The Baltimore Comic Con seems like one of the last big comic conventions that's actually about comic books. Sure, there are some big conventions that call themselves "comic cons" (San Diego Comic Con, Philadelphia Comic Con), but they're more about pop culture than comics. So it's cool to go to a convention with real comic fans and great artists that truly celebrates the fun of comics.
This year's BCC was probably the most insane it's been since I've been going. There were so many people that a line stretched out the door and around the building when we got there. Fortunately, we had already bought our tickets online, so we got to waltz right in.
CosplayEverybody likes to see lots of cosplay photos from conventions, but there were so many people that the photo opportunities were limited. You had to be pretty quick on the draw to get your picture before the uncontrollable tsunami of people swamped your photo. That and the fact that I used the relatively low-res camera on my iPhone mean that many of the pictures below are just this side of awful. I hope they're clear enough that you can at least appreciate the costumes. I'm not the type to try to archive every costume at a convention so here are a few of my favorites:
Lobo, Black Cat and Spiderman, Red Ranger (Dino Thunder) and some Cobra dude. Suggestions?
Punisher, Casey Jones (who turned out blurred, but I kind of like how it looks like Casey is lunging for the attack), Dr. Manhattan and Silk Spectre.
Black Dynamite and Female Jazz.
Yo Joe! Snake Eyes, Flint, and Scarlett, with my friend Matt photobombing at the back-left.
ArtistsThe convention can turn into one indistinct blur of sensory-overloaded geekdom, so it can be difficult to take in and appreciate all the great artists there. Here are a few highlights:
Brian Bolland of The Killing Joke fame was there, but I didn't get his autograph. I'm still not sure if I like the over-the-top psychologically traumatic direction that The Killing Joke set for Batman, a trend that continues today. Bolland is an undeniably awesome artist though, and the Batman #400 that you see the dude in the foreground holding was one of my most memorable comics from my childhood.
Speaking of childhood favorites, Herb Trimpe was also there. I never drew the connection before, but this guy was responsible for many of my favorite comics from when I was a kid: GI Joe, Transformers, Shogun Warriors, Godzilla, and many others. I got him to sign a print of the last issue of Godzilla, which had the coolest cover of the whole 24-issue run.
There were also a lot of aspiring indy comics and one that happened to catch my eye was Charlie Ironpaw in Mined Your Step by Christopher Clements. It's a cool little anthropomorphic medieval dinosaur comic (pause to take that in), which seems to tap into the spirit of Sergio Aragones' Groo and Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo. Check out christophertime.tumblr.com for more.
And that's it for this year's Baltimore Comic Con! I also got a good deal of action figure loot that I'll review over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned! Oh yeah, one more thing...
What the heck is this?
On the way home we stopped by The Toy Exchange, arguably the coolest collectible toy shop in the area. I happened to notice this alligator sitting on a shelf out of the corner of my eye and I immediately did a double-take. I definitely had this as a kid, and I distinctly remember the texture of the alligator's head and back, the movement of the tail, and its impressive size (it was about 2 feet long, which is monstrous when you're a little tyke of 4 or 5 years old).
But what toy is it? I'm drawing a blank. I think it might have had something to do with a board game, but I'm not sure. The bottom is stamped: "Alligator Associates, 1980. Mfd. by Ideal Toy Corp." I haven't tried to do an exhaustive search for it yet, but I thought somebody might know right off the bat. Feel free to post your guesses below!