Baltimore Comic Con Gets Jesse Jamesed

Jesse James writes for Bleeding Cool;

I took the last two months off from Bleeding Cool to get back into being a simple minded comic book fan. Got my comics on Wednesday. Jumped in on the chatter boxes all week. Then on Sunday planned my attack for Wednesday.

Yes every week, every year for over 29+ years now. Though I own a store and have so many other duties to take care of for my customers, I have dedicated my self to never stop doing what I love as a comic book fanboy: enjoying my comics page by page.

However, it was time to get back to work and what I enjoy more then anything else, comic conventions. This past week it was all about Baltimore.

Yes, Baltimore Comic-con…one of the last two cons on my bucket list to go see. I was a little nervous on this one. I really didn’t plan anything on this trip. In fact  I planned my flight, room and rental car all for Friday. Well hold the horses! Baltimore Comic Con is only a Saturday & Sunday con. So after looking like a jamoke, I switched everything and got ready to have some cool fun at a very highly regarded con.

Now, I kind of judge a con by the three C’s calculation. Creators, Cossies, and Cash.  Let me tell you the Con got all passing grades on these, in fact they surpassed all possible expectations I could imagine.

The creators were just awesome! Want examples of why? Capullo and Snyder at the same table. One more time: Snyder and Capullo at the same table. The line went on forever. I could have probably just walked to the side and did my traditional picture with him, but decided to stand in line for over a hour and hang and listen to the fans around me.

Neal Adams, Greg Horn, and Brian Pulido  were my next stops. Lots of goodies and Pulido seemed to be on his “A” game at this show, really busting out some good variants. I jumped over to artist alley and talked to Mark Dos Santos, Stuart Sayger, and David Peterson a bit before I started to see what else was going on at the con. Yes, Stan Lee was there doing his thing.  Though I don’t get excited about him being at a con, I understand why other people do. There were tons of creators and really more then I’m use to seeing at a venue that isn’t as big size wise compared to some of the cons I go to.  It was a great mixture and the mood was very positive in a visible way.

The cossies here were definitely a crowd pleaser. Though they didn’t really seem to be as organized as many other cons, that might have been a good thing.  They seemed to be spread out more and usually in very small groups.  Bottom line: this is becoming a very huge thing for cons and if you don’t have the cossies, you really don’t have a con.

This is coming from a guy who for 25 years couldn’t stand seeing cossies taking up space on the floor. The ones that stay in character the whole time get a salute from me. I, also, think they were really entertaining the families more than what I normally see at other cons. Seeing them walking up to kids versus kids walking up to them was real cool. I would like to see a more designated area for them to hang out at instead of it being right smack in front of the entrance, though.

The cash factor is, by all means, probably the most important part of the con’s success. Pretty much the worst thing a con can do is have empty tables.  Its just not good for a fan to see or for a creator who is stuck sitting next to a empty table. Here, every table was filled. It, also, seemed that the creators and vendors used every inch they could muster for this con.  Ticket sales were very good and I watched the box office line, never seeing a slow down of people handing over their cash for a ticket.  The vendors really had a nice flow and, boy, did the money pass hands on a consistent basis at almost every table I stopped at.

Of course, Avatar, Zenescope and Big Dog Ink were important stops for me.  There were some other publishers there as well, including Valiant and Boom Studios.  There really didn’t seem to be a focus on publishers at this show and seemed more catered to creators and vendors. I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing or not. I know I like speaking to the publishers some to get the scoop on what they have planned in the future.

The volunteers were really great. However, line control wasn’t at its best. When you put high profile people in the middle of the maze, you’re bound to have problems. Trying to get to Neal Adams’ table was pretty much impossible because of a line that was for another artist seven tables behind his. Since I’m seasoned and trained for these type of events, I was very puzzled that this con didn’t have this preplanned. That said, there was always a volunteer nearby to answer a question.

Overall, I enjoyed myself, even with the fact they had no badges for me and I had to wear a yellow wrist band (everyone who knows me is aware of how I hate wristbands). That wasn’t their fault, so I didn’t make a stink about it. I do think they need more space in the future. This will be a stopping point for me every year now. I would highly recommend this con to anybody who is still looking for a comic convention that isn’t partly inspired by the TV and movie industries.

There was the Yankees versus the Orioles game going on at the same time as the con, but Baltimore Comic-Con really hit the only home run that really mattered this past weekend, in my mind.

Jesse James

http://www.facebook.com/jjcomics