House Harkonnen), Marty Baumann (Pixar artist), Carolyn Belefsky (Curls), Brian Michael Bendis (Action Comics), Jon Bogdanove (The Death of Superman), Judy Bogdanove (Steel Annual), Dan Brereton (Nocturnals), Harold Buchholz (Sweetest Beasts), Mark Buckingham (Fables), Greg Burnham (Tuskegee Heirs), Jim Calafiore (NED, Lord of the Pit), Chris Campana (Death Dealer), Joe Carabeo (Black Magic Tales), Richard Case (Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror), Howard Chaykin (Time Squared), Jim Cheung (Young Avengers), Frank Cho (Harley Quinn), Amy Chu (KISS: The End), Brian Clevinger (Atomic Robo), Steve Conley (The Middle Age), Katie Cook (Nothing Special), Nick Davis (Night Guardians), Deans Family (Crass Fed), Abby Denson (Uniquely Japan), Todd Dezago (The Perhapanauts), Derec Donovan (Adventures of Superman), Jan Duursema (Star Wars: The High Republic), Garth Ennis (The Boys), David Finch (Moon Knight), Tony Fleecs (Stray Dogs), Chris Flick (Capes and Babes), Scott Fogg (Phileas Reid Knows We’re Not Alone), Tana Ford (LaGuardia), Trish Forstner (Stray Dogs), Franco (Fae and the Moon), John Gallagher (Max Meow), Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (DC Nation), Jimmy Gownley (Amelia Rules!), Mike Grell (Jon Sable), Dawn Griffin (Zorphbert & Fred), Chris Gugilotti (Teen Titans Go!), Gene Ha (Mae), Laura Lee Gulledge (Page by Paige), Bob Hall (West Coast Avengers), Cully Hamner (Blue Beetle), Brian Haberlin (Spawn), Tony Harris (The Whistling Skull), Mike Hawthorne (Deadpool), Marc Hempel (Sandman), Greg Hildebrandt (Star Wars), Morry Hollowell (Old Man Logan), Jamal Igle (Superman), Mark Irwin (Green Lantern), Klaus Janson (Daredevil), Dave Johnson (100 Bullets), J.G. Jones (Wanted), Kata Kane (Altar Girl), Barry Kitson (Amazing Spider-Man), Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer), Nate Lovett (Dungeons & Dragons), Matthew Loux (Prunella and the Cursed Skull Ring), Kevin Maguire (Justice League), Tom Mandrake (Spectre), Laura Martin (Nubia: Queen of the Amazons), Mariano Brothers (Claire Lost Her Bear at the World’s Fair), Ron Marz (Green Lantern), Jason May (LEGO Club Magazine), Bob McLeod (New Mutants), Adriana Melo (Action Comics), Pop Mhan (Gears of War 3), Al Milgrom (Spectacular Spider-Man), Karl Moline (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Mark Morales (Thor), Trevor Mueller (Re-Possessed), Sarah Myer (Monstrous: A Transracial Adoption Story), Jamar Nicholas (Leon: Protector of the Playground), Jason Patterson (Blue, Barry & Pancakes), David Pepose (Savage Avengers), David Petersen (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo: WhereWhen), Brandon Peterson (Uncanny X-Men), Richard and Wendy Pini (Elfquest), Ed Piskor (Red Room: Trigger Warnings), Joe Prado (Superman), Afua Richardson (Omni), Christopher Ring (Seamus (the Famous)), Don Rosa (Uncle Scrooge), Craig Rousseau (The Perhapanauts), Arsia Rozegar (Shahnameh For Kids), Steve Rude (Nexus), Jim Rugg (Hulk Grand Design), Andy Runton (Owly), Alex Simmons (Archie), Louise Simonson (The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special), Walter Simonson (Thor), Matt Slay (Equilibrium), John K. Snyder III (Suicide Squad), Sozomaika (DC Power: A Celebration), Mark Sparacio (Omega Paradox), Joe Staton (Dick Tracy), John Timms (Superman: Son of Kal-El), Emilio Velez Jr. (The Dodgeball Teens), Wade von Grawbadger (Justice League), Adam Wallenta (Punk Taco), Todd Webb (Mr. Toast Comics), Scott Wegener (Atomic Robo), Joey Weiser (Ghost Hog), Mark Wheatley (Skultar), Emily S. Whitten (The Underfoot), Marcus Williams (Tuskegee Heirs), John Workman (Wild Things), Caitlin Yarsky (Black Hammer Reborn), and Thom Zahler (Love and Capes).