Monday, August 30, 2010
Before I get to the goods about our trip to Baltimore, I should mention that I'm a little embarrassed about my reaction to BOOM!'s new Dracula book. (Which was a decent read, once I got past the similarities that had me so worked up.) I came across a bit whiney, I'm afraid. I'm still a little distressed about how closely some of the details mirror each other but after talking to Todd, I feel a lot better. Good thing we all talked him into coming. He made me feel so ridiculous about the whole thing. And it didn't hurt that, as I was walking around the convention hall, I saw at least three booths pimping new books that were alarmingly similar to THE PERHAPANAUTS. (Just not as cool.) It put everything into perspective and illustrated Todd's point. By Sunday morning, I was already itching to start writing Chapter Five.
But enough of that.
Looks like I could stick Todd's whole head in my mouth, doesn't it? Either I've gained more weight than I thought or Todd's been in the dryer.
Baltimore Comicon 2010 was a hell of a lot of fun. Probably the largest crowd I've seen since I went to San Diego Comicon back in the late '90s. I'm exhausted and Suzanne and I were tired, it seemed, all the time but the weekend went by way too fast and we were a little sad to have to go back to the "real" world. Seeing everyone was a real blast and it was nice to have Todd by our side again. I think the convention-goers agreed because every time he got up to go look around or take care of something, we'd have to tell five people he'd be back "in a minute." Craig Rousseau had us in stitches the entire time and the days just flew by.
We did get off to a rocky start, though. We checked in at about 9:30 Friday night only to find out the Hyatt had overbooked and they asked us if we'd be willing to spend the night across the street at the Sheraton. We didn't like the idea but the Hyatt agreed to pick up the tab for the room so we figured that was a pretty good trade off. When we got to the room, though, it was less a room and more a broom closet with a window. The room was barely large enough for us to turn around in and the bed was more or less a futon. The top of the bed was about a foot from the floor. It was free, though, and we were pretty tired. We were literally across the street from the Hyatt (a ten-second walk) and hit the bar to say, "hi" to everyone. The first person we saw was Jamal Igle who greeted us with a big smile a hug. People always describe Mike as the "nicest man in comics." Well, I think Jamal is keeping that tradition alive now because he really is a sweetheart.
After hanging out with Todd, Craig, Rich Woodall and Shelton Drum, (and unexpectedly getting to meet Marc and Shelly Nathan's new baby Reese!) we went back to the room and discovered, to our surprise, that the futon slept great. Best night's sleep I've had in quite a while. And the bathroom was pretty nice. It really did turn out well. Our only complaint is that it was a bit of a hassle to have to check out of the Sheraton and drop our luggage off across the street before heading to the convention. Overall, a small price to pay for a free hotel room.
The days were a bit of a blur. I had forgotten the donation jar so Suze went out to a nearby CVS and bought a huge jug of pretzels and dumped them into a bag (They made a nice snack for everyone.) and we taped one of the Tellos prints to the front. Suzanne really saved the day on that one.
We saw a few regulars that we see at all the conventions. That's always somehow comforting. I finally got to meet the very nice Adam Hutchinson who flattered me by asking for a Question sketch. (I've done three of four sketches for folks and two of them have been the Question. Go figure.) He handed me a sketchbook in which to do it and I asked him if anyone important had drawn in it because I was nervous about messing up a page in something so precious. He shrugged and said, "Enh. Not really." Later, I was flipping through the book and saw, among others, a Walt Simonson, a Tim Sale and—GOOD LORD!—a Darwyn Cooke! I'm not exaggerating when I say I got faint when I saw that. Anyway, I drew him holding Yorick's skull and saying, "To be or not to be..." I thought I was being clever but nobody got it so... (Adam, I've started your friend's Nova sketch. E-mail me his address and I'll send it on when I'm done. Please apologize to him for me. I didn't want to rush it and I didn't dare take the sketchbook with me.)
I finally got to have an extended conversation with Dean Trippe whose drawing style I find very appealing. Somewhere between Brian Lee O'Malley and Darwyn Cooke. (Or, all Dean Trippe, if you prefer.) He gave me a print of a wonderful Superman drawing he did which I'm going to hang up at work while I still have a wall on which to do so. (Don't ask.) Dean was nice enough to buy an F.F. page and contribute to the fund. Thanks, Dean. It was great hanging out.
We also got to see Rod and Leanne Hannah who we missed at Heroes this year.
Rod absolutely cracked me up when he had the balls to do something we all wanted to do at dinner Saturday night but didn't. I won't go into detail because it was a little embarrassing but it was necessary and I thank Rod. I think asking the waitress for a recommendation may have been pushing your luck, but #$%*ing hysterical, nonetheless. Just to piss him off, here's a picture of him guarding his ice cream from the rest of us barbarians.
Dinner was a blast, though I was sorry that we had to split the group into two tables and Todd wasn't sitting with us. We made up for it the next day, though, as we had the traditional BOMB. (Brotherhood of Mike Breakfast.) Suze and I have been fortunate to be included in a lot of these and this time we went about 15 minutes from the hotel to a place called the Broadway Diner which I believe Jamar Nicholas (or DJ Squatty Large as he wants to be called now) had seen on the Food Network.
The food was good but the service was spectacular. Jamar talked Todd and Craig into trying the dreaded "scrapple" against our adamant protests. It's a cross between potted meat and gristle. Being from rural Virginia, I've seen a lot of people eat it but I never could bring myself to.There were no casualties, fortunately. Jamar, Todd and Craig had us laughing to the point of crying the whole time and I could almost hear Mike's famous laugh a few times as well. We toasted the big lug before digging in. FOR MIKE!
The new buttons seemed to be a hit. Sales were slow but thanks to some generous donations from some very nice folks, we did just fine. So the award will go up a little more. (We're at $1,600 per year now. That's $350 more than when we started it!) Thanks to everyone who bought something or dropped money into the pretzel jug. Or just stopped by to offer encouragement. It means a lot.
There were a ton of retailers there with a lot of stuff but I didn't find much. I picked up several Ed Brubaker CAPTAIN AMERICA trades so I can start catching up on that. A CHAMPIONS Vol. 2 trade. And some DC collected miniseries like ECLIPSO. Not really enough to do my "loot" collage. Probably a good thing. I spent a lot less and I really am running out of places to put all these books.
The con was over before we knew it and it was time to say goodbye. We had a lot of laughs, increased the fund and got to see our friends. We couldn't ask for more. Another day would have been nice, though. :) To top it off, I even managed to lose a tiny bit of weight, despite all the beer and restaurant hopping.
Next up, the Salem Comic Convention in October. See you there.
Stay thirsty, my friends.
Posted by Matt Wieringo at 5:52 PM