Though I won't be there this year, I want to encourage anyone who is able to attend to go to one of my favorite shows, the Baltimore Comic Con. It's a really fun show that's actively devoted to comics, with the media guests being important (the Guest of Honor is Chewbacca and Joel from MST3K is coming as well) but the comics personalities driving the show.
This year, Baltimore Comic Con is over three days, September 5-7, and held once more at the convention center downtown. It's a really big show that's probably about as large as I will ever be comfortable with (I can't imagine going to San Diego, and even ECCC may prove too much), but it's still manageable, in terms of getting through the aisles and seeing who you're looking for.
And as per usual, the guest list is awesome. There's the usual big-name suspects, like the ever-quotable Mark Waid and Tom Brevoort, show favorites the Simonsons, and Batman artist Greg Capullo. But the real gem of Baltimore is the chance to talk to people who may be your longstanding heroes in a setting where they aren't hammered by people lining up for autographs. It's where I first really got to talk to Jeff Parker, for instance as well as J.M. Dematteis (neither of whom are going this year, sadly).
This year, you can spend some time with people as varied as Mike Maihack (who should be your first stop for prints), Ron Marz, Joe Staton, and Eric Powell, all of who are good people and amazing creators.
Best of all, there's always some great folks from the small press and mini-comics world. Carey Pietsch will be hanging out with BOOM!, I'm sure, Rafer Roberts will be on hand, as his star grows enough to make it on to the guest list. Curls Studio is a fixture. Monica Gallagher is set to be there, too. You can also find Matt Dembicki at the Fulcrum booth with his new nature anthology.
And of course, there's the publishers. BOOM! always has a great layout. Valiant brings in some of their top talent, too. It's Dynamite's 10th anniversary, and they have a murder's row headlined by Gail Simone (okay, that would be my headline, at least). Top Shelf always has a presence as well, with quality indie books and your helping of Alan Moore.
For those who love cosplay, there's a costume contest (which Joel will be judging!). There are panels aplenty, including a discussion of female representation in comics(!!), spotlights on the special guests, various programming relating to Dynamite's anniversary, and much, much more.
Baltimore Comic Con is a great show. I really wish I was there. If you can make it, go early, because the lines are always out the door to get in. Eat first, because the convention food it shitty. Bring money, because you'll want to buy things. But most of all, bring your love of comics. It will serve you well, and you'll have an amazing time!