Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recap: Baltimore Comic-Con 2011

This past weekend, August 20-21, 2001, was Baltimore Comic-Con and it was the most successful Curls Studio has experienced. The convention center was bouncing with a load of people, many who participated in the costume contest and cosplay. I suspect a large amount were also there to experience the presence of the legendary Stan Lee. There were crowds, but not to the hectic levels we've experienced at NYCC or what I'd imagine SDCC to be. People were able to walk freely and not feel like a herd of cows. Saturday as usual was the most energetic day, but this Saturday at Baltimore was bouncing in ways that it hasn't done in the past. All types of people came together for comics. Not movie stars or video games or pop culture trinkets. People came for comics, and that is what makes Baltimore so special compared to other conventions.

After we set-up the table, I saw that Jeff Smith was close by, so I figured if I wanted to get a chance to talk with him now was my opportunity. I took about two minutes of his time, gave him some of our comics, and asked to take a photo with him. He said it was great that we were "giving it a go" by taking our comics to conventions after I said I was inspired to do what he does after first meeting him at SPX in 2004. That was the moment the bug bit for me.

Once the floor opened on Saturday morning, I was instantly getting a sketch commission list started. I set a record for Curls Studio by getting the most commission requests this past weekend. I hope to continue doing more and more at future conventions. I'm interested in people's personal sketchbooks and seeing what they are interested in and got to do a lot of fun illustrations like Krypto, Guy Gardner, WWE wrestler The Miz, a Caveman, the Joker, and more. I even got to do a few of Curls Studio's own creation, Elle LeGette from The Legettes.

A downside from taking on all those commissions is the lack of being 100% capable to interacting with people who come to the table. Luckily my partner in crime, Joe Carabeo, was able to talk with people and tell them about our books. Overall, I was not able to get out from behind the table much. From a fan perspective, I wasn't able to walk around and discover things, but I did enjoy people coming to the table and keeping us up to date on convention happenings. From exhibiting for the past few years, we've got to build up relationships with a lot of people we may only see for ten or fifteen minutes or so every year, but the cool thing is they keep coming back. One couple in particular are the Leyva's and this year they surprised us by becoming a bigger family with a four-month-old son, named Simon. Simon even has a blog and you can read about his first Comic-Con experience here.

So as a fan, I mentioned earlier I got to briefly meet Jeff Smith and at that time I also purchased a limited edition Bone pin for $12. The only other thing I got was Cleopatra in Spaaace! #2 by Mike Maihack. It was cool to meet him and also interact with Dawn Griffin who does a webcomic called Zorphbert and Fred. I also meet the organizer of Team Cul de Sac, Chris Sparks. For those of you who don't know, a lot of majorly awesome cartoonists contributed art for raise awareness for Parkinson's disease which effects Richard Thompson, the creator of the comic strip Cul de Sac. You can read more about the project and see my contribution here.

Joe and I got to do an interview with CerebusTV, so be on the lookout for that! I also donated two original illustrations, one of Curls with Cerebus, and other of The Legettes with Cerebus. They are both up now on eBay auctions to raise money for CerebusTV and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Get bidding!

Another cool thing we did this year was follow the tradition we started last year of taking people's photos with my character, Toast of the Town, from my Curls comic strip. As you can see in the montage above, people really enjoyed posing with Toast and hopefully this will help spread the word about the comic. Please tell your friends!

I had a lot of fun moments doing sketches for people and it was great to hear them say, "this made my day!" The blonde woman in the photo above loved the pin-up inspired illustration I drew for her! If even for a split second I put a smile on someone's face, then it was worth it. After the show ended we said hi to Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, a delight as always.

Thank you to everyone who came out to Baltimore this year. We hope to see you again next year! For an audio perspective of our Baltimore Comic-Con 2011 recap, listen to this week's Carolyn & Joe Show podcast. More photos are up on the Curls Studio Facebook page. "Like" us, won't cha?

And if you missed us at Baltimore, we'll be back in Maryland for Small Press Expo and Intervention in a few weeks and in New York for NYCC in October. I will update the blog with more information on these shows as they become available. See you soon!

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