Things Found at Baltimore Comic Con
Some of the team here attended the always excellent (and comic-focused) Baltimore Comic Con this weekend. Comic conventions are enjoyable for a variety of reasons:
- The people who attend are awesomely nerdy – there’s something to appreciate about a gathering of thousands of people that involves scores of stormtroopers patrolling the grounds. Plus, our wristbands were checked by a Jedi and a Jawa when we first went in.
- Meeting the creators and artists. There are some absolutely incredible artists and writers in the comic book world, and it’s stunning to wander around, watch them draw and chat with them. A special call out to the guys from Top Cow, who were awesome to talk to.
- Finding new comics to read. I’m not a person who religiously seeks out new comics to read, so I relish the opportunity that a Comic Con provides to pick up and thumb through random comics as I walk around. It’s probably the primary method I use to find new comic books.
We’ll have a couple more posts talking about what we heard, saw, and thought about at BCC, but in honor of #3, those of us who went are going to call out a couple of the comics we got this weekend.
Echoes, by Josh Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal, might be the best graphic novel I have ever read. It’s both terrifying and mesmerizing, and tears at your soul with every page. Pillowman-esque in it’s depravity, Echoes plies its trade in the depths of a schizophrenic mind, leaving the reader unable to distinguish horrifying facts from hellish fiction.
It follows the story of Brian, who, like his father before him, is schizophrenic. He lives between pills, taken to help calm his mind, struggling to stay lucid for his pregnant wife. But as Brian’s father passes away in the hospital, Brian hears his last words, and Brian’s world begins to shatter: ‘In the crawl space, under the house on Haymaker, you have to find the box. Thirteen Thirty Nine Haymaker. The bodies… the girls’ bodies.‘
That’s the first five pages, I didn’t give anything away. Echoes is simply incredible: in a horrifying, bone-chilling way, Josh Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal drown the reader inside a mind grasping for reality. If I hadn’t met them both at the con, I would probably think they were seriously disturbed people. If you haven’t read Echoes yet, go get it now. Kudos to @JoshFialkov and @rekedal.
While browsing the expo floor, we came across the Th3rdWorld Studios booth, where they were pushing the just-released second trade of their series, The Stuff of Legend. After talking to writer Mike Raicht and checking out the book full of fantastic art from Charles Paul Wilson III, I bought the first and second trades (and got them signed by both authors, the artist, and one of the colorists, to boot). I’m halfway through the second book now, and I must say I’m having a good time with it.
The story takes place in 1944, when a group of eight toys ventures into the dark world contained in their owner’s closet in order to rescue the boy from the clutches of the evil Boogeyman. In a show of Toy Story-esque devotion to their master, the toys risk life and limb as they clash with the vast armies of the King of the Dark to try and bring their owner back. The dialogue can sometimes feel a bit forced, but the visuals are stunning and the ideas are both fun and well thought-out, making this a worthwhile read. The story is planned to arc over six volumes, with the third to be released this December.
As it was my first con, I was more in awe at all that was going on around me rather than hunting for the best new comics to read. I did, however, purchase two graphic novels for over 50% off (can never say no to a good bargain), and will talk about one of them here. I also read Echoes, as Chris has described above, while waiting in line for Stan Lee. It may have been the most terrifying thing I have ever read. Excellently drawn and excellently written, but so very dark and horrifying.
So I purchased Hexed – a graphic novel by Michael Alan Nelson with art by Emma Rios. It follows Luci Jennifer Ignacio Das Neves, a thief in the occult underground, who goes by Lucifer for short. While this is no Sandman or Watchmen in quality of writing, it does have fabulous art and the story line is fairly original, to say the least. Exhibit A – at one point, Lucifer enters a different dimension by cutting into the corpse of a enormously fat man, all in order to steal from a demon. Pretty inventive if you ask me. With special abilities of her own, Lucifer is able to maneuver through this magical underworld with skill and ease, as she attempts to discover the true intentions of her former employer, Dietrich. Always on a new job, she fights to save her own life and that of Val, her most recent employer and the closest thing she has to family, from Dietrich’s predations. It was a fun read.