Thursday, June 23, 2011

We now resume our regularly scheduled broadcast...

Or at least we will in July.  Admittedly, June has been a challenge for both of us in maintaining a schedule of posts here.  Between losing my mother and all that HeroesCon entails on both our parts, this month has been a major readjustment.  With that said, we would like to thank everyone for all the kind words and support for both Seth and I and for our blog.

We plan to return to our previous posting schedule the first week in July and would like to share with you what's coming up here on Exile on Plain Street.

I'm planning on posting a number of HeroesCon Book Reviews, including Remake by Lamar Abrams, Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer by Dusty Higgins and Van Jenson, Wysteria by Brad McGinty and Welcome to Oddville by Jay Stephens.   I'm also contemplating writing about my take on the DC "relaunch" as newer comic fan who hasn't experienced such an event.  Seth will be back to posting on music, comics and various reflections on life. 

There's a lot of look forward to in the coming months.  The first issue of Loose Ends, a Southern Crime mini-series by Jason Latour, Chris Brunner, and Rico Renzi will be out in July.  The first issue of Snarked, a new series by Roger Langridge will be out in August.  September brings SPX, full of small press goodness.  That's just a very small sampling of some of the comic things we're looking forward to. 

Thanks for your patience everybody as we get back on track with our regular posting.

Monday, June 13, 2011

HeroesCon 2011: Heather's Loot!

I love comics and comic art, which means HeroesCon, in addition to being a great place to see friends and meet artists is also a buying bonanza.  I do my shopping quite randomly, starting with picking up books, prints and commissions that I had decided on prior to the con as well as sketches in my Pinky and the Brain and Pippi Longstocking themed sketchbooks.

This year I came away with a number of books, prints, sketches and original art.  Here's the list of what I scored:

-Owly Tiny Tales by Andy Runton
-Owly A Time To Be Brave by Andy Runton
 -Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer by Dusty Higgins and Van Jenson
 -Remake by Lamar Abrams
 -Wysteria by Brad McGinty
-Sketchbook by Chris Schweizer
-Jay La Soul is Dead by Jason Latour
-Son of the Beast by Jason Latour
-Zzzt! by Ashley Holt
-Big Dog Studios Sketchbook Volume 5 featuring Brandon "Big Dog" Padgett, Terence "Tee Minus" Hoskins, and Henry" Cowboy Hank" Eudy
-Welcome to Oddville! by Jay Stephens
-Frankie Get Your Gun by Robbi Rodriguez
-Penny by Gabriel Dunston
-Dollar Bin Assembled Volume 4: Buried Treasure collected by The Dollar Bin

(I've just started reading my books and I plan to review several of them at a later point.  My first read was Lamar Abrams' Remake and I loved it.  I'm about halfway through Pinocchio the Vampire Slayer and I'm really enjoying it so far.)


-Owly Indie Island by Andy Runton
-X-Babies 2010 Badge Art by Skottie Young
-Red Moon by David McAdoo
-Chewy Gets a Light Saber by Bridgit Scheide
-Community as the Avengers by Chris Schweizer

Pippi Longstocking Sketches:

Pinky and the Brain Sketches:
-Scott Beaderstadt

Original Art:
-Sonam by Chris Brunner: I love Chris' frequent postings on the blog he shares with Rico Renzi, The Kids Stick Together.  I loved this piece from the moment I saw it and was overjoyed to be able to pick this up from Chris at HeroesCon.  I adore Chris' work in general, but he really gets how to draw women and this piece is no exception.  I can't wait to get this lady framed and on my wall.

-Parks and Rec Cast as The Invisibles by Robbi Rodriguez: I commissioned this piece prior to HeroesCon at the suggestion of Rico Renzi and I'm so very glad I did.  Robbi's art is amazing and I loved his take on one of my favorite t.v. casts. 

-The Rocketeer by Robbi Rodriguez: So this is technically Seth's, but I decided after seeing all Robbi's pre-con commission appear on-line, I would be remiss not to start Seth's Rocketeer collection with Robbi.  It turned out beautifully and is a great start to his new collection.

-Thor the Mighty Avenger Cover Recreation by Roger Langridge: Seth and I won this marvelous piece at the Art Auction.  It almost makes up for the cancellation of such a great series by Marvel. 

-The Thing and Ladies Beach Scene by Stephanie Buscema:I first saw Stephanie's art when Rico did an interview with her on the Heroes Aren't Hard to Find blog.  I found her style absolutely adorable and happy and I'm so glad Seth and I are the good home her Art Auction piece has gone to.

-Dondi by Irwin Hasen: I've made no secret of my enduring love for Irwin Hasen.  His Dondi peeing on a tree for the Art Auction will eventually grace the wall of where else, but a bathroom!

-Fin Fang Foom by Joey Weiser: When the first Fingy piece Joey had penciled pre-HeroesCon was purchased before I had a chance to stop by, Joey was kind enough to do a second one for me.  I love it more than the first one.  Thanks Joey!

-Fin Fang Foom and the Swedish Chef by Roger Langridge: Roger Langridge naturally combines two of my loves, a dragon in purple pants and Muppets in his resume.  I'm so excited to combine the two in a piece that will look perfect in a kitchen, with the Swedish Chef and Fin Fang Foom cooking together in a way only they could.

-Oz page by Skottie Young: This is a gift from Seth and it features by favorite Oz character, the Cowardly Lion.  I really love the way Skottie draws the Lion.  He's such a big furball!

-Patrick Dean drivers license button
-Reusable bag and t-shirt from Comics Related (Thanks guys!)
-Melvin Collectors Card in the Neatobots series by J. Chris Campbell

It was a super show! I know I mentioned this in my HeroesCon Wrap Up Report, but I really cannot say this enough: THANK YOU to everyone who had words of kindness and hugs for both Seth and me.  It means so much to both of us that so many of you took the time to check on us and take care of us.  I knew I would leave some people in out in my named thank yous the first time around, so here are some additional people: Shannon Smith, Andy Runton, Robbi Rodriguez, and Scott Beaderstadt.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Seth Reflects on HeroesCon '11

     Before I start my post about HeroesCon '11, I'd like to mention that the past few weeks have easily been the most physically grueling and emotionally exhausting weeks of my life.  Other than the obvious mammoth that is HeroesCon, the main reason for my weariness was the unexpected loss of Heather's incredible mother.  I know Heather appreciates all the support she's received from friends and family, but I'd like to take a quick opportunity to mention that I also appreciate it more than I can adequately express.  Going through a loss at any time is difficult, but going through it the week before the busiest professional week of the year adds a whole other degree of complication to it.  I'm particularly grateful to my boss Shelton Drum for understanding my need to be with Heather and her family as much as I was, right up through the funeral.  That's something I'll always appreciate.  Now on to my Con thoughts!

     This is the first year I've been writing for a blog other than Heroes' own, and this affords me a new opportunity to reflect on the Con in a new way.  As difficult as it is to be a part of the organization of the Con, and as physically demanding as the month leading up to the event always is, there are inevitably countless little moments that occur at HeroesCon that make me want to work even harder at my part of it.  This was my fifth year being a part of the HeroesCon management team, and every year in spite of the stress I'm reminded why I love comics and the people who help make HeroesCon work.  It's always the effortless, unplanned things that I remember, and this year was no exception.

     From a 'professional' standpoint I'm very happy that this year marked my first foray into more writing and editing adventures.  Heather and I co-wrote the introduction to the first ever Sketch Charlotte Anthology, which was sold by several group members at the Con.  In addition to that I was humbled to write the introduction for Henry Eudy's "The Pretentious Pervert" sketchbook of lovely ladies.  Heather mentioned how gratifying it was to introduce Henry and his work to the living legend Irwin Hasen. That too stands as one of my favorite moments of the con.  I also got to introduce Henry to another living legend, Roger Langridge, which was another treat for me.  Heather and I love pushing artists we love, and we both admire the hell out of Henry and his work.

     Though I departed Friday night's Drink and Draw function quite early, I was happy to co-create a one page strip for Team Cul de Sac with my friend and Heroes' cohort Justin Crouse, another fine cartoonist.  Hopefully we'll work on some other silly comics in the future.  Another highlight of Drink and Draw was being able to talk with Richard Thompson, who is as kind a man as he is a skilled cartoonist. And I'd be remiss not to mention that it was truly an honor to help edit the HeroesCon program book with Rico Renzi, my friend and tireless Con organizer.  My first HeroesCon was 1994, and to help put the Con and the book together is something I've always aspired toward.

     Aside from the sense of accomplishment that presently accompanies the ever-present exhaustion, I'm thinking a lot about the people I met and talked to, and the ones I see only at conventions throughout the year, but who always make things more enjoyable for me.  There were state of the industry and conventions conversations with Shannon Smith, Joey Weiser, J. Chris Campbell that got me thinking and planning for next year's con.  There were humorous talks with guys I have humorous talks with all the time, Jason Latour and Chris Brunner, who also introduced me to their talented friends Paul Azaceta and Robbi Rodriguez, both of whom were kind enough to start my collection of Rocketeer art.  There were brief talks with Cliff Chiang, Darwyn Cooke, Ryan Sook, John Arcudi and Geof Darrow, all creators whose work I highly respect.  There were several talks with the incredible Stephanie Buscema, whose painting of the Thing was a great score for Heather and I at the art auction. And there were plenty of laughs with the great HeroesCon staffers and volunteers who make my job a little easier and more enjoyable.  Finally, I have to mention my friends Steve Saffel and Dana Hayward, who were full of their usual kindness, encouragement, and insightful conversation.

     At the end of it all though, we're really all there because we love comics.  Much like my assessment of Free Comic Book Day, I walk away from HeroesCon '11 thankful that I was in a place of positivity and love for comics.  For someone who works on the retail side of the industry and also writes about it for two blogs, events like HeroesCon do a lot to help reinvigorate me and my appreciation for the form of comics.  I guess it has never really dwindled much in my life, but we all need weekends where we're reminded of the joy that comics bring us when we allow it.  Don't forget, next year marks the 30th anniversary of HeroesCon.  You better believe me when I say that Shelton, Rico, myself, and the rest of us are already planning big things.  Now, I think, I can take a nap.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

HeroesCon 2011: Heather's Wrap Up Report

Can I admit that HeroesCon is kind of a blur? It was fun, exhausting, and exactly what I needed after one of the hardest weeks of my life. My HeroesCon started early Thursday morning with a stop at Starbucks and ended late Sunday night asleep on one of the pretty yellow benches in the Heroes Aren't Hard to Find store.  In between those two very different moments, a lot of awesomeness occurred. 

Since there's so much to cover, I'm breaking it down day by day (much like I did my pictures on Flickr) as well as some favorite moments.  On Friday, I'll have my HeroesCon loot list up so you can see all the great stuff I picked up from mini-comics to sketchbooks to original art. 

Thursday: Day Zero of HeroesCon involves set-up and registration.  This year I was doing Small Press registration which meant to go to see old friends and make new ones as HeroesCon Small Press checked in and received their super sweet Iron Man badges.  Day Zero also means I get hang out with the ever awesome trio of Steve Saffel, Dana Haywood, and Scott Valeri. Day Zero ended with dinner and drinks in the Westin Bar with Steve and Dana, as well as other HeroesCon staff members drifting in and out. 

Friday: Day one of HeroesCon started early for both Seth and me (Thank God for David Wray and Starbucks!).  The con floor opens at seven for Exhibitors, Small Press and Artists. It's always great to see people you only get to see on the con circuit.  Friday is always full of hugs and hellos for me.  Day One ended with the Drink and Draw  to raise money for Team Cul De Sac.  Richard Thompson, the creator of Cul De Sace, was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 2009.  Team Cul De Sac helps raise money for research in the fight against Parkinson's.  This new HeroesCon event was a lot of fun, with both the drinking and the drawing.  There were some seriously funny and beautiful coasters.  Yay Team Cul De Sac!!

Saturday: Ah, Saturday, the busiest day at HeroesCon! What better way to end such a full day of comic goodness than with a fabulous Art Auction? You can read more about our Art Auction experience below in my Favorite Moments section. 

Sunday: Day Three is always my shopping day.  It's my real opportunity to be away from the Info Booth for more than errands or quick runs to drop stuff off and take pictures.  On Sundays, I buy mini-comics, sketchbooks and all kinds of other awesome stuff.  Seth and I also stopped by to have Irwin, Roger, and Stephanie personalize all the auction pieces.  Winning at the auction is great, but I really enjoy these moments with the artists where you can share a real appreciation of their art.  I can't wait to get everything framed and on a wall. Seth and I also moderated the Sketch Charlotte panel which was really more like a well-behaved Thursday night meeting with a few new guests.  If you're an artist in Charlotte, somewhere nearby, or just visiting town on a Thursday night, you should stop by the Showmars on 7th Street and hang out!

Favorite Moments:

Introducing Henry Eudy to Irwin Hasen: If you've ever met me, you know I adore Irwin.  I also adore Henry.  When I found out Irwin was going to be there this year, I knew I had to get a copy of Henry's latest sketchbook, The Pretentious Pervert, into Irwin's hands.  Watching and capturing the interaction between two of my favorite people will be one of my most treasured HeroesCon experiences for years to come. 

Winning awesome art pieces at the Art Auction with Seth: I had my eye on Roger Langridge's recreation of Chris Samnee's Thor the Mighty Avenger cover since he posted it before HeroesCon, so you can imagine my excitement when Seth and I won it Saturday night.  We also came away with the Dondi piece by Irwin and the Thing and ladies beach piece from Stephanie Buscema.

Walking to Day 3 of HeroesCon with Irwin Hasen: Speaking of the Stephanie Buscema auction piece, we got to share it with Irwin as we walked him over to the convention center on Sunday.  Irwin knew Stephanie's grandfather, John Buscema, and it was sweet to see how much he liked Stephanie's painting and how impressed he was with her work. 

Doing shots of The Kraken Rum with SCAD students and Chris Schweizer:  This rum is evil, but Schweizer is not and I love him in spite of the rum that stayed in my system for at least two days (seriously, it's slogan is "Put a beast in your belly.").  I also love the friendly relationship between Chris and the SCAD kids.  I met all kinds of great artists from SCAD this weekend and I can't wait to see what they'll be doing.

The Renzi Family: Wow, did Rico ever do a phenomenal job with his first HeroesCon as Creative Director! The best part about Rico at HeroesCon is his awesome family, Janice and Izzy.  Janice very thoughtfully provided snacks for the Info Booth and store booth that really helped us all get through the weekend.  Izzy is a super hard worker and ran a tight ship at the Info Booth! All three Renzis have been a great addition to the Heroes family.

Super Special Thanks Shout Outs: There's so many people that made HeroesCon 2011 fun and awesome for me and this list in no way will cover everyone (if I left you out, let me know in the comments and I will give you a lovely shout out on Twitter).  In no particular order, these people made my weekend, with hugs, food, coffee, and smiles: Janice and Izzy Renzi, Chad Hudson of Apocalypse Comics, J. Chris Campbell, Josh Latta, Brad McGinty, Chris Schweizer, The Dollar Bin (especially Brandon and Tee), Sketch Charlotte, Jason Latour, Chris Brunner, Steve Saffel, Dana Haywood, Scott Valeri, Andy Mansell, Pants (whose name is Dana Haidar), Chris Pitzer, Lamar Abrams, Ed Piskor, Adam Casey and his beard, Ben and Lisa White, The David Wray, Charles Foesch, and all the wonderful and hardworking volunteers.  An extra special thanks to Shawn for the two pounds of jelly beans that were all eaten at the Info Booth! Thanks everyone! I'm already looking forward to HeroesCon 2012, which will be the 30th Anniversary!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Nick Jones Green Lantern signing at HeroesCon

Saturday, June 4, 2011 at HeroesCon, Nick Jones, the actor who plays Jon Stewart in the upcoming Green Lantern movie will be doing a signing from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm in the Heroes Fallen Studios, Inc and Bat Jeepster Rings Booth located at AA-70-71.  This is a newly added location, so please stop by the Information Booth for location directions.  

Heroes Fallen Studios Inc. will provide a free copy of a comic book for all active duty military members who have an active military ID.  

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow for the signing with Nick Jones and all the HeroesCon Saturday fun! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Come Find Us at HeroesCon 2011!

  Tomorrow is the first day of HeroesCon! Can you believe it's here already? We'll be busy with set-up today at the Charlotte Convention Center and we're realy looking forward to the start of the con.  There's a lot to do, so other than maybe a short post tomorrow, this will be our stand-in for our regularly scheduled Friday post.

There's so much to choose from at this year's HeroesCon from Artist Alley to Indie Island to panels and vendors, we thought it would be nice to give you a head's up where you can find some of our favorites this year! Look at that awesome map showing Sketch Charlotte members!

AdHouse Books: AA-536

Wide Awake Press: AA-438 (Well, this is J. Chris Campbell's number, but he's the heart of WAP and will point you to all other Wappies.)

Andy Runton: AA-444

Roger Langridge: AA-518

Henry Eudy: AA-336

Chris Brunner: AA-612

Jason Latour: AA-611

Irwin Hasen will be in The Comic Strip-5.  This is the area set up for all the wonderful strip artists. If you are unfamiliar with Irwin, you owe it to yourself to go meet a living piece of comics history.  Irwin will be 95 this year and while I hope he lives to be 195, chances to meet him again grow less and less each year, so go see Irwin and take the time to hear some his glorious stories of Wonder Woman, Dondi, and his life in general.  Pick up a copy of his auto-biography, Lover Boy.  It might be your best experience at HeroesCon this year.

In addition to the fine folks mentioned before, Seth is particularly excited about talking with:

Darwyn Cooke: AA-508

Stephanie Buscema: AA-519

Becky Cloonan: AA-632

Geof Darrow: AA-716

Andrew Robinson: AA-618

Ryan Sook: AA-510

along with Joe Staton, Mark Texiera, Chris Pitzer, Cliff Chiang, Chris Schweizer, Skottie Young, and many more!

     Seth and I will be moderating a panel on Sunday with our friends from Sketch Charlotte.  Here are the details:

3:00 PM
Room 203B

Who are SKETCH Charlotte and what are they doing loitering in Showmars every Thursday evening? Find out as we wind down on Sunday afternoon as we are invited to eaves drop on a special meeting of the Queen City artists as they discuss Comics in general and HeroesCon 2011 in the specific. What a great way to end a memorable weekend.

If you're looking for one of us, Seth will be in the Heroes Store Booth or roaming the con floor to keep everyone smiling and I will be the Info Booth with a smile and plenty of information! We hope to see you there!