Hey everyone, i wanted to give you a delayed but hopefully informative synopsis of Heroescon in Charlotte NC. This was the first time I volunteered to work a con, and while I picked times that I thought were going to be beneficial to me, they ended up not. If you’re strapped for money but still want to experience a comic book convention, volunteering is something you might want to look into. Helping out a shift or two (4-5 hrs each), will get you free entry for the weekend, plus some added benefits.
Day 1 Thursday, worked 4-8pm
People roll in early to pick up 3 day passes and vendors are there to set up. If you’re not up to physical stuff this is NOT the day for you. We moved comic boxes and moved comic boxes. This is mainly for the young whipper snappers but this old man can do it at home, so why not. Plus, most of the dealers will tip you with credit on buying books for helping them.
Day 2. Worked 2-7pm
Drew pre-registration duties today and since I got there late, that basically meant making badges, cleaning up, and answering questions. But, being at the registration table means I get to see everyone who comes in. Which means cosplayer gawking. Even though the contest doesn’t happen until Sunday, some awesome folks show up all 3 days dressed. The time and energy put into some of these costumes is truly amazing. An true art form…if taken seriously…..oh and I had the pleasure of meeting fellow Talking Comics fan Kelly Herron. I also got to spend a few minutes with one of the kids I had done a presentation for at an elementary school. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get down on the main floor, but there’s always tomorrow….maybe??
Vendor feedback? Heard several say best Friday ever!! Great crowds
Saturday Day 3: off
I scheduled this day off so I could shop, but at the last minute I took my wife to see Dirty Dancing the Broadway show down the street. What does this article have to do with that? Shhh I did it so I could go to the famous Saturday night art auction. Plus as a bonus, my wife spent one hour at a convention for the first time.
So, the real story of Saturday for me is the art auction. Held at a adjoining hotel, artists show up at the con with art or work on pieces Fri. & Sat. at their table. Famously Bernie Wrightson & Scott Hampton’s tables are always side by side so they can do a piece Friday for the auction. Pieces donated this year were by, but not limited to, Mark Brooks, John Rose, Ron Ferdinand, Mike Zeck, Mike Maihack, & the aforementioned Wrightson/Hampton piece (a stunning Superman this year). Highlights were a Hulk shield, a giant Christopher Lee, & a Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange piece. The top sellers were the Skottie Young Spider Gwen, the Robbi Rodriguez oil Spider Gwen, and re-gifted Spiderman/Black Cat by Jeremy Dale, where the proceeds went to Jeremy’s widow Kelly. What a great night.
For everyone else? It was the day of Stan Lee, autographs & pictures abound with the man himself. Word from the vendors was not quite as positive, great crowds, but the some of the money was sucked out of the room by Stan’s appearance.
Sunday Day 4 10-3
The show doesn’t open until 11 so we start the day by getting the lines formed for entrance. I’m assigned the information booth downstairs which is a positive. Right before the doors open, my day takes a turn. You see, my goal this year was one signature (I’m not a big autograph guy). Jason Aaron is writing Thor, Southern Bastards, & Star Wars, 3 of my top 5 favorite books right now. He’s written what I think is the best single issue in the last decade with Thor:God of Thunder #12. The only book that’s ever brought tears to my eyes. So I took that book to get signed by Jason. At 10:50, somebody says, who wants to volunteer to work the line for Jason Aaron’s table? Ummmmm…ME!!! That turns into an hour of herding folks, then breaking their hearts because Jason hasn’t shown yet. The Star Wars panel starts at 12 & well he’s kinda the star of that. So, word comes that he’ll be down right after. He gets there about 1:15, at which point we have a brief conversation, then he begins to sign & sign & sign. I feel for these guys, that guy had next to nothing to sell, he just autographed books, all day. The bonus was if somebody walked up and just sat a stack of books down and didn’t say anything, I asked questions. So we started chit chatting and my day got awesome!! Covering everything from a B-B-Q to 80s horror, I don’t know if he did, but I had a blast. And his wife Kelly was equally as awesome.
I spent the last 2 hrs Sunday running around getting goodies. I use Heroes to get original art, prints, trades (several vendors do 1/2 off trades) & to meet creators. I talked to Scott Hampton (who I know), spoke to Bernie Wrightson, chatted with Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, and met Stephanie’s old boss Bill Willingham. I met Joe Eisma (Morning Glory artist), and had a great chat with Cullen Bunn about wrestling.
If you go to a con and you’re wanting to support an artist or writer, buy directly from them. I’d heard Bobby say great things about the 6th Gun, so I bought a copy directly from Cullen Bunn. The bonus is it will then also get signed on the spot. And if you’re lucky, there might even be a Heroes special edition.
Be wary of long lines for popular creators. The longest lines belonged to the two Jason’s (Aaron & Latour) & the dynamic duo of Kelly Sue Deconnick and Matt Fraction, but at various times Wrightson, Mike Zeck, Robbi Rodriguez, Babs Tar, Scottie Young, & Francesco Francavillia had long lines.
All in all, this was my best Heroescon ever. If I volunteer next year, I’ll pick different times. But, that was interesting to do. My first time at the art auction was enjoyable. But by far, the highlight was “hanging out” with the Aaron’s Sunday. Word is, it was the best attendance ever, but just average for the vendors (again attributed to Mr. Lee’s appearance).
You’ve heard them talk about it on the podcast, especially Steph, and it happens every year, on the weekend of Father’s Day. It’s the largest independently owned comic convention in the United States, it’s Heroescon! Check it out!!