Dispatches from Heroes Con, 2010

The LIST will not be seen tonight, please tune in next week when it will return at it’s regularly scheduled day.

San Diego. Comic-Con. It’s the pilgrimage a devoted comic book fanatic should make at least once in his or her life. Going to San Diego is a bit rough and tumble as one might expect from paying a visit to the wild and lawless frontier west of the Rocky Mountains. The convention is crowded in that same way that Mumbai and Kolkata are crowded: you can’t move an inch without being jostled or jostling someone. People are constantly screaming at you or near you. On the up side, you see some things you will never forget and possibly somethings that will change your life. THE biggest names in the comic book and tangentially related industries flock to Comic Con each July to show off what’s new. For all of that, San Diego’s Comic-Con is on one end of the convention experience spectrum.

Charlotte, North Carolina’s Heroes Convention, at the far other end of the spectrum is much more subdued. Many big names are there in attendance. The difference: you can actually have a conversation with them. You can talk about how much you like their work. You can ask for sketches without getting harangued by the fifty people in line after you or the talent wrangler trying to move said line along. Here in Charlotte, you can still find quarter boxes that can be perused at a semblance of leisure. The aisles are easy to navigate and meander through for no other reason than to meander. In short: This is more of a vacation than an event. In fact, I’ve read interviews from pro’s that have stated as much.

The convention is running today, tomorrow and Sunday. Three days that will be feature panels, shopping, and talking to many of the guests. To give you an idea of what all I accomplished between 11:00 and 2:00 today, I’ve compiled a short list:

1. Bought action figures alongside  Mark Waid. He bought an Onslaught build-a-figure saying, “I created the guy; I should have this figure.” I bought a build-a-figure Giant-Man…don’t judge me!

2. Let Mark Waid talk me into buying the first two trades of Irredeemable.

3. Discussed what a gem of a book Sandman Mystery Theatre was with Guy Davis (who was totally cool about drawing a Dr. Doom sketch for me).

4. Talked to Golden Age legend Irwin Hasen about his awesome suit, the JSA, and Hourman…of whom he had never heard…so I felt like a dork.

5. Met Chris Sims of The Invincible Super-Blog fame . He’s a pretty nifty fellow in person.

6. Bought the bulk of the Walt Simonson The Mighty Thor run for less than forty dollars. I’ll spend the rest of the con searching for those four missing books.

7. Threatened to beat up Love and Capes creator Thomas Zahler if I was not fully satisfied with his book.

8. Learned that Roger Langridge has no idea who Marvin Suggs is, but Mebberson does…though she can’t remember what he should look like.

Mebberson is sketching covers for the exclusive Heroes Con blank version of Muppet Show #6

9. Had a chance to talk Muppets with Amy Mebberson, turns out she’s only doing art for this arc on the regular series and will be doing a Muppet – Sherlock Holmes arc in the not to distant future.

It was at this point that I took a lunch break. I can’t tell you how nice it is to walk into an eating establishment and ask for a Dr. Pepper…and then get it!

But I digress. Heroes Con is a fantastic young convention. It attracts well known creators and offers fans a chance to interact with them in pleasant and surprising ways. Charlotte’s is a convention with a welcoming atmosphere for people from 2 to 92.

Say what you will about the South and it’s current/past faults, and many of you have in derisive down your nose fashions, but the laid-back and courteous/ hospitable attitude fits the idea of a convention in a way that other media extravaganzas cannot.