Our first visit to the Baltimore Comic-Con, held last weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center, revealed a pleasant, thriving, old school comic convention, with an exhibit hall full of dealers, low key publisher booths, and thronging fans; along with a great turnout of talent beyond what one would normally see at a show this size. 


Downtown Baltimore was rocking, with a marathon, a nurse’s convention, and other events leading to some traffic congestion, but the fans and convention hosts seemed good-natured and unphased by it all. 


The fans were lined up when we first arrived as the show opened on Saturday morning, and there was still a line over an hour later.


In our too-brief walk through the convention center, we spotted Don Rosa, Matt Wagner, Tim Sale, and Berni Wrightson.  That was only a small portion of the talent at the show, which included Joe Kubert, Neal Adams, J. Scott Campbell, Claudio Sanchez, and Image’s Robert Kirkman, Eric Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Whilce Portacio, and Marc Sylvestri, among many others too numerous to mention.


The show got good local press, including advance coverage on Friday in local mainstay Baltimore Sun focusing on the show's first-ever costume contest, along with other coverage throughout the weekend.       


The show benefits from its proximity to the Diamond-Alliance Retailer Summit, which brings in publishers, retailers, and talent, and is also the home of the annual Harvey Awards announcements.


The increasing impact of the Web on comics was clear at even this regional show, with the release of IDW’s Act-i-vate hardcover collection (of the Webcomics) and Comixology’s sponsorship of the Harvey Awards two such harbingers we noted. 


On the darker side, we were at a hotel bar on Friday night before the show opened talking to our friends from Boom Studios, and a young man from a nearby table approached us.  He said he was in town for a nursing convention being held at the Baltimore Convention Center, but wanted to know if wanted to look at a “beta version” demo of CBRs or CBZs he had on his iPhone.  Specifically, he had bootleg copies of Miracleman, which he assured us were not available in print form anywhere.  Once he found out that there were publishers at the table, he became less enthusiastic in his display of pirated intellectual property.  But it’s a sign of the times when a nurse approaches a group of strangers with bootleg comics on his iPhone. 


Here are few pictures we snapped on Saturday morning on our quick trip through the show:


An ecumenical couple, Robin and Cyclops, outside the convention center. 












Duck superstar Don Rosa signing comics in the exhibit hall.












An Avatar:  The Last Airbender couple.













A couple of Siths.













These young ladies were promoting Motorcycleboy comics and other merchandise.