Comic convention brings fans to Baltimore
When walking through Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, it’s typical to see a bird (probably a pigeon) or a plane. But seeing Superman is not as common. That is, of course, except on Sept. 7-8, when the Baltimore Comic Con took place in the Baltimore Convention Center. All weekend, con-goers, both in costume and in street attire, had the chance to network and meet fellow comic-enthusiasts at the 14-year-old comic and pop culture convention. Junior chemistry major Max Blomberg was one of the many attendees on Sunday, and was among many fanatics that took over the convention center.
“This year’s con was a lot of fun,” Blomberg said. “There were some fantastic cosplay characters including my personal favorite, which was a guy dressed as Boba Fett.”
Junior English major Karen Saffran agreed with Blomberg that the cosplays were the best part of the con, but also loved being around fellow fans.
“You’re surrounded by people who think your weird passions are cool and everyone is mutually excited to be there,” she said. “I always love to meet new people with common interests, and Comic Con is always a great place to do just that.”
Among the guests who traveled from outside of Towson was David Turko, who travelled to Baltimore from his home in northern Virginia.
“I’m a big comic book fan and seeing all these people who have the same hobbies and passions as I do is great. The whole concept of dressing up, bringing families here, I just think it’s a great atmosphere,” Turko said.
Though not as large as San Diego Comic Con International, which has been held since 1970, Baltimore Comic Con also celebrates the recent year in comics, exhibiting a variety of panels, artists and writer signings to give fans a chance to react to their favorite stories. Out of all the options at the con, Blomberg said he most enjoyed meeting the creative minds behind some of his favorite comics.
“I was able to have conversations with some of my favorite artists which is always really cool,” he said.
Outside of the standard convention floor, featuring independent artists, vendors and comic creators from major publications, there were also a number of panels hosted over the weekend. The panels ranged from the standard question-and-answer to a talk on banned comic books in the nation’s public libraries and schools. Another major aspect of this year’s con was British pop culture, which has become popular due to British-produced TV shows like “Doctor Who.” Heti Krist, a British embassy representative for “Creativity is Great,” an organization dedicated to teaching others about the British creative sector, was part of the British Invasion panel about the 1980s influx of British writers in the comic book industry.
“And it’s still going on today. It’s not really the British invasion, it’s more like the British are here to stay, I think,” Krist said.
Comics and other paraphernalia from British culture were incorporated amongst American staples, including everything from golden and silver age classics like Superman and Batman to modern favorites like “The Walking Dead” and “Kick-Ass.” Baltimore Comic Con provides a way for residents of the mid-Atlantic to access the events and merchandise as well as the camaraderie that conventions across the nation foster.
“Even if you don’t know who a person is dressed up, you still want to take a picture. It’s an awesome event with cool, wonderful people,” Delal Salae, also a resident of northern Virginia, said.
Though Otakon, an iconic Japanese culture convention similar in nature to Baltimore Comic Con, will be moving from its current location in the Baltimore Convention Center to Washington, D.C. in 2017, Baltimore Comic Con’s home will continue to be here.
“I love coming to the Baltimore. I came here last year, it’s my second year here,” Salae said. “It’s kind of like nobody judges you and everybody kind of accepts you.”