Baltimore Comic-Con: Day One

Remember back in April when I recapped Boston Comic Con and I said I needed a better system for getting books signed at comic book conventions?

Well, I still need a better system.

Actually, to be entirely fair to myself, I can't judge the system I used this year until after tomorrow, but right now, my legs really hurt. I mean, really. Like, my right knee is so swollen that my right thigh is actually numb.

But even with dealing with that right now, it was all worth it.

I made the decision early this morning that I was going to try to get all my signings done today, because I had no interest in carrying around large piles of books tomorrow. So I split up the big pile into three smaller piles and made my way over to the convention center at 8:00 a.m. -- two hours before the doors were scheduled to open.

After some initial confusion from the organizers about where we should be lining up, things went pretty smoothly, and the two-hour wait wasn't that bad (thanks to WSOP and Netflix on my iPhone).

My first-wave plan of attack involved hitting up about 10 booths to get books signed, and getting on a handful of commission lists. One of the key stops in that early wave was at Georges Jeanty's booth. We've been trading e-mails for awhile on a set of pages I wanted to buy from him, and we came to a price today. I'll save the details of that for tomorrow, when I actually pick them up.

I think of the first wave of books I brought, I got something like 90% of them signed in the first two hours of the show. At that point, I went back to my hotel room, dropped everything off and grabbed my Todd McFarlane stuff to go wait in his line. I brought down the Spider-Man: Torment set of books, as well as one of the bases from one of my LeBron James McFarlane Toys figures. However, they were limiting signatures to two items per person. If I'd known that, I probably would have brought Amazing Spider-Man 300 as my one comic instead (since my only reason for bringing the Torment books was to get the whole set 1-5 signed). Still, getting two items signed by someone like Todd McFarlane was pretty cool, and the LeBron base (pictured to the right) looks really cool. Plus, McFarlane confirmed for me that a LeBron figure in his Heat jersey will be part of NBA Series 19, which is the next one to be announced (they'd already finalized the roster for Series 18 -- coming in November -- when LeBron announced that he was taking his talents to South Beach).

Now, this is just about when the day went downhill, from a leg function standpoint. Standing in the McFarlane line for 2+ hours with nearly no regular movement wasn't helpful, even without a big backpack on my back. Still, when I got back to the room at around 3:30 pm, I decided I could condense the last two piles of books to one big pile. From a "fitting in my bag" perspective, I was right, and at this point I managed to get all but three books signed (and I'll take care of those tomorrow). From a "my legs are capable of dealing with this" perspective, I couldn't have been more wrong.

Still, today's tally was beyond impressive. About 100 signed books (I don't have an exact number), a sweet print of the Inara "Serenity" cover signed by penciller J.G. Jones and colorist Laura Martin (who was also nice enough to sign my entire Whedon-Cassaday Astonishing X-Men run), a beautiful Amanda Conner Catwoman print, a Mary Jane head sketch by Tim Sale and a full body 11x17 Mary Jane by Ron Garney, with whom I finally connected after the clusterfuck that was Big Apple Con '07.

I also picked up a little surprise: Issue #2 of "Charmed", which isn't actually hitting stores until next Wednesday. Cover artist David Seidman was at the show, and I happened to spot his booth as I was waiting in line for another artist. One quick detour and I had the new issue in my hands, along with signed copies of Charmed #0 and #1 (which I'd totally forgotten to bring with me). So, I'll have a review of that tomorrow morning, before I check out of the hotel.

One day to go... will I spend way more money than I should? Will my knee hold up or explode? And will I be able to make the six-hour drive home after everything's done tomorrow? Tune in to for the answers to all these questions and more! (actually, because of that six-hour drive, I probably won't have the Day 2 recap up until Monday morning).