Baltimore Comic-Con 2008: Samuel James Rules Spent All His Money
Despite the terrible rain and consequent fear of ruining newly purchased books, Baltimore Comic-Con was awesome. After meeting up at my place and figuring out who's riding with who we drove the fifteen minutes to our secret free parking and Karen and I realized that we left our tickets at home. Walking back through the rain and speeding home in a record NINE MINUTES we grabbed our tickets and made it back to the Con, and were instantly happy again, soaking wet but smiles on our faces. Right off the bat I turned around and saw Don Rosa, writer and artist of The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, which is one of my all time favorites. I bought a great print from him which he happily signed, and my day was already looking up.
I made a point to go to the Bendis and Kirkman panel since the Kirkman "manifesto" is such a hot topic and something I have had many conversations about. It's unfortunate that they didn't really address a lot of issues, and the beginning joke was so lame even sad-ass fan boy dudes couldn't keep up laughing at "fuck you" being shot back and forth for a minute. Kirkman (being the "little guy" in the conversation) had the crowd of yes-dudes and Bendis (being one of my least favorite writers and big bad industry villian) was basically ignored even when he was correct. Kirkman busted out some graphs in a power point presentation showing Walking Dead sales compared to Marvel Zombies sales, two books which he wrote. He wanted to show that Walking Dead's sales did not rise or fall with the release of Marvel Zombies but stayed the same. He went through this argument with a few of his books compared to Bendis's books, but they didn't talk about trades, which are a major factor. I work at a major retail bookstore that isn't Barnes and Noble and I can tell you that people come in for Marvel Zombies and have no idea what Walking Dead is. They see Captain America all fucked up and want to buy it, and I talk to them about Kirkman's "other" zombie book and that is when they buy it. Trades are a HUGE part of the market now, it's similar to DVD sales, where people don't want to spend money on the issues when they can get a final product. It's also much more acceptable to read a "graphic novel" and not a "comic book" for most people, so they do get purchased more, and make up a good portion of the market. Plus dude just does the only zombie comic that isn't absolutely awful that you can get anywhere and a Superman parody book that's pretty ok when you read it for free at your shitty bookstore job, but not worth buying. Just sayin.
I also went to the Marvel Comics panel which was more like a self admitted market research session where Bendis, C.B. Cebulski, and Dan Slott just sat around and they asked us straight up what we wanted in comics and what we hated. Not just Marvel Comics, over all. It was a press conference without the bullshit and was some what refreshing to talk to these creators about continuity, Secret Invasion and the aftermath, and why thought balloons are for queerby bad writers. Talking trash about Bendis' writing and him being real about it was great and showed me he's not just full of shit. It was interesting to see a room full of people who are all different, and how many people don't understand that comics change. Some people's responses to "what could we be doing different?" was to yell out for their favorite character to be used more. Other people's reactions to an overall positive discussion was to be just plain rude about characters dying off or being put on hold. I finally decided to raise my hand and bring up that Marvel comics, particularly X-Men and Avengers, are extremely hard for new readers to get into. I said the words "continuity is the killer" and surprisingly that's when Bendis interrupted the next person in the audience to talk about how he also believes this, even though he's one of the biggest problems. Slott talked at great length about having to do what "the team" wants you to do and what you as a writer want to do, and the conflicts that lead to people's departure from the company when they aren't team players. At times the conversation would turn to two fans talking and the focus would be off of the creators and that's what made the panel special to me, that we actually mattered. They didn't bad mouth any other companies like Image had been all day, and Bendis even talked about how much he liked Batman. I know I'm this Marvel nerd guy but it really was refreshing to hear the voices of these comics I read talking about the comics like fans without really dropping any bombs or it being an exhibition of what their comics are, it was about who we were as fans and what we wanted. They are the "bad guys" or whatever but they still are dudes who read comics and want the best comics in the world to be made, so they're good in my book.
Also, I'm taller than Bendis and that's pretty weird to me. He also seemed like someone to get a picture with because that's what people do at Comic-Con? I guess it's like autographs or something, but with your face. Also there's this weirdo dude behind us wearing a "SON OF FANBOY" shirt. That's cool, right?
The best booths were the Zapp Comics, our hometown boys Cosmic Comix, and Laughing Ogre Comics. Dollar comics that were new and not just throw aways, 50% off brand new trades, and tons of other great crap to waste your money on.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Soul's Winter By: Michael Zulli - I've been trying to get into the Ninja Turtles stuff but can't find a good starting point, and I thought this was awesome and weird so I got it. Shredder is gnarly and Splinter is straight up scary. 50% off ten bucks, not bad.
Eastman and Laird's Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Original Vol. 1 Series Treasury Edition By: Eastman and Laird
Tor: Volume 1 By: Joe Kubert - After reading the newer DC series I wanted to get some of the older issues, but after seeing some of their prices I went over to Cosmic Comix's booth and grabbed the first volume that has the original stories for half price, so it only cost me $25, which after looking through It's obviously well worth it with all the extras and sketches of the original Tor stoires.
Bombshell Boobies By: Yukio Yukimino and La Blue Girl Book 1: Destiny By: Toshio Maeda - I lump these together because on our slow walk towards the exit on the second and last day of the Con, we stopped at a small booth and I flipped through the manga hoping for some gold, and found these two books. The dude running the money box said "Are you actually going to read those? heheheh" and smiled with this twenty five year old braces shining. I asked how much they were and threw down four bucks for the two and bought my first two weirdo japanese comics, Boobie Bombshell being a collection of fetishes that are more creepy than disturbing, like watching your brother have sex or being attracted to a girl's bent leg. La Blue Girl is just straight tentacle monster rape weird stuff. I think this is going to open the doors for me to get into lots of great horror stuff and sex comics.