Hi folks! For those who don’t know me, my name is Will, and I’m the pop culture guru to the stars. Well, maybe not yet, but a guy can dream. In any case, Brian knew that I’d be heading off to the Baltimore Comic Con, and he was nice enough to invite me to do a write-up about it.
This was my 7th Baltimore Con, so I’ve pretty much met most of the professionals by this point. In fact, I’ve seen Liberty Meadows/Avengers artist Frank Cho so many times that he lovingly refers to me as his “stalker”. That funny guy! As much as I love comics, I wasn’t there for Artist Alley or any of the other creators this time. No, I was there to meet The Man.
In case you’re not in the know, Stan “The Man” Lee is essentially the father of Marvel Comics. He created (or co-created, depending on who you ask) Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and many other iconic characters. One of the industry’s greatest cheerleaders, Stan never has a bad thing to say about anyone or anything. It has always been my dream to met both Stan and Adam West, and I saw this show as a chance to at least check one of those boxes.
I had paid for the BCC VIP package, which meant that I’d get a photo with Stan, as well as an autograph. It also granted access to special lines that moved more quickly than the standard lines. Here’s something that I wanted to mention about the VIP line: I was impressed that con organizer Marc Nathan, along with the aforementioned Frank Cho, walked along the VIP line, introducing themselves and thanking each and every person for coming. It might seem like a little gesture to some, but it was a classy gesture, nonetheless.
Once the doors opened for the show, there wasn’t much order in keeping the VIPs together. Once we got to the area where Stan would be taking photos, I had somehow gone from #75 in line to #7 – not that I was complaining! Considering they had to do so many pictures in a short amount of time, it was run like a machine. Sadly, this mean that you didn’t really get to talk to Stan. In fact, he didn’t even look at you. He sat on stool, and you were rushed in, told to smile, and rushed off. When my photo was done, I told him that it was an honor to meet him. He turned his head towards me as I was leaving, and jovially responded, “Well, it’s an honor to have been met!”
The photos and autographs were handled by two separate vendors, so I had to get in another line for the autograph. Instead of paying for *access* to the signing, we were actually paying for each item signed. So, if you wanted him to sign four things, that would require four tickets, at $55 each. I had two items, and really couldn’t decide which I wanted signed. I actually figured out how to game the system, but I chickened out at the last minute. He signed my copy of The Origin of Marvel Comics, and I shook his hand before leaving the booth. A fanboy’s dream come true!
Like any comic convention, there were loots of folks in costume. At San Diego Comic-Con, there’s a plethora of Slave Leias. Here, either due to the weather or an East Coast sense of shame, we don’t get those. That said, there were still a lot of great costumes on display. There’s also a funny phenomenon — when you’re about to take a picture of a great costume, there’s usually someone with a crappy costume who doesn’t get out of the shot. You don’t want to hurt their feelings, so it becomes “OK, dollar store zombie. You get a picture, too.”
As for merchandise, while this was certainly a great show for collectors of older comics, it wasn’t the show for collectors of older toys. The oldest toys seemed to be fire sale Phantom Menace figures, yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many copies of Amazing Fantasy #15 (Spider-Man’s first appearance) under one roof. Seeing as Stan was the guest of honor, it was a good occasion for dealers to sell older stock that people may want to have signed. Oddly enough, toys were all that I bought. In fact this was my first convention where I didn’t buy a single comic book, trade paperback, or graphic novel. It was an all-toy show for me, and here’s the haul from Day 1:
As you can see, I ended up with a bunch of Mattel’s DC Universe Classics figures, both carded and loose. I also got my girlfriend a bunch of Hasbro’s Marvel Mighty Muggs (that’s the one thing I’ve convinced her to collect). It’s kind of blurry, but I got a postcard set signed by artist Cliff Chiang. My pal, Filip Sablik of Top Cow, gave me a copy of the his new comic, which I got signed by the artist. You’ll also notice the Stan Lee Toon Tumbler, as well as my photo with Stan. To round it out, I got an awesome DC Universe “Faces” poster, which you see underneath everything. In all, it wasn’t a shabby haul, and that was just Day 1. What about Day 2? Well, you’ll just have to read part 2 – tomorrow over on my website!