It was nice to be back at Baltimore Comic-Con this year! This was my first BCC since the pandemic hit, and the biggest event I have been to in a few years. This year’s convention also fell on my 30th birthday, and it was a birthday well celebrated. I learned a lot from the panels, enjoyed the friendly atmosphere, and walked away with more merch than I had planned on purchasing. A successful convention indeed!
Masks were not required at the venue and about a quarter of the attendees were masked up while about half of the comic artists, panel members, and media guests were as well. Everyone was as welcoming as ever.
This year’s big draw media guests were the Disney princess voice actors for Belle, Ariel, and Pocahontas. I spoke to several attendees to get their thoughts on the choice of Disney princesses and most of the die-hard yearly fans were disappointed by the lack of comic book connections. Some of the newer people, especially family groups, were just excited to be able to meet a Disney princess. I attended only the Belle spotlight, featuring Paige O’Hara, and didn’t know a lot about her going in. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she is not only a voice and theatrical actor, but also a painter.
My favorite panel was From Cave Art to Superheroes: Comic Books and Social Commentary by Mark S. Zaid. I attended this with a friend of mine who was new to BCC. Mark was engaging and knowledgeable. He kept the packed audience interested during the entirety of his presentation, which focused on the early years of comic creation and how they came to look like their modern format. His perspective was particularly interesting because he is a lawyer who sometimes represents comic related clients and also has a large collection of his own. He owns quite a lot of early editions too. In fact, he said he doesn’t read any new comics and focuses on the older ones.
Mark mentioned that he’s done this same presentation at several conventions. His parents sat right behind my friend and I. At one point, he called them out for not collecting comics when they were younger and saving them for him which got some nice laughter from the audience. I also learned that the date printed on a comic book is not when it really releases, but actually a few months after.
One of the last-minute additions to the BCC was a favorite webtoon comic creator of mine, Leanne M. Krecic. As someone who has been reading her comic for a few years before the great pause, I was starstruck and stood in line for autographed copies of her first two books after the panel she was in.
I also waited in line to get a signature from Veronica Taylor, the original voice actor in English of Ash in Pokemon, on a new Pokemon print I bought at the show in artist alley. While in line, I played Pokemon Go and put-up lures at all the pokestops within reach and felt that was a good tribute to her.
Friday was much more relaxed and quieter as is normal, while the convention was in full swing on both Saturday and Sunday. The one exception was the Friday spotlight panel with Jim Lee, the Chief Creative Officer-Publisher at DC, which was more attended than the other ballroom panels including the princess spotlight I attended. I thought it was funny when he surveyed the audience on who was “working” from home, while really at the convention, and a smattering of hands were raised.
Some disappointments that I have to mention include the lack of attendance to panels. This is not a new thing, but it is disheartening to walk out of the merch area that’s packed with tons of people and go into a panel with only a handful of attendees. Not sure what the solution is, if any. Also, where in the world was Frank Miller? No idea what I missed during his spotlight. I waited in a long line to get in the room for his panel which was at the same time as one of the princess spotlights. It took a while for everyone to filter into the room, and then I waited 25 minutes past the start time and ended up leaving with my friend to go check out something else.
Overall, it was lovely being back in the thick of it with other comic lovers and nerds. As mentioned, I walked away with quite a few exciting purchases including a signed Terry Moore book, some neat green dice I’ll be using as counter dice for one of my MTG commander decks, cat stickers, and signed copies of Let’s Play.
All in all, it’s great to have the Baltimore Comic-Con back in full swing once more.