The countdown has begun for HeroesCon 2017. This con is held every year in Charlotte, NC. This will be my third year in attendance. I plan to meet up with Mark Sullivan ad Commander Benson again. 

I love this con. It's been a treat every year, for me.

Here's the link to the show.

I'll post my experiences in this thread. 

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  • What day/days are you going to be there? Tracy and I would love to see Adam Benson again, and we've never met you or Mark. Plus, we have twin nieces in Winston-Salem we've never met. Short notice, but we may be able to put something together by this weekend.

  • I've been communicating with Jason, so I can answer this. He plans to be here all three days, flying out Sunday evening (so he'll be leaving the show Sunday afternoon). The Commander plans to be at the show on Friday.

  • That is correct. I'll be there all 3 days. I'll leave the show around 3 to head to the airport.
  • Neither of us can get off work Friday (due to staffing issues). If we come up Saturday we'll probably skip the show, visit family during the day, and meet up with you guys afterwards. Let me run this by Tracy.

  • I'll be there on Friday.  Planning to arrive sometime after noon, so I don't have to deal with the thundering herd when the doors first open.

    As I told Mr. Marconnet, I'm obligated to an outing with the Good Mrs. Benson on Saturday, but my datebook is open on Sunday.  If you, Jeff, and Tracy can be there on Sunday, I'll make a point of showing up, and maybe I can talk the GMB into accompanying me.

  • Another Heroes Con has come and gone. As always, it was a great time. 

    Day One:

    Dropped some books off for Onsite Grading with CBCS. A reason I have not been on the board much is because I've become more of a collector and reading took a back seat. However, have made a great deal of friends through this. They like comics just as much as anyone, they just like them in plastic slabs. Then I made my way around the con to say hi to friends that had tables in artist alley. One artist friend, who I haven't seen in a while, gave me a sketch cover he had done. This guy has done several commissions for me in the past. I was surprised he gave me a piece of art, artists don't usually do that often. He knew I liked Spider-Gwen and has actually done a few Spider-man and Gwen pieces for me. This one was a bit different. This was on a blank for Multiversity #1 for whatever reason he thought it was a Spider-verse book then realized it was DC so changed the character to Bat-Gwen. He figured I would like it, he was right. Then I picked up a commission from another Artist that I had lined up prior to the convention. This was of Deadman. I dropped off a blank cover with him for another commission. 

    I then made a lap around and ran into Mark Sullivan who volunteers at the con. We had a brief chat. I moved on then the illustrious Commander Benson arrived. The two of us walked around the convention floor together. Which, after three years is now a tradition. We looked through some of the vendors. The Commander even found a book for an upcoming column. I'll let him discuss that though. During the our browsing I mentioned I was occasionally buying issues of Marvel Team-up. I bemoaned the fact that Mockingbird is now a television star and that her first appearance in Team-up is slightly pricey. Then again not sure why I'm buying issues of Team-up other than it's a Spider-man book and I like to buy stuff. Anyways the Commander mentioned that he had a full run of Team-up and could possibly help me out. More on that later.

    We met up with Mark again and attended a panel on Indie comics. I had a headache and went back to the hotel for a minute to get some Advil.  I made a run around the floor and picked up some Deadman appearances, including an issue of Forever People. I then met up with the Commander and Mark for the panel, Visual Storytelling which was led by none other than Jim Shooter. This panel was absolutely fantastic. Mr. Shooter went through the concept of story telling through comics by using a Jack Kirby issue as an example. I know that sometimes Jim Shooter draws criticism. However, he was very knowledgeable and personable. I have met him before and he was very nice to me. I'll let the Commander fill in the blanks on this panel. I will say that all three of us enjoyed it very much. We then said our goodbyes. 

    I met up with some friends for dinner then headed to the drink and draw. I chatted with some friends while there then browsed the art being produced. Some neat stuff. Then ended the night in the hotel bar with more friends. This is a comic-centric con, so no movie or TV stars. However, as a comic fan it is neat to see some of my favorite comic creators wandering around after the con. 

    i'll post more tomorrow.

  • I have traditionally written a report every day of the con. So I'm going to play catch-up here. Hopefully Jason will talk about his experiences.


    I spent the morning volunteering. Fortunately the check-in and ticket buying processes went much more smoothly this year, and I never had to work crowd control, which is exhausting. I was on Information Booth on the con floor to start, which is a bit like my day job in the library: helping people figure out how to find artists and vendors. Jason came by to say hello. After getting lunch, I agreed to help deliver lunch. This year the con took sandwich orders from artists who couldn't leave their booths, so I helped deliver a great big box full of bag lunches. Bringing free food to hungry artists: not a bad gig! I got to meet Cameron Stewart in the process.

    2:00 PM 
    Room 208
    HeroesCon’s own Jughead, DOUG MERKLE sits down with CHIP ZDARSKY (Sex Criminals, Jughead, Howard the Duck) and examines Chip’s comic’s career. Warning: the conversation is likely to fall into the TV-MA category.

    My first panel. Zdarsky is an absolute hoot: he's actually had a life with things like covering a nudist retreat for a newspaper, so his stories are amazing. Even the "secret origin" of his nom de plume is a bit salacious. The sucess of Sex Criminals completely changed his life, and was a total surprise. Both he and Matt Fraction expected it to last about three issues.

    At this point I met up with Jason and Commander Benson, and caught up on recent developments. The Commander had some advice on my impending retirement. We decided to attend two panels together.

    3:30 PM 
    Room 207D 
    Comics isn’t just an art form- it’s a craft. And like any craft, it’s one that has to be continually honed. Join moderator Chris Brennaman ( and creators JIM RUGG, ED PISKOR, EVAN DORKIN, MICHEL FIFFE, and NATALIE ANDREWSON as we spend the hour talking about the nitty-gritty of what goes into making a career of creating comics. 

    An interesting (and talkative) group of indie cartoonist/writers. Once the conversation got started I think they could have gotten along just fine without a moderator. Evan Dorkin has got some of the loosest lips in comics. He tells stories on indies and majors alike, and sometimes names names. Their careers vary quite a bit. The common elements are following their passions, creatively looking for new audiences, and making the most of opportunities.

    5:00 PM 
    Room 208 
    Former Marvel Editor in Chief JIM SHOOTER explains the principles of visual storytelling. Using a slide presentation of Jack Kirby’s work on Captain America, Jim walks you through the cinematography of the graphic story and shows you how to make compelling images that deliver your story with power and precision. Essential knowledge for writers as well as artists.

    First chance I've had to hear Jim Shooter. I'm not a fan of the period when he was a writer and editor, but it's always interesting to experience a legend. He's extremely bright and articulate: clearly he's been thinking about this stuff for a long time. While I'm a fan of experimental comics and he is not, I think he made good points about the requirements of effective storytelling.

  • Jason, one of these years, I am going to get down there. It always seems to take place just around the time that I tend to travel, either through fun or coaching, and so it always gets skipped. But I would love to get down to that convention. From everything I've heard, it's a good one.

  • Saturday

    Spent some time at the Information Booth, then volunteered to help with long signing lines. Wound up keeping order on the lines for Chip Zdarsky and Kelly Sue DeConnick (Matt Fraction was seated at the same table, but he had his own line stretching in the opposite direction). Eventually I had the task of capping Chip Zdarsky's line, because he was sketching for everyone and needed to be done in time for a panel. Surprisingly tiring to stand on a concrete floor and keep order, although fans are generally nice and cooperative.

    1:00 PM 
    Room 208
    Jumpy Joe Rauch finds out what it takes to make folks jump and scream and come back for more: PAUL JENKINS, DONNY CATES, EVAN DORKIN, and CHARLES SOULE provide the chills. Don’t look under the skirted table, you’ll be sorry!

    Only caught the last half of this panel. Paul Jenkins had lots of good stories: I recommend hearing him if you can. All of the writers agreed that implying was usually far scarier than explicit description: people tend to imagine far worse things than the writer can imagine.

    2:30 PM 
    Room 207D 
    THOMAS YEATES, SCOTT HAMPTON, BILL SIENKIEWICZ, JOE JUSKO, and JOHN TOTLEBEN sit down with Joe Rauch to discuss the legendary work and the life of a great artist and friend, BERNIE WRIGHTSON. Join us won’t you. Here’s to absent friends.

    Wonderful stories about an artist who was universally admired as well as being a genuinely nice person. Artist Jason Moore took Bill Sienkiewicz's place (he had to cancel his HeroesCon appearance at the last minute). I loved Wrightson's work, and was fortunate to have met him a few times. He created the HeroesCon limited edition poster a few years back.

    2:30 PM 
    Room 209 
    Which centenary to celebrate, WILL EISNER’S or JACK KIRBY’S? Ben Towle, Jennie Law, and Craig Fischer—the hosts of this year’s mega-panel—have foolishly decided to tackle BOTH birthdays. 
    First is Eisner: Ben will interview HOGAN’S ALLEY publisher TOM HEINTJES, who worked closely with Will at Kitchen Sink Press during the 1980s and ‘90s, particularly on a monthly column that appeared in Kitchen Sink’s comic-book-sized SPIRIT reprints. Expect insights into both Eisner the artist and Eisner the man. Craig will follow by inviting two razor-sharp comics scholars, Drs. DANIEL YEZBICK and ANDREW KUNKA (himself one-half of the COMICS ALTERNATIVE podcast team), to collaborate with the audience on a close reading of an offbeat-yet-representative SPIRIT story.
    Then Kirby: Jennie will guide a panel of super-fans—cartoonists JAIME HERNANDEZ, GILBERT HERNANDEZ, and ERIK LARSEN, and Titan Books editor STEVE SAFFEL—through a free-wheeling discussion about King Kirby’s groundbreaking career, multiple reinventions, and lasting influence. Finally, Ben will discuss the sheer oddness of Kirby’s mid-‘70s riff on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY—a fitting place to end, since Eisner and Kirby were monoliths that pushed comics to higher evolutionary achievements.

    The Mega-panels (they last twice the length of the usual panel, 2 hours) are always great. I missed the entire Eisner portion due to the Bernie Wrightson panel. But the Kirby portion showed how widely admired he was: you can't get much wider than Erik Larsen and the Hernandez brothers. The 2001 series looks truly crazy. I haven't read it, but I may have to look into it.

    Had dinner with Jason at Fuel Pizza, which is kind of a tradition, since it's located across the street from the Charlotte Convention Center. Then we attended:

    6:30 PM
    Cartoonist SCOTT SHAW! (Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, Sonic the Hedgehog, Simpsons Comics, Annoying Orange) once again presents ODDBALL COMICS his uniquely hilarious slideshow of “the craziest comic books ever published!” Once you’ve seen this mind-roasting presentation-which has played to standing-room-only crowds in San Diego for the better part of four decades-you’ll never forget such covers as those of the “crotch-centric” issues of Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane, those with someone getting slapped with a “fish-in-the-face,” and those Silver Age issues of Batman and Detective Comics with “Robin-in-the-corner!” Scott promises, “My hilarious presentation is for everyone who’s enjoyed reading a comic book, whether as an avid collector or as a young patient in a dentist’s office-in fact, even for people who have never read a single comic book in their life. Even if you’ve seen my acclaimed slideshow presentation many times before, when you see their covers blown up to the size of the side of a barn, you’ll be amazed and delighted at the unbelievable imagery that is revealed! See for yourself why Stan Lee calls Scott’s show “the wildest, wackiest exposé of some of the craziest comic books I’ve ever seen!”
    CO-HOSTED BY DMC!!!!!!!

    I've never seen Scott Shaw's presentation before. It started late, but was frequently hilarious--limited by the inadequate P.A. system in the new, much larger ballroom space. The covers are generally pretty funny on their own, but Shaw's commentary is what really brings it home.

    The charity art auction (mostly of pieces created during the con) was entertaining as always. The new slideshow presentation worked well for art that was finished early enough to be photographed, but some still had to be walked around the old-fashioned way. And once again the P.A. was often hard to hear over the crowd noise. I gave up before the end.

  • Sunday

    Quickly, since my post suddenly disappeared before I could finish it. I started the day on the floor, since I hadn't found time to shop or visit artist booths before now. I had never had the chance to meet John Totleben before. I loved his stories in the Bernie Wrightson memorial panel. When I found that he wasn't doing sketches any more, I decided to buy a print he could sign. Despite his association with Swamp Thing, I've always liked this pinup of Death of the Endless.


    I bought my first sketch commission from Scott Hampton, another participant on the Wrightson panel.


    It's a mix of pen & paint, some of which took a long time to dry! I also bought a minicomic from Natalie Andrewson, who I hadn't heard of before the Craft of Comics panel.

    Next I attended an excellent panel:

    3:00 PM 
    Room 206
    Last year, we argued for over two hours about the need for a Comics Canon and what comics and creators belong. We got nowhere and it was a blast. This year we are tackling Books ABOUT COMICS. What are the ESSENTIAL—Historical Anthologies, Biographies, Analytical Essays, Histories, How-to, BOOKS on the subject of COMICS? Join moderator Tom Spurgeon (The Comics Reporter) and our resident brain trust: CRAIG FISCHER (Appalachian State) NATHAN FOX (SVA) DANIEL YEZBICK (St. Louis CC), AARON KASHTAN (UNC Charlotte) and MICHAEL KOBRE (Queens). AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION IS A MUST!!! This is a GREAT way to end a weekend filled with Comics love!

    Finally, I found not one, but two zombie statues:


    They're both porcelain, but the iZombie statue comes with two heads! This is the zombie one. The statue is based on Mike Allred's comic designs, not the TV show (although I suspect the statue only exists because of the TV show).

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