Doralya [my wife] and I left Port Orange in the Jack Carter mobile headed for Charlotte at approximately 11:30am on the day before the show. I had a free night at the Westin and so we decided to make a long weekend of it. My IPOD was full of enough music to get us there and back and we even had a little cooler of Diet Cokes, water and snacks. Life was good. My Garmin didn’t let me down and the weather was perfect. Once we arrived in Charlotte, Doralya dropped me off at the convention center so I could pick up my con pass and then we got our room.
After a bit of unpacking and freshening up, we decided to walk down to Mert’s Heart and Soul for dinner. If you like Soul food, then this is the place to go. Doralya had the fried catfish and I went with the traditional fried chicken. We both had cornbread [as good as cake], mac and cheese and I also had some greens. Doralya opted for lemonade and I had sweet tea. We were full of great food so I was thankful for a beautiful evening as we walked back to the Westin.
That’s Dan Panosian and Jeff Johnson, two of the founding members of Drink and Draw. I had a Jack Carter sketch commission set up with Dan. So his table was my first stop. Dan said that he’d sketched out a piece on the plane, but wasn’t happy with it. The way he described it was pretty cool, Carter holding a hand gun up and facing the viewer at an angle. Dan said he might just go ahead and give me the rough if he went with another idea. I was definitely cool with that. ; )
I asked Jeff to sketch in my Drink and Draw, Volume II sketchbook. Jeff put an awesome Viking warrior on the inside front cover to go with Dan’s equally cool Red Sonja and Dave Johnson’s creepy guy. I asked Jeff if he’d be interested in doing a Stallone sketch. Jeff agreed and did a very cool and on-point sketch of Sly as Cobra.
After setting up the sketch with Jeff, I decided to walk the con floor and see where everybody was. I’d also set up some sketches before the show with artists so picking them up was also on the list of things to do. Mike Torrance was at the show, but not set up at a table. He had some sketch cards for me: Rocky Balboa, Jack Carter, Barney Ross from The Expendables and Sly as John Spartan aka Demolition Man. I also had Mike do a Rawhide Kid card for my buddy, LittleJohn312. I had set up a Rocky sketch with Chris Brunner, who went above and beyond by giving me a piece with Rocky and Adrian! Chris is one of the good guys and his comic series with Jason LaTour and Rico Renzi, Loose Ends is gonna kill.
I also had set up two pieces with Robbi Rodriguez. The first piece I asked for was an iconic shot of Sly as Jack Carter. Robbi knew exactly what I was talking about and created a piece that just floored me. I liked it so much that I asked Robbi if he was up for another Stallone. He said he was and I told him to do what he wanted. Robbi decided to do Sly as Machine Gun Joe Viterbo from Death Race 2000. Robbi drew Machine Gun Joe standing on his car with a smoking machine gun and threw in the female co-pilot to boot. Robbi is the man! LittleJohn saw the sketches that Robbi was doing and jumped on board for a Snake Plissken.
LittleJohn312, his wife Patricia and my wife met for lunch in the convention center. The company was better than the food, and the food was a step up from most meals available at conventions. After lunch, LittleJohn312, Patricia and I made our way to the Comic Twart panel and Doralya decided to go out and enjoy Charlotte. Chris Sims moderated the Twart panel which consisted of Ron Salas, Dan Panosian, Dave Johnson, Declan Shalvey and Tom Fowler. The panel was a lot of fun as the artists all worked on Black Widow sketches as they took questions and shared anecdotes with the audience. The sketches were all later put in the Heroes Con auction. It’s cool that the Twartists took their show on the road. If you ever get a chance to see one, don’t miss it.
After the panel I made the rounds of the convention floor to see old pals, meet new artists and set up some sketches. Although Dave Wachter’s sketch list [photo above taken after he’d done my sketch] filled up quickly on Friday [and again on Saturday], he felt he could get me in on Saturday. He did and I got one of his best Stallone sketches yet. I spent the next couple of hours walking and chatting with Michael Golden, Andy Smith, Gene Gonzales [hiding behind his lil’ Punisher sketch below], Joe Pekar, Pat Broderick, Chris DiBari, Dustin Harbin, Casey Jones, Bob McLeod, Chris Moreno, Eric Skillman and others.
At 4pm, LittleJohn312, Patricia and I headed over to the Kickstarter panel. Dustin Harbin, Jay Potts and Jeremy Bastian answered audience questions and explained why their Kickstarter projects were successful. At 6pm I made sure I was at the Drink & Draw Social Club Panel. Dan Panosian, Dave Johnson and Jeff Johnson entertained the crowd and gave us a preview of what to expect at the Drink & Draw scheduled for that evening at Fuel.
That evening Doralya and I met up with LittleJohn312 and Patricia who’d saved us a table outside at Fuel. The place filled up inside and out with folks there to eat and participate in the Drink & Draw Social. Specially created Drink & Draw coaster and paper had been created for the event. Artists would draw whatever struck their fancy and then place it on a centrally located table where folks could buy the art for a donation. Chris Flick of Capes and Babes and Thomas Zahler of Love and Capes joined us at our table. I’d never met these guys before [they’re friends of LittleJohn] but they were a blast. Chris had my wife cracking up with his humor and enthusiasm for art. Thomas entertained us with a professional level William Shatner imitation. Not only could Thomas improv as Captain Kirk, he had enough material that he could literally take his act on the road. Before the evening was over, Chris and Thomas drew Stallone sketches after LittleJohn tipped them to my collection. Naturally I purchased both with donations to the cause. LittleJohn ended up with several pieces from the session. It was growing late, so we called it a night, with the knowledge that Saturday would be a busy day at the show…
Tune in tomorrow for more from Heroes Con 2011.