Baltimore Comic Con is less than 79 days away. I did Q & A with Baltimore Comic Con.
1. Who is the owner of Baltimore Comic Con?
Marc Nathan, the owner of Cards Comics & Collectibles of Reisterstown, MD, is the show promoter
2. Does the owner collect comic books?
Marc has run Cards Comics & Collectibles for 34 years, and they have recently moved into a huge space (it was an old movie theater back in the day, and definitely worth a look!). So I would say yes, he collects comic books…and then sells them, and then collects more! Rinse and repeat.
3. Baltimore Comic Con is going on 19th year. Congratulations on that!. Tell me about the first year. Attendance numbers? Exhibitors numbers?
Thank you — to repurpose an old cigarette ad campaign, we’ve come a long way, baby! That first show was a one-day show on October 9, 2000 at the Sheraton in Towson, MD (one of the Baltimore ‘burbs). We had a small handful of guests like Murphy Anderson, Marty Baumann, Frank Cho, Steve Conley, the Insight Studio Group crew, George Perez, Walt Simonson, John K. Snyder III, and Mark Waid, among others, as well as a room full of comics vendors. It was more along the veins of a traditional comic hotel show than what looks today like a comic book convention, but we had a great group of guests for that first year!
4. What was the attendance and exhibitors numbers in 2017?
We don’t share attendance numbers. This is something other shows do, but play games to inflate the numbers. We prefer to let our exhibitors’ and retailers’ results speak to our attendance — we sell out our exhibitor and retailer space every year, and many of the people in the room are there year after year because of how successful they are. The same goes for our guests and our fans — we’ve got a great, loyal following!
5. What is your proudest moment of Baltimore Comic Con?
Honoring Charles Schulz with the Harvey Kurtzman Hall of Fame Award in 2014. Schulz was the cartoonist who inspired a 5-year-old Marc Nathan to read more comics The process of arranging for the award took over a year, but getting a phone call from his wife Jeanie while driving in the pouring rain, pulling over to take the call, and hearing Jeanie talking about “Sparky” from California gave Marc chills he’ll never get over in his lifetime. It’s something of which we should all be proud.
6. What is your least favorite moment of Baltimore Comic Con? (You don’t have to answer this)
Loan-in (which is when all of the exhibitors and retailers move into the hall). When the show is built and pretty and awesome, we’re so proud, but “the making of” is nerve-wracking! It happens too slow for Marc!
7. What is the most unique item ever displayed or for sale at Baltimore Comic Con?
We believe one of our exhibitors had the $3M Action #1 at our show one year. The most unique item available for sale (that caused us our biggest headache ever) was Gentle Giant offering an exclusive Star Wars Commander Bacara bust in 2007, and the item was limited to like 100-200 and caused the biggest ruckus we’ve ever had. There were five of these exclusive busts offered at five different shows: one at Star Wars Celebration IV, one in Tokyo, one in London, in SDCC, and us. What we had was such a big deal that people were literally stealing them.
8. What makes Baltimore Comic Con different than those other comic con?
We have created something that is unique across America: we are equally the best at spotlighting the best in comic book publishing, creating, and making the best comics possible, and we have created the best marketplace to sell comics, which is totally unique in this country. We have established ourselves as a place to sell old and new comics better than any place else in this country.