Monday, September 10, 2007

Baltimore 2007

Well the Baltimore comicon 2007 is in the record books and as usual I had a good time. I think I would have had an even better time if I wasn't so busy with all the other things like the gallery show and teaching...on top of starting school. I was a bit drained this weekend...I think the show being later next year will be a plus in that reguard. Cons require you to multi-task. You have to sketch, sign stuff, at the same time you meet people, see weird or funny stuff. It's the exact opposite of the studio situation for most artists---unless you work at disneyland or the circus freakshow. The show was bigger this year and the hickups were few. The biggest for me was not being listed on the site or being in the program book. I think I would have been even busier if that was done. Saturday was actually pretty slow for me, really slow in spots, but that allowed me to kinda' chill and do some schmoozing and yakking to fellow artists.

It was the Year of Ringo, lots of happenings were sprinkled throughout the show in tribute to Mike. They were donating money to the Humane Society etc. They even had a bar thing going on afterwards, but none of us in my party could find it until it was already really late, but by then Echo and I had to hit our hotel down by BWI for our late checkin. I wasn't about to pay ape-rape rates of $200 or more a night for one night at a hotel in the Inner harbor. The Hometwown Suites was $109 an night including tax and was about a 15 minute ride away, not bad at all.
The new hotel coming next fall.

I didn't bother attending the Harveys. I have to say I just can't get into the awards, the Eisners either. I have issue with the way both are set up with catagory's and the way people are nominated. You have artists who ink their own work for instance, nominated as best inker instead of an artist who speciality is inking. The Academy Awards don't nominate cinematographers for set design. I also see stuff nominated that I just scratch my head at.....and I think,"Is this really one of the best comics of 2007?"

There were lots of families in Baltimore this year and that to me is always a good sign. The Babymen are greying, without a big wave of new readers into this end of the hobby, well let's face it,in about 15 years, if comics last that long in the direct market, there will be a huge problem. Meds or comics?

Marc Natahan was a smart cookie by letting kids in free with a parent. I think there were also less fans dressed in costumes this show than any I remember. Maybe Dragon con being so recent many had blown their furrie wad there? The coolest costume had to be the cute chick in the Hellgirl costume.
Cobra Commander trying to decide which sketch to heist.

Saturday was packed, but Sunday the crowd thinned by early afternoon and I noticed many artist beat it out early.

The opposite thing happened to me, Sunday suddenly I had a ton of sketch requests, so many I had to bring them home to finish. I hung with the Philly crew and Eric ran the Twomorrows booth. Echo once again did a lot of sketches, turning people into animae characters.

Joe Kubert chats with Howard Chaykin.

I saw few old students and even current ones from DCAD. There was a nice bunch of kids from MICA there set up at a table. I wanted to go back and but their stuff but when I returned, they were gone. It was also nice that Jonathan who posts here drove up from kentucky to hang out. We got to chew the fat and talk art which was fun, he also showed me his work which is quite good.

Ron Garney doing his best Ken Brockman immitation.

Once again walking the floor I have to say I have a weird disconnect at times, a sort of love/hate with the industry. Maybe I've been doing this so long and maybe I also feel the need to move on in some respects. Again I think Nathan working with my buddy John (Buzzboy) Gallagher do right by setting uop the Kids love Comics pavillion. Several of my buds like John, rich Scott Cohn and Scott Nelly did really well selling kid friendly prints, comics and sketches.
A Bizarro sketch I drew.

I find seeing stuff by the kids from Mica exciting, while a lot of what I see from the majors just seems stale. I never walked the dealer side of the show once. I figure since I am trying to get rid of stuff, why buy more stuff I'll have to sell or chuck.
The Lovely Thom Zahler.
Herb Trimpe.

The facts remain though Marc is a class act, he gives you a booth and feeeds you, he respects you and makes you feel welcome when so many shows now don't. You never feel that way at a Wizard show, and the burgeoning NYC show wants as much $$ for space as San Diego without the same days or numbers. I didn't attend last year as they were charging pros to get in.

That's just dumb. The hotel situation hopefully will be better next year , but the food was awesome, we ate at the japanese spot again this year. I didn't see any trends this year, no sudden upsurge of crime comics, zombie comics etc. I think the closet i see is the new wave of Web comic announcements. But the question to me is are they going to be able to deliver quality content on-time for an unknown amount of time to build any audience? the success of penny Arcade, Homestar Runner etc seems partically to coke from being hooked into games which are a lot more popular culture than babymen comics. Will this be the new trend? Guys showing up with reprint books of their web comics instead of doing print first?
A Ms. Marvel Sketch I did.

Sergio Arigonies.
So the short of this the baltimore con was another solid show, maybe the least profitable one I've done, but still a good solid show where you can connect to a lot of fans and friends...So as long as guys like Marc and Shelton do shows and are class acts I'll be happy to throw my support behind them.

Steve Conley.

Bughead lady...
Jamal and Jamar, in the same place, same time,proving they are not the same person, though one might be a robot.


Jamar said...

Love the show - hate the pricegouging the city does for harbor hotel rooms. Marc Nathan and his staff treat us like uranium (preciously)and I'll fight anybody that says Nathan isn't a class act.

Always a good time, Mike!

Mike Hawthorne said...

Yeah, Blatimore is a but above the rest. Marc had us out at the last minute, and treated us really well.

I did get to go to the Harvey's for the first time, and they fed us WELL! Fillet mignon and crabcakes! That Marc is something else!

Baltimore is the ONLY con I've attended in years.

I had to cut out Saturday night, so sorry I didn't get to hang out. I pretty much left right after the Harvey's. Mr. Kubert got the life time achievment award. Pretty nice time all around.


Bobby Timony said...

I had a blast.
It's always fun to meet new people and reconnect with friends. Although the show was a bit more crowded than last year, it's still a great con for networking.
When it comes to meeting new people, I'm usually kind of a shy guy, but Danna is great at breaking the ice. I don't think she really understands how charming she can be. She's got a natural enthusiasm that is very engaging.
The Kids love comics section was great. Those were some of the best comics at the show, in my opinion.
I didn't spend alot of money this year, because things are a little tight financially for me, but I saved a bundle on lodgings. Danna and I stayed at a Youth Hostile less than a mile from the Con for $25. I think we did pretty good!

Echo Shi Volla said...

It was fun , little too short too fast, but fun "D

J Gilpin said...

Hi Mike, Echo, Jamar, Scott K, Eric, Paul, Scott, and Thom,

Enjoyed seeing you again and meeting some of you for the first time.

Mike, you hang with quality folk - that says a lot about you, my friend. Yes, time went by too fast! I liked that it was actually possible to talk with most of the con guests there - not so crazed and harried.

After the con shut down Sunday I got to "sneak" in with my friend R, to a reception for the retailer summit. It was held in the (Steve, owner of the comics distribution monopoly) Geppi Popular Culture and Media Museum. Fancy catered affair with horsey-derves! Kind of impressive - some neat original Walt Kelly Pogo strips from the 60's and 70s. And a couple of cool Superman pages by Wayne Boring (same artist you said did your Bizzaro reference?)from around 1949. All his comics (including a full EC comics run) were in mint condition and in rigid mylars. Guess the missus said they had to go - so he took over a few floors of the baseball museum - right next to Convention Center we were in.


Jimmy T said...

Hi Mike,

Wonderful to see you again at Baltimore. I put some photos up on my blog as well. Hope you like the Full Moon Craze book.

Jimmy T

John Gallagher said...

Mr. Manley-- so sorry i didn't get to catch up more-- thanks as always for a fun report!


rob! said...

HellGirl is adorable!