If there is one thing that I took away from this year’s Baltimore Comic Con is that it was significantly looser than any show I’ve been to in quite some time. All credit must be given to Mr. Marc Nathan who over the years has created an environment where comic creators and fans alike have a venue to truly connect. There are no television or movie stars or broken down wrestlers charging excessive autograph fees.
Unlike other shows, whose producers alienated the bigger publishers *cough cough Wizard*; there was a showing from DC, Marvel, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse, IDW Publishing, & Top Cow. And the biggest booth at BCC wasn’t for a cellphone or a car company, it was for Stylin Online (which I have no issue with at all).
The expansive Artist Alley was almost too much to do in just one day (which was all I had to work with); but I was able to connect with some of my favorite local Philadelphia artists like Scott Derby, Tom Whalen, and Geek Boy Press.
The absolute high for me at BCC was finally getting artist Herb Trimpe to sign some of my GI Joe: Special Missions issues. For about seven minutes Trimpe and I talked about how he felt that he had to frame Larry Hama’s scripts in an “epic light”. He stopped and flipped through #13, whose plot revolves around Dusty & Outback taking two probationary Joes on their final training mission.
The issue ultimately ends with one of the probies, Mangler sacrifice himself so that the other Joes may live. It was then Trimpe said to me, “You know the 90′s were criticized for their violence and dark themes, but Hama was really bringing some heat with these”. I laughed and agreed, and he asked me if Hama was at the show. I replied that he wasn’t, to which Trimpe said “I think he’ll be at New York, I’ll catch up with him then”.
I was taken aback that the guy who penciled The Incredible Hulk during the Silver Age would stop to have a conversation about Larry Hama with me. He was genuinely interested in hearing my take on his work and thanked me for stopping by. I’ve never experienced this before and I’ll never forget it, Trimpe is a class act through and through.
After my encounter I bumped into one of the guys from my local comic shop, Comics & More in King of Prussia, PA. We chatted for a few minutes about how we were enjoying the show and agreed that from a fan perspective, BCC is so far ahead of the pack. And that whatever formula they’ve worked out they ought to keep it the same.
From my experience, Baltimore Comic Con is the show that anyone in the Mid-Atlantic states must attend. Forget Wizard World and mark your calendars for next August … I’ll see you all there.