My First Foray into a Con

Sorry that this articles is a little delayed, dear readers. My memory of events may be slightly fuzzy, but there’s enough left for me to write an amusing account of this trip. The dearth of anime paraphernalia disappointed me a little, and I felt somewhat lost among the various American comic books—but, I still enjoyed the convention.

A friend of mine drove me over in his car. I count it fortunate that he intended to become a comic artist at one time in his life. He actually spent a semester at college for the study of art. Among the comics he described to me, Valiant comics seemed to offer the most interesting stories. (The one concerning the Visigoth invasion of Rome in which aliens help the Romans in defeating the Visigoths particularly caught my attention.) With this tenuous background, I hoped to be able to navigate the convention to a certain extent.

When we arrived in Baltimore, we were chagrined to find that parking cost seven dollars an hour at both of the parking garages we found—at least, for the first two hours of parking. I was hoping that the Old Bay garage, being owned by a prosperous company, would be cheaper than the other one. And this was true after the first two hours, but we still wound up paying $17 for three hours of parking. After this experience, I began to understand how Dante could place usurers in hell.

Although I understood that my friend was unable to purchase a ticket online because he was uncertain whether he would be able to attend the convention, buying a ticket here turned into an adventure in itself. You see, even though I had a ticket myself, I did not desire to explore the convention floor on my own. (Another friend of mine was down there, but I possessed doubts whether I should find him among the throng of people.) So, I waited on line with my friend—at which decision, one of the staff marked on how good a friend I was. The magnanimous quality of my decision finally impressed itself on me after I waited forty-five minutes on line! (I believe I told some people that the wait was one hour and twenty minutes, but I’m convinced that this is an exaggeration. At least, I hope and pray that is an exaggeration, but it sure felt that long at the time.)

But, standing on line had certain benefits: several interesting cosplayers passed by, we discussed comics and anime some more, and Stan Lee himself passed right next to us! I think that might have been worth the price of admission alone. It has been several years since I found myself so close to a celebrity—unless Catholic bishops count as celebrities anyway. So, I enjoyed seeing the man responsible for Spider Man, the Hulk, the X-men, and others, even if I could not afford the ticket to attend the special panel he headed.

After our friend and I were squared away, we on a short round of the booths, specifically looking for #1805, which contained the illustrious Scott Snyder. (My friend informed me that he was a very down-to-earth guy and everything, but one had to wait on line for over an hour before seeing him!) In this short round, I felt rather lost: very little anime or manga in sight besides the copies of Usagi Yojimbo. (Nevermind: I thought that this counted as a manga, but it seems to have been created in America. At least, it made me feel a little less lost.)

Due to my excellent navigation skills, we soon found the exorbitantly long line leading to Scott Snyder. Fortunately, my other friend was on a nearby line to another famous comic artist. So, I chatted with him for a little. He had purchased a poster of Batman from the aforementioned Scott Snyder, and I could not but marvel at the fineness of the detail. Rarely have I seen the musculature of a strong man’s back portrayed so perfectly.

This friend, being unable to guide me himself due to having to attend a previous engagement after getting some more signatures, realized that the thought of waiting on any of these lines was repugnant to me—especially after waiting on line for the ticket, so he directed me to the part of the con which contained the anime. The thought that somewhere there existed some anime products which I had missed delighted me. I hastened to search the area where he directed me only to find that I had been there previously, and, like everywhere else, it rather lacked the presence of anime. During my search, I did see a booth containing stuffed anime dolls, but I’m not into that element of the fandom. (I did consider purchasing a Kirara doll for my sister, though.) Anime was so lacking that the sight of a Naruto shirt made me happy—the only time that has happened.

I did enjoy seeing the variety of American comics. Somehow, I could never get into American comics, yet the artwork has always fascinated me with its attention to detail. There were also plenty of comics from which I had to turn my eyes. Among these, however, there was one comic which caught my eye: Freeloader by Sean Bishop. A strong urge to speak with this gentleman came over me, but my Nakajima nature prevented me. After looking this gentleman and his work up, I realized how silly I was: he’s a Rurouni Kenshin fan, from New Jersey, and his story contains two disparate bounty hunters who are forced to work together. I rather enjoy the humor that derives from such scenarios. If only I had spoken to him! I might have actually purchased a comic from the Comic Con.

Also drawn by Sean Bishop.

At some point, I consumed some food and sat around until my friend finally obtained an audience with the renowned Scott Snyder. At which point he returned to show me a poster stand were I found several anime posters. On our way there, I saw someone cosplaying as Yoko from Tengen Toppa Gureen Lagaan. She did a great job, but one doesn’t have to work very hard on putting together that costume. 🙂 So, posters of Trigun, Hetalia, and Neon Genesis Evangelion are now offering something more interesting to look at than my room’s white walls. In return, I showed him the booth selling stuffed anime characters, where he contemplated buying someone a joke gift. At this point, we were thoroughly exhausted by the convention and returned to our dormitory.

 

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8 comments on “My First Foray into a Con

  1. TWWK says:

    Well, sounds like an interesting experience, even if you weren’t able to buy much in the ways of anime merchandise. Maybe that isn’t too bad of a thing, seeing as much of it is so overpriced…

    As my first anime con, what really attracted me were the work of the artists. I looked carefully through the anime section, but I didn’t find anything I was particularly looking for, nor did anything in my price range catch my eye. Then again, I was at a smaller con – a larger one, like Otakon (maybe you’ll go next year?), might have a much better selection.

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  2. You’re definitely right about too much anime stuff being overpriced, but I buy anything that’s interesting and won’t cause me to go bankrupt. 🙂

    The fact that Otakon took place only a few months before here in Baltimore explains why there was so little in the way of anime. I just might go to that convention next year!

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  3. Sean Bishop says:

    Hello there! My name is Sean, I stumbled across this page and to my surprise i found a little bit mentioning about my art! seeing this is very exciting, Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge it! I’m just starting out in comics so discovering this page is a bit surreal!

    I’m not sure what site you saw but I’ve been posting things here as well
    http://freeloader4hire.deviantart.com/

    anyway if you’d like i can send you a book! just send me an email!

    anyway hope you enjoyed your show, have a good day!

    -Sean

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  4. I’m glad that you enjoyed seeing your work! It really caught my eye at the con, so I had to mention it in this article.

    I’ll certainly forward you my address so that I can read your book. If possible, it would be a pleasure for me to review it on this site.

    May your career in writing comics be long and successful!

    Like

    • Sean Bishop says:

      thanks! i wish the best for you as well, after seeing this page i can tell your good at writing!

      yeah just email me the address and ill send it out on monday! id be honored to read your review of it! ^_^ what i have now is basicly like an issue 1 my real intent is to eventally make it into full length manga sized! im working right now!

      any way thanks allot!

      -Sean

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      • Just sent out that e-mail. Thanks for your compliment and good wishes, though I’m suffering through writer’s block at the moment. 😦 Hope that will end soon.

        I’m always happy to support writers of any kind, especially new ones, since that’s one of the things I aspire to be–my e-mail actually reveals the other profession I aspire to.

        Good luck on transforming your work to a full length manga. The hardest thing with any project is sticking to it, as I–from my experience of having a 300+ page novel stall during the rewrite–very much understand.

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  5. […] (The Freeloader to be Animated, A Little Review of The Freeloader, Retractio Tabulae Proximae, My First Foray into a Con) and mentioned its creator on one other occasion.  For my hard work, Sean Bishop and his writer, […]

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  6. […] I attended a comics convention once.  I loved seeing the old issues, picked up some splendid anime posters, and eventually became good friends with one of the cartoonists.  The only suggestion I have is to bring plenty of money with you, plenty of patience for waiting in lines, and to avoid carefully the hentai section. […]

    Like

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