Day One

Another year volunteering. No crowd control: hooray! They did a much better job anticipating the crowds today. There was a separate entrance with ticket booths for the day passes, and more options to pick up weekend passes early. So it wasn't the mess it was last year, but I guess Saturday will really be the test. Just to be on the safe side, I volunteered for afternoon time slots. I spent time at the check in desk, then the bulk of the afternoon at the Information Desk on the convention floor. Biggest surprise: there's a rush on the desk at closing, just like the Reference Desk in a library!

I went shopping first thing. My finds today:

Zombies VS Robots Ominibus by Chris Ryall & Ashley Wood (IDW)

Snarked! Vol. 3 by Roger Langridge (Kaboom!)

Both for $5 each.

I spent some time with Jason Marconnet and Commander Benson after lunch, which was fun. Jason and I plan to go to dinner and the art auction tomorrow night after the Con closes, like we did last year.

I only got to one panel: a Matt Kindt panel with Adam Daughetee of Dollar Bin Productions. Kindt talked about how he broke in to comics, his work habits, and a lot about the process of creating Mind MGMT and the new series Dept. H. Lots of great info for any Kindt fan. One thing I hadn't heard before: he completely finished his breakout book Pistolwhip before he looked for a publisher.  When Top Shelf agreed to publish it, it was the first completed project they had published (new to the biz, Kindt had just assumed that was how it was done).

Since it was Friday, late afternoon I found artists Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon almost free at their table (not to mention writer Matt Fraction). So I was able to get quick sketches from both of them, and they signed my copies of De: Tales, B.P.R.D.: 1947, and Casanova: Acedia, Volume One. Bá also signed my copy of the first monthly issue of Casanova, which local boy Matt Fraction had already signed back when it was first released. I love their work, and never thought I'd have a chance to meet them unless I went to San Diego. They both chose to do Casanova sketches:

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Day Two

I had two goals today, which I started on right away. The first was to get inker Andrew Pepoy's signature on my copy of Fables #100. I've been trying to get all of the creators' signatures, and now I have 5 of the 11. I also visited Eisner-nominated writer/illustrator Ben Towle's table to buy a copy of Oyster War, the Oni Press book that was nominated this year. Ben lives in North Carolina, and I've gotten to know him a bit over the years he has been a guest at HeroesCon.

I ran across a really cool prop I didn't even know existed. I couldn't pass up a V For Vendetta replica dagger for only $40.

Attended two excellent panels. 

"Sexy vs. Sexualized" dealt with the line between sexy and sexist in comic art. Moderated by Marguerite Bennett, with panelists Kris Anka, Babs Tarr, Kevin Wada, Jen Bartel, and last minute addition Jake Wyatt (who was definitely a welcome addition). The main point everyone agreed on was that sexuality works when there are reasons for it, as with any aspects of characterization. If a female character is portrayed in the expected way, without any thought about why, the result is usually not convincing. Wonder Woman is especially problematic, given her multiple, contradictory back stories. There's no big solution to the problem, but all of these creators try to be conscious of what they're doing, hoping to contribute to a positive resolution.

This year's mega-panel was on the theme "Creatures Imagined and Real." First comics scholar Craig Fischer discussed the monsters artists Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon have contributed to the Mignolaverse via their BPRD comics. Lots of interesting details about the creation of their BPRD stories, especially  about how they tried to fit in with prior stories, as well as how research affected their choices. Then artist Ben Towle discussed the history of "funny animal" comics, and his decision to use animals to tell his story in process called In The Weeds. Finally, librarian Jenny Law discussed dinosaur comics with William Stout, Budd Root, and Dustin Harbin. A remarkable discussion, full of current paleontology research, as well as talk about creative decisions that are sometimes made independent of scientific fact.

Day 3

Forgot to mention yesterday's evening activities. Jason and I had dinner after the Con, then attended the traditional Saturday night charity art auction. Auctions are fascinating to watch, even if you're not bidding (although Jason had a shot at a Spider-Man painting for a minute, before the bidding ran away on him).

Began the day at a panel: "The 10th Anniversary of Casanova," with writer Matt Fraction, artists Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, and letterer Dustin Harbin, moderated by Craig Fischer. A fun look at the series, with a group of creators that enjoy each other's company (Matt and Dustin have a long history, both having worked at the Heroes Aren't Hard To Find retail store). One significant fact I hadn't heard before: Moon was asked to illustrate the series initially, but suggested that his brother would be a better match. The decision for the brothers to alternate arcs was also an accident. Ba couldn't do the second arc, so Moon offered to take over because he had become such a fan of the series. 

Met up with Jason on the Con floor to take this photo:

Then on to my last panel: "The Comics Canon: Reloaded!!! Fire!!!" With academics (Andy Kunka, Derek Royal and Craig Fischer), a librarian (Mark Englebrecht of my old employer Charlotte Mecklenburg Library), and two publishers of historical material (Craig Yoe and Tom Heintjes), moderated by Heroes volunteer Andy Mansell (who organizes the panel discussions at the con every year). A lively discussion, without much resolution (not that any was expected). The consensus was that a canon for comics--a standard reading list--will happen by default as there are more and more academic studies of the form. Right now all of the academics prefer to pick a syllabus that works with the focus of the particular course they're teaching, and don't feel the need to have a canon that is more formally recognized.

Spent the last couple of hours on the floor at the Information Desk again, which gave me a new perspective on the closing of the con.

Once again Heroes Con was a great experience. As usual it was a pleasure to spend time with the Commander and Mark. I'm working out of town today but when I get time I will share my experiences at this great con.
Another great weekend at Heroes Con.
Day One
I got to the convention center a few hours early. Picked up my advance pass along with the exclusive print featuring 10 different artists. The line to get wasn't to bad. They let us in about 10 minutes early.

My first goal was to get a book signed for a friend. She and her mother own the LCS in my town. She is a huge fan of Hawkeye so I was able to get Matt Fraction to sign issue one for her! Last year his line was long so I had took care of that first. I told him she was a fan and he signed the book with a heart and an exclamation point.

Next was to meet my favorite Spider-man artist, Mark Bagley. I have a lot of books he could've signed but I brought three. I stopped by the grading company's table (CBCS) to snag a witness since I planned on having them stabbed. Mark's line was kinda long but the wait wasn't too bad. While I was waiting, the illustrious Commander Benson arrived. Eventually books were signed.

The Commander and I roamed artist alley. I had several friends who had tables at the con so I made the rounds and said hi. The one thing about Heroes is that art is a main focus. Some great artists known and unknown were on display.

We then checked out the vendors. Lots of folks selling comics. I was looking for Iron Man 200 which I've discovered it is a tough book to find.

Then the Commnder and I grabbed lunch. Well I grabbed lunch and he watched me it. It was great to catch up with him after last year. Next we headed to the Sixth Gun panel.

The Sixth Gun panel was a lot of fun. The final issue came out this week and this panel acted as a restrospective. Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt explained the beginning of the series and their future plans. They also discussed their inspirations. I also learned that the first pitch for the series was for it to be a mini and it was much darker than the series ended up being. Also before the series came out it was going to be a movie. However the movie was going to be much different than the original pitch and the series itself. The studio was wanting a Pirates of the Carinean type film. Fortunately that didn't happen. At the end the creative team gave everyone in attendance a signed copy of the issue 50 variant. They were waiting until the end of the panel before they put it out on the table for sale. So that was cool.

Then Commander and I found Mark Sullivan at the check in desk since he was volunteering at the convention. We chatted a while before the Commander headed out.

I returned to the floor and tried to get the print I mentioned earlier signed by all the artists. I was able to score 7 out of 10 the first day. Did I get all of them? Stay tuned.

I also stopped by Cullen Bunn's table because I had a regular copy of The Sixth Gun 50 for him and Brian Hurtt to sign. I also inquired about the Sixth Gun role playing game. It was brought up in the panel. He showed me all of the components available. I passed on it for the time being. I was hoping to purchase some original art at the auction the next night so I wanted to conserve my money for a little while.

I then headed back to the hotel to rest. Then I hung out with some friends the rest of the evening. One of the best parts of going to cons is seeing friends you've met at other cons or just meeting new people in general. I had a lot of conversations with people either standing line for stuff or after hours at the hotel bar. All in all a good day.

Day 2
I got,to the com early but not too early this time. My buddies were working the CBCS booth and had an extra exhibitor badge so I got on the floor early.

I tried to get Brian Stelfreeze on my print but he ended up painting and wouldn't be at his table till later. I found another artist who could sign the print. I wondered some more and checked out some tables I missed the day before.

I then met Silk artist Stacey Lee and had her sign my print and picked up a Silk print from her as well.

I then attended the Spider-Gwen, Spider Women and men panel. Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, Rico Renzi, Stacey Lee, Vanessa Del Ray and Chris Visions were all there. It was a fun panel. It focused mostly on Spider-Gwen but still pretty interesting. The creative team behind Spider-Gwen are still amazed at how it took off so quickly.

I finally was able to get Brian Stelfreeze's signature on my Heores print. He was a super friendly guy. He always had a line but was nice to everyone who came to their table.

I met up with Mark for dinner then attended the auction. I tried for a few pieces but they soon got way above my price range. The auction is still a good time. DMC from run Run DMC was a guest and opened the auction with an Impromtu ryhme.

Day 3
Wondered around in the morning and picked up some books. I went back to Mark Bagley's table and chatted with him for a minute. He signed a copy of Batman & Spider-man I picked up that morning. I also purchased a print from him. I also swung by Ryan Stegman's table of Superior Spider-man fame and picked up a cool print from him as well. Both were nice guys. Also snagged a Spider-Gwen print from Robbi Rodriguez.

Not all of the items donated to the auction made it on Saturday night. The rest were auctioned on Sunday at a silent auction. I was able to pick up an interesting Spider-man piece.

I had lunch with Mark then we had our picture taken in front of the Tardis.

I picked up a few more books and an original BB-8 sketch from an artist I have gotten to know over a few cons.

I had plenty of money left over. I spent a lot less than I normally do at cons. I swing by Cullen Bunn's table and picked up the Sixth Gun game. Looking forward to trying it out.

I decided to get out early so I said by to some friends then hit the road.

I had a great time and plan to attend next year.

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