Category Archives: Fits Pitched

Baltimore Comic-Con: Where Real Nerds Keep Artists in the Spotlight

Baltimore Comic Con

Sure,  you know who Stan Lee is. You watch the Big Bang Theory (almost as religiously as I do) and can spot Stan’s cameo in every incarnation of a Marvel hero movie to hit the silver screen. Maybe you even know who Matt Murdock is.

If you also happen to know who Bill Everett was, then you’d have felt right at home at Baltimore Comic-Con.

Baltimore Comic-Con honors the heart of the comic book culture in a way that seems to be fading under the glare of the lights and mainstream media coverage at the larger “cons.” Which made it the perfect first con for our kids. 

Watching my nine year old in the ballroom of the Baltimore Convention Center as he sat mesmerized, listening to Joel Hodgson recount the materials he used to build Tom Servo (a Leggs egg and a gumball machine, by the way) was priceless. The kid loves MST3K. Um, who doesn’t?

 Upon walking into the lobby and seeing a group of cosplayers dressed in awesome Attack on Titan garb, my fifteen year old daughter squealed, “Yes! My people!Dr. Who Comic illustrator Kelly Yates Baltimore Comic ConTotal win.

For this parent of daughters, the prodigious amount of Girl Power on display at this convention was reason enough to go back next year. From a fierce female Thor and her pal Miss America, to Marguerite Bennett, author of several story-lines in the DC Universe including: Batgirl, Lobo and Lois Lane, to the budding talent of Kate Allen who creates, writes and illustrates her own comics and graphic novels, the level of estrogen-laden awesome was immense and powerful.

Of course there were the typical conference staples: baubles, gadgets, gear, merch, on-site appraisals, and a phenomenal cosplay costume contest. Truly something for everyone – even things you never knew you wanted, but suddenly had to have!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an event where I can cozy up to Patrick Stewart (make it so – yes, please) or Benedict CumberDragon, but the community that begot huge conventions of Nerdom – like International Comic-Con San Diego (which was still relatively easy to get tickets to when I went back in back in ’94) – began at the roots.  With the art, the artists, the storytellers.

The expo hall was packed with artists from nearly every fandom you can name. Daughters one and two are major Whovians. You think you know Dr. Who…?  Not like they do! Getting to meet and enjoy a photo op with Kelley Yates was an epic moment.  Taking home one of his Dr. Who illustrations –signed– was their own personal nirvana. Maryland’s own Frank Cho (Mighty Avengers, Hulk – Marvel Comics) did an unbelievable demo in which he created a veritable masterpiece for the live audience.  Seeing the passion in the artists and getting a glimpse of how they bring a world to life illuminated my children with the reality of possibility…and that was the meat of the experience.  The rest was great, but garnish.

Meeting illustrators and creators of original graphic novels, artists who’ve expanded universes that began decades ago…to me, THIS is the living, breathing heart of any Comic-Con. Keep the marquee names on the red carpet, let Bruckheimer promote his next movie on the talk-show circuit. Keep the “cons” about the artists, the creative cosplay of die hard fans, the amazing and world-changing creativity of the true nerds. 

My advice?  Plan your trip.  Start designing your costume.  Save your pennies for must have merch, sure…but know who created the fantasy world you like to visit.  Follow the artists, and make a point to see them in action, in the flesh.  Next year – go to Baltimore Comic-Con!

Baltimore Comic Con Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom 

Authors: Lara DiPaola and Jamie Ratner



The Government Shutdown… Planned?!

When our National Zoo panda plans had to be put aside due to the Government Shutdown… I shrugged it off.

When my husband reported for his first day of working with no pay… I was admittedly perturbed. But hey, this couldn’t be allowed to go on for long, could it?

When the news seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time covering the “impact” of closed museums, monuments and parks… I started eying my soapbox.

When I read this headline in the New York Times, “A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

I. Lost. My. Shit.

A small group of well-funded, and/or independently wealthy people are currently patting themselves on the back for their successful planing? WTH?!

My family does lots of planning too. Despite all our planing, we just couldn’t plan for things like;

  • My husband working for free
  • No paycheck
  • Our mortgage payment not being sent
  • Health insurance going unpaid
  • Dozens of bills, that come out of our paycheck through electronic dispersal, not getting there on time
  • Still having our family budget pay for the small things that allow my husband to be at work  (He’s essential personnel, just not the essential enough for a paycheck!)

I’m disgusted that a small faction of elected officials and their “brain trust” are proudly touting their using, “the power of the purse” to hold my family’s financial well being hostage.  As outraged as I am, my family is lucky. The planning we have done has helped us be able to weather this carnival of idiocy. There are hundreds of families out there that aren’t as lucky. From the single income Federal Employee household, to the small businesses that rely on us spending our now non-existent paychecks on their goods and services, thousands of families didn’t plan… couldn’t plan for this.


just do your job

Dear Lawmakers,

I don’t care what your reasoning is, what political ideology you subscribe to or who you choose to blame for the shutdown. Get your dam job done. We’re paying you for it.


Strap yourselves in kids, I’m a gonna be gettin’ up on my soap box today. Consider yourself forewarned!

SO, have you got wind of the latest “news worthy” controversy surrounding my favorite holiday, Halloween? This year it’s not the typical, “You’re celebrating evil and setting a poor moral example you pagan hood-wearing degenerates” or even my personal favorite, “Candy rots your teeth, brains and every time you hand it out for free a kitten dies”.

Nope, this year it’s all about eating disorders.

Now wait, before you start to burn me at the stake for making light of eating disorders, let me share. In my teen years I struggled with Bulimia, quietly and with heaps of shame. My weight was so low at one point I looked like walking bones. I’m good now, thanks. (<— a little TOO good actually) I tell you this so that you know that the following rant is, in no way, intended to minimize the pain that those who have eating disorders go through.

The uproar is all over this get-up, titled “Ana Rexia”

Yup, it’s not in the best of taste. Anorexia is a deadly disease that afflicts millions. It doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, a child or a parent. It’s deadly and not funny at all. Maybe people are right to be outraged and demand that vendors -who have been selling this costume with little notice since 2007- pull it from their stores and instead rely on these staples of Halloween garb…

Because who cares if you make fun of fat people, right? Obesity doesn’t destroy lives. It’s funny. Children don’t suffer from it.  It doesn’t kill millions and cause immeasurable pain. Fat people are just lazy, not suffering from a life threatening disease. Rich fat people can go buy liposuction. As for poor fat people; well what’s funnier than beer-bellied-gap-toothed-trailer-trash, eh? Fat people deserve ridicule. After all, all they need to do is put down the damn donuts and go run a marathon. Right?

How about this folks? How about we all stop being  Halloweenies and give ourselves ONE day a year where we can make fun of everyone, be inappropriate, politically incorrect even. Let loose and be all sorts of wrong.  Be equal opportunity offenders. Come on, it’s a costume. It’s supposed to be ironic. It won’t kill you… though that fat ass vampire looks hungry enough to have me a little concerned.

Lament of the Legume

I love mornings. That is after I’ve negotiated another ten minutes out of the alarm clock and had a heart-to-heart with my Keurig. I think it has something to do with the unspoken promise held in the dawning of a new day. Things could go great, or not. You never know. So for a few minutes each day I allow myself to indulge in possibilities.

Today I could win the lottery. More likely I’ll end up with five bucks worth of scratch-off dust on the kitchen floor, which I will then have to sweep up.

This afternoon all the kids could walk through the front doors with smiles on their faces, eager to tell me about their wonderful day at school while they nosh on a fresh baked cookie before bounding off to tackle their homework. Some part of me accepts reality. It knows that they’ll arrive at the door, toss their backpacks on the floor, demand snacks (thank you Keebler elves) and berate me for sending them to that evil place where they are forced into learning by trolls who bite the heads off puppies. Yet for those few moments in the morning, I have hope.

Perhaps, as evening falls my husband will arrive early, dinner in hand, offers of a hot bath and an hour to myself resting upon his lips. NOT!

Then there are mornings like today. In which my peaceful delusion pondering is cut short.

scene: 7:00 am. The breakfast table. Child number three (6 years old) sitting in front of his meal. Mother staring into her coffee conjuring visions of spas and books without illustrations.

Child: “English muffin and peanut-butter, for breakfast?”

Mother: “You like peanut-butter. And it has lots of protein your body needs to grow strong.”

Child: “Bugs have protein. I don’t eat them for breakfast.”

Mother: “True. Would you like to eat them? Because I could arrange that. Now eat your peanut-butter.”

Child proceeds to eat. Half way through the muffin child begins spitting chewed globs of said muffin onto the plate.

Mother: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!!”

Child: “I can’t eat that it’s gross!”

Mother: “It’s just PEANUT! BUTTER!”

Child: “But I just bit into a peanut.. HOW GROSS! How do they expect people to eat peanut-butter if it has chunks of peanut inside it? It’s not right!”

With that my morning musings came to a crashing halt. After all what hope is there for a world in which you find a peanut in your peanut-butter?


Don’t qoute me boy I ain’t said “bleep”…

I’ve got this friend who is slightly obsessed with quotes.  Just between you and me -and the three other people who read this blog- it’s annoying. Mostly the quotes are “inspirational” and “encouraging”.  Things like, “Every wall is a door” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson. Um no Ralphie honey sometimes a wall is just a wall and if you try to walk through it you’ll just look like a nutjob, a drunk or even worse you could end but being the next Youtube “Star”.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I don’t enjoy a little inspiration or need some encouragement every now and then. It’s just that I’d much prefer you be original about it. We all know, “Life is like a box of chocolates” so just shut up and bring them to me already.. you never know what you’ll get.  In actuality I much prefer the zingers my kids come up with (usually when enamored of my ability to give them what they want, when they want it).

“You’re the best mom ever. I don’t care what Grandma says!”

“Have I told you lately that you are totally cool?” (often preceded the handing over of car keys)

You are the best cooker in the planets” (okay so I don’t really get this one, it might be a little too existential)

The point being that quoting someone else, and their words of wit or wisdom is sort of point less. Be original after all  “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”  ~Confucius
– Confucius