Once again Therefore I Geek brings you The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. This time we’re coming home from Baltimore Comic-Con.
There was sooooo much good. I mean, incredible amounts of good. Baltimore is a small, no stress con. It’s easy to walk across the entire convention floor in only a few minutes and without having to fight through a sea of people to do it. Given that the convention center is right downtown, there are plenty of places to eat, and it isn’t unreasonably difficult to leave the con for an hour and a half for a nice lunch break. I arrived right at ten o’clock in the morning on Saturday and walked right in, but for those who got to the site a little early, the lines were well managed and moved quickly.
Baltimore’s Comic-Con is primarily about comics. My understanding is that when San Diego stopped emphasizing comics, the guys who were heavily into them started going to Baltimore. While this may not be the correct explanation, it is certainly plausible, given the feel of the convention. Most of the vendors are comic based, so if there is something specific that an enthusiast is looking for, this is the place it can be found. It also means that there are a lot of big name writers and artists, and that it doesn’t require waiting on line for endless hours to meet them. The longest celebrity line by far was for Batman artist Greg Capullo, which is understandable, but even that was still pretty short. (Actually, the longest line at the convention was for the only food place that was open.)
As far as panels go, there were fewer than most cons, but they were all very well thought out and had great panelists. I was fortunate to watch Frank Cho do a live drawing, which in and of itself was a treat, but what made the panel great was that Cho didn’t come into the panel with a pre-determined idea. Instead he asked for audience ideas, much like an improv comic might. In the end we decided on Rogue washing a triceratops. Rogue washing She-Hulk was a close second, and probably would have won if there weren’t so many kids in the audience. In general every panel I attended, as well as those attended by my friends, were extremely good, which is refreshing.
There was also a great, family friendly atmosphere to the convention. In fact, a large area near Artist’s Alley was devoted entirely to kids events and all ages comics. The program had a section that clearly spelled out what programming was specifically family friendly. This family inclusive feel was not lost on the masses as there were tons of families there, especially on Sunday, which for most conventions is the traditional “family day.”
My biggest complaint about the event was the fact that instead of having plastic badges on lanyards like nearly every other event that exists, we were forced to wear plastic wrist bands, color coded to the kind of ticket we bought. For people like myself who bought three day passes, this meant that we were stuck wearing this stupid thing for multiple days, without being able to remove it. This probably wouldn’t have bugged me so much, except for the fact that they bothered to make up normal badges for the VIP tickets. I’m all for making the VIP tickets extra special, but this was just annoying. Given what we pay for tickets, I find it hard to believe that the cost of the badges had something to do with their decision.
The only truly ugly thing about this convention was the utter and reckless abandon with which I butchered my budget. Seriously, I blew that “limit” up. I did manage to get some really, really cool stuff though.
In the end, Baltimore is a really great convention for comic fans who feel somewhat left out by other cons that have perhaps forgotten their origins. It’s big enough to attract major guests, but small enough to avoid the insanity that has overtaken many other conventions and it’s definitely worth attending.