I've been at HeroesCon all weekend (Fri - Sun). I've usually posted about it day by day, but this year I thought I'd just give a little summary. The poster that comes with the three-day pass was The Goon by Eric Powell, a nice change from the usual Marvel or DC subjects. I heard him speak on a Dark Horse panel and spoke to him briefly at his table at the very end of the con. The Dark Horse panel also included  Becky Cloonan, Matt Kindt, and Sanford Greene. They were all very positive about working with Dark Horse; Kindt said he couldn't have done Mind MGMT the way he wanted anywhere else. Then I attended a CBLDF presentation on the history of comics censorship, with Alex Cox & Ross Richie of BOOM! Studios (who knows comics history backwards & forwards). This topic became closer to home for me when there was a very public challenge to Alan Moore's Neonomicon at the library system where I work. Happily that wasn't mentioned--I'm guessing Cox either didn't remember it or didn't realize it was so close to Charlotte--not that I would have been able to say anything about it publicly anyway.

Saturday there was a Kickstarter panel with Ryan Browne, CreatureBox, 44Flood, Ben Templesmith, and Menton3. They all had successful projects, and had lots of stories about what to do and what to avoid. The biggest thing they agreed on was taking shipping into account when deciding on what rewards to offer to backers. I then attended the Inkwell Awards ceremony honoring the best inkers. I was surprised to see such sparse attendance, but it was a nice ceremony. Jimmy Palmiotti was the keynote speaker, and he's just a joy. Funny, energetic, told some great stories. Later in the afternoon the Mega Music Panel was hosted by cartoonist Ben Towle & blogger Craig Fisher. They host a big two-hour themed panel every year. They're always interesting, but of course this one was right up my alley, appealing to me both as a musician and a comics fan. Towle did a presentation showing some of the many ways cartoonists depict music visually. Then there was a panel discussion by Peter Bagge, Ed Piskor, and Andrew Robinson & Vivek J. Tiwary (they have a book called The Fifth Beatle about Brian Epstein coming out in November from Dark Horse). Very interesting group of creators, and they asked each other lots of questions, too: they were really engaged in the topic, having all done comics with strong musical themes. Plus there were two live jazz performances by a local saxophone/drums duo with comics visuals. I really wish I could have been involved in that!

Sunday started with a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Morrison's Doom Patrol with artist Richard Case. Craig Fisher led the discussion, which turned out to be pretty intimate, since there were only about ten of us in the audience. I've talked to Case before, but this discussion ranged pretty widely, including how he got on the book, what it was like collaborating with Morrison, how he solved some of the many problems visualizing the surreal scripts, and more. Fisher had a great image database to call on, so he was able to pull up images from the comic on demand. You would have killed to be there, Figs! Later I attended a panel called "Crossing Over: from Mainstream to Indie and Back." Jimmy Aquino moderated, with Becky Cloonan, Kelly Sue Deconnick, and Robbi Rodriquez (Matt Kindt was a no-show, although of course I'd already heard him speak earlier in the weekend). Deconnick talks such a blue streak that maybe it's just as well someone as low-key as Kindt wasn't trying to get a word in edgewise. Her enthusiasm was infectious, though, and Cloonan especially was able to keep up with her.

On the floor over the weekend, Jason Aaron signed my last volume of Scalped. He asked how I liked the ending--I did--and we talked a bit about Vertigo. He's pretty positive about the imprint continuing, and said they had some interesting things coming out soon. And he promised he was going to be doing more creator owned work: hooray! I also got both John Layman and Rob Guillory to sign my first volume of Chew, and Guillory also did a quick sketch in my sketchbook. Nick Pitarra did a nice signature/sketch in my copy of The Red Wing (Jonathan Hickman was there, too, but his line was long & I already had some signed things from him). And I got a quick vampire sketch from Ben Templesmith.

Bit of a tough year financially, so I think I did less shopping than at any previous HeroesCon. But I got some great deals. From a vendor with extensive stock of $5 trades I got two Hack/Slash Omnibus volumes, two 30 Days of Night Omnibus volumes, Templesmith's Choker, and the first two collections of the 30 Days of Night ongoing. These have cover prices ranging from $18 - 35, so the price was too good to pass up! I went hunting for the recent Vertigo one-shot anthologies, since I now don't expect to see them collected. I found Strange Adventures, The Unexpected, Ghosts, and Mystery in Space for $1 - 2 apiece. Time Warp was nowhere to be found.

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That discussion of the anniversary of the Doom Patrol sounds like something i might have been interested in.

By any chance, did the discussion turn to the similarities and timing of the origin of the X-men vs. Doom Patrol?  What, prey tell, was said?

Nothing about the origin, since Morrison/Case took over from the Kupperberg relaunch much later. Case did mention that he didn't find the Kupperberg version very interesting: it was too much of a stereotypical superhero team. He wouldn't have wanted the job before he found out what Morrison was planning. He credited Morrison with the creative direction of their collaboration, but he was definitely on board for challenging visual experimentation. He was also asked if he had read Morrison's book Supergods--it does talk about Doom Patrol a bit--but he has not.

Sounds like a good time, Mark. I would have loved to dig into those cheap trades, and hit up some panels.

I was at the Dallas Comic-con a few weeks back, but I was helping a buddy at his booth pretty much all weekend, so I attended no panels, and had very few comics signed. Did save me from spending all of my money though. I did get to meet Jim Steranko and talk to him for while. It was great, and he is quite the storyteller.

I'm actually thinking about volunteering next year. Work a few hours a day, save the admission cost, and get a different perspective. The Charlotte/Mecklenburg public library had a booth for a few years, promoting the graphic novel collection. I worked it one year, which earned me a Guest I.D. as a nice souvenir. Since I'm buying so much less for my personal collection, shopping has become less important to me, anyway. Having a starvation budget was a useful speed bump.

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