Baltimore Comic-Con 2019

Photos by Andrea Bergner and Todd Klein except as noted.

This year’s Baltimore Con at the Baltimore Convention Center was great fun. It’s my third year in a row having a table there, and each year I’ve sold more prints and things than the one before. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, the focus is mainly on comics and comics creators, and the staff and attendees are friendly and helpful. What more could one ask?

I drove there from my home in southern New Jersey, it’s an easy drive that can take as little as two hours forty minutes, but I usually stop once or twice, so I do it in about three hours. As a guest of the con, my room at the Sheraton was paid for, and I arrived there around 11:30 AM. After checking in I headed to the convention center to get my badge and set up my table. I was ready by 12:30, and the show opened at 1 PM.

My table assistant, Andrea Bergner, met me there. Three years ago I asked on Facebook for someone to help at my table, and she volunteered. Andrea turned out to be an excellent choice: she’s a great salesperson with a cheerful personality, and having someone else to help handle things makes it much easier to be at a table. I give her a commission on our total sales which she uses to buy comics art. Andrea’s husband and my wife Ellen are not into comics or sitting at con tables, so this arrangement has been a win for both of us.

At the table to our left was writer Brian K. Vaughan, hidden here by some family members, and someone came dressed as his character Lying Cat from Brian’s great series SAGA. I didn’t get a good photo of Brian, but we were able to chat a bit, though he was very busy signing. On our other side was inker Bob Wiacek, and just beyond him letterer John Workman and his wife Cathy, so that was our row. We faced an open area at the edge of the exhibit hall rather than another row of booths. I didn’t take any other photos on Friday, but we were busy at the table, and it was a fine start to the show.

On Saturday John Workman and I visited with former DC editor Jack C. Harris, who also drives over from New Jersey for the day. He’s very much the same as when we worked together in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Walking around I also chatted with artist Mike Manley who works on The Phantom and Judge Parker newspaper strips as well as editing DRAW magazine.

Carla Speed McNeill told me about a class she’s teaching in Baltimore where they are going to use my book on how to letter as part of it. (“The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering”.)

I had a good talk with artist Kevin Nowlan, who I haven’t seen in many years, shown here with a just-finished Doctor Strange sketch. He told me he does quite a few shows in the midwest, but not many in the eastern U.S. He’s so talented.

Heidi MacDonald of comics news website “The Beat” stopped by at my table to chat, always great to see her.

Something new I had for sale this year was Logo Sketch Cards. I drew logos at the top of comic-size pieces of art paper, leaving room for the artist of your choice to draw a character sketch. I didn’t know how they would sell, but they did well. This was the first finished one I saw with terrific art by Russ Braun, who was at the table right behind mine. The buyer brought it back to show me, and I added the word balloon Russ suggested. Perfect!

Here’s Russ and I with the buyer. We all enjoyed doing this, and I hope the idea will spread.

The ‘Ringo Awards, named in memory of beloved artist Mike Wieringo, were held Saturday evening at the Sheraton. It was great to catch up with old friends and workmates like Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Walt Simonson and John Workman, above.

Jose won a well-deserved lifetime achievement award, which pleased him, and we talked about working together on the DC Style Guide in the early 1980s. There’s talk of doing a new printing of that for fans, I hope it happens. Jose’s art for it, seen on all kinds of licensed products for decades, is wonderful and iconic.

Here are Louise Simonson, John Workman and Walter Simonson, three nicer people in comics it’s hard to find. Louise is recovering from a broken ankle, and it was touch and go whether she’d be able to attend. We were all glad she did, especially Walt, who had been keeping the secret that she’d won the Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award! She had no idea, and was delighted.

I think this photo by Andrea of John and Cathy Workman came out very well, and many Facebook friends agree!

I won the award for Best Letterer for the third time in a row. It’s always much appreciated, but let’s give someone else a chance next year! There are many worthy candidates. Photo above by Bruce Guthrie.

The award itself in better light in my room later, with Mike Weiringo’s fine art.

I also accepted the award for Best Presentation in Design for ABSOLUTE SANDMAN OVERTURE from DC Comics. I lettered the book, but the design work was by DC staffer Lou Prandi. The awards people will forward it to him in Burbank.

Sunday I brought the lettering award to my table, where it sits among the prints I sell.

Two more finished Logo Sketch Cards turned up Sunday, and I added some word balloons to this one for the buyer. Fine art again by Russ Braun.

This one has art by Adam Hughes. I designed this Black Cat logo in 1994 for the Marvel character, and they used it again on a new series this year.

Andrea was thrilled with the commission art she got from Sarah Woolley late Sunday depicting Totoro with Andrea’s two cats. I had headed home by then so didn’t see it in person, but it looks cool. Thanks again for your help, Andrea!

It was a fun show, but I’m happy to be home again. The Logo Sketch Cards did very well, I sold 38 of them. I have 49 left that will be up on my website’s BUY STUFF page soon. Keep an eye out there, they may be up by the end of the day today. Print sales also were strong, and I sold a few other one-of-a-kind art pieces too. I’m not sure if I’ll be back next year, but I will certainly be there if I’m invited. Thanks again to con creator Marc Nathan and staffers Brad Tree, Randy Tischler and many others for making their 20th show a great one for me. Thanks also to the other friends and workmates I’ve neglected to mention, it was good to see you, and thanks especially to the fans who make it a pleasure to be there.

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