Chris Troy writes for Bleeding Cool;
Around this time last year, I got a (possibly drunk) tweet from a friend, a North Carolina local, yelling at me for not being at Heroescon. I sited that I couldn't attend due to cost/other commitments, but if the show was interesting enough, I'd make an attempt to go. Word of mouth, promises of the best BBQ and an exciting guest list won me over quickly, so instead of attending Dragon*Con this year, I flew down to NC to give HeroesCon a shot. Here's 10 things I've discovered from attending the show, and some photos of my experience. Spoiler warning, I really liked it.
10) HeroesCon is a LEGIT comics convention. That much is obvious, but by legit I mean the guests/artists in the alley are STRICTLY comics professionals. No wrestlers/voice actors/b-list celebrities. Which is refreshing. Don't get me wrong, it's cool with Reed Pop! snags an Avengers or Doctor Who related guest for NYCC or C2E2, but I rather talk scripts with Matt Fraction, then try to awkwardly ignore former wrestle Virgil for the hundredth time. Dude has not aged gracefully.
9) It is fairly impossibly to eat healthy in Charlotte, which sucks if you're a vegan/vegetarian. But it's also way easier/cheaper to score food in and around the convention center. Also Bonjangles was a place I may have eaten at every day of the con, and still have zero regrets about because their chicken and biscuits are amazing. I've also not checked my weight upon return from NC, fearing the results.
8) "You may not touch Stan Lee, but Stan may touch you". The first part was was actually said to those who signed up for photos/autographs with the living legend, but the later was a unspoken truth. At least according to several of my female friends who met Stan the Man on Saturday. However his behavior was more amusing than offensive, which is nice to see, as he's been married for several decades, and I would like to see it stay that way.
7) Speaking of men behaving badly, the rumors of Southern Gentlemen are greatly exaggerated. While I was the appointed purse/swag carrier for my friend cosplaying Black Widow, I noticed several men "sniping" photos of her. "Sniping" is the term where photos are taken of a cosplayer, usually from behind, without their consent, as said photos are usually of the girl's back end. Believe it or not, cosplayers WILL poses for photos 9 out of 10 times when asked (not of their asses though). Also please, don't ask any stupid questions. It's awkward as hell when you come up to me and ask "Did you LET her ass out of the house dressed like that", when "she" isn't my wife, and this is the year 2012, where that sort of crap isn't tolerated.
6) Using that to segway into a cosplay discussion, it's worth noting that the number of cosplayers at the convention was quite small compared to some of the bigger shows I've been to. Although amongst the dozens of Black Widows, Hawkeyes, and Harley Quinns, there were some more obscure characters, like Clea (Doctor Strange's ex), Ray Palmer, and Madam Viper. I have several friends from the Superhero Costuming Forum, who invited me along for their photoshoot. The event brought out about 50 cosplayers in total, which is small compared to what they usually get at say Dragon*Con. Still, there's some solid stuff in there, which is always nice to see. Feel free to guess where I am in the photo.
5) The type of panels you'll see at Heroescon vary greatly from the one you see at SDCC or NYCC. No one is plugging the "New 52" or "AvX" there. No, you'll get Marv Wolfman and George Perez discussing their legendary "Teen Titans" run,the Immonens sharing stories on how they worked together, and Matt Fraction discussing his work on "Thor" and "Iron Man" with the likes of past creators on those respected title, i.e. Bob Layton and Walt Simonson. Also a "War Rocket Ajax" podcast recording with Matt Wilson and a slightly hung over Chris Sims, in which Ponies, board games and Jason Stratham were all topics of discussion.
4) Not every artist in attendance is willing to sketch for for attendees, for money or for cash. However, there are some who are, and they are awesome. For $30, Ed McGuiness sold me a sketchbook of his, as well as a Cyclops sketch. For $25, "Super Pro KO" creator Jarrett Williams hooked me up with a sketch of pro-wrestler Daniel Bryan. The lesson here is that Jarrett Williams is awesome, and you should buy the 2 volumes of Super Pro KO that are available
3) Aside from the Artist Alley, the BEST place to see creators at Heroescon is the Westin Bar. Chances are they won't sign or draw anything for you, but if you buy them a drink or hell, just ask, a photo with them is possible if you're cool about it. Some creators won't accept drinks, but if you start chanting "YES! YES! YES!" near Jill Thompson, she WILL join in. Also I saw Daniel Way at the bar more than at his table, which is kind of awesome in a rock star type of way.
2) Speaking of bars, if you drink with the likes of Jarrett Williams, Comics Alliance's Chris Sims, and Let's Be Friends Again Chris Haley and Curt Franklin, you're in for a good time, and the chances of a Rick Ross (A rapper for those Hip-Hop impaired) sighting are pretty good. Well the car show going on at the same time/locale as Heroescon also increase the odds of the later. The former is very much true though.
1) Matt Fraction is a very nice man. As was his wife/table mate Kelly Sue DeConnick, both whom were handing out pins for their upcoming Hawkeye and Captain Marvel series. Kelly also had scripts and preview art to show off the new series. I thank the both of them for giving me freebies, signing my books, and not pointing out how shitty the wig I used for my Hawkeye costume was. Needless to say I'll be buying both their books this summer for those reasons alone.
I could list another 15 or so reasons why Heroes Con is amazing. I was glad to be apart of it's 30th anniversary celebration, and get to see creators old and new. It's one of the few shows that's lived up to the hype and if you can make it out there, I SEVERELY recommend you do so.
Chris Troy can be yelled at on twitter over at @theanarchris. He also vows to have a better wig come Baltimore Comic Con.