Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baltimore Comic-Con 2010 - Panda Dog Press Report

Baltimore Comic-Con, the second stop for Panda Dog Press in 2010, was an absolute blast. We want to send a huge THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by our table and picked up the Preview issue of Animal Control: Special Creatures Unit. We had so MUCH fun chatting with each and every one of you, and once again we were pleasantly surprised by the wide diversity of our new friends -- men, women, couples, families, and fans of all ages. And we greatly appreciated how many of you Baltimore Comic-Con attendees were willing to try something new. You kept us busy and engaged the whole weekend -- it went by far too fast!


When you're creating a new, self-published comic, you're working in a bit of a vacuum -- and while feedback from fellow creators in places like the Comics Experience Creators Workshop help with your craft -- you really don't know how readers will react until you get your book into their hands. So, we appreciate your smiles and enthusiasm as you checked out the book. We thank those of you who bought the book on Saturday and returned the next day with your thoughts. And we have loved receiving your emails, tweets, etc., since the con ended. Please keep it up -- your feedback (and support) keep us going!

Here are just a few pictures of folks who stopped by:


In hindsight, the convention was a great success, but it got off to a rocky start before we left the driveway on Friday. Fumble-fingers Rob managed to drop his ancient iPhone while packing the car and suddenly it would only take pictures like the one shown below.

This was followed by a drive in traffic that should have been around 3 hours -- but took about 5 hours. Once we arrived at the Hyatt and got out to the beautiful Inner Harbor, though, things were looking up. We had a nice dinner by the water, although it ended with the waitress at the sushi place literally spraying Grace's white blouse with red wine. Yikes. We hit the sack hoping things would go smoother on Saturday.


By the time we got to the convention center the next morning, the line was already building, and set-up went off without a hitch. In fact, the entire convention seemed extremely well-organized. Our compliments to Marc Nathan, Brad Tree, Chris McClelland, and the whole Baltimore Comic-Con crew.



As the doors opened on Saturday, the crowds seemed very strong in Artists Alley. Traffic and sales were great, and we were also excited to catch up with friends new and old.

We had a pretty large contingent of Comics Experience folks in attendance at Baltimore, including Rob Anderson, Joe Sergi, Dan Rivera, Janine and Ken Frederick, Neil Fisher, and Elizabeth Amber. Many of us were able to attend a Comics Experience dinner at P.F. Chang's on Saturday night, before hitting both the Pratt Street Alehouse (where we sadly failed to connect with other friends we were trying to find) and then, later, the Hyatt Bar, at least until the bar was shut down due to "noise issues."

The Comics Experience network has truly become a "family," and the whole weekend convinced Rob that he HAS to attend NYCC this year as part of the contingent manning the Elevator Pitch Press booth. We're looking to have a CROWD of Comics Experience alums in NYC! Here's a pic of the gang from dinner, including "significant others" Catherine and Grace:


In the midst of all the excitement at the con, Rob managed to do two interviews: an audio interview with Matman of the Secret Identity Podcast, as well as Rob's first-ever video interview with Victor of the Exploring the Multiverse (ETM) Podcast on Sunday. Both Matt and Victor could not have been nicer, and Rob really enjoyed these chats on everything from Jonah Hex to which way the toilet paper roll is supposed to dispense according to Jeff Parker. (ha) We'll post separate links to these interviews as soon as they're up!

On the convention floor, our next door neighbor was our good friend, Chris Flick, of Capes and Babes. As always, we enjoyed hanging with Chris and getting to see his hilarious commissions. We were also happy to catch Chris for dinner Sunday night along with fellow Comics Experience alum and exhibitor at the show, Joe Sergi, author of the novel Sky Girl. Below are pictures of Chris and Rob, and Joe Sergi with a reader/fellow comics creator (sorry I didn't get down your name!) who stopped by the Panda Dog Press table:

Another big highlight of the show for us was meeting our neighbors, the hugely talented Chinese artist, Daxiong, as well as the folks assisting him in the booth, Ms. Chen, and his manager, Michael. Daxiong has only been in the United States for about two years after being arrested for his work and beliefs and suffering persecution in China.

Rob enjoyed hearing Grace conversing with our neighbors in Mandarin throughout the weekend. As Daxiong said, it was clearly fate that we were placed next to each other. And it was our great fortune that Daxiong is such a generous man. Check out the stunning "sketch" of a dragon that he did for Grace. We're lucky to have Daxiong here in the United States now and we hope to see him and his crew at future conventions. If you happen to be at a show where he's appearing, you MUST check out his work! You can view a news story on Daxiong and the Baltimore Con (from a Baltimore Fox affiliate) by clicking here: Daxiong at Baltimore Comic-Con. Pictured below is Daxiong's Dragon sketch, as well as a photo of Grace with the gang:


We were also able to catch up with our friend, Tom Hutchinson at Big Dog Ink, whose crew was rocking a booth this year promoting their books Critter, Penny for your Soul, and the new Ned the Chainsaw Guy. We picked up a number of their new books and can't wait to dig in. By all accounts, Big Dog Ink is off to a great start!

And right next door to BDI was our friend from Twitter, Tyler James, also with a booth promoting the launch of his new title Epic. Tyler has been dispensing great advice via his Comic-Related column, appearances on podcasts, and via Twitter and we feel like we've "known" him for a while, so it was great to finally meet him in the real world. Plus, he did a great Panda Dog sketch card for us -- what a guy! Tyler occasionally offers free sketch cards to folks who follow him prior to a convention, so make sure to get him on your Twitter friends list and look for him at his next appearance!


In the end, the Baltimore Comic-Con was a big success for us. And we stuck around a bit to enjoy Baltimore afterwards. Grace and Rob were able to visit the Geppi Entertainment Museum for the first time, visit the historic Basilica church and the National Aquarium, and tour a US Navy LSD ship -- that had a HUGE 25mm gun, named in honor of the Man of Steel.


Thanks for everything, Baltimore! We plan to be back next year!


-- Rob & Grace

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