This time last week I was dreading going back to work, because I had just spent the weekend in Charlotte, NC, at HeroesCon. This year marks HeroesCon’s 30th Anniversary, and Shelton Drum and crew did it up right.
If you’ve read anything about this convention, you know it’s for comic lovers. You won’t find TV and film personalities waiting to sign autographs. This show is all about the love of comics. In Artists’ Alley, you can find lesser-known artists and creators rubbing elbows with the likes of Jaime Hernandez, Neal Adams, George Perez, and Nick Cardy. Everyone is in good spirits, and it’s a great chance to tell your favorite creator how much you admire their work. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, though. I could barely say five words to Jaime Hernandez.
This year was a bit different for me, as not only did I have the opportunity to attend as Press, but my husband Brad was in Artists’ Alley this year selling Battle Babies. I had seen set-up before, but this was the first time I couldn’t just hit the convention floor with my messenger bag. We actually had boxes to take in. We arrived around 11:30, and had to wait until noon to pick up our passes. It was fun watching volunteers bustle around to ensure everything was in place before the rush of convention-goers, artists, exhibitors, and press arrived. It was a gentle reminder of just how much work it takes to coordinate everything. Once we secured our credentials and met up with our table mate (Brandon Barker of ManOrMonster Studios), we hit the elevators and headed down to set up. We were lucky not to have to endure the line of trucks at the loading dock trying to get in to set up, as we heard it was a long line. Everyone was anxious to be a part of this show!
As we were setting up, we noticed cameras filming. They were part of a crew making Heroes Doc, a documentary about HeroesCon. They were getting some shots of folks setting up, and I heard that some of the key players involved with the con were also interviewed. There’s actually a Kickstarter raising money to ensure the film gets made! You can find it here.
Enough about set-up. Let’s get to the good stuff, already! Two words made this con a madhouse the entire weekend: Stan Lee. Friday is normally a busy, but manageable day. This year, it was crazy! Fans gathered early to begin setting up commissions, get autographs, and snag comics to fill a hole in their collections. (Personally, I made a dent in my Eightball collection.) By Friday afternoon, it was apparent that this was going to be the tone for the weekend. I managed to walk around a bit, but it was hard to see everything. The roster for Artists’ Alley this year was enormous. Friday evening came to a close, and we were all ready to head out for good food. (Charlotte has a number of amazing dining experiences. Comics and food? Yes, please!) The Drink and Draw triumphantly returned, and it was a raging success.
Saturday is, of course, the busiest day. This year, it was incredibly busy, and fans lined up early for George Perez. For a while, the line blocked entry to many artists’ tables, but quickly, HeroesCon staff and volunteers came to the rescue (because they are amazing) and redirected the lines. In the afternoon, ticketholders for Stan Lee’s autograph line deserted the convention floor, but there were enough people around to keep us busy. Saturday night, fans and artists alike flocked to the Westin for the annual art auction.
Ahhhhh, Sunday, the slow(ish?) day. Stan decided to extend his stay, so a day that’s normally very chill became less so. This was the first time I’d seen a Sunday at HeroesCon, and as the afternoon wore on, it was easier to walk around and talk to artists. People were making crazy deals on the exhibitors’ side of the hall. Once 6:00 rolled around, it was time to pack up, and time to grab some grub and go home. (I call this time, “the saddest time ever”.)
I know I say this every year, but if you’ve never been to HeroesCon and you love comics, make the trip. Many artists say this is their favorite con to do, and it shows. Though the convention isn’t as large as SDCC, its heart is a thousand times larger. I urge you to go at least once. Hey, I’ll be there, so you’ll know at least one person!
Special thanks to Shelton Drum, Rico Renzi, Heather Peagler, and all the staff and volunteers that make HeroesCon so amazing for putting on a phenomenal con and for allowing us to be a part of it.