Back From Baltimore 2011

Ed and I made a running trip to the 2011 Baltimore Comic-Con yesterday. Since it’s only three hours away, we went up and back in one day. That was a bit of a mistake, since I hadn’t realized I wouldn’t be able to get done everything I hoped to in just a day. This has definitely become a two-day show, and as Heidi pointed out, attendance was high, with long lines for hot creators, including guest of honor Stan Lee, a crowded show floor, and cosplayer photo opps. Due to the costume contest, scheduled Saturday at 3, there were a number of people dressed up as superheroes.

I wanted to do four things at the show:

  1. Do some shopping from certain publishers and artists attending.
  2. Attend the Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes panels.
  3. Walk through the artist alley and exhibitor areas, checking out new discoveries.
  4. Look for a couple of Image back issues.

Shopping

I picked up much of my shopping list early (requiring a trip to the car before I wore out my shoulders — thank goodness for close parking), but I never made it to the retailer area to look for the back issues. Given that many of the boxes I saw were superheroes, I’m not sure I would have had good luck anyway. Things I did get:

The slipcased Stuart Immonen sketchbook set Centifolia as a present for KC, who was under the weather and didn’t go to the show. A copy of Gingerbread Girl signed by Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin. I read it online, but the story is such that I wanted to have it in print, so I could flip back and forth more easily; plus, I just love the way Coover draws her characters. Old friend Paul Storrie has written an entry in the “My Boyfriend Is a Monster” series called Made for Each Other, featuring a constructed creature, and I’m looking forward to checking out the supernatural teen romance. The latest Girls With Slingshots book, volume 5, from Danielle Corsetto, who also had cute McPedro plushes.

Danielle Corsetto

More Than Books

I bought more art and merchandise than I normally do (which is none). The immensely talented Cliff Chiang had prints of many of the very cool mash-ups he’s done, including this one, which I had to have.

I also had the pleasure of seeing Andy Runton, one of the nicest people in comics, who drew this picture of Owly playing baseball. It’s a thank-you gift for the son of a co-worker, a boy who loves both Owly and the sport, and I know he’ll be thrilled. I was excited to find out that there’s another Owly hardcover on the way next year, following up Friends All Aflutter!

Owly playing baseball

At the same time, I got another Owly shirt, my fifth. That’s excessive, but I couldn’t resist its sunny yellow color. I also discovered that the Perhapanauts shirt line had expanded with two new choices. Each character has their own head shot and color scheme, and now everyone’s available, except the Mystery Man. I thought the Witch option would be kind of funny when seen by someone who didn’t know the character and what it referenced. (You might not can tell from my poor photo, but the color is royal purple, not black.)

T-shirts

Panels

I didn’t make it to the Legion panel, because I realized mid-afternoon that I had more to do than I was going to have time to do it in, but I did greatly enjoy the Justice League panel. From left to right, Kevin Maguire, Keith Giffen, J.M. Dematteis, and host Bob Greenberger provided a very amusing hour of jokes and memories. I was astounded to find out that this was the first time the three of them had ever been on a panel together. (Congrats to buddy Roger Ash, who put together the programming!)

Justice League panel at Baltimore

I learned this piece of wisdom about working in corporate comics, from Keith Giffen: “If you have these third and fourth tier characters, they leave you alone.” As you can see, the Justice League themselves attended the panel, which led to various jokes about “the worst Black Canary costume of them all”.

Justice League cosplayersBlue Beetle & Black Canary

If you’d like to find out more about the Legion panel, Julia has posted a thorough writeup.

Conversations

Frank Cammuso, part of the giant kids’ comic table, was a lifesaver. I found myself feeling as though I’d overdone things right as I found his section, and he kindly gave me a place to sit quietly for a few minutes. We wound up having a fascinating conversation about pop culture and how it changes generationally, springboarded from his new Knights of the Lunch Table book. Ed’s working on a review of The Battling Bands now, but I was happy to hear that it introduces a new female character, Melody, a pigtailed library assistant.

In the same area, Jimmy Gownley told me a bit more about the Meaning of Life, his next Amelia Rules volume (can’t wait!), while John Gallagher gave me a sneak preview of ComicsJukebox.com, an iPad app they’re working on building to provide kids’ comics online, and I got to pick up his new collection Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule!, which should make for some fun escapist reading.

Sean McKeever

I was very jealous of Sean McKeever, because he had a really cool chair. (See picture to left — it was padded leather office-style.) I didn’t know that Laura Lee Gulledge was going to be at the show, but she was, so I got a chance to tell her how impressed I was by her book Page by Paige, which contains some of the most creative cartooning visuals I’ve seen in a long time.

I enjoyed meeting Conor McCreery, one of the writers of Kill Shakespeare, the comic that puts a ton of his characters together in an action adventure. He introduced me to the title, which completes its first series with issue #12, out next Wednesday. Given my lack of knowledge of many of the bard’s works, I’m looking forward to trying it with the eventual annotated edition, which they’re hoping to have out in late 2012. Before then, they’re working on a quote-based iPhone video game to make literal a “battle of wit”.

Walt Simonson and his work

Other people I was thrilled to see and converse with included Melody Often, Bobby Timony, Rebecca Mock (she’d made a Jughead Time Police fanzine and couldn’t believe someone else read Archie Comics), Carla Speed McNeil, and Max Ink (neat to hear he’s working on a Blink graphic novel). On the way out at show close, I got to say hi to Ron Marz, Cully Hamner, and Lee Moder (telling him how much I enjoyed the Retroactive 90s Wonder Woman story he drew, since it’s the truest Wonder Woman story I’ve seen in a while). I’d also just found the Simonsons’ table right before the closing announcement, where I got to chat with Weezie and snap a picture of this amazing sketch Walt had just finished.

I didn’t go to the Harvey Awards. (Tom Spurgeon has the winner list.) Instead, Ed had found us a nifty little pub for dinner with Rob, Erica, and Julia. The Abbey Burger Bistro serves your choice of gourmet burgers. I tried kangaroo, which was tasty, but not that different from beef once you ground it up and put toppings on it. The elk Erica had was more distinctive, I think. Baltimore has a free downtown bus, the Charm City Circulator, that made it easy to get there without too much more walking. And bless Ed for driving us back that night, while I ran the iPod.


9 Responses to “Back From Baltimore 2011”

  1. Dwight Williams Says:

    Proof, this is: There are few super-costume designs so horrific that someone can’t find a way to make them workable.

    Yes, Captain Ultra is still one of the exceptions.

  2. James Schee Says:

    Odd that I never noticed how similar that Black Canary costume was to Blue Beetle’s until seeing that picture. How did Giffen & Co. miss the chance to make a joke of that back then?

    Wow I never did art much either at cons because #1 I’m poor:) and #2 was I had to fly back home and it’d rarely hold up. Yet that Chiang print is so awesome!! Wish I could afford to go to a con, or maybe he’ll offer those on his website to buy.

  3. Rob Says:

    I *love* that Chiang print, especially Zatana-as-Slash on bass.

    I agree with all the commenters on his page that the image belongs on a T-shirt.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Oh wow yes. I would love that. DC might get a little uncomfortable with the idea, though.

  5. Rob Says:

    Well, yes, they might have something to say about that. ;)

    I’m not suggesting that he print T-shirts with the image…just saying that it would look great on one.

  6. Johanna Says:

    The thing I most want to buy from Cliff is a nice hardcover art book collecting all his many designs and prints. I just love his superhero/pop culture mashups.

  7. Webcomics Worth Reading: What I Found at Baltimore » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] as you’re standing there flipping through it. So here are some webcomics I found out about in Baltimore this weekend that I enjoyed reading enough to […]

  8. James Schee Says:

    I’d buy that. There’s a tpb of his stuff from 2009, but I’d like a bigger book.

  9. Ed’s Saturday At Baltimore Comic-Con 2011 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Johanna and I made our annual daytrip to the Baltimore Comic-Con (BCC) this year. My focus was on getting at least one commissioned sketch of Astro Boy and Superman done. They are my two favorite heroes, and I wanted a couple pieces of art with them together. […]




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