Hanging Around … Baltimore Comic-Con 2014

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For the 15th year in a row, comic book fans descended upon the Baltimore Convention Center for the city’s annual Comic-Con. This year marked the first time the event grew from a two-day festival to a massive three-day event.

“Our 15th annual show was our biggest show to date,” said Marc Nathan, the event’s promoter. “Between adding the long-requested Friday to become a three-day event, increasing our floor size (and then increasing it again mid-summer when we realized even the expanded footprint wasn’t going to hold all of the guests, exhibitors and retailers wanting to come to the show), upping the ante on the annual Costume Contest by doubling the cash grand prize, and acquiring use of the Ballroom in the Baltimore Convention Center for the largest panels and the Costume Contest, we have grown by leaps and bounds from where we started, and even over last year’s event.”

While the Baltimore Comic-Con has not morphed into the television and movie-centric phenomenon that the annual San Diego convention has, it did attract a handful of mainstream stars, including Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew, Joel Hodgson from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

It also included some big names in the comic book industry, including Gail Simone, Greg Capulo, Alan Davis, David Finch, Garth Ennis and Frank Cho.

Throughout the event, artists and writers signing autographs for fans had donation jars for the Hero Initiative, a nonprofit group that offers support for those in need in the comic book industry. The charity raised over $15,000.

“Hero Initiative once again had a very successful show at Baltimore Comic-Con,” said said Kevin Brogan, the group’s Mid-Atlantic Region Volunteer Coordinator. “Our booth was anchored by Denny O’Neil and Al Milgrom, while more than 50 other artists volunteered to collect donations at their booths. The continuous success of Hero Initiative at Baltimore is a result of the relationship among the Baltimore team, the Hero Initiative team and artists themselves. The artists’ willingness to support the charity, Baltimore’s incredible commitment to the show and the charity’s close working relationship with the show and the artists is the ground work for success. Adding the fans who come to the show to honor the artists with their donations just brings it all together. We could not do it without the combined community’s strong commitment.”

In addition to the Hero Initiative, the convention also helped raise money for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBDLF), Delete Blood Cancer and the Baltimore Humane Society.

Nathan has already announced the date of next year’s event, which is sure to be even larger than this one. The 16th annual Baltimore Comic-Con will be held Friday, September 25 through Sunday, September 27, 2015.

Photos and article by Joel Murphy.

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