by Mike Favila, Editor
This weekend, I attended the Baltimore Comic-Con with my family and local friends. Billed as ‘America’s Greatest Comic Book Convention’, it’s pretty much the last safe haven for comic creators. Whether you’re an writer, penciller, inker or colorist, you won’t be edged out of a booth by some girl who was on Pacific Blue once. Although I do enjoy the TV and media guests that I’ve been able to meet and interview at other conventions (that’s probably an understatement), my first real love are comic books. I love the smell of them, the way they practically emit that new book aroma when you first open the pages. I love the stories that shouldn’t make sense, existing in a world where they DO make sense. And Baltimore Comic-Con was definitely the place to celebrate of that feeling.
Comic Book Men
Even the TV stars that attended were here to celebrate their comic being released! For most of my Saturday, Emil and I were busy covering the appearance of the cast of AMC’s Comic Book Men. I’d watched a few episodes sporadically when I was able to catch it on TV, but hadn’t had the chance to follow it continuously. I caught up on Season 2 episodes Friday night and interviewed them on Saturday.
Just like they are on the TV show, they were funny, down to earth, slightly snarky and vulgar, and basically just like any of my friends worth mentioning. Even after spending a number of hours promoting the show, everybody was very easy to talk to. To their credit, they are truly excited to be creators too, as they were there on Sunday to promote their new comic book through Dynamite Entertainment (The Boys), Cryptozoic Man.
Legendary Creators & Newer Companies
Even though I did not get to line up to see Sal Buscema (Spectacular Spider-Man), it was nice to see him out and about, signing books to benefit Hero Initiative. He was a little tired, and obviously he deserves whatever schedule he can muster, but it was admirable that he made the effort . George Perez was also right next to him, smiling and signing away. I saw Herb Trimpe selling sketches and recreations of his famous 1st appearance of Wolverine in Incredible Hulk, and Ramon Fradon next to him, selling very beautiful sketches of Aquaman.
The guys at Valiant had an beautiful San Diego style booth, with lots of giveaways. I went over there picked up a number of comics. From talking to the people at the booth, it was nice to see that they were super enthusiastic about bringing these characters back and trying to infuse new life into them.
This time around, what made Baltimore Comic-Con relatively unique for me was my little brother and sister joining me on Sunday. As 9 year old twins, they are the perfect target audience for comic books. This was Jake and Gemma’s first ever show, so I was a little worried that they were going to be bored. I started chatting them up in the car to start figuring out what could possibly interest them. They said their favorite new show was Adventure Time, which happened to be there. I soon got a huge synopsis about Fionna & Cake and Finn the Human. When we got inside the hall, I immediately took them there. All the artists were happy enough to give them sketches for their book. Before we left the booth, I made sure to pick up a TPB for each of them. After we finished, I stopped by the Hero Initiative booth to say hi, and Gemma bought her very first comic: a Witchblade variant! JG Jones would be proud. I took Gemma by to see Amanda Connor, and she was nice enough to give her a Wonder Woman sketch, in colors no less! And Mark Bagley was nice enough to gift them each a $20 print signed.
Seeing them read through their graphic novels and laugh while we ate our sandwiches really reminded me that this medium isn’t strictly geared to the older fans who expect gritty Dark Knight type stories for everything. There’s still space for new readers to jump on and really be bonded to the medium that we have enjoyed for years. After going to literally dozens of conventions, they’ve started to blur together, but the organizers seem to have worked very diligently to ensure that the convention can connect with many different audiences. I was really pleased to see the variety of exhibitors and artists that Baltimore Comic-Con had to offer this year. While I could buy as many Alan Moore graphic novels as I wanted (Absolute Top 10 for $50!), younger readers were not neglected.