Baltimore Comic-Con 2009 - Sammy's Take

After braving the Baltimore Marathon crowds and traffic--cars on the highway literally driving the wrong way to get out of it--we made it to the 10th Annual Baltimore Comic-Con.

Saturday is always a strange experience; the "Collectors", running around with their suit cases filled with newly bought comics and lists in binders, checking things off the list as they flip through the box you're still looking at, the "Dads" ignoring their screaming children while haggling for one more dollar off and of course, the "Wheelers", people in motorized wheel chairs smashing into your legs and looking at you like it's your fault, and then standing up to check on that issue of Cable they are missing.

Sunday is the more fun day in a lot of aspects. You spend all day Saturday mentally preparing your brain to flip through hundreds of dollar priced comics in white boxes hoping to find a "White Box Hero", but by Sunday, the crowds are gone, and you're ready to get down to business. Spending a couple of hours digging through some un-bagged, yellowed issues feels like comic book freedom, the dust blacking the tips of your fingers and the attic smell filling your lungs, that's what it's all about.

Here are my haul highlights:

Good-bye and Other Stories By Yoshihiro Tatsumi

Unfortunately I couldn't even take a picture of my own copy of this book, and the only one I could find available on the internet is actually Brandon's copy. This large format (almost oversized) edition of Tatsumi's Good-Bye and Other Stories allows the art to speak for itself, I love reading manga in a non-digest size and being able to actually see the pictures. It only cost me $2 at Laughing Ogre Comics, which last year I also noted as one of the best booths at the show.

The Thing #3 By John Byrne and Ron Wilson

This was one of the two things actually on my list, along with Marvel Swimsuit issues (that's not a joke), because it's the issue where Lockjaw of the Inhumans speaks, revealing he's not just a big ass space dog, but actually one of the Inhumans who has just been touched by the mists differently. I've been reading a lot of the old Inhumans books lately, and have been thinking a lot about Lockjaw's humanity as an Inhuman, and not just the way sometimes dogs are just plain pals. This essentially completely changes Lockjaw's character and opens up more questions than it really answers.

The Last Generation Published by Black Tie Studios

The Last Generation kinda comes off as a weird Furry comic at first, but once you read the first issue and discover the timeline of events in the back, it completely changes your opinion of the entire story. Karen managed to grab me issues 1-4 for fifty cents each. Being written and published in '86, events in the chronology go all the way to the year 2000, where Russia and the U.S. agree to get rid of all nuclear weapons. An Egyptian God, Angel, Bear and Wolf-Man travel together to discover the secrets of what happened to the world. The art is really incredible in each issue, progressively getting better, and the letters section offers the charm of, well, when comics still had letters sections.

Paul Pope's Solo

Although not that hard to find, Paul Pope's issue of DC's Solo mini series is one of the few ones that I didn't own. I considered buying it at one booth for $10, but felt like I could find it elsewhere for cheaper. While digging through a white box marked "$1" I managed to find it in perfect condition, along with the installments by Howard Chaykin, Darwyn Cooke and Mike Allred. Pope's is particularly good, he takes advantage of the freedom given to the creators more than anyone else, even completely dropping the theme of writing about a DC character and telling the story of a toy he bought out of the back of an old comic.

It was weird to see it a few more times throughout the show, the most expensive was one for $70 signed. I started to take notice of how one retailer would have a comic for cover price or even alphabetized in a white box for a dollar, and another would have the same issues for $16 bucks.

Karen and I saw a graded copy of Bendis' new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man which came out about 2 months ago going for $50. It wasn't signed, or a variant, just graded at 9.8 and in a special sleeve. I almost feel bad for someone who'd buy that and not take the time to go visit a few stores outside of their area, you gotta think about the money you save by literally working to get that issue, digging in a white box or riding the subway to a store you've never been to. Especially at a Comic Convention which is all about digging, you paid to get in there to get deals, to see something you usually don't see, not something you can find at the LCS one town over.


TheJLD said...

I'm happy to see y'all highlighting a favorite geek past-time at the Cons: Digging for comics!

Try as I might to just stick with trades and hardcovers at this ripe old age (31), I still manage to come up with a few new must-have's on my list. And isn't that more FUN anyway? The thrill of the hunt, so to speak?

This year's gems from San Diego include:

Mighty Thor 408 & 409 (Mike Mignola's "Tales from Asgard" back-up story! Awesome!)

Filled gaps for Loeb & Sale's first collaboration "Challengers of the Unknown" and an early Cam Kennedy maxi-series "The Outsiders". (Which I can only read now that I have the entire run. Am I the only one that does this?)

I also shrugged away from the SLG collection of "Tron: Ghost In The Machine" only to find the entire run in the dollar bins! Cha-ching!

The kid inside me still thrives on a good comic hunt.

samuel rules said...


Dude! For me it's all about the hunt! I don't mind a trade every now and then, but when it comes down to it it's way more awesome to have the issues.

And I know all about not reading something until you have the entire run. I spent literally a year looking for Loeb and Sale's Daredevil: Yellow, I would dig through long boxes in shady corners of less than organized stores, I climbed to the back of many a stack to find them. Finally collecting something you KNOW will be good and sitting down to take it all in makes it all worth it. Trades are awesome but sitting down with a stack of comics just feels right.

Thanks for reading again dude!

TheJLD said...

The pleasure is all mine. I dig your site! You guys have a cool (and similiar to my own) perspective on comics. I'm just tired of being force-fed industry news/gossip with a dwindling regard for the craft and passion that goes into it. You guys have this nailed, so kudos.

The only thing that trades and hardcovers have a one-up on the traditional pamphlet format is shelf appeal. This used to not matter all that much to me, but I seem to find less and less time to dig through longboxes out in the garage these days. It's so much easier to direct friends to my bookshelf for a trade to borrow or flip open a collection to a referenced moment. How soon before this will all be done with the click of a mouse? (shudder)

But I agree with you about reading a stack of comics "feeling right".

Brandon Graham said...

Dude, that The Last Generation looks awesome. I'd be thrilled if you did a full on review on here. It looks like quarter bin gold.

badmoodkaiser said...

The Thing issue looks really nice. I always thought of lockjaw as a dog that bumbled into the terrigenisis room or something.