You Should Go to the Baltimore Comic-Con on September 8th and 9th, 2012

It's almost time for another of my favorite comic shows, the Baltimore Comic-Con!  Held every year at the convention center in Baltimore, Maryland, this will be my third time attending, and I couldn't be more excited!

This year, the show will be on September 8th and 9th, 2012, and is open 10-7 on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday.  Tickets are $25 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday, and $40 for a weekend pass.  They are accepting electronic tickets this year, and you can buy an advanced ticket (which I strongly recommend) up until September 7th.  There are additional ticketing options on the website.

As with last year's show, this year's guest of honor is Stan Lee, who will be available on Saturday and Sunday (some sections of the site still say Saturday only).  The price of spending time with Stan is not free, however--to get an autograph or picture, you have to pay.  That's not my bag, but my friend Brian has one, and it looks amazing, so if you collect autographs, it's definitely worth it.

Stan isn't the only big name at the con, however.  The show features quite a few luminaries, such as Neal Adams, the Simonsons, Herb Trimpe, Jose Garcia-Lopez, and Roger Stern.  Newer masters also highlight the show, from Ron Marz to Amanda Conner to Erik Larsen to Frank Quietly.  Rising stars like Scott Snyder, Jeff Lemire, and Cliff Chiang join that pantheon as well.  This year, Brian Bolland is here, and other cover artists such as Brian Stelfreeze and David Finch will also be at the show.  I can't believe I almost forgot John Romita, Jr. and, for those who are big fans, Garth Ennis!  The list goes on, and it's a murder's row of talent.

Like your major superheroes?  Hate your major superheroes?  Come give love/hate to Dan Didio and Tom Brevoort, both of whom will be at the show.  (If only we could get them on the same panel!  THAT would be worth a special ticket, let me tell you...)

If the major labels aren't your bag, that's okay, too, because you can also find Roger Langridge, Eric Powell,  Paul Pope, Matt Wagner, and Dave Wachter leading the indie charge, to say nothing of those hanging out in the most likely place to find me, Artist's Alley and the exhibitors.  In the Alley and its environs will be small publishers Action Lab, 215 Ink, and Top Shelf, as well as the FUBAR collective and many more.  Solo acts include Rafer Roberts, Curls Studio, Rachel Deering, and lots of others.  It's great place to discover new favorites!

This year's panels look spectacular, with a focus on the future of comics (digital), major publishers such as Marvel and DC, and smaller names like Boom! and Valiant.  You could easily spend all day in panels Saturday and find your time well spent.

Got kids? There's even a special section of the show just for them, with panels and everything, including tips and tricks from Dan Parent of Archie Comics.

What makes Baltimore Comic-Con so special is that, like its spiritual cousin Heroes in North Carolina, the focus is on COMICS.  Sure there are other things mixed in, but from the creators involved to the panels to the guests, the show is about making comics, whether it's a slick magazine, a graphic novel, or working on the web.  This is a show for comics fans that isn't diluted by entertainment companies trying to make book on geeks by getting them to buy tie-ins or go to movies.  The focus is on the craft of comics, and it shows.

I am so happy to be lucky enough to live in the city that holds one of the best shows of the year.  If you live in the area or have the ability to travel down to the Baltimore Comic-Con, make plans to do so.  You won't regret it.  See you at the show!