Friday, July 1, 2011


Do you remember when comic book conventions were just that:  places where fans and creators of comics could come together for a weekend of mutual appreciation—and mutual love of the medium—and there were no movie studios, actors, wrestlers, video game companies or porn stars in sight?  In recent years, it seems that many comic cons have mutated into multi-media events that have pushed the hardcore comic book fans farther and farther into limbo.  

Not in Baltimore.

As some of you know, I'm not a big convention goer—massive crowds and I don't always get along—but, a few years back, urged on by Mark Waid, I attended the Baltimore Comic Con and was delighted to find that it was one of the most relaxed and enjoyable conventions I've ever attended.  Best of all, it was all about the comics.  No other distractions.  (The only celebrity I saw the entire weekend was 30 Rock's Scott Adsit and he wasn't there promoting anything:  he was wandering the floor as a fan, apparently in  a state of nerdish bliss.)  Which is why I'm very happy to be returning to Baltimore in August for another weekend of panels, signings and—best of all—talking to the folks who read, and appreciate, my work.  And this year, two old friends will be joining me.  I'll let the official press release explain it:

The Baltimore Comic-Con is pleased to announce the addition of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire to the line-up of creators attending this year's show, taking place the weekend of August 20-21, 2011.

Keith Giffen, who will be making his only convention appearance this year at the Baltimore Comic-Con, is a writer/artist who has worked on such title as Legion of Super-Heroes, Nick Fury's Howling Commandos, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, and his creator-owned series, Hero Squared. Most recently, Giffen was named artist on the DC title O.M.A.C., launching in September.

Writer J.M. DeMatteis began his career in the late '70s working on DC Comics' horror line of books. In 1980, he moved over to Marvel, where he worked on The Defenders and Captain America.  Over the next 30 years, DeMatteis would write nearly every major character in both the DC and Marvel Universes, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, Daredevil and Doctor Strange. In 2010, he teamed up with long-time collaborator, Keith Giffen on DC's Booster Gold series.

Artist Kevin Maguire, who has worked with both Giffen and DeMatteis on several books, began his a career in 1987. He has worked on such high-profile titles as Batman Confidential, Captain America and X-Men. Most recently, he worked on the latest relaunch of Doom Patrol at DC Comics.

Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire are well-known for their run on DC Comics' Justice League in the late '80s, which added a humorous brand of storytelling to the superhero team dynamic. Their appearance at the Baltimore Comic-Con marks only the second time they have all been together at a show. In addition, all three creators will be appearing on a panel together at the show.  "The three of us have only been together at a convention once before - and that ended in screaming, physical violence, and millions of dollars in property damage," said DeMatteis. "I look forward to doing it again!"

"With the recent release of the latest Justice League International trade from DC, we couldn't be happier to have the creative team behind that book at this year's show," said Marc Nathan, show promoter of the Baltimore Comic-Con. "That series' lighthearted tone and fantastic humor added something different to a comic landscape that was filled with 'grim and gritty' books and should be on everyone's essential reading lists."

It's a rare thing to find all three of us stooges together in the same place at the same time, so if you'd like a chance to meet us, talk with us—or hit us with a rubber chicken—think about coming to Baltimore in August.  Some guy named Stan Lee is going to be the Guest of Honor and the rest of the guest list is pretty impressive, too.

Oh, and speaking of the Giffen-DeMatteis-Maguire Justice League, Newsarama ran a nice piece the other day about our upcoming JLI Retro project and you can read it right here.

See you in Baltimore!


  1. This sounds really good. I like the 'just' comic book focus, rather than the huge spectacle that so many other conventions have become. This sounds like a lot of fun. Hope it's a blast for you and the JLI gang, JM. You'll have to let us know how it all goes. Man, I'd love to meet Stan Lee some day, too. He's like one of the big names in my life I'd like to meet face-to-face.

  2. I've only encountered Stan a few times over the years, A. Jaye, but each time was memorable. I'll write about it one of these days.

  3. Geez, now I wish I was going!

  4. I've never been to a convention, but this one sounds fun and I'll be living sort of close to Baltimore in August. How do conventions work? Do artists and writers give talks? Maybe they do Q & A sessions. It seems like conventions might be more fun for people wanting to be in the industry than for fans, but I might just be extrapolating my experience with math conferences to comic conventions.

  5. What you'll find at BCC, Quique, are many, many comics creators sitting at tables, happy to sign your books, answer your questions or just chat. There are also panels -- I'll be doing one with Giffen and Maguire -- and lots of folks selling lots of comic books and related merchandise.

    Even when it gets a little crowded, BCC remains refreshingly low key and the folks who run the show are great. If you make it, please come over and say hi. It'd be great to meet you.

  6. I have been a huge JLI fan for years-and was so happy to see you, Giffen, and Maguire will be there. Comics are always better with a few BWAHAHAHAs.

    Are you guys going to be doing a signing at all? That would make the con for me. :)

  7. The three of us are doing a panel together on Saturday, Meg, but most of the time we're going to be sitting at our tables, happy to sign books and chat. That's one of the things I love about Baltimore: first and foremost it's about fans and creators connecting in a relaxed atmosphere.

  8. While I live in the DC area, I haven't been to Baltimore Comic Con in several years. Now I'll DEFINITELY be going to this one! Will you guys be doing a panel together as just the three of you, or as part of a larger panel with other DC folks? I normally avoid panels like the plague because those Q&A's are often painfully awkward, but I'd be happy to endure that if it means seeing you banter in action!

    I'll definitely be bringing a couple books for you to sign. It'll be a pleasure to meet you. And hey, maybe then I'll finally be able to tell you what I thought about "Crime and Punishment," which you ordered me to read several months back!

  9. We're doing a panel with just the three of us, Hefner. Should be a lot of fun. (Especially if Giffen's in a feisty mood.) Happy to sign any/all books that you bring. And looking forward to hearing your feedback re: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.