My HeroesCon 2010 Perspective

All week I've been reading other people's HeroesCon reports and thinking "Man I really need to get cracking on mine." And yet I have not. I'll be honest, unlike my friend Johanna Draper Carlson ("being sensible about things like leaving the floor to have lunch and going back to the hotel room in the afternoon to change clothes and shoes"), I wore the wrong dang shoes ("Sandals? Really? You flat-footed fool!" I now say to myself) for the concrete con floor. By Saturday afternoon I was limping anywhere I went. Then when I got back to Atlanta, my full-time job demanded a great deal more of my attention than usual. Excuses, excuses-all. But really when you stay up Friday and Saturday until 3 AM talking in the Westin bar, you have a harder time recovering (or at least I do). And as the week progressed, I was amazed at the level of detail and perspective that many folks offered in their con reports. I felt my report had to be just as good--among the best con reports. And then today, my Robot6 pal Brigid Alverson let me off the hook when she wrote of Tom Spurgeon's con summary: "Tom Spurgeon, of course, has the ultimate con post, because he went everywhere and saw everyone." Once he has written the ultimate post, what can I do, eh? (Side note: Tom, I gotta say I cracked up when you called the report "A Few Notes on Heroes Con 2010". A few notes Tom? Try 3,000+ words, Tom. My god, your writing and analysis blows my mind.)

My HeroesCon began the way FLUKE of a few months back should have begun--with me visiting Joey Weiser. I must give Weiser major kudos. I had not been on the con floor more than 15 minutes and he waved me down. I had intentionally brought my copies of Caveman in Space and Mermin 1 and 2 that he had mailed me, just to prove he was genuinely on my radar. As I told Weiser, when I entered the con floor, the only books in my backpack were Weiser's. By the end of that first day, I could not still make that claim, I'm happy to say. Visiting Weiser was the best note to start on, no doubt.

This HeroesCon was a dream come true for me on many levels. I got to explore more of Charlotte after the con hours (something I had not done in past years to a great extent, despite having family here). But from a comics standpoint, there are creators I have had on a wish list for years (I will not name them here) and had hoped to secure for email interviews but have never been successful. This year, I can happily say the chances of getting that wish list a smidge shorter became a reality. I do not wish to jinx myself by saying who, however. Time will tell.

Originally I was going to try to do a three-day breakdown of what happened. I would drive myself crazy (and make readers angry) as well as exceed Spurgeon's 3,000 masterpiece in a bad, painful way. So this is gonna be scattershot coverage, sorry if it goes all over the map, that's literally how I did the show. (Example, I walked by Kevin Maguire's booth seven times over the first two days on my way to other booths, before I realized: "Holy crap, is that Kevin Maguire?")

Initially I planned on attending a great many panels, but then Spurgeon reminded us at one of the first panels that Dollar Bin would be recording most of the panels and posting them online. Plus Spurgeon committed to transcribe any panel he hosted. (Really, Tom, when the hell do you sleep?) After that, I decided that with few exceptions, I would stick to the hard unforgiving convention floor. My main exception? Ben Towle and Craig Fischer's Defective Comics discussion (which featured Evan Dorkin, Jeff [he who should avoid drinking "the enormous sweet tea" from Bojangles during panels] Parker, Colleen Coover and Chris Pitzer [while barely getting a word in edgewise, Pitzer was damn funny with what he did say, namely expressing a desire to hear more of Dorkin's opinion] in a panel discussion and--though logistics demanded I bail on my pal Chris Schweizer's discussion of art-comix creators diving into mainstream superhero comics).

I attended other panels though--Bill Willingham and Matt Kindt on worldbuilding (hosted by Spurgeon [yea, as Brigid notes, he went everywhere, God bless him]) was a fascinating discussion. My favorite part (revealing my fanboy roots) was Willingham's admission that on his first trip to New York, he went looking for Doctor Strange's house. Another panel, toward the end of the con was Scott Adsit (formerly of Adult Swim's Moral Orel, as well as currently in NBC's 30 Rock and the upcoming Adult Swim Mary Shelley's Frankenhole) leading a wide-ranging discussion on a variety of topics with artists Mark Brooks, Adam Hughes, Phil Noto and J. Scott Campbell. The highlight for that one? Adsit and Hughes comparing their respective extended encounters with novelist and actress Carrie Fisher.

Earlier this week I posted my Tom Fowler commission piece. While at Fowler's table, I had a chance to chat with his table neighbor, Steve Lieber, as well as buy the great Underground prequel, Fell, from Lieber, which was published in Image's 2005 anthology, Four Letter Worlds. Also while in that table cluster, I scored Jeff Parker's 1602: Spider-Man hardback collection and Colleen Coover's mystery cards.

What's almost as much fun as meeting the creators at these cons? Witnessing the interactions they have with their fans. Cases in point? Kate Beaton discussing her favorite moments in Canadian history. The woman who admitted to iZombie writer Chris Roberson that she did not like zombie tales--but she liked his work on Cinderella so much that she had given the new collaboration with Mike Allred a try--and liked it.  Or then when I was trying to see Sean Gordon Murphy's work but not getting close due to the number of folks vying for his time. Even better, watching former Marvel marketing guy (and current writer) Jim McCann explain to a fan the multiple crossover events and Marvel series that helped inform his current (and fun) Hawkeye & Mockingbird series. (Also should not forget to mention how much I'm looking forward to McCann and Janet Lee's Return of the Dapper Man).

Over the years I've interviewed a variety of folks for various sites, and HeroesCon gave me a chance to catch up with folks I had not talked with in awhile--such as Durwin Talon, who is currently collaborating withGuin Thompson on the upcoming Beautiful Scars for Archaia Studio Press. It was also great to catch up with veteran artist Jamal Igle.

Other gems from the con?

Jim Rugg's first mini-comic in five years, Rambo 3.5.

The first volume of Erika Moen's DAR: A Super Girl Top Secret Comic Diary (which I did not realize, until I got home, sported Lieber as well as several other comics folks on the cover).

Dave Roman's Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery (from 2007, but I hope there's another volume down the road)

MK Reed's Cross Country

Horror: The True Story of Our First Date by Sally Madden (Always Comix)

Monsters by Ken Dahl

Papercutter 13 (edited by Greg Means [Tugboat Press])

Books One and Two of Evan Dorkin's Hectic Planet

Issues Two and Three of Kramers Ergot as well as Comics Comics 3 from 2007 (in addition to getting a chance to talk to Sammy Harkham for a bit)

Steve Epting's 2009 Sketchbook (Epting was one of those folks that I almost missed seeing, as I never seemed to be able to find his table, though I finally did [to clarify, his table was in a good spot--the con floor was just jam-packed with so many great artists, Epting was another person I accidentally walked past numerous times [even though I was looking for him {Someone should come up with a GPS for con floors...})

And last but not least in the gem department: Thom Zahler's Love and Capes Volume 1

Zahler was one of many folks I got to talk to in the evening in the Westin loby/bar. Both nights I got to chat with Chris Roberson and his wife Allison well into the morning. On Saturday night, as Johanna mentioned in her recap, we got to go CD and DVD shopping at Manifest (an independent entertainment retailer set up in a former grocery store space) with Johanna, KC Carlson (former DC editor and current fine essayist at Westfield Comics) and Roger Ash (another solid writer for Westfield and elsewhere). Past midnight, after a great dinner, as Johanna wisely called it an evening, Roger, KC and myself impressed each other with our respective obscure musical knowledge.

There were many other folks I got to chance to chat with (sorry if I've forgotten ya, feel free to chide me in the comments section). It was good to meet and chat with Rich Faber and John Gallagher. Vito Delsante and I got to talk for a good long time as well--man there's a person who has equal amounts of talent and ambition.

Toward the end of the final day, I was having another one of my many great discussions that I had with Dean Trippe over the whole weekend. There were still plenty of folks I wanted to see, while quickly running out of time. But clearly I should have been standing at Dean's table the whole time (or so it soon seemed), as within three to four minutes, two folks that had eluded my sight suddenly appeared within minutes of each other--both writer Marc Bernardin and Longbox CEO Rantz Hoseley.

If ya can't tell, I had a good time. As I frequently tell folks, HeroesCon is my San Diego. An abundance of comics riches, getting better every year.

Update: After writing my report and it going live, I looked to my right and saw Amy Mebberson's business card--which I picked up while visiting the BOOM table.  Mebberson was kept busy the whole weekend doing Muppet sketches on the BOOM convention edition blank slate covers, for a constant stream of kids and adult kids. So I could not believe I had not mentioned her. Also while at the BOOM table I caught up with writer Keith R.A. DeCandido. I wish I could say I caught up with BOOM EIC Mark Waid, but anytime I swung by, he was playing host to a long line of fans seeking his autograph.

I would also be remiss if I did not remember the charitable presence at HeroesCon. Given the help they were able to provide the late Stephen Perry (as well as the countless others they have helped and those in the future they will need to help), I made sure and stopped by the Hero Initiative booth to give a donation. It was also good to see Matt Wieringo and contribute to The Matt Wieringo Scholarship (SCAD)  fund.

Given that the AdHouse table is often one of the first places I visit, I cannot fathom how I neglected to mention catching up with Chris Pitzer. Over the course of the weekend, the AdHouse section was also where I got to visit with Scott Morse, as well as take a peek at the black and white preview of Matt Kindt's upcoming Revolver for Vertigo.

I'm willing to bet there are other people I will remember that I forgot, or maybe they'll pop up in the comments section. Either way, in an effort to retroactively cover as much ground as possible, I may add more names in this update section as names pop up.

Did House of X & Powers of X Live Up to the Hype?

More in Comics