It’s Saturday night and I’m cursing the Yankees. Now even though a New Yorker at heart and my husband is a huge fan, because of the game here in Baltimore, not only did I end up with a horrible room at the Hyatt Regency Friday night, to add insult to injury, I couldn’t get it a second night. And Saturday night, as anyone knows, is really the best night to be at the Hyatt bar during Baltimore Comic Con.
In the wake of the Harvey Awards, and a late night for many of the invited guests of the convention, Sunday morning was mellow compared to Saturday’s hustle. Fans still brought the energy onto the floor, many of them taking advantage of what they knew would be a less hectic time frame for ordering commissions. The slower pace prompted more conversation between booths, with plenty of artists hopping between tables when they had a spare moment to reconnect with old friends. Often at larger cons, artist’s alley feels, in its darker moment, like a chain gang where prisoners keep their morale up as best they can through the churning crowds and recognize that they are all in this together. In Baltimore, it was more like the atmosphere on the last day of school, with the barely suppressed sense that the kids are taking over.
The lines wound around the block, disappeared and reappeared again against the concrete of the convention center in the steamy, bright weather, but once they started moving it was orderly and brisk. The incoming flood lasted for at least an hour without sign of slowing, but the capacity was generous inside and even a crowded floor was manageable. A newcomer to the Baltimore Con flipping open the guide would immediately notice a unique feature in comparison to the New York Comic Con or Wizard World Philadelphia: artist’s alley occupied at least forty percent of the floor, more if you added in the range of side-tables along the walls also designated for artists. This didn’t mean that the convention was weak on the shopping fare that comics fans demand and expect, or the deals they are looking for on that one book missing from their collection, but it did create an interesting dynamic of two worlds in synergy, each working together for the event.
It was a year for considering what has changed and what has stayed the same in comics at the Harvey Awards. While a new MC, Phil LaMarr, took the stage, many of the nominees for the awards appeared pretty evenly stacked between superhero works from Marvel and DC and indie publishers with a wide variety of material from adult to all-ages content. Another feature of the nominations was the predominance of multiple nods to the same works, leaving a certain amount of anticipation not just about what works and creators would win a Harvey, but even about how many Harveys might one particular nominee might garner.