2014 Baltimore Comic-Con

2014 Baltimore Comic-Con - Bent CornerThe 2014 Baltimore Comic-Con is this weekend, September 5-7. The show this year is three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased for individual days, or as a three-day package. This is something I wish Otakon would do, offer single day tickets.

A PDF of the program, including a map of the dealer’s room and a listing of all the panels, can be seen here. Save it to your iPad and you’ll never not know what’s going on or where something is.

I haven’t been to the Baltimore Comic-Con in years, but I remember it being far superior to Wizard World Philly for the Pittsburgh Comic-Con. It’s held in the Baltimore Convention Center, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area. It’s across the street from Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles play. It’s within easy walking distance of the National Aquarium and all the other Inner Harbor attractions.

The Baltimore Inner Harbor area is a really nice place.

If we go, we will probably be going on Friday. There’s usually a lot fewer people on Fridays, and we have the day off.

In case you were wondering, the Baltimore Comic Con has a pretty comprehensive harassment policy. Unlike just about every other comic book convention, they actually take a stab at defining what harassment is:

Harassment includes, but is not limited to; making unwanted and/or discriminatory advances on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, physical appearance, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable federal or state laws, intimidation, stalking, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of events, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcomed sexual attention or other verbal or physical conduct of a discriminatory nature, or by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment by engaging in such conduct.

There’s much more information about the harassment policy on the official website. It’s a shame that the Baltimore Comic-Con has to do something like this, but unfortunately, it’s a necessity. Harassment at comic book conventions, like other places humans congregate, is a very real thing.

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso answers criticism of ‘Spider-Woman’ #1 variant cover

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso answers criticism of Spider-Woman #1 variant cover

Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso (Left)

From Comic Book Resources’ Robot 6 blog:

It’s a limited edition variant that is aimed at collectors. While we would not have published this as the main cover to the book, we were comfortable publishing this as a variant that represented one artist’s vision of the character — a world-renowned artist whose oeuvre is well-known to us, and to collectors. It is not the official cover for the issue. It is a collector’s item that is set aside or special ordered by completists — and it doesn’t reflect the sensibility or tone of the series any more than the Skottie Young variant or Rocket and Groot Spider-Woman variants. If you open up the book, you’ll see that this series has everything in common with recent launches we’ve done, like Black Widow and Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk and Captain Marvel. It’s about the adventures of two women that have complete agency over their lives, and that are defined by what they do, not how they look.

Milo Manara is a world-renowned artist? Really? This is what it says about him on Wikipedia:

Maurilio Manara, known professionally as Milo Manara, is an Italian comic book writer and artist, best known for his erotic approach to the medium.

Marvel Comics should have more respect for its own intellectual property then to hire a man best known for his erotic approach to illustrate a cover of one of its few female superheroes, even a variant cover. Some might say Spider-Woman looks erotic, I say she looks like a baboon in heat waiting to be mounted by the alpha male of the troop.

That’s what a group of baboons is called, a troop. I had to look it up. That’s what Marvel Comics has done by commissioning a sexist and misogynistic cover for Spider-Woman #1, they’ve forced me to look up the mating habits of baboons, something I normally don’t do.

At least not on purpose.

And will this cover really only show up on variant copies of Spider-Woman #1? I don’t buy single comic books anymore, but I occasionally do buy collected editions, normally on Amazon. These books normally always contain all the variant covers of the monthlies, found usually at the back of the book.

I’d be surprised if the collected edition of this volume of Spider-Woman doesn’t include this awful variant cover.

I don’t understand Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics, for some stupid reason, hired Italian erotica comic artist Milo Manara to draw a variant cover for an upcoming comic, Spider-Woman #1. This is what Manar’s cover looks like:

spiderwoman_manara

This is pretty terrible.

I don’t know who Milo Manara is. Not really. I’m not familiar with his work, mostly because when I do read comic books, I don’t read erotica comics. At least not on purpose or consciously. I had to look Manara up on Wikipedia. Evidently he’s well-respected in the world of funny books, though by judging from his Spider-Woman artwork, I never would have guessed.

His Spider-Woman cover looks pretty awful. Her costume looks to be painted on, which means she’s technically naked. With her rear way in the air and her legs spread apart, she looks like a baboon waiting to be mounted. That’s not a good look, especially when you’re only wearing paint.

Whoever hired Milo Manara to do a special variant cover of Spider-Woman #1, shouldn’t have. Just because Manara was paid to do artwork by Marvel, doesn’t mean that the resulting product had to be used by Marvel. Some people have reacted to the artwork by saying that it’s misogynistic.

I think it’s partly that, but more so, I think it’s just bad.

I don’t think anyone, male or female, should be portrayed with their butt in the air, especially wearing a costume that looks like it was created by Sherwin-Williams.

I don’t understand Marvel Comics. It’s hard to believe that they are part of the same group that created the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy. They should have more respect for their own intellectual property than to pay a European erotic comic artist to pencil a female superhero posed like this. I think this just goes to show that comic books is a dying medium. I can’t remember the last time I purchased a comic book. On the other hand, I went to the theater to see Guardians of the Galaxy the very first weekend it came out.

I can’t imagine a scenario where I would do the same thing with a comic book.

Chuck Rozanski has a change of heart, Mile High Comics will return to San Diego Comic-Con

Mile High Comics at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con

Mile High Comics at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con

Chuck Rozanski, President of Mile High Comics, reportedly lost $10,000 at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con because of low sales. The reason for the low sales wasn’t because people at San Diego Comic-Con weren’t in the market for old comics at 50 percent off. The real reason? San Diego Comic-Con exclusives.

Rozanski has accused comic publishers of cleverly exploiting the “greed and avarice” of comics fans by selling exclusive comics at their own booths. These greedy fans buy exclusive comics directly from the publishers, then have no more disposable income left to spend at his booths.

Rozanski threatened not to return to San Diego Comic-Con next year. Form his July 26 newsletter:

So where does this leave us? As much as I hate to admit this, it now seems obvious to me now that we finally have to end a lifetime of exhibiting at San Diego, and instead seek out relatively popular comics conventions in other cities. Especially conventions where our publisher friends choose to not exhibit. Doesn’t that thought just drip with irony? Comics publishers have evolved to become toxic to their own retailers. Who would ever have thought that would happen? Even with all my many years of experience, I simply cannot believe that our world has now been so perverted by the mania for exclusive variants, that comics retailers can now only survive in the absence of the very publishers we support. No matter how you look at it, this is a profoundly sad day.

Not so fast! It would seem that Rozanski has had a change of heart. From his July 29 newsletter:

If you are wondering why we did not succeed in meeting our convention goals this year, I would urge you to read my last two newsletters. Before you read my two previous essays, however, I want you to know that I ultimately did heed the outpouring of requests that I received from fans and professionals at the show, and renewed our booth for next year. In all honesty, however, I have to admit that my decision to renew at SDCC for one more year was driven more by an emotional response to all the kind words of support that we received, rather than any kind of good business sense. Simply put, I do not have any faith or belief that the circumstances that devastated our sales at this year’s convention will be in any way mitigated at next year’s show. Our comics publishers will all express sympathy with the plight of participating retailers at conventions, but will then continue engaging in behaviors that solely benefit them. Such is life.

Looking at the Mile High Comics booth at San Diego Comic-Con, I can honestly saw that if I were there, I’d walk right by. It looks too flea markety, too swap meetish to me. I’d figure that anyone slashing prices by 50 percent was probably charging too much to begin with. Traditionally, when merchandise is 50 percent off, it’s because there’s either something wrong with it, or that people just don’t want it.

If I went to the San Diego Comic-Con, I wouldn’t be there to buy cheap stuff that nobody else wanted.

Buy my collection of ‘The Walking Dead’ comics

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Last night I posted what’s left of my The Walking Dead comic collection on eBay. I’ve sold a few key issues as individual listing, but I decided to sell the remaining 44 issues in one, big lot. I’ll probably get less money this way than if I sold each issue separately, but selling them in one lot spares me the hassle of trying to auction off each comic separately.

I started the auction as $130. That works out to be $2.95 per issue. That’s what I paid for the 44 comics, more or less. As of this morning, there are already three bids and the current price is $202.50. The auction ends August 4th at around 9:40 PM EDT. I have a 100% eBay feedback rating and a feedback score of 465. That would be really bad if it was a credit rating, but it’s not, it’s how many eBay members have had positive experiences with me on eBay.

Take a look at it if it sounds like something you’d be interested in.

THE WALKING DEAD comic book lot 44 issues [eBay]

Update: The lot ended up going for a whopping $554.65. Needless to say, I was pretty happy with the outcome. A new iPad Air for me!

It’s the San Diego Comic-Con, not the San Diego Flea-Market

chuck_rozanski_superman

Chuck Rozanski

Chuck Rozanski, owner of Mile High Comics, is at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and there’s something going on at the con that he doesn’t like: publishers and manufacturers creating convention exclusives and then selling them directly to fans. The problem is, it’s interfering with his ability to sell overpriced back issues to people at the convention. It turns out, people would rather spend their money on exclusives, comics and merchandise they can only get at SDCC, than his old, jacked-up back issues.

From his official Mile High Comics website:

Before I go any further, let me stress that the detrimental effects of exclusives at San Diego is not a new phenomena. Ever since I helped to create the Wednesday evening Preview Night over a decade ago, the bigger booths have had great freebies and exclusive toys available on that first evening of the show. What has now changed is both the breadth, and the scale, of those exclusive products. No longer are exclusives limited to just a few booths, or only to Wednesday evening. We are now seeing all of the major comics publishers, and every single toy and game company, creating limited edition products that they deny us. This aversion to helping comics retailers has become so agregious and pernicious that I heard from my fellow dealers that some publisher and manufacturer booths were refusing to even allow anyone wearing a dealer’s badge to stand in line. That is beyond ridiculous.

What’s ridiculous is someone with a dealer’s badge standing in line with attendees, buying exclusive items for the sole purpose of turning around and reselling them at a markup, to people at the convention. What’s ridiculous is that retailers like Rozanski are even still at SDCC setting up booths to sell old back issues. I would have thought SDCC moved past the flea market model a long time ago. People go to SDCC to see celebrities, learn about upcoming releases, meet other people, and to buy exclusives, not to pay too much money for a high-grade copy of Amazing Spider-Man #10.

The San Diego Comic-Con isn’t that type of show. At least not anymore.

Back in the olden days, some folks refer to them as the early 1990′s, people would go to comic book conventions for the sole purpose of buying old comics, the type of comics Rozanski and retailers like him, are still trying to sell today. Markets change, people change. Today, when someone wants to buy an old comic book for hundreds of dollars, they can easily do so on eBay or online. They don’t have to trudge to a comic book convention to do it, especially when that convention is the San Diego Comic-Con.

Some comic book conventions still look, smell, and operate very much like a flea market. The San Diego Comic-Con is not one of them.

Photo: Korene Gallegos/The Denver Post