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10 Reasons why you should care about Baltimore Comic-Con 2011

Hey there fellow geeks and geekettes, fanboys and fangirls, and all you people who speak Elvish! The Baltimore Comic-Con  is this weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center. “But I’m a movie lover”, you say. “I don’t read comics, nothing there for me.”

Au contraire mon movie-nut. Herewith, 10 reasons why Comic-Con here in our hometown is a Very Good Thing. Roll film! Er, just scroll down.

1) You get to meet the creators of what could be the next big thing

The Walking Dead.  Art School Confidential.  American Splendor.  Cowboys & Aliens.  Blade.  The Crow.  Ghost World.  Surrogates.  Kick-Ass.  A History of Violence.  300.  They all started out as comic books/graphic novels.  If you want to know what’s coming down the pike, who better to ask than the folks that created ‘em?

2) Free shit!

I could tell you that I’ve attended Comic-Con in order to maintain my geeky credibility. But who am I kidding? I love the swag! Buttons, posters, free mini-comics, bags, shirts…I love it all. Wear my Green Lantern ring…well, more often than many of my friends would like. And I’m proud to say that one of my prized possessions is a mini-movie poster of 30 Days of Night signed by Steve Niles, the guy that created the comic and wrote the screenplay (and who’ll be here again this year, btw.) Score!

3) Stan the Man Lee.

You’ve seen him pop-up in the Marvel movies, like a modern-day Hitchcock. But in case you’ve forgotten, he is Marvel Comics. ‘Nuff said.

4) Mingling with fellow geeks…or genre lovers for you snobs out there.

Who doesn’t love meeting someone that shares a common love/interest/obsession? Well, you can pretty much guarantee that someone here? Loves what you do. And may be dressed up as your favorite character. Pleasepleaseplease, Dean Winchester, come out wherever you are! (Warning; deodorant is sometimes optional for longtime basement dwellers. Be friendly, but be aware.)

5) Sneak peeks and advance info!

You’ll get to chat with artists, writers and publishers, not to mention the folks from the studios that bring them to the big screen. Gotta love walking up to someone at an empty booth (tip: for said empty booth, you’ll want to get there on the early side, or stick around til later Sunday afternoon) and chat ‘em up. You’ll get to know when the next issue hits, what’s going on with the storyline, and who may be coming to a multiplex near you sometime soon. Doctor Strange, anyone?

6) Comic-Con only stuff

Is your pad looking a bit bare? Want some real cred? Cons are known for having “convention-only” stuff, whether it be free swag (I’m still lusting after the Supernatural salt shakers from San Diego), comics (must to have the Lady Death #7, Baltimore Edition) or shirts. Nothing says Geeker Than Thou than an exclusive item or two. Peep a bit of what’s in store here, though there’s always more once the con opens.

7) Stepping up for Baltimore

Don’t let San Diego and New York hog all the glorious Comic-Con action. Especially when Baltimore is the most old-school of these cons. No, not the oldest con — that’d be San Diego — but Baltimore gets down with the comics & graphic novels more than the rest have done of late.

8 ) Costumes!

Yeah there will be plenty of dress-up. So you can throw on just about anything and blend in, or just enjoy the folks who do. And if you’re not comfortable stopping random people to ask for a picture (and why not, they expect it), hit the costume contest Saturday afternoon and enjoy in relative anonymity.  Oh, and you can buy ‘em at the con too, if you suddenly feel the need to blend in.  There’ll be no judging…unless you want to enter the contest.

9) You’ll find a new addiction, or feed an old one.

Finished Hunger Games? Feel like you’re gonna be in for a long wait ‘til the next Song of Ice and Fire hits stands (hey, you prolly will be). Tell somebody at a con, and you’ll have a ton of new stuff to drool over. This is where I started my Walking Dead obsession, years before the show hit HBO. And ninja dude with the rubber sword? I still thank you. Bonus for fans of shows that are no longer around; many of ‘em have spun off in graphic form. A popular one for the tv crowd is Buffy: Season Eight and Angel, which may come together for Buffy: Season Nine.

10) Meet amazing artists…and maybe snag their work.

This year? I’m hoping to chat with J.M. DeMatteis, who started off writing horror for D.C., then did Justice League, and is now re-defining Spectre. Both Justice League and Spectre are lookin’ pretty good for film adaptations, methinks. Also? Jo Chen — can I get a what-what from the Speed Racer fans out there? — I really want to see her work up close. But honestly? The fun part of hitting this con is wandering the floor and stumbling on to an artist you’ve loved but never knew. Ever read a comic book, or seen a bit of animation that made you pause because it was so amazing? That person just may be at the con. Kismet. (The whole list of guests can be found here. )

Oh, and #11…I’ll be there! You can follow me on my Twitter feed and/or use the hashtag #atomiccomicon. I’ll be tweeting and twitpic’ing all weekend, feel free to chime in!

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