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Heroes Con Report – Saturday

Saturday

Saturday is usually the busiest day at most shows and this was going to be no exception.  My goal was to get all of my sketches by the end of the day so that Doralya and I could head back home [a 7 – 8 hour drive] at a decent time on Sunday.  So I spent the morning setting up sketches with Billy Fowler, Rob Holstein, Chris Schweizer, and Evan Bryce.  That freed me up to circulate the con floor and con art auction area.  So here are some con photos and comments…

One of the great things about Heroes Con is that on Saturday night there is always an art auction.  During the day it’s not uncommon to see artists in a special area working on the pieces that they’ll donate to the show.  Above is Adam Hughes just starting on his painting which went for an all-time Heroes Con record of 12 grand!

That’s Billy Fowler and his lady. Last year I met Billy and got his really cool take on Sly as Jack Carter.  I wanted to get another piece from Billy and he agreed and gave me his on-point take of Sly as Rocky.

Although I’d never met Chris Schweizer, I’d discovered his art through a link for Heroes Con.  I really liked his style and was delighted to discover that Chris was a very approachable and enthusiastic artist.  He really took his time interacting with folks who stopped by his table.  I picked up his art book and he threw in his take on Sly as Freddy from “Cop Land.”

Robin Holstein was another artist that I discovered from a link for Heroes Con.  I really liked Robin’s pen and ink work.  He agreed to do a sketch of Sly as Rambo.  When I saw the results, I immediately asked if he had room on his sketchlist to do another Stallone.  He did and did an equally cool riff on Sly as Jack CarterLittleJohn saw what Robin had done for me and immediately signed up to get Robin’s take on Little John from Robin Hood.

LittleJohn, Patricia and I ended up at the Inkwell Awards PanelDan Panosian kicked off the panel and then Tim Townsend [pictured above] served as the host.  It was cool seeing Kevin Nolan there and getting some well-deserved recognition.  It was also a kick to see that my best friend, John Beatty, was nominated for an award.

That’s a shot of David Williams aka Brohawk working on his Spider-Man painting which ended up being won by Adam Hughes at the auction.   Andrew Robinson is working on his barbarian painting which turned out to be my favorite piece in the auction.  Brian Stelfreeze did a really sweet painting of Scooby-Doo and Daphne to support the show.  Eric Canate worked up this really cool Avengers piecePhil Noto checked in with his take on SupergirlTommy Lee Edwards turned his brush towards the Rocketeer.  Not all pieces that make it into the auction are paintings.  Some very cool pen and ink art also made the cut.

Doralya and I joined LittleJohn312 and Patricia at the auction.  I brought Rico his bigger-than-life-size Mr. T and Rocky Balboa standees. Rico seemed truly happy to get them.  This year the auction moved at a much quicker pace, but after a few hours, Doralya and I were beat and knew we had a long drive waiting for us in the morning.  We said our good-byes and headed to the Westin.

This was one of the best Heroes Cons ever.  I know I say that every year, but it’s true.  Doralya had a blast enjoying the city while I was at the con and then meeting up with LittleJohn, his wife and others for meals and special events.  Doralya is already making plans to go next year.  Truth be told, so am I.

Heroes Con Report – Thursday & Friday

Thursday

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.

Friday

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 CarterRobbi 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 CharlotteChris 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 PanelDan 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.

A Preview of my Heroes Con Report

I spent this past weekend at HeroesCon and had a blast.  I will do a proper con report later in the week with some photos and more details.  Each year Heroes is a lot of fun, but this year was especially so.  I attended panels, got several new sketches for my Stallone theme collection, discovered some amazing new [at least to me] artists, got to visit with old friends, attended a Drink & Draw session hosted by Urbanbarbarian Dan Panosian, Rev. Dave Johnson and Jeff Johnson [the talents who created D&D], hung out with my wife, LittleJohn and his bride, got the inside scoop on a long-running joke played on Mr. Mean Green Jeans himself, and so much more.

If you’re at all interested in Heroes tune in this weekend!

Mick Foley and… Me

The other day I posted about Mick Foley being at Heroes Con this year.  One of my goals for the show was to meet Mick and get him to autograph my copy of Have a Good Day.  As I wrote here, it wasn’t to be… or at least that’s the way it appeared.

It was about an hour or so before the show was to end for the day.  Several of us were going to go to dinner, so I decided to head back to the room at bit early to freshen up.  As I was leaving the convention center to go to the escalator Mick Foley and I crossed paths.  There was only one other person around so I decided to go for it.

“Hey Mick, any chance I could get an autograph?” I asked.  Mick answered, “I’m going to the table to sign now.”  “Ok, I’ll head back in,” I replied.  Mick then asked, “Are you a guest of the show?”  “No, my buddy is.  I’m here with him.”  Mick smiled and said, “Yeah, I’ll sign for you.”  I thanked him and pulled out my copy of Have a Good DayMick asked me my name and signed it to me.  He then posed for the photo above.

It was a great ending to a great day.  So thanks to Mick Foley for being so cool and thanks to John Beatty for having me as his guest.  Good times.

Heroes Con 2010, Part 3

Can you believe it’s already time for Part 3 of my report on HEROES CON 2010?  So today we kick off with a photo of Andy KuhnAndy’s blog is a daily stop on my internet travels.  I love his bold sense of design and unique art style.  I was fortunate to get a sketch from Andy at Heroes — he riffed on Sly as Jack Carter and I plan to post it soon.

I first met Chris Stevens at a con last year.  Chris was there as a fan although his work had been making a big splash over at Deviant Art.  When I heard that Chris was going to debut his first sketchbook at Heroes this year, I knew I had to get one.  I pre-ordered and Chris even included a headsketch of Sly as Jack Carter.  [As you probably guessed, I’ll post it in the near future.]

You’re probably wondering why Laura Martin, the best colorist in the business, is in such a great mood.  You would be too, if you were so good at your job that if someone looked up what you do, there’d be a picture of you.  Don’t believe me?  Click on this link: Best Colorist in Comics.

What’d I tell you?

Heroes Con 2010, Part 2

Okay, here we are with Part 2 of my report on HEROES CON 2010.  No, that’s not Lois Lane posing with Superman.  It’s actually John Beatty’s wife, Bella. You gotta give her credit since she made the drive up with John and me.  Surviving THAT trip would take superhuman effort on the part of anyone.

That’s Bella posing with The Black Panther and Captain America.  Or maybe it’s them posing with her.  You can make that call.

Take a close look at the photo above.  Why does Ron Salas have the surprised look of someone who just sat in something?  Now swing your sights over to Joel Carrol.  Why does Joel have the satisfied smile of a man thinking “mission accomplished”?

Again, you make the call.

Heroes Con 2010, Part I

It’s hard to believe that HEROES CON 2010 was three weeks ago.  Usually within the week following HEROES, I post my con report and photos.  Of course, most years, the con is held later in the year and so when I return home I still have at least a week of vacation left.  This year HEROES was held earlier in the month and I didn’t have the luxury of vacation when I returned home.

Enough with the excuses.  In an effort to get my con report and photos up before next year’s HEROES CON, I will post three pictures a day along with some comments.

That’s Chris DiBari.  He’s worked on some pretty neat comics including adaptations of The Warriors and The Crazies (especially cool since Chris is a big movie buff).  Currently Chris is working on the very well received western comic Pale HorseChris is also a Stallone fan and he did a cool take on Sly from Nighthawks which I will post in the near future.

That’s Jay Potts, the creator of the very hip blaxplotation web comic World of Hurt.  As you can see from the photo above, Jay rocked a Jack Carter sketch for me.  I’ll post a scan soon.

Heroes Con Countdown

In just about exactly 72 hours, I’ll swing by and pick up my best bud, John Beatty, and we’ll be off to Heroes ConJohn will be a guest there, sketching and signing autographs for his fans.  Although I’ll hang out at his table and help keep the good times running, I’ll also spend time on the other side of the aisle as a fan, visiting other artists to get books signed and some new sketches for my collection.

Heroes is always a blast.  I can’t even begin to imagine how much fun it will be this year.  The guest list has never been bigger.  In addition to all of the regular comic superstars that always attend, this year we’ll also get to see folks like Tim Sale and Mike Mignola for the first time.  As LittleJohn312 said today, “The guest list keeps growing, but my budget doesn’t.”   Amen to that.  My plan this year is the same as last: get the most bang for my [limited] buck.  So I’ll be looking for sketchbooks with head sketches and avoiding the superstars.

If you’re going to be at Heroes, you can usually find me hanging out at John Beatty’s table [#721 in artist’s alley].  If I’m not there, I’ll be the guy looking to score some Stallone sketches.  Either way, I’m not too hard to find.

Dave Wachter’s Cosmo

This week we have Dave Wachter’s take on Sly as Cosmo Carboni from “Paradise Alley”. I’d never seen Dave’s art until this year at HeroesCon. I immediately got on board for the sketch above. Since then I’ve picked up two more small pieces from Dave. He’s talented and very reasonably priced. You can see more of Dave’s art at his site. Plan to spend a while!

Heroes Here I Come!

Tomorrow I’m heading to  Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina. Most folks refer to it as the best comic convention on the East Coast.  Most folks would be right.  From Friday, June 19th to Sunday, the 21st I’ll see if the praise still holds true.  My guess is, it will.

I plan to tweet updates from the show and post a major con report next week.  Until then…

Heroes Once Again

I missed out on Heroes Con last year.  Normally, we plan the family vacation so that we’re in Charlotte the weekend of the show.  It just couldn’t be worked out last year.  Up until a week ago, I thought I’d miss the convention again.  But thanks to some buddies who’ve invited me to join them, I’ll be there when the doors open on Friday, June 19th and plan to hang around until they throw us out on Sunday, the 21st.

I’m excited because I’ll get to hang with a group of friends I haven’t seen in a while – “The James”, Hal, Will, Matt, Jason, Gary,,, I’ll get to see some artists/writers whose work I love – Ed Brubaker, Otis Frampton, Chris Brunner, Eric Canate, Evan Bryce… aw, you can check out the guest list here for yourself.  Then if you get the urge, make plans to come to the show.  [ I’d hate for you to miss out.  Trust me, I know how that feels, and it ain’t fun.]

3 Less Heroes

Shelton Drum’s Heroes Convention is without a doubt one of the best comic book – media shows anywhere. Over the years longtime ZONErs have read about my adventures at Heroes Con meeting favorite artists, writers, as well as friends old and new. It was always a blast seeing who was going to add their work to my Stallone Theme Gallery or who was going to join the crowd for dinner or whose room would become “the spot” for the evening. And that’s not even taking into account the art auction, book signings, costumes, etc.
Most years the convention would be held on a date that worked for the entire Zablo family vacation. Other times my oldest son, Mike [who is into conventions] and I would share a room with John Beatty. Unfortunately this year the show is being held on a date that doesn’t work out for either plan.

Still, if YOU are able to attend the show, you should. I can guarantee you’ll have a great time. Even if Beatty, Mike and I aren’t there to add to the fun.

Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

It’s never to early to start talking up one of the best comic book convention’s in the world! Heroes Con, in its 26th year, is stronger than ever. This year’s guest list continues to grow. Despite the impressive size of the guest list, the show retains a small con feel. Due to a packed schedule of activities, there’s something for everyone. The show is perfect for families [in fact, for years we’ve made Heroes a part of our family vacation]. If you have any interest in comics, art, or just having a great weekend, then you should come to the con!