Well, we're back. I just finished unloading the car and putting everything away. (Whew. The foyer was starting to look like a rummage sale.) We had a great weekend in Baltimore, seeing the usual folks (except, unfortnately, Nick Cardy, who is perfectly healthy but couldn't make it this year). As usual, Marc, Shelly and Brad put on a spectacular show and everyone seemed to be having a great time. Even a certain birthday boy who didn't want us blabbing the fact all over the show. Craig Rousseau did a thorough job of just that.
Sales were a bit down this time but we fully expected that. However, donations seemed to be up and that surprised us. Quite a few folks stopped by just to put money in the jar and wanted nothing back in return. In fact, we were already packed up at the end of the show when one gentleman came running over to make a generous donation on his way out. So, thank you to everyone who donated money, bought something or just stopped by the table to shake our hands and wish us well. Quite a few of Mike's fans came by just to tell us how much they miss him.
Something new this year, though. We had several people come by who were unaware of Mike's passing and mistook me for him. Having to explain the situation after two years was really strange. There was one young lady in particular who loved Mike's work but didn't speak English very well. I'm afraid that, by trying to explain things tactfully, I wasn't making much sense to her and she thought "Mike" was just telling her I didn't want to sign her comics. Eventually, we all got on the same page, though. Still, I guess that's something I need to be prepared for in the future.
A special thanks to our friend Brian Mulcahy, who spelled us at the table a couple of times and ended up bringing in more money in an hour or two than Suzanne and I did combined all weekend. It's amazing what a pretty face will do.
These shows are a big blur for us so I'll only touch on a few things that stood out. It was great seeing Rod and Leanne Hannah of Blue Milk Special among many other things. They're the only folks that don't look at me sideways when I bring up Hammer Horror films. We got to see Rich Faber again. It was terrific seeing him. He was up for a Harvey Award for Best Inker this year. He didn't win, unfortunately, but as they say in Hollywood, it really is an honor to be nominated. Rich's wife Traci, of course, was on all our minds this year. We got to see Norman Lee again who is just a wonderful, generous guy and he introduced me to his stunning new wife whose name escapes me. (I'm horrible with names and faces and I'm fortunate that people seem to be fairly forgiving of me for this.) Rico Renzi brought over his adorable daughter who had Craig draw in her sketchbook. I finally got to see the plaque that the Baltimore ASPCA put up in Mike's honor. It really is impressive and I know Mike would be incredibly honored and proud of it. We got to see fellow VCU alum and one of Mike's best friends, Mark Waid, who has been very supportive of the fund and always stops by to see how we're doing. I have to admit to getting a bit of a geeky thrill talking to him because I'm such a fan of his and was before Mike even started working on THE FLASH with him.
This was a convention and I am a fan so I did take the opportunity to geek out a little. I didn't buy a lot this year because Christmas is fast approaching and I probably shouldn't be throwing money around. But I did pick up a couple of cool Toon Tumblers. They're very reminiscent of those old 7-11 Slurpee cups from the '70s that I loved so much and so I can't resist. (It seems we spend the first third of our lives running from childhood and the rest of it trying to run back.) I also snagged a nice biography of John Romita cheap along with maybe two or three trades I'd been looking for. I tried a couple of times to get Eric Canete to sign the Iron Man book he drew but he was so intent on his drawing (incredible stuff!) I didn't want to disturb him. Suzanne rolled her eyes and took the book over. She very sweetly asked him to sign it and said he smiled and said, "Sure!" She said he was very polite and super-nice. Thanks, Eric! Lastly, I had the pleasure of meeting Berni Wrightson, a lifelong idol of mine. I only realized at the last minute that he and Len Wein would be at the show and (when we stopped by the house on the way out of town to feed the cats) I ran upstairs to snag my SWAMP THING hardcover to get them both to sign it. I even got to buy a signed print of my favorite illustration from Wrightson's FRANKENSTEIN edition. (Below.)
Here are some pictures from the show:
Robert Kirkman showing everyone he has great taste in artwork.
Here's Craig working on a Phoenix sketch for a fan. Someone famous once said sculpting was just chipping away all the parts that weren't the statue. Watching Craig draw is a lot like that. He makes it look so easy. Jerk.
This unabashed young lady was causing whiplash all over the convention hall. Males everywhere were staring at her over long boxes (heh) but trying to look like they weren't (well, maybe not the guy in the background). Probably had something to do with her boyfriend who was following her around with a pained expression on his face. As I was scraping my jaw off the floor, Suzanne leaned over and said, "Don't worry, you dirty old man, I got a picture for you." Did I mention, best wife ever? I did, right?
And, finally, this little guy is obviously challenging Kid Nova for the title of "Ad Nauseam's Coolest Kid Ever." Check it out. He's even got 'Ringo feet! I mean, if this isn't blatant pandering, I don't know what is.
Thanks again, Baltimore.