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This past weekend was my first time at the Baltimore Comic-Con since 2002, and wow, has this show ever come into its own! Sure, New York and San Diego had movie and tv stars –and those shows certainly basked in the reflected glow of Hollywood glamour as a result– but what the Baltimore Comic-Con has to offer is, in some respects, even more special: an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned (and gloriously, unrepentantly so at that) comic book convention.

If you've been following our coverage of the show, you're already well aware of the excellent range of programming that was on offer at the Con. Personally, I applaud the efforts that were clearly made to spotlight indie creators right alongside the "big guns," and props are also in order for having a variety of kid-centric programming as well.

Speaking of kids, hey, there were a lot of them at the show! I'm pretty sure I saw more families, more kids, and more strollers in Baltimore than I've seen at the rest of this year's shows combined. This, my friends, is a very encouraging sign, and it may well be that Baltimore will be seen as a hotbed new comics talent in, oh, say ten or fifteen years time.

Something that I saw remarkably less of in Baltimore than at any other (non-indie) show this year, however, was costumed attendees. Which is really a very curious thing. What is it about Baltimoreans that makes them (with very few exceptions) not want to attend a comic convention in costume? It can't just be a West coast thing, because both New York and Philly boasted dozens of creatively costumed attendees. Mind you, I'm not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing, just that it is a thing worthy of note.

Something I neglected to mention in my post on the Mike Wieringo tribute is that Wieringo was well known as an animal lover. As such, it was important for Wieringo's friends and colleagues in the industry to arrange for the Humane Society of Baltimore County to attend the show with a booth, providing an opportunity for fundraising –with comics pros sketching and signing to benefit the Humane Society– towards creating a fund in Wieringo's name. Interested fans can find information regarding sending in a donation to the fund in Wieringo's name here.

And, so as to wrap up this wrap-up on an up note ("'cause Mike would've wanted it that way"), let me share an anecdote that one could really only expect to happen at a con. After my last panel of the day yesterday, a trip to the men's room (bear with me here...) was brightened when a fellow con attendee strolled in and commenced to whistling the theme from The Prisoner, and he was still whistling while he, um, worked when I exited the room. I must admit, the unselfconsciousness of that display both had me smiling approvingly and thinking, "only at a con..."

Next up on the Comics Alliance 2007 con calendar is a personal favorite: The Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethesda, MD, October 12-13. Come on out, meet such comics luminaries as Matt Wagner, Jeff Smith, Kim Deitch, and Bill Griffith, and who knows, maybe even discover your new favorite comic!

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