Don't be surprised if you see some costumed vigilantes roaming the streets this weekend, Baltimore, because Baltimore Comic-Con is back in town! Starting tomorrow, comic book fans will invade the city's Inner Harbor to mingle with their fellow fans, to meet some of their favorite creators, and to celebrate the artistic medium that is the comic book.
If you still haven't purchased a ticket, you should do so now here! (Online ordering only available until noon ET today! After that, you'll have to buy at the door.) The convention's so jam packed with stuff to see, the show hours on Saturday were even extended to accommodate it all -- any comic book fan is sure to find something they like.
For those attending, here are few things worth keeping an eye out for this weekend (in no particular order):
Stan "the Man" Lee is a legend - there's really no other way to describe him. And, wouldn't you know it, he's just a delightful man. In the same way that Betty White is the nation's grandma, then Stan Lee is the nation's grandpa - just listen to his unmistakable voice tell some jokes, smile beaming on his face. Grab your favorite Stan Lee-created comic (throw a dart; you'll hit one) and get in line for his signing. You'll just feel better.
We're no stranger to conventions around these parts. And, quite frankly, we wouldn't keep going to them if we didn't love them. But I have to admit, comic cons are less comic cons than they are pop culture cons these days. I mean, I love nerdy pop culture (a lot), but the celebration of comic books often takes a back seat these days.
There's no worrying about that here. A look at the guest list (Stan Lee, John Romita, Sr. and Jr., Neal Adams, Walt Simonson, Frank Quitely, and so on) shows that the only focus here is our youth-seducing comic books. So grab your sketchbook or your favorite comic, and go get it signed!
There is nothing that shows your love of a property more proudly, more ostentatiously, or more creatively than when you cosplay. It really is quite remarkable to see so many people take the time, money, and sweat to create something that has no other purpose but to show just how much a comic book, movie, show, video game, etc. has meant to them. The costumes can run the gamut in quality from "Please point me to the nearest acid bath so that I may burn my eyes" to "OHMIGOD IS THAT FUNCTIONAL IRON MAN ARMOR?!" -- and, really, that's part of the fun.
It's such fun, in fact, that BCC is of course hosting a costume contest with first place snagging $1000 in cash money. (Sunday, September 9th in Room 307-310. $5 registration fee to enter.)
Other Noteworthy Mentions
This year in particular, BCC will be the home of some new exclusives, a product launch, and other noteworthy events:
ComicWow! is premiering, and it hopes to be "a social network dedicated to the comic industry." Like other social networks, you'll connect with friends and colleagues to create a personal social web. However, ComicWow! will also feature original content, such as weekly webisodes and exclusive interviews by ComicWow!'s John Qatsha (John Q) with comic artists, writers, and creators. Later, a marketplace will open to buy and sell items (presumably with a comic focus.)
Baltimore Comic-Con itself is home to a few first-time exclusives: a BCC 2012 t-shirt featuring the art of Mouse Guard creator David Peterson (pictured left), and a BCC 2012 Yearbook, with a theme celebrating Frank Cho's Liberty Meadows.
The Harvey Awards, named after writer-artist Harvey Kurtzman, is again taking place in conjunction with BCC on Saturday night at 7pm. Hosted by actor Phil LaMarr, the award ceremony will recognize outstanding achievement by writers and artists in the comic book industry. And let's face it - they deserve it.
There's plenty to see - go grab your ticket now! See you in Charm City!