If you come to HeroesCon you love comic books. It’s just that simple. In the years that I have been the comic fanboy extraordinaire I have come to realize this simple truth.San Diegogets all the hype by being inCaliforniaandHollywoodrealizing it’s a cheap way of touching base with fans and promoting their latest and greatest, but the actual reason it’s called ComicCon was lost in the shuffle of cash long ago.
New Yorkcomes the close second but again the medium is pushed to the back so that the light shines brightest on all the pretty stars “in their cheap little sea shore bars”- sorry, had a Springsteen episode for a second.
So, the one thing that I have loved about this thirty year old con (started byCharlottenative Shelton Drum, the owner and operator of Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find Comic shop) is that it has stayed true in its focus on the medium of comic books. This is the con where you can meet, greet, talk, and listen to some of the top stars in the industry, as well as, meet the up and comers from the independent scene and actually have time to talk to them.
This was my first year as a journalist in attending the Con and there are several interviews and a ton of panel highlights coming soon (I am only one man). However, I thought it was high time I gave my impression of this weekend.
The Heroes Convention in one word: Busy. Over forty panels in three days left me realizing that Goliath isn’t always a man. But with trusty recorder and laptop in hand I was determined to hit as many as possible.
And what a wide range of panels it was as well. Ranging from the DC and Marvel focus panels, to various Mike Mignola specific panels, to retrospectives of the year 1982 with some of the top moderators and Jaime’ Hernandez of “Love and Rockets” fame, and an entire bevy of SCAD helmed shop panels where teachers and independent graduates took the time to teach some of the aspiring to be an up and coming artist/writer some of the tricks of the trade and what to be aware of when starting. The convention had panels for everything; from Henson to Hellboy, the panels themselves were monuments to the various creators and artists love of the art form and their love and appreciation of the fans.
The biggest triumph for me came rather quickly as I had arrived to the convention determined to have an interview with Scott Snyder, leader of Batman’s creative destiny currently. Never expecting to be able to get one it was magic the wound up being my very first interview and a nicer man I have never met as he sat and talked for 20 minutes with a sore throat and all to answer my nagging questions he no doubt has answered before.
To Mr. Snyder, I would like to say thank you for your time and your talent.
The various people that I met throughout this year’s convention are some I have known for a while and sadly only see seldom. One was Dustin Harbin, an independent cartoonist and funniest man walking the earth right now who took time to talk to me about life and his Diary Comics. Then there are those who inspire me and whom I admire; Matt Fraction native man made good is one of these. It was a delight to see that he has remained so appreciative and completely in love with comics still as well as being charming, witty, and always on point no matter how frazzled his attention had to be as he juggled signings, panels, and two children (all while sharpening a chainsaw which I thought was a nice touch).
There were the panels hosted by Back Issue editor Michael Eury discussing Legion with Paul Levitz (who was as eloquent a speaker as I have ever seen) and leading the discussion of the New Teen Titans legendary team of Perez and Wolfman (so legendary they no longer have first names I believe) and rock star inker (and all around wonderful human being) RomeoTanghal. Having this trio was extra special as they had attended the very first HeroesCon 30 years ago. What inspired me most was how much these three still love the characters they created and navigated over 30 years ago.
The DC and Marvel panels were full of fun, humor, interesting stories, and tales of the Anti-Garney.
The amazing thing is that for all three days, there was an energy that cannot be experienced anywhere else. It’s the energy of creators who absolutely love what they do interacting with fans who love it as much as they do, mixed with the lovely aroma of capitalism at it’s finest. It’s a formula for THE Convention that leaves all others behind. They may never get the national TV coverage thatSan DiegoandNew Yorkmanage, but dear god why would you want them to.
HeroesCon isn’t just the largest independent Comic book convention in the world. It’s the one truly special convention that loves, honors, and praises the medium that gave us nearly a century of amazing stories and a decade of astounding films and television. In short, HeroesCon pays tributes and homage to the heroes of comics, the characters, the creators, and (most especially) the fans.
Oh and some guy named Stan Lee was there too.
To say I had a wonderful experience at HeroesCon this year would be putting it mildly. This year will be hard to top, everyone was a joy and the love they had for their work and the fans was palpable in every moment and interaction I witnessed makes it easy to see why the industry is experiencing a rebirth. Here’s toSheltonand the entire gang who worked tirelessly for three days to put on the top con in the country. You all deserve a hand, a rest, and a couple of days off. But, next year is around the corner and those guests aren’t going to book themselves. Until next year:
Let the good times roll.