Friday, June 21, 2013

HeroesCon 2013 Report

Is HeroesCon 2013 really already in the books? While I am glad that I will see more of my dear (and very tired) husband, I did so enjoy my retreat from the outside world this past weekend.  It's lovely to make such wonderful friendships that cement over just a few days together each year.  But y'all don't want to hear me wax poetically about about the bonds formed across a table, you want to know about the art, the guests, and most of all the COMICS! Because at the heart of it, that's what HeroesCon is about.  

There's normally something else going on at the Convention Center during HeroesCon and this year it was the NC Republican Convention.  I will tell you now that I am neither Republican nor Democrat and I don't know that some of the reactions I observed were about political affiliation, but some of the delegates seem just baffled and others rude about how we all show our love for comics.  Now admittedly, some of us at some laughs at the expense of the GOP.  It's hard not to make the cosplay jokes with all the suits and bowties and well, Karl Rove is an entity all to himself.  I do have to say he looks much more grandfatherly than Sith Lord in person.  However, I did get the feeling on more than one occasion that some of the delegates rather than just not understanding the cultures of comics they were encountering, they looked down upon us.  I did have some positive interactions with a few of the delegates, including a dapper gentleman in a lovely sherbet colored blazer, but it was a reminder that people outside of comics don't understand our passion for the medium.     

But enough of that dreariness, on to the fun stuff that makes HeroesCon such a great event!

Cara's Tea Ball Machine
First up: comics, comics, and more comics! There was something for everyone from Silver Age collectors to Cara McGee's fandom teas are a sweet way to celebrate your love of comics and her tea ball machine is an excellent way to sample her special blends.  I came away with Dean, Loki and Draco Malfoy and I have thoroughly enjoyed all three.  I can't wait to try some more tea ball samples in the future.  I also picked up some adorable Marvel Baby variants that I was missing from Apocalypse Comics and Painted Visions Comics.  I also scored some great indie comics which I plan to review on our Tumblr site at a later date (spoiler alert: buy anything Robbi Rodriguez has on his table!).  Seth also had the Heroes booth stocked to the gills with more amazing comics than I can even conceive of-their kids section was outstanding and he put mad hours into keeping the current stock, well, current! ;)
Indie Island lovers and even tea drinkers! While not necessarily "comics",

I attended two panels this year, which is actually less than last year if you count the two panels I moderated, plus Seth's.  I picked some great ones to attend.  Jason Latour, Jason Aaron, and Frank Cho were an entertaining trio discussing their work on Wolverine.  Seth did a wonderful job on his Hawkeye panel with Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber which you can read more about on both CBR and Bleeding Cool.  I am happy to share that Wolverine and the X-Men and Hawkeye are two of my favorite comics.  

Seth working it at the Drink and Draw
Speaking of Seth, I just want to take a bit to tell you all how much work he puts into the Con.  The man is dedicated to doing his part each year to ensure that HeroesCon is one of the best shows around.  This means in the weeks leading up to the con, I hardly get to see him before bedtime.  Not only is he stocking the booth (as mentioned above), but he's editing the Program Book, preparing for his own panel, working on the Drink and Draw, as well as continuing his normal work as the Warehouse Manager.  I never fail to be impressed by all he does.

The Drink and Draw was relocated to the uptown Hilton this year and it was a change for the better.  Not only was it indoors which helped us avoid the monsoon that overtook Charlotte.  The staff at the Hilton was amazing and responded to every request we had with speed and professionalism.  There was also a larger crowd this year of both artists and fans which meant the amount of money raised for Team Cul de Sac was more than doubled from the last two years.  Seth and I are both so happy to be able to play our small part in the fight against Parkison's.

Cosplay! It seemed like there were more costumes than ever, including some that had to be explained to me.  To make this even more fun, two of the Indie Island ladies, Kytri and Pickles, had "Keep Calm and Cosplay Bingo" cards.  Thanks to the assistance of the lovely Suzann Knudsen, I managed a double bingo on my card! I'm actually planning a little bit of cosplay for next year, but that will be a secret that will only be revealed at the Con.  Just another reason to block June 20-22, 2014 on your calendars now!

The art auction was totally packed to the gills with amazing pieces and I was so very happy to come home
So happy to have won Michelle's Harley. Photo by Patrick Sun
with the Harley Quinn painting by Michelle Poust that I honestly had my heart set on since the moment I saw her painting it.  I'm not sure how I felt about the new format this year.  I know the professional auctioneers are very efficient, but they were also very loud and I left the auction the moment I won Harley.  It seems that there must be a good balance between the relaxing atmosphere of the past and the speed and professionalism of this year.  I am sure the staff is already brainstorming as to that very notion.  While it's always fun to hang out in the hallway outside of the auction, we need as many people as possible in the ballroom until the end bidding on all that the HeroesCon auction has to offer.

I want to take the last part of this post to give some mad love to everyone who made the weekend super awesome: Joel Carroll, Kevin Mellon, Ed Piskor, Chris Pitzer, Jim Rugg, Robbi Rodriguez, James Harren, Jason Latour, J.Chris Campbell, Rob Ullman, Joey Weiser, Duane Ballenger, Mike Freiheit, Pat Sun, Steve Lieber, Andy Runton, Dustin Harbin, Rich Barrett, Alexis Ziritt, Sanford Greene, and Chris Schweizer.  Plus Little John for his awesome cookies and Suzann Knudsen for her Doop-napping plans that were foiled! I also had some great lunch buddies in Janis and Izzy Renzi.  Last, but not least, thanks to Linda Drum, who knows that being a Heroes wife isn't always comics and smiles and takes care of us ladies accordingly.  (I'm sure I am forgetting someone, but if I saw you and chatted this weekend chances are I think you're pretty awesome!)

I enjoyed myself so very much this year that I'm not sure if they'll ever get me back behind the Info Booth!  You can check out all the fun I had over on Flickr.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

HeroesCon Drink and Draw

This year will be the third annual HeroesCon Drink and Draw benefiting Team Cul de Sac.  This event gets
Drink and Draw coaster by Evan Dorkin
bigger and better each year and has outgrown its former location of Fuel Pizza and will be taking over the uptown Hilton Bar this year.  The Drink and Draw takes place Friday, June 7 after the show closes for the day.  If you have never been, you could be thinking that if you don't drink and you don't draw, why should you attend? Well, have I got some reasons for you:

1.  Great Cause:  The proceeds of all the art sold at the Drink and Draw go to Team Cul de Sac.  TCDS was founded by Chris Sparks following the Parkinson's disease diagnosis of Richard Thompson, the creator of the comic strip, Cul de Sac.  In 2012, TCDS raised over $100,000 to fund research for a cure.  Part of that fundraising effort was HeroesCon's Drink and Draw.  

2.  Great Art:  Drink and Draw features all sorts of artists who have stopped by and put pen (or marker or pencil or paint) to coaster/bristol board.  Most of those artists donate their creations to be auctioned off by the Heroes staff  for fans to take home.  It's a super opportunity to take home a one-of-a-kind piece of art in a mostly relaxed bidding setting.  Chris has also gathered up some amazing art from creators who won't be at the show that will be available, you can see more here.  

3.  Great Fun: What better way to cap off you first day at the con than unwinding with friends, both old and new? Add in a beverage of your choice and you've got an excellent start to the weekend.  Even better some massive karma points when all of this fun is dedicated to a great cause.  This year also features live music by Jack the Radio, a NC based Southern indie band whose second album "Lowcountry" debuted this May.

Here's a look at last year's Drink and Draw.  Hope you'll stop by and join us this year!  I've been informed that my husband/Heroes manager Seth will be co-emceeing the event along with Heroes' Justin Crouse.  Knowing the two of them, ridiculousness should ensue.

The HeroesCon Drink and Draw takes place at the Center City Hilton located at 222 East 3rd Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202.  The fun starts at 7:30pm and goes until the last piece of art is auctioned off.  If you want more information be sure to check out the Heroes' blog post.

Also new this year, Jerry's Artarama is sponsoring Pedi-Cab rides to and from the Drink and Draw.  Just look for the HeroesCon Drink and Draw banners!