This was my third year exhibiting at the Baltimore Comic-Con. This show is always fantastic and keeps the emphasis on comics. You don’t find many actors and video game companies at BCC. It’s all about the comics and artists.
This year’s show was outstanding. The crowds were large and even though there were many more artists exhibiting than in the past, I still managed to do well. This was also the first show to debut my newest prints of Walter White (Breaking Bad) and a Minion (Despicable Me). Both got a great response from the crowd. The Minion was even the overall best-selling print of the show! I did a few commissions which are always fun. I drew my first Loki (THE AVENGERS), Mal from FIREFLY, as well as my first ink and watercolor DR. WHO.
This was the first show where I used my new vertical banner. I spent a lot of time looking at various options for banners and ultimately went with a blank, black fabric, velcro-acceptable one. It was a little more expensive, but it allows me to totally change the banner’s images from show to show if I so desire. I also am now using a tabletop spinner rack as well.
As a comics fan, I knew going into the show that there were a few personal goals I hoped to achieve. Joe Hill – easily one of my favorite short-story writers – has grown into a comics superstar with his creation of LOCKE & KEY among others. He was only signing for about an hour and half, and the line was huge. There was no way that I could leave the table for that long – even with someone else there to man it. A comics-retailer friend managed to get me a quick moment with Hill without having to stay in line. I had Joe sign my copy of his first comics work – Cemetery Dance’s GRAVE TALES. He also seemed to really like his Alpha-Sketch portrait I gave him.
On Sunday, there was a massive signing for the new Dynamite comic book called CRYPTOZOIC MAN by Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson. They, along with Ming Chen and Mike Zapcic, were there to meet and greet the fans as well as film an episode of AMC’S COMIC BOOK MEN. I got to meet them all briefly and was grateful for their reception of my art.
While the whole weekend was wonderful, the true highlight involved a certain samurai rabbit and his creator. I’m thrilled to say that my art was chosen for inclusion in the 2013 Baltimore Comic-Con Yearbook! The theme this year was a celebration of the upcoming 30th anniversary of USAGI YOJIMBO. There were under 40 artists whose work was included in the hardback book. Stan Sakai – the creator of USAGI YOJIMBO, and a true cartoonist’s cartoonist – has always been a huge influence for me. His comics manage to be fun and interesting every time they leave the gate. Stan does it all – writing, drawing, lettering, and even occasionally coloring. He is a machine while keeping a human touch in all of his work. This was my first time meeting him. He was just as graceful and kind in person as he appears online and through his work. He even gave me a marvelous full-figure Usagi sketch inside of my copy of the book. This was truly one of the best artistic experiences I’ve had so far. I can’t thank Stan and the Baltimore Comic-Con staff (especially Marc Nathan, Brad Tree, and Thom Zahler) enough.
Next year, the Baltimore Comic-Con becomes a three-day show. If you’re into comics, I can’t think of a better show to try.
Next stop: Asheville Comic Expo on September 21!