Friday, July 26, 2013

The "Better Late Than Never" HeroesCon Post

Wow,  has it really been over a month since we returned from HeroesCon in Charlotte? All this talk of San Diego Comic Con reminded me, "Hey, stupid. You need to write about HeroesCon!" (Life has really been getting in the way of my writing.) Honestly, it's probably a good thing there's some distance between this and my leaving HeroesCon. True story--I've cried like a baby the past two years leaving the show. A lot of it has to do with the vibe of HeroesCon. It's like Comics Summer Camp. Shelton Drum has been putting on this convention for a little over 30 years, and it's his dedication and that of his staff that make Heroes a must stop on the convention circuit.

Like last year, I split my time between hitting the convention floor and helping set up/run the Battle Babies/ ManOrMonster? Studios table in Artists' Alley. Arriving early on Thursday afternoon, we were able to start setting up. Seeing a convention before it opens is a fun experience because it's an amazing transformation from a floor filled with half-erected wireframes and closed longboxes to a full-fledged bustling convention floor. This year, Shelton made the decision to make the convention double the space. Seeing it on Thursday, it seemed vast and empty, but by late Friday morning, we were thankful for the breathing room. (Having walked it several times each day, I can tell you it was still vast.) The extra space seemed to be a mixed bag--some artists and retailers said it helped their business, while others said it hurt them. From both sides of the table, I would say it was better overall. Artists had more breathing room, and convention-goers had more space to move.

John Hairston, Jr.'s incredible art
Artists' Alley is my favorite part of the show. Shelton, Rico Renzi, and crew always select a nice variety of artists and writers, from the tiniest of small press cartoonists to big current names like Amanda Conner to industry legends like Neal Adams and amazing artists like John Hairston, Jr. (his work is the colorful amazingness on the left). It's fun to walk around and meet people whose names you see every week in your comic shop. You can always snag prints, have them sign your comics, or even get a sketch. Most of the artists will do tiny scribble sketches in a sketchbook for free. Of course, if you want something more complex, each artist has his/her own rates. The sketches are great, but the fun part is actually getting to say, "Hey, I really dig this part of your work." It's definitely nerve-wracking sometimes, but it's also cool to see how artists/writers respond to that. One thing I'll say about Heroes--people are genuinely in good moods for the most part. I don't know if it's the vibe of the show or what, but most everyone I've talked to has been really cool.
Daniel Clowes Picture Disc
'70s Marvel Hand Puppets

Of course, like any convention, there's a ton of merchandise to peruse. Vendors were selling everything from vintage comics of every condition and price, new comics and graphic novels, and vintage and new toys. One toy line that seemed to be everywhere was Funko Pop! I was beginning to think that was a requirement for vendors this year. Seriously, the majority of vendors had those things. It was a lot of fun to see. Things that stood out to me were things like this Daniel Clowes picture disc. Sadly, it was out of my price range to bring home, but it was incredible. Another booth had some great vintage items, like the vintage hand puppets. This guy's booth was amazing--he had 7-11 Slurpee cups, these hand puppets, tiny Marvel comics, and Dr. Doom and Darkseid vintage costumes. (I managed to grab the Darkseid, some Marvel finger puppets, a tiny Thor comic, and a Red Sonja cup from this booth.) Of course Heroes is also a great resource for comics, and the selection was incredibly varied this year. My collection is random, and I was able to find some Thor comics, some vintage underground comics, Masters of the Universe, even a New Kids on the Block comic!

Every year I've attended, HeroesCon has had some kind of comic-related exhibit, and this year was no different. This year it was "The Art of Akira" and featured art related to the famous manga and anime. 
This Adora was awesome.
Skelly was a lot of fun.
Just like any geek convention, Heroes had its share of cosplayers. You couldn't go very far without running into a Harley Quinn or a Captain America. Though I appreciate the comic-related cosplay, my favorites this year were TV/movie related.

In addition to all the convention goodness, HeroesCon had a lot to offer at night. On Friday night, we attended the Drink and Draw. All proceeds from this event went to Team Cul de Sac, a charity related to Parkinson's Disease. We got drenched trying to get to the event, but that wasn't enough to dampen our spirits. We bought a few pieces drawn at the event, but I had more fun watching artists crank out sketch after sketch. The atmosphere at the event was very relaxed and lighthearted. Then we headed to the Westin bar, where many guests of the show head to unwind after a long day on the convention floor. Saturday night was the annual art auction, which is always a lot of fun. Sunday after the show ended, we were lucky enough to make it to the Dead Dog party and hobnob with our artist friends (and make some new ones). 
All in all, this year's HeroesCon was my favorite thus far, and I think a lot of it has to do with actually venturing out and doing things. In the past I've missed the Drink and Draw and never headed to the Westin bar, but doing so led to some pretty awesome conversations and great memories. 

Thanks, HeroesCon. It was amazing. Can't wait to see you next year!
Special thanks to Rico Renzi and Shelton Drum for allowing me to attend the show. I promise I'll do my write-up sooner next year! :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The League: Swords colors and Plastic. . . My first experience with Ninja Turtles!

It has been FAR too long since I have done a league post.  I have been on a kind of indefinite hiatus, due to a larger project I have been working on.  I am not going to say I am back, but I will try to be a bit more proactive about posting.   

This Week The League has charged us to "Write about your first experience with something."  I will try to not disappoint.  I thought about it and couldn't think of anything all that memorable or important (especially pop culture related) then it struck me. . . and that story will follow!