2017 Baltimore Comic Con

I've been to quite a few conventions through the years, mostly in Pennsylvania, and I thought I had been to the biggest outside of San Diego. That is, up until I visited Balitmore Comic Con.

My husband and I arrived Saturday morning and since our hotel was just up the street a few blocks, we opted to park in the parking garage next to our hotel and just walk down to the convention. While there were people literally everywhere, getting our tickets were extremely easy, quick, and painless. Of course, I had press passes so my line was completely dead, but it only took 5 minutes for my husband to purchase his ticket. Immediately right through the door, the staff were very friendly and helpful. That's always a plus when going to conventions, especially if it's your first time and you need to know where you are going. By comparison, I would say that Baltimore Comic Con has the largest on floor staff that I've encountered at a convention. They were in masses, it seemed, all wearing "Baltimore Comic Con Minion" shirts so they could be easily identified and every one that we had encountered knew exactly what they were doing and where you needed to go. They were certainly well versed in the layout of the convention and autograph times and photo ops. 

I had been sick for days before the convention and almost didn't even make it there. So with my lack of sleep and still being on the mend from the rare flu (That I have been lucky enough to not have at all for the last 5 years), I somehow forgot the extra battery to my good camera. I pulled it out of my bag and discovered that my children had been playing with it and it had been set to "on" the entire time which drained the only battery I had brought with me. Thankfully my phone was fully charged so I could still get photos or my weekend would have really been an epic fail.

I went into this with the idea that it would be similar to Wizard World in size and layout, but I was wrong (in a good way). Through the front doors, you go up stairs to get your tickets, then downstairs to the convention, which is sort of in the basement part of the convention center. All of the panels and the costume contest was upstairs. In the main convention area before you walked in the doors, there was a BCC exclusive merch table. This is where you get your shirts, totes, and any other exclusives. Surprisingly, it was well organized and very little clutter. For bigger conventions with a ton of attendees, clutter is a common problem. It's actually not here, and I love that. 

This place is HUGE! Although, it's spaced out nicely so even with a lot of people, it's not completely unbearable and tightly packed. It's actually a little bit overwhelming how big it is overall though, and the awesome part is that, while it has tons of things already, there's even room to expand. I kept reiterating to my husband how big the convention was and how organized it was.  All of the celebrity guests were grouped together with their lines perfectly labeled at the start with their name and a huge photo of them. This made things so much easier when you were walking by, to know which line you needed to get in. Other conventions, you have to look around the unorganized lines of people and try to see who's sitting at each table to know which line to get it. These lines were perfectly set up and had a convention helper at the start of each one. 

There were multiple places to get food in the convention's food area that is already built in, but in addition to that they apparently have another entire room of food and beverage vendors on the same floor right off of the main convention. We didn't have time to go look through there, but from the doorway I could tell there was a good selection, and the food in the entire place smelled amazing. 

Artists are grouped in with other vendors instead of having their own room or a special section. This works out well for both because people looking for handmade items will stumble upon great artists, and people looking to get their things signed by great artists, will discover really great handmade items. 

You would think that with so many attendees and so many great artists, that you would be standing in lines all day. Surprisingly, this isn't true. We really only stood in one line and that was when we were waiting for David Finch and his wife Meredith to come back from, I assume, a panel they were doing upstairs. Even then, we may have only stood in line for 15 minutes. The line moved quickly and they had convention helpers directing people through and fetching prints and such. They even had a guy come through the line prior to them signing to let us all know the price of the signatures so we could be prepared. 

There was one line for another artist where they were giving out tickets because the line was so long (think along the lines of a Disney FastPass). The only issue I saw with that situation was when we walked by after calling ticket numbers 1-40, the convention helper told those 40 people to decide amongst themselves who goes first instead of going by their actual ticket number. That seemed like it could potentially cause some issues, but it seemed to go just fine from what I could see each time I walked by that area again.

All other artists were essentially walk ups. There may have been one or two people in line to get things signed, but there were no wait times for them. When they do commission portraits for people, they typically give them a time frame to come back and pick it up so they can also sign books and prints for others quickly through out the day. 

These guys brought this incredibly impressive poster which is completely covered in signatures including Stan Lee's! Admittedly, I would be having an anxiety attack walking though a convention with something that valuable, when you consider that thing was easily worth in the thousands at this point. 

All of the artists are so nice and easy to talk to. I'm shy and even I had no problem talking to a few of them. They are approachable and will have a great conversation with you. There's one convention we use to go to, that we no longer attend, where about 65% of the artists, celebrity guests, and vendors are just unapproachable. They don't talk to you, sometimes they rarely even acknowledge you are at their table, and it's a quick signature and they move on to the next person without saying Thank You. It could be the environment, but honestly, Baltimore in general just has the nicest people I have ever encountered as a whole. People are incredibly polite both inside the convention as well as out on the streets. It was refreshing. Pennsylvania conventions are full of rude people everywhere and it gets tiresome. 

There were also a lot of really amazing cosplays here. I'm always very impressed with what people can come up with. This was the first year my husband and I have come across Dawn and Death cosplays which are characters in Joe Linsner's Dawn comics (my husband's favorite). 

Artists were taking donations at their table for Hero Initiative instead of charging for autographs. Most still charged for drawings which makes sense since those take time. We only had to pay for one signature where the money went directly to the artist. In all honesty, that one took us by surprise because he wanted $5 for him to quickly sign a card no bigger than a debit card. Everyone else signed for free. Even some of the bigger named artists. Which brings me to another point: I really wish artists who charge would have their prices listed at their table instead of springing it on you when you walk up. 

Overall it was a massively fun experience. This one leans more on the side of comics than pop culture, so if you are a huge comic geek like we are, do not hesitate to buy a ticket. Actually, spring for the weekend passes, because there is a lot to see and do. We didn't even get to all of it since we could only be there for one day. 

Hands down, best true comic convention of it's size that I have ever been to. I have high hopes that 3 Rivers Comic Con in Pittsburgh will get this big eventually. 

Coming Soon!
Our hotel review and Edgar Allan Poe's Grave


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