Friday, October 3, 2008

Baltimore Comic Con Report, Part the Second

Today I’d like to pick up where I left off last time, talking about my trip to the Baltimore Comic Con this past weekend. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

As I went into in some detail in that post, I had two main objectives that I really wanted to fulfill at this con. And, as I wrote, one of those goals was to purchase Goon art, which, to my great surprise, worked out pretty well!

The other main goal was to meet the creator who, more than any other comics writer, was and still is responsible for my interest in the medium.

Brian Michael Bendis is the author of mainstream work and superhero fare such as Sam & Twitch, Daredevil, New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man, Alias, and Secret Invasion. He’s also the writer/artist on some of my all-time favorite Indie books; Torso, Fortune and Glory, and Total Sell Out.

I don’t want to go into the entire body of his work here, but instead I’d like to focus on the one, single issue he penned that really did get me into comics. It was an issue of Ultimate Spider-Man, entitled “Guilt.” And it really wasn’t your typical super hero story. Instead, it involved a lot of talking.

I mean, a lot of talking. Even for Bendis, who is known for his dialogue.

The basic premise of the book is that Peter Parker’s Aunt May is in session with her psychiatrist, and she is talking about how this Spider-Man person keeps appearing in different parts of her life. Pretty much the entire issue is the back and forth between Aunt May and her shrink, but, boy, this thing opened my eyes to a medium.

Here we have this book about a kid who dons tights and possesses spider powers, but at the same time the writer (along with artist Mark Bagley, I might add) has this long, meaningful, emotional conversation between a sixty something year old woman and her psychiatrist.

And it was enthralling.

I've since read that issue several times, and I like to go back to it now and then just to remind myself why I love comics so much.

And, I know, you're asking what the heck all this has to do with the Baltimore Comic Con, right? Well, at that show I got to meet Bendis, shake his hand, and tell him basically what I just told you. In way fewer words than this (characteristically verbose!) post, mind you, but still. My exact words were, "this is the book that got me into the medium."

And to me, that was pretty cool.

I even had Brian sign my copy of the book. Check it out--it's the one on the left:

Ultimate Spider-Man and Daredevil signed by Brian BendisSo, all in all, this year's Baltimore Con was a very cool experience for me, and I really enjoyed my time away. I'd also like to post up some photos of another stop on my tour of Baltimore, since I have a feeling that readers of this blog will enjoy them.

Directly across from my hotel was the old Baltimore Train Station, which is now the home of two great museums, the Sports Legends Museum and Geppi's Entertainment Museum. Here's the building from the outside:

Geppi's Entertainment Museum exteriorBesides the two museums, there's also this tiny little room, the gentleman's waiting room to be precise, that Abe Lincoln supposedly stayed in while waiting for his train on his way to deliver the Gettysburg Address. Being a history buff, and a great Lincoln admirer, this was pretty cool. Check it out:

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address waiting room
And some of the artifacts up on the wall:

Historical artifactsAnyway, the Sports Legends Museum is tied into Babe Ruth's Birthplace, and I recommend that any sports fan should check these out if you're ever in the area. The Legends Museum celebrates Baltimore's sports history, and includes exhibits on Orioles Hall of Famers and Colts legends, just to name a few. This is a photo of Johnny Unitas' uniform, and the next one is of the Lombardi Trophy won by the Colts after beating my (well, OK, not my, but my Dad's) Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V:

Johnny Unitas' uniform
Colts' Vince Lombardi trophyEnough with the sports stuff, though, and on to far geekier things! At Geppi's Museum, I was just blown away by the sheer amount of stuff this guy has. I mean, anything and everything pop culture, dating back centuries is in this place. From comics and toys to original art and newspapers and statues and props and memorabilia and...well, geek overload, really.

I'll start with comics, since, well...I'm like that. There are a couple of rooms devoted to comics, but this one, below, is pretty mind-blowing:

Room of comics
For you fanpeople out there, these are some of the most recognizable books in the world. First up is Detective Comics #27, featuring the first appearance of Batman:

Detective Comics #27
Next up, Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, and pretty much the most expensive comic book on the planet:

Action Comics #1
I'd never actually seen an Action 1 in person before, so that was pretty cool. Anyway, next up we have a big ol' statue of Batman, surrounded with props from the TV show:

Batman statue
Here's some original art from the creators of Superman and Batman, respectively:

Original art by the creators of Superman and Batman
And here are some random shots of different and interesting pieces on display, like old, old, TV sets:

Old TV sets
A Dracula movie poster:

Original Dracula movie poster
And, finally, some toys:

Old War of the Worlds toys
Old cowboy toysWell, that's my Baltimore trip in a nutshell. And, it's just about enough posting for one day, so I guess I'll see ya when I see ya!

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