Shelton Drum‘s Heroes Con 2004 was a blast. I arrived at the Westin, [truly one of the finest and most reasonably priced hotels anywhere thanks to the Heroes Con rate] at 10:30AM on Friday. The show opened at 11 and I was anxious to get in.
As we were unloading the car I saw Cully Hamner and Casey Jones who were also getting ready to head over.
Big John Beatty was able to get me a guest pass since I was helping him with his art and thanks to Shelton, my son, Mike and I were able to get right in. John‘s table was next to tables occupied by Craig Hamilton, Neil Vokes, Michael Avon Oeming, Arron Lopestri and Andy Smith. We were in good company.
Mike and I took a quick trip around the con to get our bearings and ran into several fans including Steven Lee [who was wearing a StalloneZone t-shirt! Thanks Steven!], James Howell, Hal, Robert Jewell, Kwan, The ComicDude and others. I saw that Tony Harris was setting up and took him a StalloneZone shirt since I ran out before he completed my sketch at AtlantaCon. Gus Vasquez told me that he’d have my Stallone piece on Saturday.
I then made my way to Jason Pearson‘s table. Only two other people were ahead of me so I felt pretty confident that I’d get a sketch if Jason didn’t mind drawing Stallone. Jason was running late, but luckily “The Big Man” had his portable dvd player and entertained us with a history channel dvd on comics. Jason arrived and when it was my turn I asked him about doing a Stallone piece. Jason said that he wasn’t real good at likenesses, but I explained that I wanted HIS take on Sly. He said he’d give it a try and that I should bring back my reference material at the end of the day since he wanted to work on it in his hotel room. Cool!
Next was Michael Avon Oeming‘s table. I picked up his sketchbook [a bargain at five bucks]. Michael had already turned out a couple of cool sketches and I asked if I could get on his list. He said that he wasn’t real good at likenesses [where had I heard that before?] and I told him that I wanted HIS take on Sly. He looked at my portfolio of Stallone sketches and said he’d like to give “Nighthawks” a shot and that I should check back in an hour or so.
Then it was back to Beatty‘s table where he was working on a Punisher commission. Craig Hamilton had arrived with his lovely lady,and he was sketching. Craig‘s amazing. Not only is he a super talented artist, but he puts a lot of thought into his work. For each of his convention sketches Craig draws roughs and really thinks about the character. Not just what the character looks like or what kind of costume he/she wears, but how they would sit or stand and what kind of attitude they would project. I loved hearing Craig talk to fans and having the opportunity to watch him sketch all weekend. Craig has a broad knowledge and appreciation for all types of art. You just know I had to ask to get on his list! Craig said that he’d like to draw Sly from “Oscar” since he has a real affinity for the time period [and he really liked the movie]!
As Friday was winding down I picked up my sketch from Michael Avon Oeming who did a great job [and I think that it does look like Sly] and dropped off my reference material for Jason Pearson.
Several of us, actually about 20, had decided to walk over to Uno’s for dinner. My wife and two sons, Big Beatty, James Howell, Steven Lee, Robert Jewell, Gary McGee, Jason WalkerGary and Big Beatty… and believe it or not Gary was wilder. It was about 10:30 when we finished up with dinner so it was back to the hotel for a little visiting and then to the room for some sleep. and others made the trip. Because our group was so large it took a while for them to get us in and even then we were split into two groups. And of course my group was the rowdy one thanks to
As the con was gettting ready to open on Saturday I found myself in line for some breakfast at the concession stand with Michael Avon Oeming. He said that he met several StalloneZone fans on Friday [they saw him working on the Sly sketch]. Michael offered to buy me breakfast! I thanked him, and instead offered to buy his breakfast! As it ended up, we both bought our own eats, but what a cool guy. I’d heard good things about Michael and he lived up to his rep of being “one of the good guys.”
I spent Saturday alternating between Beatty‘s table and walking around the show to talk to fans and pros. I was able to spend a bit of time with or at least say hi to Kelsey Shannon [Beatty‘s son!], Cully Hamner, Brian Stelfreeze, Jeff Parker, Adam Hughes and Allison Sohn, Phil Noto, Tony Harris, Eric Powell, Casey Jones, Tommy Lee Edwards and so many others.
Gus Vasquez was able to get me my sketch before he had to fly out to the set of Sin City! He gave me two characters [Rocky nailing Clubber Lang] and it was definitely worth the wait
Neil Vokes and I had fun conversations about movies [horror flicks, re-makes, B-movies], comics, and more. Neil is a cool guy and I had a blast hanging with him. Neil’s project The Wicked West has the tagline “What would happen if Josey Wales rode into Salem’s Lot”… it’s a great concept and the art is right on. It’s going to rock! In the meantime you might want to check out Neil’s Parliment of Justice [with Michael Avon Oeming] or Black Forest. It was also cool to see Neil‘s apppreciation for other artists. Neil keeps a sketchbook and was excited when Eric Powell contributed a killer piece! [Michael Oeming also keeps a Lord of the Rings sketchbook from other artists!]
I checked in with Jason Pearson. He had sketched out my Stallone piece and had decided to do Rocky hitting the meat. It was looking great. The big beefy Rocky punching the beef! LOL!
Dinner Saturday night was at Fuel for some pizza or subs. This time it was Beatty, James Howell, Steven Lee, Hal and others. After dinner we headed back to the hotel and spent an hour or so in the lobby talking with fans and pros. Then a bunch of us headed up to James and Hal‘s room to look at their portfolios and latest acquisitions.
On Sunday Jason had my Stallone piece ready. Several people came up to me and told me it was done and looked great. When I picked it up I saw that they were right. Jason Pearson is such a talented guy.
Craig Hamilton was not going to be able to get to my piece before the end of the show. He offered to do a take home piece but part of the joy of Craig‘s work is watching his process so I decided to wait… I may be able to up to DragonCon later this year.
As you can see from this picture Craig and Big Beatty hit it off pretty well!
I had been by Tommy Lee Edwards‘ table. He was doing some really cool sketches and I hoped that I’d be able to get on his list. Luckily he could fit me in. Tommy and I talked about which character he would do… he wasn’t sure and so I suggested Jack Carter if he couldn’t decide on one. I went back to Beatty’s table and told him I had the hook-up with Tommy.
Beatty was stoked. He’s a big Tommy Lee fan and so we walked over. It turns out that Tommy likes Beatty‘s work as well. We all talked for a bit and then Tommy said I should check back in a little while. When I did, I found that Tommy had started to do Deke from “Nighthawks” but then remembered that I suggested Jack Carter and so he changed it to Carter. Man, I can’t tell you how much I love this piece. The energy and colors and… just look at it! Beautiful!
The auction was a lot of fun. So many artists donated work to help support the con. Some of the highlights included Phil Noto‘s painting of “The Bride” from “Kill Bill,” Brian Stelfreeze‘s painting of Mary Jane, Mike Wieringo‘s huge Fantastic Four piece, Craig Hamilton‘s Fairey [done in crayon — you’d have to see it to belive how nice it was!], Alison Sohn‘s Harliquinn, and many others.
Believe it or not Big Beatty was even recruited to serve as one of the auctioneers with Tim Townsend!
As you can probably tell, if you’ve read this far, it was another great show. We make Heroes Con part of our annua; family vacation — it’s that much fun. If you haven’t ever attended you should give it some thought. Next year Heroes will be on June 24-26, 2005.
Maybe I’ll see you there!