Sunday, September 09, 2012

Adventures in Baltimore 2012: Day Two

When I decided to pay a little too much money for a hotel room near the convention center, one of the main reasons was so I could take part in stuff once the hours were over. For me, there’s no luck there. Another reason was my routine the other times I hit Baltimore; I’d stay in a hotel outside of the city, take a shuttle to a light rail station, then take the rail into the city. One problem is the loneliness I felt going back and forth, especially at night. The good news is that’s not much of a problem now. The bad news: even as I go to sleep, I can hear traffic outside and the occasional loud noise from people sixteen floors below. I am one of those idiots who have yet to see The Wire, yet know enough to be really cautious about walking the streets of Baltimore.

Today was the first day of the convention. I wound up getting out later than I should, and I wound up on a long line to get it. Since I’ve experienced epic waits at other cons, particularly in New York and San Diego, this wasn’t much of a hassle. One problem with the Baltimore Comic Con is that they give you wristbands in order for you to get on the show floor. I prefer badges . . . especially since I’ve never had to wear a badge to bed and in the shower. BCC isn’t up for comparisons to the bigger conventions, but it is what it is . . . an enjoyable time for those who want a good time without the hassle of the epic cons. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.

Sketch-wise, I came up short. I waited a few hours for Roger Langridge to get to his table in Artists Alley. He’s known for his recent work on Muppet-centric comics, as well as writing a critically-acclaim Thor series for all ages a few years back. I’ve gotten two Doctor Who-themed sketches from him in the past – the Tenth Doctor surrounded by the Adipose and Kermit and Miss Piggy as the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler – and I had a brainstorm heading into the convention. This time, he would sketch Wallace & Gromit as the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker, the one in the scarf) and K9 (a snarky artificial intelligence in the form of a robot dog). Since I’m still getting smacked upside the head, it turns out Roger will need a while to get to my sketchbook. This is a bit of a problem, since I need my book to get sketches. It’s a mixed blessing, though, since I can’t drain my wallet on sketches as I wait for him. On the other hand, it feels like the money is vanishing rather well otherwise.

While my sketchbook remains with Roger (or at his table – unattended – as he signs at the BOOM! Studios booth), I still have a few Marvel Comics variants with blank covers. While I consider myself more into DC Comics, I’ve gotten comics with a blank cardboard stock cover for the purpose of getting it sketched upon. I think it’s another form of illness I will not seek treatment for. Bobby Timony (last sketch for me: The Silence from Doctor Who) draws a nice sketch of Cable on Avengers: X-Sanction #1. Sara Richard (last sketch: Boa Hancock from One Piece) handles Emma Frost (X-Men Giant-Size #1). I get into a position where I get stuff to justify me being at the convention, even as I try not to go overboard with it. A Doctor Who Omnibus for $5? I have to snap it up. How about a comic book called Danger Pug? Hey, I like looking at the bug-eyed freaks, so why not? When I went to AnimeNEXT in June, I got a sketch from Kevin Bolk (Whitebeard from OnePiece; he wound up using two pages, a first for me), and I also bought a collection of strips about Luigi, Mario’s hapless green-clad brother. Today, I got a smaller collection: Ensign Sue Must Die!, starring an airhead who drives the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise (the rebooted version) completely insane.

For the most part, I wandered around in a mostly coherent state. I try to get sketches, but get chased away by high prices. While I admit to spending a lot on sketches, I don’t empty my wallet for a single piece. I think the most I’ve paid was $75, and I’m in no hurry to break triple digits yet. Thanks to a few shots of energy drink and a chipotle chicken wrap, I manage to stay awake, though admittedly fatigued. By the time I bail out, I get my book back from Roger Langridge, who did sweet work for me. The slightly bad news is that I immediately brought the book to Danielle Corsetto, because I already paid her for a sketch before I got to Roger. Years ago, an online friend recommended the web comic creator (Girls With Slingshots) to get a sketch at New York Comic Con. She’s one of my favorite artists, and she likes me lots as well. The down side today is that she isn’t completely done with my request, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy from The Amazing Spider-Man. I’ll pick it up tomorrow . . . Gwen is mostly finished, but Danielle needs a little more time on the background. Meanwhile, Josh C. Lyman has my copy of Scarlet Spider #1, so I’ll have to pay him a visit tomorrow as well. I also picked up various business cards, and I’ll have to make a list of people to hit up before the end of the con.

The rest of the day was uneventful . . . I wound up going to Pizzeria Uno for deep dish pizza, followed that up with ice cream dessert from Marble Slab, picked up a t-shirt for myself and keychains for some of people I work with, and bought today’s Baltimore Sun so I could clip the article on last night’s game when I get home. Since I’m still fatalistic, I didn’t make a map on how to get back to the hotel, and I needed lots of time to get back. At night. Which made me nervous, albeit less so than last night.

I’ll need to pack up tonight to save myself the hassle tomorrow. The receptionist said I could leave my bags at the hotel after I check out, so I don’t have to spring for a garage fee near the convention center. While I feel the adventure will end a little too soon, I know that I’m grateful that I got to get out in the first place. Even with my feet sore and callused, my body feeling like I’m on half a tank of gas, and various missed opportunities, I’m having a good time. Isn’t that the point?

PS: When I was at Uno, I saw that the rain didn’t delay the Yankees/Orioles game. I would’ve watched it in my room, but they don’t have the station that broadcast O’s games. Oh, well.

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