On the 2009 Baltimore Comic-Con

While much of Baltimore had its attentions focused on the changing foliage or the Ravens/Bengals game, I went downtown to the Baltimore Comic-Con.

Some people go to conventions to meet people, or to buy things, or to get autographs. In a very real way, those things, especially the last two, don’t hold much meaning for me.

I wanted to take in the atmosphere.

Most of the major comic companies were represented. There wasn’t an official Marvel Comics booth, whereas the other major publishers — DC, Dark Horse, Image — all had central booths. Many of the smaller publishers also had presences, like BOOM! Studios. IDW Publishing, however, didn’t have an official presence at the convention, though I saw several artists who have done work for IDW hither, thither, and yon in the artists alleys.

I saw Keith DeCandido, longtime friend and writer of the Farscape comics for BOOM! I also talked with the editor of BOOM!’s Irredeemable, and had a geek moment where we agreed on what a fantastic job Peter Krause is doing on the art for that book.

In the artists alley I met Lora Innes, the writer/artist of The Dreamer, the best romance/Revolutionary War comic that you’re probably not reading. I admit it, I geeked out there, too; I was intrigued by the premise — a Revolutionary War comic! — when it was first solicited in Previews, and when I started reading it, I was impressed with the writing and the artwork and, most of all, how much fun it was.

I got a Black Lantern Ring! I really wanted a Blue Lantern Ring, because I’m all about hope and not at all about undead interstellar zombies, but it’s also hard to argue with free, and the Black Lantern Ring was free.

And I bought a Duck print from Don Rosa. When I was at the Baltimore Comic-Con two years ago, he had for sale a print of the Ducks — Scrooge, Donald, the nephews, Gyro Gearloose, and one other I can’t identify — as the Fellowship of the Ring. I wanted to buy it, but I didn’t at the time. He had the print — and many others, some of which took classic Marvel covers and put the Ducks in place of, say, the Mighty Thor or Spider-Man — and I decided I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity this time. So I now have a Don Rosa print of the Duck Fellowship of the Ring or the Fellowship of the Ducks or whatever you want to call it, and now I just need a frame for it.

I also went around the artists alley and asked people to make their pitch, especially on the stuff that they had clearly done in their spare time and taken to Kinko’s to make a couple of copies. Some people could do a great selling job, some people couldn’t. I bought a couple of these self-published comics. Maybe they’re okay, maybe they’re not. We shall see. 🙂

It was a nice crowd. There were a few people in costume today, though not many. I saw a couple Poison Ivys, and there was a guy in a really nice Blade costume. There were some Watchmen costumes, too, and I saw a kid in a really top-notch Flash costume. For the most part, I’d have judged the crowd to average in age around 23 to 27. There were a lot of kids, so the idea that comic books are a dying artform doesn’t hold water with me. There were also a fair number of older attendees.

At times, I wished I weren’t quite the font whore. Or, in the case, the font snob. I saw way too much Century Gothic today, and way way way too much Comic Sans. Century Gothic has a time and a place, though I don’t know what either are, while Comic Sans simply has no place in this world and must be eradicated like the scourge against reason and sanity that it is.

I didn’t stay long, maybe three hours. I had what I needed. A Don Rosa print. A Black Lantern Ring. Some geek-out moments. What else does one need? Besides lunch, of course. So I had a fantastic burrito at California Tortilla, which is a block from the convention center, over near Camden Yards. I also discovered that the Bromo Tower, while it looks impressive in pictures of Baltimore, is rather dull and uninteresting when seen from street level.

I then wandered around downtown Baltimore. It was a lovely early autumn day, warmer than it had any right to be, and the city had a nice calmness to it. Eventually, I made my way back to the subway station, and from there back home. All in all, a good day, though my left foot hurts something fierce; I think I’ve bruised it somehow.

The only unfinished business? I need to get a frame for my Don Rosa Lord of the Rings print. :spock:

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

2 thoughts on “On the 2009 Baltimore Comic-Con

  1. “There were a lot of kids, so the idea that comic books are a dying artform doesn’t hold water with me.”

    I going to have to disagree with you here. Remember, San Diego Comic-Con is the biggest geek prom in the US and it’s primarily media-based now. To have a large comic book con on the East Coast (even containing “Comic-Con” in its name) would naturally attract those would be in San Diego if they lived closer.

    Are the kids you saw actually reading comics? If so, why isn’t it translating into sales? Chances are, they like stuff based on comics (i.e., the movies, TV shows, toys, etc.) but I doubt they’re reading too many monthlies or trades.

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