Baltimore Comic-Con has a really great artists alley/vendor area and a visitor can see some pretty great indie creations (like webcomic Altar Girl). One that caught my eye right away on the first day was a little outfit called Little Petal. After looking at the women at the booth and the samples on the table, I had to know more. So I interviewed the owner, Danielle Ward.
This hits on a lot of really great needs: elegant comic book themed dresses, custom fits so that the customer can look good no matter their body shape, and a work of passion. I made a point of stopping by each morning to see the new dresses the women were wearing. I think if I were a woman (or a dress-wearing guy), I would have ordered two or three.
So, when you go to a convention – especially Baltimore Comic-Con – make sure you visit the vendor area. You never know what you’ll find.
I attended two panels on Sunday, Dynamite’s Pulp panel and Christy Blanch (with guest appearance by Mark Waid) on the Lois Lane Mort Weisinger Panel.
Pulp at Dynamite
(excuse the cut in the audio, my recorder ran out of batteries)
I wanted to attend this panel because I found it so interesting that, as a publisher, Dynamite was revisiting the pulps. Most of the conversation around comics usually revolves around superheroes or fresh new stuff a la Image. But in my personal life I’ve gotten back into reading, particularly anthologies and neo-pulp; I also really dug Gail Simone’s first Red Sonja arc. So I was curious about the appeal of The Shadow, The Green Hornet, and others. This panel was, in some ways, one of the best panels of the show because of all the historical facts. I’d recently learned that Batman was at least partially based on The Shadow, but I didn’t have any idea of the extent until our panelists spoke of talking to the original pulp writers. (Nothing against the other panels, but I’m a huge history nerd – including comics history) Mark Waid summed up the reason for the resurgence in pulp best by talking about how, at its heart, these are human stories and the conflicts are the same today as they’ve always been. The difference is that Mark has had to make some of the decisions Green Hornet has to make a little more grey morality.
Lois Lane under Mort Weisinger
Again, it was my love of comics history that led me to this panel. I have to say that what I’ve learned about history is that the most interesting people are rarely pure evil or pure goodness. As I learned at the panel, Mort Weisinger was responsible for both the best and the worst of everything about Superman comics and Lois Lane. If you are reading this without having listened to the audio, I strongly recommend a listen.
If there was one person who could rival Mark Waid for being mostin-demand at Baltimore Comic-Con 2014, it was Gail Simone. This writer was on multiple panels, gave the keynote speech at the Harveys, and spent nearly every OTHER hour of the convention signing autographs and speaking to her fans. But after reading her first Secret Six arc and her first Red Sonja arc, I REALLY wanted to talk to her. So, I think it was quite fitting that my Red Sonja analysis was one of the shortest I’ve written since the relaunch of the site and this interview is the shortest one I did at Baltimore Comic-Con 2014. I spoke to her about one of the key issues I’ve seen across her work: sisterhood.
She touches on fatherhood in Birds of Prey and if I hadn’t been so nervous from taking away time from an incredibly long line of other fans, I would have mentioned that I also saw fatherhood issues when I read Red Sonja. I think it’s quite important that Gail Simone sees the importance of sisterhood in storytelling. While it’s a real facet of life (I see with my wife and her sister), when it comes to storytelling, we’re left with women fighting with each other and competing for status or for a man. While that also does happen in real life, it’s annoying to only see the negative aspects displayed in most of our pop culture. Many of my other questions about were answered in her otherpanels. (Sometimes asked by me!)
Gail, if you read this, thanks once more for taking time to speak with me, I could have geeked out with you for hours if only I could have poofed everyone away from the convention. Maybe I’ll get Molly to set it up …. somehow.
There were a few cosplayers out on Friday, but today they came out in droves! Lots of amazing costumes! I noticed a few trends this year. First, lots of gender-bending. Especially a lot of female Captain Americas. Second, lots of race/ethinicity bending. This is awesome because something as silly as skin color should never stop you from cosplaying as your favorite character. Finally, lots of victorian, steam punk, and other types of time-bending with the costumes.
I am extremely against censorship, I speak about that more often on my personal blog, but it is can sometimes be a real issue with comic books. Within this interview I mention the panel about the Comics Code and it certainly was harmful to the industry. It is at least partially responsible for the fact that we’re just now getting back to where we were in the 50s in terms of comic book genres. But I wondered, with the Internet around and (in the USA) unregulated, what does the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund need to do? So I spoke with Charles Bronstein about it.
This is an absolutely huge topic that I could have spoken to Charles for at least an hour, if not more, about. Important takeaways from the interview:
If your school district is banning comics, read and distribute this pamphlet and consider talking to the CBLDF about getting some visibility on the banning. As Bronstein said in the panel, as a parent it’s your right not to have your child read something you find objectionable, but it’s not your right to ban everyone else’s child from reading it!
Don’t take freedom of speech on the Internet for granted (even in America!) CBLDF had to fight for your right to have uncensored comics online. Free speech is a never-ending fight!
Comics ratings are OK as long as they’re used as a marketing tool, not imposed from above or used to ban books from being sold