I’ve mostly been working on Patriot-1: Conviction and working full-time to find a new, regular full-time gig… but that’s a topic for another time.
I’m writing this out because this week I’ll be returning to Baltimore Comic-Con. It’s my first Con since the before times and it’s the first time I’ve done Baltimore – a show I love – in years. I just wanted to write out why it’s a big deal for me personally.
The last time I tabled at Baltimore Comic-Con was 2015. I think the year after I took a break and then 2017 and 2018 something came up and I couldn’t make it, but it was 2019 when I got all ready and packed up to go and I just couldn’t bring myself to drive down there. Part panic attack and anxiety part burnout and part frustration over New York Comic Con a few weeks earlier (that’s a whole other thing) and part a lot of my friends in the comics business just not going that year… I just didn’t make it. However, with the new edition of Patriot-1 in my hands, I decided 2020 was going to be the year I started making bigger, more definitive moves. Funny how things work out, right?
But zipping back to 2015… the first two-thirds of that year was a wild ride. Patriot-1 got picked up by Diamond, I won an Independent Book Publisher Award and I helped a cool thing happen at my WWE day job. But the week before Baltimore Comic Con, I was at ComiCONN in Hartford, CT when my wife told me my parents (who were visiting that weekend) abruptly left. I would find out when I got home that my grandfather had fallen gravely ill. There was nothing that could be done and it was just a waiting game. So with no news after a few days, I headed down to Baltimore. That Saturday while on the con floor, my Dad called me to tell me my grandfather had passed. It was expected, but it still stung. Not only was this my last living grandparent – but this was a man I was always told I looked just like and whom I named my first son (and Patriot-1’s first name) after.
I didn’t really tell anyone at the show. I just kept to myself and did my thing. That night I was also asked to dinner with a group by a well-known comic creator I respect and consider a friend. Now, this was a big deal to me. I’d never been asked to go to one of these group dinners and it was all I ever really wanted among my comic peers. And to be asked by someone prominent who I respect a great deal was really something… but I couldn’t do it.
Instead, I went back to my hotel room, made a few phone calls and had my moment of grief. I then just walked to the Inner Harbor, grabbed a bite to eat and just sat for a while watching the people go by. Watching people go by was something my grandfather did all the time, so that’s just what I did. I don’t even think I went to the Hyatt bar that night, which is the place to mingle after the Harvey Awards.
Long story short, in the years after I’d only do New York Comic Con… I would sign up and pay for Baltimore, but I just never went back for whatever reason.
That finally changes this year.
It’s been a long year and a half. I’m fortunate, but it’s still been exhausting. Between being furloughed and then laid off, managing my kids hybrid learning and devoting a lot of time to them has been quite the experience. The job-search process is a whole other story, but all the while I’ve been plugging away on Patriot-1: Conviction while still looking toward the future and other project I want to tackle. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to go back to Baltimore… but I think it’s the right step to really getting back into doing something I love.
You can catch me in Artist’s Alley at Table C5. I’ll have Patriot-1, The Atomic Thunderbolt and more cool stuff for sale. I’m also going to try something new… you’ll be able to buy digital copies of my comics direct from me. I haven’t figured out the mechanism completely yet, but it will be an option. Patriot-1: Conviction isn’t quite ready, so it won’t be available at the show.
So if you’re in attendance, swing by and say hi!