Revisiting Baltimore Comic-con

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Standing with Thom Zhaler and his wife Amy.After a few weeks in the classroom, it was a welcome break to actually return to my roots, so to speak. The Baltimore Comic-con has been growing by leaps and bounds, embraced as a pure comics show where fans can interact with pros without being blitzed with disconnected media guests or loud video game demos.In my third consecutive year, the show has grown more familiar and far more crowded a testament to its success and appeal. While the aisles have grown tighter, the enthusiasm has ratcheted up. This year was different a bit as I was accompanied by Paul Kupperberg, who stayed at the new house and was a great companion.As I have done in the past, I have shown up to wander and spent most of my free time with peers and colleagues. Being allowed in somewhat before the hordes allowed me to catch up with many old pals with sustained conversations, which became increasingly difficult across the weekend.I was asked to moderate three panels kicking off with another round of The British Invasion, this time chatting with Roger Langridge, Mike Carey, and a tardy but fascinating Paul Jenkins. It was a broad overview of their work and their perspectives of coming to work for American publishing, ending with a look ahead.Paul Levitz, left, with my weekend house guest Paul Kupperberg.The room was then packed wall to wall with fans wishing to see all things Marvel. Mark Waid and I were the only ones at Noon, so rather than make the throng wait; I began some in-depth one-on-one questioning of Mark about his work on Daredevil and Indestructible Hulk. When Mark Bagley made it to the room, we broadened the questioning and then went a little wider when Ed McGuinness finally got through the crowds and to the dais. It was a strong conversation about script versus plot, working with a sustained collaborator, print versus digital, and more.Saturday ended with the Harvey Awards, which was a first for me. The cocktail hour was nice as I finally got to say hi to some I couldn’t manage to snag earlier. The dinner itself was fun, while I was seated with retailers and fans, getting to make new acquaintances. Although the awards started late, the presenters and recipients made some heartfelt and witty remarks. I was moved by Sal Buscema’s emotional acceptance of his well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award while my old friend Paul Levitz was given the Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award.With legendary artist Ramona Fradon.Sunday started off with a wonderful breakfast as Deb joined me for the day. We met up with Paul Levitz, Terri Cunningham and Bob Wayne. It was definitely old friends as the guys indulged their inner geeks and the women caught up.  From there, we wandered over to the show floor. At noon I took the stage once more and interviewed Ramona Fradon. We had spoken on the phone two years ago and met in person for the first time last year in San Diego. At 86, she is remarkably strong in spirit with great recall from her earliest days. It was a strong conversation that was thinly attended.Deb and I later had lunch with Charlie Kochman and his wonderful wife Rachel before heading back to the show floor where Deb met Pam Ptak, wife to my old inking buddy Scott Hanna. The two geeked out on fiber arts for about an hour which was fun to watch.Overall, it was a wonderful experience and a nice reminder of how much I love the medium and most of its practitioners.

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