Back From Baltimore Comic-Con 2010

Yesterday morning, Ed, Caroline, and I headed out early to drive up to this year’s Baltimore Comic-Con. (KC was going to go, but he had some writing to catch up on — and you can’t go play if you have work to do.)

The car trip was amusing — we had fun with an iPod stocked with the best of New Wave 80s — and the show refreshing, since I followed my new convention strategy of taking everything as it comes, not overdoing, and concentrating on the moment, which was usually about having a good conversation.

Line just before Saturday opening

Line just before Saturday opening

We only had Saturday, and when I first saw the size of Artists’ Alley, I wasn’t sure I was going to get everything done I wanted to in that one day. If I’d been there two, I would have been a bit more relaxed, since I would have gone back to the room and not walked the whole show floor in an afternoon. (But I didn’t have the time, and I didn’t want to pay the $200+ hotels in the area usually charge on a weekend when there’s a sporting event going on.) Instead, we visited the con, met up with Ron, Rob, and Julia for a great sushi dinner early (with lots of fascinating chat), and made it back home by eleven, thanks to Ed’s familiarity with the back route back to Richmond.

(Click on the pictures for bigger versions.)


Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber

Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber

One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Baltimore this year was because West Coasters Steve Lieber and Jeff Parker were making an appearance, and it’s always wonderful to see them. I recently reread their Underground, and it was even better as a collected story in one edition. Steve gave me a heads up to watch out for another terrific-sounding graphic novel. Bad Houses, due from Vertigo next year, is by his wife Sara Ryan and the always-talented Carla Speed McNeil. It’s about hoarders and estate sales in small-town Oregon. With its portrait of obsession, it sounds right up my alley.

Cover Run cover
Cover Run
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I got a chance to chat briefly with Adam Hughes about his lovely book Cover Run: The DC Comics Art of Adam Hughes. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet — I’ve been saving it as a treat — but if you haven’t gotten it yet, it’s done so well that there’s a second printing coming, with a variety of typos corrected. Adam’s also now a NY Times-bestselling author, with the volume placing on their Graphic Books sales ranking.

Sam Costello of Split Lip

Sam Costello of Split Lip

Although horror isn’t my thing, I quite enjoyed talking with Sam Costello about his series of Split Lip anthologies. He serializes stories on the web and then collects them into 150 or 160-page volumes once a year. Special for this convention was the limited-edition “Termites in Your Smile” 48-page comic with bonus material (script and sketches). It was illustrated by Douglas Draper (no relation that we could figure out), who’d also contributed to IDW’s Dark Delicacies. I also complimented Sam on his columns at iFanboy and ComixTalk for actually spilling facts and numbers, telling the truth that most people shy around.

Comic Discoveries

Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books

Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books

I find it funny that I see fellow Richmonder Chris Pitzer more at shows than I do in our shared location. Here he is showing off the convention exclusive THB #2 by show guest Paul Pope. Every time I went by their area when Pope was signing, there was a capped line, and often people being turned away — popular artist! This will be my first chance to actually read this series. Thanks, Chris!

Wendy Linkous and Tara Tallan

Wendy Linkous and Tara Tallan

I was so excited to see Tara Tallan (Galaxion) back doing conventions. I’ve enjoyed her comic for two decades now, and I hear that the revised web series is about to start moving beyond the previous print series. Plus, she had two minicomics I picked up — a cute Galaxion mini story, and a reprint of the fantasy story she and her husband did for the anthology Mythography with annotations.

Love Buzz cover
Love Buzz
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I enjoyed meeting Len Wallace, writer of Love Buzz, which I somehow missed coming out from Oni late last year. I’m looking forward to reading it (watch for my review) because a book you haven’t seen yet that you enjoy is a neat discovery, whenever you find it.

Had a great discussion with Christian Sager, who writes the webcomic Border Crossings. Like me, he did academic work on comic fandom, and he describes the comic as “Firefly, Labyrinth, and Perdido Street Station in a nautical steampunk mash-up.”


Handsome Thom Zahler, artist of Love and Capes

Handsome Thom Zahler, artist of Love and Capes

Love and Capes Book 2 cover
Love and Capes Book 2
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I’d been waiting to pick up Love and Capes Book 2: Going to the Chapel until I could get it from creator Thom Zahler, and I’m looking forward to rereading the story. It’s a wonderful comedy, leading up to the two getting married, and I was surprised to see some author commentary in the back. I love that behind-the-scenes stuff.

For some reason, I keep picking up interesting jewelry at comic cons for really reasonable (i.e. cheap) prices. My purchase this time was a bracelet made from bright pink, purple, and blue dice. It matched what I was wearing so well that I popped it on and everyone thought I’d worn it in instead of bought it new.

I knew there were movie-watching webcomics, but I didn’t know that Joe Loves Crappy Movies was one of them. His first collection seemed unique because each movie page has both a comic strip and a real review, so I had to buy it to support a fellow critic.

Andrew Cohen and Matt Dembicki

Andrew Cohen and Matt Dembicki

The two DC-area gentlemen shown here, Andrew Cohen and Matt Dembicki, had an oddly shaped minicomic called “The Brewmaster’s Castle”. It’s long and skinny, like stacking a typical minicomic on top of another (as though they were playing chicken). The design exists to showcase Cohen’s art and the unique architecture and contents of the subject building, the Heurich Mansion, previously owned by a brewer. I look forward to pouring over it (heh).

Last Thoughts

Heidi MacDonald and me

Heidi MacDonald and me

By the time 4:00 rolled around, I was looking for a chance to sit down any time I could. The floor was frequently busy, with delays in walking through, especially when someone in a costume appeared. When I bumped into Heidi in the aisles, we took advantage of the table at an empty booth and had an enjoyable chat about the business, travel, and a story I hope to write about Alex de Campi and the pioneering ways she’s approaching digital comics.

Also, I owe big thanks to John Steventon of HappyGlyphs Comics, who kindly let me sit at his table mid-afternoon. I badly needed a break, and I had a lovely conversation with John’s dad, who was helping him out. Turned out we had both previously worked at AT&T, although in very different eras and areas.

Since we left relatively early, I missed the Harvey Awards, so check out this list of winners and Heidi’s comments on Mark Waid’s keynote speech and the aftermath. (Amazingly, Scott Kurtz pops up in that thread as the voice of reason.)

It was a fun show, with more young, aspiring creators and webcomics people than I expected, as well as many old friends. I’m glad I went.

10 Responses to “Back From Baltimore Comic-Con 2010”

  1. Caroline Says:

    I’m glad we planned this trip. It worked out really well.

    And I loved that bracelet you picked up. So awesome!

  2. James Schee Says:

    Sounds like a fun time, with some great sounding books.

    Did you snap the picture before Steve was ready? Or was he making a gang sign?:)

    I hadn’t noticed how Thom has the same hair as his lead character….

    Good to see Tara at a con, she was really nice to me at my first ever con. Heroes.. 2001(?) And I look forward to seeing what happens next in Galaxion!

    Oh and you always have the most unique skirts!!:)

  3. Johanna Says:

    Steve posed like that. I think he likes interesting-looking pictures. This was the first time I wished I had a real camera, because a number of my shots came out blurrier than I expected.

    Thom had interesting stories about hair and picking colors for his characters. His heroine couldn’t be a redhead for personal reasons, and she couldn’t be brunette because of Lois Lane, so she had to be blond, so his hero had to have brown hair for contrast. There was a lot of thought that went into his designs.

  4. ComiXology and the Future of Digital Comics » Comics Worth Reading Says:

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  5. Len N. Wallace Says:

    Thanks for stopping by our table, Johanna. And double thanks for the Love Buzz plug. Fingers crossed you’ll dig it!

  6. John Steventon Says:

    The pleasure was all mine, Johanna! It was great to finally meet you in person, although I’m jealous that my Dad spent more time than I could talking with you. :0)

    Next time come on Sunday as well… it was much quieter.

    Thank you again for stopping by, JOHN :0)

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  9. B Says:

    I’m still kicking myself in the butt for not going to Baltimore Comic Con. Next year for sure!

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