Baltimore Comic Con 2010 (Late Edition): George Gordon Pope

I was not trying to troll Paul Pope at all. It was simply in the long tradition of my forgetting to find things for Paul Pope to sign that I realized I had forgotten my notebook. I had, before buying Life on Mars #2, only a copy of a short, racy biography titled Byron in Love, which I had been reading for class. I figured Pope could sign it. It was not a totally inappropriate thing for Paul Pope to sign as the two men have a few things in common: Paul Pope is a rock star – Byron is the original rock star; Paul Pope makes me want to rip off my shirt – Byron had lots of people ripping off their shirts for him, and frequently; Paul Pope is conscious of his public image – Byron played with his public image. It made sense.

After falling all over my giddy self with an explanation, Paul Pope signed my book while laughing at me, trolling me right back with a signature from Lord Byron.  I walked away lightheaded; how Byronic.


Baltimore Comic Con 2010: Without A Plan

Going to a comic con is in some ways like a job. At least the people with their laptops and four page printed out lists seem to approach it that way. In the back of my mind I've always had the desire to go all-out, officially fill-in all the missing pieces to different series, and to remember all the things that I actually want to get.

So, to prepare for this year's Baltimore Comic Con, I went through my long boxes and piles of random comics, and I made an all-encompassing, page-long, handwritten list: An entire nights' work only to leave my list at home. I turned from perfectly-guided ballistic missile into some sort of misguided comic carpet bomb. Ultimately, it didn't matter because the best part about conventions is taking a chance on something new. Here's some highlights:

I'd been looking for this series for a while with no success. Reminded by this really good article from The Comics Reporter, I made this one of my priorities going into the convention. I paid 6$ for a couple of issues, but just looking through them, it looks worth it. This is Starlin at his peak as an illustrator. Each page is filled with interesting layouts and each panel oozes with Starlin's unique busy, brilliant style.

Every since reading Carl the Cat That Makes Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Jim Mahfood has been on my radar. I'm excited to read this issue which features both the Rhino and some guy in a bear suit both of whom are featured on the cover.

This is one of the things that I actually remembered from my list. I've been trying to collect all the grey Hulk issues because I read one a while back and it was really good. This run of Hulk is almost like an elseworlds story with the Hulk doing pretty much whatever the hell he wants. It seems to be inspiration on a way the Hulk is portrayed in a lot out of stuff these days like Ultimate Hulk vs. Wolverine and Old Man Logan.

An insane and bizarre issue written by Kevin Eastmen, drawn by Simon Beasley, and some incredible coloring by Steve Lavigne. This comic is 110% in your face. Each page is like a stand alone and things jump back and forth without a clear central story. The art is stunning and at times that's how you feel reading this comic.

An adaption of the movie from 1978 drawn by Howard Chaykin. It approaches Star Wars from the level of a hit movie and not a completely entrenched part of our culture, so everything looks weird and slightly off, but that's why I like it. Probably won't ever read it but I've looked through it a couple times already.

Loved Ellison/Corben A Boy and His Dog, so logic would dictate I like this. I got into Ken Steacy from his issues on Marvel Fanfare which are excellent. Steacy's art isn't as polished here as in Fanfare but still looks OK.

This was the find of the convention. I bought it on a whim and it turned out to be completely worth it. The text of the opening page sold it for me. After the heading "80,000,000 Years Ago" the panels are, "It was ending./ The last of the booby trapped suns had novaed./ ...They were near./It was time to go." The art is incredible in a sort of Judge Dredd inspired vein and the story is very good. Like a lot of random small press ventures this one folded, but ffantasy ffactory only produced this one issue. An interesting account of the series' downfall from artist Conner "Freff" Cochran can be read here in the comments section. It's a shame because it's rare for such a hard core space comic to be drawn so well and more importantly to have such interesting characters. The main characters are robots and aliens and the comic plows right through the traditional missteps of those archetypes as characters, and creates some real emotions from them.


Baltimore Comic-Con 2010: Year Of The Whitebox

What makes Baltimore Comic-Con special is that it isn't a multimedia event like the San Diego or New York Comic-Cons have become. There aren't panels about movies or video games with lines that wrap around the convention center, it's about long boxes and making deals, talking to creators and busting out your list to complete a series. This year was the first I've gone without said list, instead deciding to buy weird shit or comics that I had been looking for for so long that I knew the numbers by heart. I found them all, in case you were wondering.

Every year the first hour is almost overwhelming, the sense of "fuck, where the hell am I going to start?", surrounded by long boxes, merchants peddling their goods and cosplayers pushing people who are shopping to be in a picture. I swept the convention floor from right to left, pillaging every booth of it's greatest wares. For past cons, I've given you a comprehensive list of everything I got, but this year there was really too much to list and explain. The dealer tables were more significant this year and it speaks loudly to Baltimore Comic Con's anti-San Diego approach, and just to the kind of comics reader attending the con. Here's some highlights of this year. Note that very few of these are all that "hard to find" or "rare" or whatever because that's just not the point anymore.

I've been looking for these issues for a long time but usually all you can find are the Marvel ones. This is the Japanese Godzilla comic where he doesn't even show up in the first issue, and instead of focusing on the army or Godzilla himself, it's about the people who were affected by the bomb and Godzilla's attacks.

I think Aragones is a genius, his parody work is some of the funniest stuff out there and I didn't even know this issue existed. Thank god for unsorted dollar bins.

As I said above, I went in this year without a list, dedicated to weird-ass stuff. Something about these ten old Duckman issues was irresistable. Also there's something beautiful and hilarious about old licensed comics like The Simpson's or Ren and Stimpy--they're always a little more grotesque and "mature."

Same applies here, this Bill and Ted series is done by Evan Dorkin of Milk and Cheese fame. I found the first issue and decided to buy it, but then later in the Con found the entire series for six bucks. The art is simple but expressive, the anatomy is hilarious and garish. It's incredible. Let me know if you want my extra first issue and I'll send it out.

I Saw It is an early work by Keiji Nakazawa of Barefoot Gen fame. Nakazawa is a survivor of the atomic bomb and has done numerous comics about the event and his experiences. This single issue is pretty hard to find and is another White Box Hero, found in a fifty cent bin. It's in color which so few manga that came to America are. The book is incredible.

Brandon bought this for me, marked "adult", it starts with a zombie fucking a cow from behind and then being shot. Oh yea, it's done by Frank Cho.

A big market at Comic Conventions are bootleg DVDs. Often they are of television shows that never came out on DVD due to licensing issues, like The Wonder Years or Doug. There's always a back section though with some weird porno, which is where I found Seinfeld: A XXX Parody. After trying to convince every one else how much they wanted it so I could watch it, I went in Sunday with Monique and bought it for myself. The similarites are hilarious, you guys don't even know about Newman and Soup Nazi.

This was the first Marvel Comic toy I ever owned, and it really defined "cool" to me in 1994. Ninja Turtles barely could raise their arms, and G.I. Joes did some serious posing but this mother fucker could do all of Spider-Man's poses. My original toy was murdered when I dropped him out of a tree onto an unsuspecting Punisher figure. He broke in two and wasn't really the "Multi-Jointed Action Posing" toy he was before the accident. I built him these lego legs/wheel chair sort of thing and he became a bad guy. Those are the breaks, Spidey.