Time for my long overdue wrap up of Baltimore Comic Con! (Sorry it has taken so long; health stuff.)
Baltimore Comic Con was held Sept 5-7 at the Baltimore Convention Center. This is another con that seems to have grown exponentially since last year, though the promoters do not release the attendance numbers, so it is hard to compare it to other cons. This was the first year that it was a three day event, and while the Friday was not overly busy, the weekend seemed to draw excellent crowds.
“Our 15th annual show was our biggest show to date,” said Marc Nathan, show promoter of the Baltimore Comic-Con. “Between adding the long-requested Friday to become a 3-day event, increasing our floor size (and then increasing it again mid-summer when we realized even the expanded footprint wasn’t going to hold all of the guests, exhibitors, and retailers wanting to come to the show), upping the ante on the annual Costume Contest by doubling the cash grand prize, and acquiring use of the Ballroom in the Baltimore Convention Center for the largest panels and the Costume Contest, we have grown by leaps and bounds from where we started and even over last year’s event.”
The great thing about this show is that it has a very comics centered feel. While there are “entertainment” guests — most notably Peter Mayhew of Star Wars fame — the entertainment guest never overshadow the fact that you will be getting access to great comic book writers and artists.
An art auction raised $10,000 for Delete Blood Cancer. Other charities, including the Hero Initiative, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBDLF) and the Baltimore Humane Society raised money on site as well.
There were some hiccups this year, which I blame on growing pains. Most notably was the fact that no one seemed to be able to find anything. I seem to remember that in years past they had aisle number signs hanging from the ceiling, making it possible for you to orient yourself. This year con goers were made to test their survival skills. We had a map. Friends, if I have to rely on my orienteering to survive, I WILL DIE. I’ll bet the mid summer addition of extra space was to blame for this and hope that next year I will not have to bring a compass.
Another interesting growth point in the BCC line up was a series of panels on diversity and gender. I missed a few of them (Lost. On the floor. Wandering.) but the ones I went to were very interesting. I applaud BCC for placing these panels. FULLSTOP.
BUT. I wish the presentation of the panels were a little better planned. The “Diversity” panel did a great job of exploring the role of women in comics, but when the panelist was asked about people of color there was no answer. This is really unfortunate when white feminism is notorious for leaving out people of color. This panel would have been much improved if the word diversity had been replaced with something more specific to women.
The panel on gender seemed to have a major panelist shake up at the last minute, and so it ended up being a overview of how women and men are represented. There was a lot of “she’s dressed like a stripper” which is obnoxious to me because I guess a stripper is the worst thing a woman can be? I understand that what they were trying to say was that she is overtly sexualized, but being sexualized isn’t a choice. For a lot of women, being a stripper is. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But, I digress. The panel was interesting, but I feel like they could have done much more with it.
All in all, I had a great time at BCC. The environment is great. I struck up many conversations with people I didn’t know and met up with many amazing and talented people. For the person interested in comic book art and craft, Baltimore Comic Con is a must-attend event.