I’ve heard from friends/comic book creators that Baltimore Comic Con was one of the best pure comic book conventions in the US, so I decided this year I’d see for myself. One of the things that made this particular show stand out this year was the talent invited were all comic book creators with the exception of a few actresses who voiced Disney Princesses… and, erm, actor John Leguizamo. Fair enough. Well, all the people that told me to head to Baltimore weren’t wrong!
The show, which takes over the Baltimore Convention Center for three days every year, saw a great list of invited creators descend upon it, some of whom I’ve never seen at a con before – and that’s saying something. I’ve attended my fair share of comic cons over the years and the main reason for not seeing some of these guests is the fact that I’m West Coast-based and I’m only recently deciding to branch out and see what’s out there.
Some of my personal highlights included getting some of my prized books signed (and, if was lucky, get tiny remarks on them) from the likes of Mike Dringenberg, making his first con appearances in quite a few years, and signing some of my early SANDMAN issue collection; getting the legendary Walt Simonson – a chap who usually only does East Coast conventions – to sketch me a Gambit; chatting with Al Milgrom as he signed the first appearances of Moon Knight and Shang-Chi for me. I also got such legends including Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Jim Starlin, Mike Grell, Frank Miller, Jim Lee, Ann Nocenti, Garth Ennis, Howard Mackie, Jill Thompson, and many more to sign some books for me. Incredible!
While waiting for Walt Simonson to show up, I had the opportunity to head to the booth right next to his which was selling some of his original art and prelim sketches. While I didn’t pick up any of Walt’s stuff, I did manage to pick up a prelim sketch that Greg Hildebrandt did for his cover of DEAD MAN LOGAN #1.
As I wandered around the con and talked to various guests, they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. Probably due to the fact that this was a very low key con in comparison to others I’ve attended, and also due to the fact that some of these creators don’t see each other too often. For instance sitting next to both Walt and Louise Simonson was Howard Chaykin, and Jim Starlin at one point wandered over to one of his colleagues in the creation of Shang-Chi, Al Milgrom.
The general crowd vibe felt incredibly positive as a lot of attendees, like myself, were there to see some of their creator idols – such as the likes of Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Walt Simonson, and more – and to see and talk to them for a lengthy amount of time. Some of the attendees for those creators were waiting at least two hours for the opportunities, which was worth it in many cases. For example, Walt was only doing sketches for the first fifteen people in his line (he wrote a number on their thumbnail to indicate where they were in the line, I was second the day I got my GAMBIT).
While I didn’t attend panels (as I was busy running around seeing all the creators and taking in the exhibit floor), some of the programmings included tributes to some of the greats we lost this year including Tim Sale, Neal Adams, and George Perez. They also had spotlights on some of the guests including the above-mentioned Miller, Jim Lee, Starlin, as well as Alan Davis, and more. Next year I plan to sit in on some of them (‘plan’ being the keyword because, if it’s like this year, I’ll be back on the exhibit hall floor the vast majority of the time).
Of course, the other big draw in the programming schedule was the annual The Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards, aka The Ringos. What makes these awards great is both fans and pros get to choose the nominees, with the winners then selected by a jury.
Having been to many cons over post-COVID shutdown, I have to say that this show had a decent attendance level – not huge in comparison to other mega shows like those put on by ReedPop or CCI. That was probably due to the fact that this was an almost pure comic book convention without some of the media draws that other cons have.
If you’re a fan of old-school comic book conventions where one can chat and see many creators in a very lowkey environment, I highly recommend adding this show to your plans especially since the tickets are very affordable ($75 for all 3 days or 30/40/35 for Friday/Saturday/Sunday respectively). The exhibit hall while spread out had wall-to-wall creators from veterans to newer indie creators all tabling with quite a few vendor booths with multiple boxes of comics spread out for attendees to fill gaps in their collections. The staff and volunteers ran a great show with hardly any issues at all.
All-in-all, a highly rewarding convention for Yours Truly. And, of course, after a busy show running around and meeting your heroes, a growing lad needs to eat and, in Baltimore, the seafood is a must-have. It didn’t disappoint as I had a delicious salmon fillet and an all-you-can-eat salad bar one night with a slice of key lime pie at Fogo de Chão, and ended my weekend with what Baltimore is most known for: crab cakes at Silver Spring Mining Company.
I have to say, Baltimore Comic Con 2022 was one of my favorite shows of the year, hands down, and I can’t wait to go back when it returns September 8-10, 2023.
Did you attend Baltimore Comic Con? What were your thoughts about it? Let us know in the comments or chat with us on Twitter at TheConCollectve.
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