Baltimore Comic Con 2013

10Sep13

This was my third year at the Baltimore Comic Con (2009, 2012 and 2013) and it was the best yet. The BCC has grown year on year and is now one of the premier conventions on the East coast. This year we had Stan Lee (though I can neither confirm or deny he was actually at the show — update: he wasn’t), Kevin Smith, The Comic Book Men and much of the top talent/legends in the comic book industry; I saw Neil Adams, Herb Trimpe, David Finch, Mark Bagley and many others.

Saturday

I was rocking a two day pass but unfortunately didnt make it onto the floor on Saturday. We went straight into the line for the Super Groovy Jay & Silent Bob event – after queueing for about an hour the doors opened and we took our seats directly in front of where Kevin Smith would eventually sit but about 10 rows back. The movie; the precursor to the live taping of the podcast/Q&A; started at about 15:45 but due to an unbelieveable wave of tiredness was difficult to sit through. However it was pretty funny with Ralph Garman stealing the (voice) show. At the very end of the credits (minor spoiler alert) there was some good news in the form of that James Bond staple… it announced… Jay & Silent Bob will return in Clerks III!

After a short intermission they announced Jason Mewes to the stage, quickly followed by the man, the legend, Kevin Smith! The two great ones (Bill & Ted not withstanding) went straight into taping the podcast.

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It was amazing to be a few feet away from one of my heroes. Kevin didn’t disappoint and after the usual wild stories from Mewes they moved into the Q&A portion… which was only disappointing due to the lack of current and fairly unoriginal questions offered by the audience. No update was asked for on “the walrus movie” Tusk or Clerks III. There was the usual fanboys and weirdos and Smith & Mewes dealt with all adeptly. And all too soon it was over… they both exited stage left and that was the end of the show. I was a little disppointed that Mr Smith didnt stay to do more Q&A or an impromptu signing… but we had been well warned on the literature that was not going to happen. Alas there is always a hope. Anyway; they announced the signed posters were not ready either and they gave options to pick them up the next day, ship them out or get a partial refund. I opted for the former and was one of the first to leave the queue in all the confusion and headed out of the building to home.

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Sunday

I had a shortlist of things I wanted to achieve on the main floor on Sunday and so I decided to head down “early”. I approached the convention centre to see a queue that seemed a mile long. After walking down in the morning sun I decided I would rather wait inside the foyer until the queue had snaked through security and onto the floor. I went upstairs and passed the first celebrity of the day – Rob Bruce of Comic Book Men fame – I said “Hi Rob; How are you?” and he replied (I’m paraphrasing) “Good Thanks”. I found a seat upstairs and lounged for a while in the air-conditioning.

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It took nearly forty-five minutes for the queue outside to thin down enough to call it “the end” – at which point I joined and made my way excitedly onto the floor. I was prepared this year with a list of achievements;

- Get an official souvenir program
– Buy Amanda Connor print for my brother
– Pick up Super Groovy Movie poster (which was unavailable to pick up on Saturday)
– Get a signed free copy of Baltimore Comic Con exclusive Cryptozoic Man and meet the Comic Book Men
– Meet Kevin Smith
– Look for a Silent Bob Bobblehead
– Submit my recently acquired Amazing Spider-Man 298, 299 and 300 to CGC for grading (mainly because my issue 300 looked in amazingly good condition)
– Walk the Artists Alley
– Buy some swag

As soon as I entered the hall I bee-lined straight for the Comic Book Men booth – the queue was reasonably short – about maybe ten or twelve people in front of me. (I must say; and it may have been due to it being the Sunday; but the nice thing about the Baltimore Comic Con is that the queues in the hall are always relatively short, fast moving and consistant). The camera crew was in full force as they are filming an episode of Season 3… so I joined the queue, signed the release form and got my picture taken. After a ten minute wait they stopped me at the head of the line while they did a speaking “bit” between Walt Flanagan and Ming Chen – if that is used or there is a wide shot at that moment there is a possiblity that I will be in the background when aired!

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They released me; I exchanged pleasantries with Walt, Brian and Ming each by name and said I enjoyed the show. When I got to Mike; who I think is the most approachable of the group, I questioned him if they had ever seen the Catch & Release Inaction figure. To which he and Ming replied no… so I whipped mine out of my bag (I was looking to get Kevin to sign it), they examined it and thought it was cool. Ming explained that only about 50 were made and that they were handed out at the wrap party on the movie. He thought it would be worth “a ton” and was amazed I had one in my possession.

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After my brief and potential brush with stardom, I headed over to the Amanda Conner booth – who is very popular due to the number of fans in line. There was some hijinx with Dan DiDio happening in the area and I took a photo for a two people in front of me (who were the same two people behind me the day before in the Super Groovy queue). I got to the front and had a short chat with Amanda, who is lovely, and she signed the print for my brother.

I swung back passed the Comic Book Men booth to see if Kevin had turned up… no sign… so I moved on. I scoured the collectibles stands for two things; any colossus stuff I dont have and the Kevin Smith Bobblehead (I have just three failed attempts at picking one up on ebay behind me). There was no sign of any Silent Bob stuff really anywhere in the con. Colossus stuff is always limited – but the items worth noting were:

- Lots of Marvel Universe Colossus figures at multiple stands (of which I have multiple already)
– One Marvel Universe Giant Sized X-Men six-pack-figure-set (which I already own)
– One Wolverine Origins Colossus figure (which I purchased for a second year in a row – this time for $8 – last years set me back $15 if I recall correctly)
– Only one Marvel Legends Colossus (which I do own – but I purchased again, this time to open)
– A custom-made wire version of Colossus (which was quaint but also thirty bucks for an unlicensed bundle of wire… pass!)
– An art print I saw – but wasn’t terribly impressed with.
– Custom-art trading cards – which I bought for a dollar each – of Colossus and of the Colossonaut.

I may have said this before but the Colossus Collection is built on the premise that items allowed into the inventory must satisfy one of the three following criteria -

1. Properly Licensed. Anything with an official Marvel Licence is accepted.
2. Custom – but only requested by me.
3. Cheap.

[[A secret Directive 4 may get executed if a particular item does not satisfy one of the first three... and the item is just too awesome not to own]] The custom wire model just didnt satisfy any of the four prime directives – and so it was left on the shelf.

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The coolest conversation I had was unexpected. I was walking passed a booth called Geek Art and saw some familiar looking art on the wall but couldn’t place any of it… I then glanced at one of the name tags pinned onto one of the guys standing behind the counter; it read either JoshRogan or RoganJosh – I can’t quite recall. But that rang a bell too… I suddenly realized that I had bought a print from him a few years ago – the Colossus And Kitty Pryde Art Print. I spoke to him and mentioned I had purchased years ago when I saw someone put his work up on the Bendis Board… before he closed the Etsy shop due to overwelming orders. He is back at creating in full force – Josh seemed like a really awesome dude. Follow him on twitter @roganjoshnyc and buy his art at modhero.com

I’ve been a long time fan of Chris Uminga and it was great to meet him in person. Not owning anything from him I bought a couple of prints – a beautiful Hulk print and a mini-print of Frankenstein. I spoke to him about a possible Colossus commission too. Check out his art at http://uminga.deviantart.com

For those of you who are still paying attention: Kevin Smith did indeed turn up at the Comic Book Men booth – and I missed him – I think it was akin to a drive by shooting. I blinked. I missed it. Nevermind… there is always next year!

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