Joshua Lazarus writes for Bleeding Cool;
Fans gathered at the Baltimore Convention Center at Maryland’s Inner Harbor this year to celebrate the 12th annual Baltimore Comic Con.
For me, it’s my fourth year in attendance, and this convention in particular holds a special place in my heart. It was four years ago that I was attending a university in North Carolina and looking to get out. So not only was Baltimore Comic Con my first comic convention experience, but it was also my introduction to the Baltimore area. A short few months later, I had transferred schools and have lived in Baltimore ever since. Needless to say, I had been impressed.
In my first year of attendance, there were creators and editors from the major companies as well as smaller and independent publishers. Three years later, both DC Comics and Image no longer had booth space, and Marvel had no presence whatsoever. It must be tough, especially in this economy, to spend money on convention expenses, especially when so many conventions have popped up not just in the United States, but also around the world.
C.B. Cebulski, who usually spearheads Marvel’s unofficial presence at the convention along with Tom Brevoort, was halfway across the world at a convention in Singapore. At the same time, Brian Bendis, who is usually Marvel’s big name creator in attendance, is on hiatus from convention appearances for a myriad of understandable reasons. The stars just didn’t align this year. It happens.
In spite of the absence of so many convention regulars, attendance seemed to be way up this year. At times, the crowd in around Collector’s Corner’s booth was giving me flashbacks to this year’s San Diego Comic Con. This may have had something to do with a Stan Lee appearance headlining the convention, but I also think that the reputation of the convention as being a great show for comics, rather than a pop culture convention, had something to do with it. Word has spread, and people from all across the mid-Atlantic traveled to Baltimore to see what the big deal was. For example, I stood in line to meet artist Greg Capullo, who couldn’t be a friendlier guy if he tried, by the way, with a couple from Pittsburgh who had driven down just to see what all the fuss was about.
People were spending money with the dealers as well. At the DC New 52 Panel, Jimmy Palmiotti asked for a show of hands to see who in the audience had already made some purchases. When a majority of audience members’ hands went up, Mr. Palmiotti smiled and joked, questioning the negativity surrounding the U.S. economy. “Not in this room. We’re just fine in here.”
Also at the DC New 52 Panel, freelancers did what I thought was a great job in addressing the concerns of a few angry fans regarding the relaunched comics. Scott Snyder in particular gave an impassioned speech, giving the audience his pitches for both his new Batman series as well as his Swamp Thing. Other panelists, such as Joshua Hale Fialkov and Ron Marz, followed his lead, giving the pitches for their September titles. If there’s one thing I took away from listening to these creators, it is that they truly believe in the stories they are telling, and as Ron Marz assured doubtful fans, nobody is saying, “Let’s screw with the fanboys!”
For the fans worried that their characters have new costumes, Cully Hamner, who was in on the design process for the costumes, assured fans that the costumes had origins in both design and story. This goes with the explanations given in panels at San Diego Comic Con about Superman’s controversial “armor” costume and the reasons for The Flash’s seams in his costume. Greg Capullo added to this, saying, “We’re as big fans of these characters as you! We’re not changing them just to change them.
For the fans worried about a lack of female creators in comics, or where a certain character or team will be in September, panelists let the audience know that this big initiative on DC’s part “goes way beyond September.”
And for those fans wondering where the DC Comics character Beast Boy will be come September, Jimmy Palmiotti released a “spoiler” regarding his whereabouts.
“In my pants. Next question.”