As you can see from the picture, what made the Baltimore Comic Con an especially awesome event for me was a) my Galaxion co-creator and best-friend-since-forever Wendy Linkous came out to join me (Wendy is on the left, I’m on the right), and b) she debuted the Galaxion uniform! This was a great treat for me as well, since previous to this day I’d only seen parts of the tunic in photos, never the whole thing. I wish I’d taken a full-length photo so you could appreciate the whole head-to-toe ensemble. It was pretty amazing.

Also debuting at this show were the new Galaxion banner (the sort of retractable thing that seems to be standard issue for comic cons these days) and (not in the picture, alas) the embroidered Galaxion tablecloth. I am all set for next con season!

BCC was larger than I expected, but also a large percentage of the floor space seemed to be devoted to creators. The dealers were there, but not nearly as overpoweringly so as other comic shows I’ve been to. I noticed the anime-quotient was way down in comparison to the other shows I’ve done in recent years– I expected to be able to pick up some cute stuffed something-or-others as gifts for Wendy’s kids, but very few dealers even had Mario items. Saturday was busy! I hardly got away from my table all day. Wendy and I, by the way, made a terrific team. She’s only been able to get to one other show with me as an exhibitor way back in the ’90s, but she picked up the whole patter and routine really quick, and made a bunch of sales I probably never would have gotten without her around. I wish I could fly her out to all my conventions! :-)

I was happy to see Darc and Matt from Code Name: Hunter again, and a couple of good friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time were Steve Lieber (happily picked up his new book Underground) and Jimmy Gownley (my kids both love his Amelia Rules! books). Johanna Draper Carlson– another friend I haven’t seen in at least a decade– also stopped by, as well as a couple of long-time fans. It’s always a delight to see the smile on people’s faces when they see that Galaxion sign and realize that a comic they used to enjoy many years ago hasn’t disappeared forever after all!

One feature I want to mention about this show is, the convention hall staff were about the nicest I’ve ever met. The Comic Con staff were also very friendly and helpful (and also handed out snacks on Sunday when we needed them most! Can’t beat that!), but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a con at a major convention centre before where the hall’s own security were any higher on the customer service scale than just blandly doing their job. This was a most welcome change!

The BCC is located just a couple of blocks away from the Baltimore Inner Harbor, which was a nice touristy area with plenty for the kids to do after they’d had enough of the convention hall. Among the sights to see were several ships docked at the harbor for tours, including the WWII-era submarine USS Torsk, and the civil war-era sloop-of-war USS Constellation. I didn’t get to see tour these, but after the convention was over, I got the opportunity to see a much larger ship that had just pulled in to port– the USS Whidbey Island, a Dock Landing ship that is over 600 feet in length. I’ve toured Naval ships before, but this was the first one in active service I’ve ever been on. In fact, as the Lieutenant who was our tour guide led us around the ship– on to the bridge and various decks and so forth– I really worried we were getting in the way of people trying to do their job! It was all fascinating to me, though, to try to grasp what a different world life at sea is all about.

Next on our vacation was Washington DC. I’ve been there a couple times before, but there’s still so much to see– and of course it was all new to our kids. The most memorable part for me was the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s jaw-dropping collection of rocks, minerals, and gems. I’ve never seen anything like it! I thought I knew some stuff about rocks, but still, I had no idea there was such diversity of shape and colour and texture. I could’ve spent a whole day just in that section. And of course I enjoyed imagining what Aria– the Galaxion’s  resident geologist– would think of it all.

And finally, no trip to the Mall would be complete for a science fiction writer without a walk through the Air and Space museum. There’s a lot to marvel at here as well. I remembered seeing the original model of the USS Enterprise from the ’60s Star Trek on display here, and wondered where it went– I eventually found it in the basement section of the gift shop.

One thing I know for certain, I will have to go back– both to Washington DC and to the Baltimore Comic Con. :-)