Heroes Con 2009 was an amazing show. There’s just something about the friendly, laid back atmosphere that runs through the Heroes convention that makes it so appealing. That and the guest list… and the panels… and the auction… and the costumes… and the…
What follows is a long, but abbreviated con report [as if THAT makes any sense]. If you just want to see the photos, then click here. Otherwise, read on, Leon…
I drove up to Charlotte the day before the show with a brief stop in Jacksonville to meet up with “The James”, Matt “Pecker” and “Sweet” Will. We took two cars [in order to accommodate “The James” protein shakes, vitamin pills, yogurt, cheese, water and other supplements — the dude has gone hard core after losing nearly 100 pounds in the past year]. The 6 plus hour ride went by quickly as we rotated who was in each car.
We stayed at the Hilton directly across the street from the convention center. Hal, who had reserved the room, was already there. After the normal amount of visiting, blowing up air mattresses [and popping one – don’t ask], we decided it was time for lights out. Of course we didn’t go to sleep and instead got on the topic of strange sketch requests — which led to a long riff about a mythical guy who wanted “Granny Goodness” drawn the way he likes her. Yes, it was all silly and we’d been up for far too many hours, but I can’t remember when I’ve laughed so hard. The laughter would die down and then someone would start up with “I want ya to draw Granny Goodness…” and then we’d all be howling again. Guess you had to be there.
Friday at the show I was able to pick up sketchbooks [with head sketches] from Francesco Francavilla and Gene Gonzales. I also picked up a model sheet that Dick Giordano had drawn prior to working on the Demolition Man comic adaptation. I saw Craig Rousseau and dropped off reference for a sketchbook sketch. I visited with Evan Bryce and gave him reference for a sketch. I met Chris Samnee for the first time and entered his Heroes Initiative Charity Raffle. I got autographs from: Eric Powell in my Goon: Chinatown hardcover, Ed Brubaker in my Sleeper trade and Ivan Brandon signed my Viking #1. I talked a bit with Steve Niles, but he’d already signed my novels. I also made it a point to stop by and say hello to all of the guests that I knew. It’s always great to see them again. Everyone said that they were having a great show.
“Superman” Dave set up dinner for us at the Fox and Hound. I’d never eaten there, but enjoyed the food and company. In addition to “Superman” Dave, there was “The James”, “Sweet” Will, Matt “Pecker”, Zack and his soon-to-be-wife, Gary McKee, Jason Walker, Matt Haloub, Tom Fleming and at least 8 or ten others that I didn’t know. On the walk back to the hotel, we ran into Evan Bryce. He had his IPhone and showed me a photo of the sketch that he’d done for me. Whoa! Evan is a really talented artist, and I was expecting good things, but he went beyond my expectations. I’m saving the scan of Evan’s Stallone sketch for a separate post soon to come.
On Saturday I set up sketch commissions with Robbi Rodriguez, Andy Kuhn, and Jeff Wamester. I picked up my Craig Rousseau sketchbook/sketch, and Evan Bryce sketch. “The James” was impressed with Evan’s piece and so I introduced him to Evan. “The James” being the sketch master that he is, set up a watercolor commission with Evan. I bought Jason Walker’s sketchbook and he threw in a Demolition Man headsketch. When I wasn’t visiting with artists around the convention floor and taking photos, I hung out with Jason and Gary as they worked on their commissions. By accident I ran into Mike and Sandy who put on the Florida SuperCon. They were there supporting Heroes and talking to artists about a possible appearance at the next FSC.
Dinner was going to be at a Mexican joint across from the convention center. Unfortunately it was full and the place was hot. Since some of us wanted to hit the auction, we decided to split up. I ate at Fuel [a Heroes Con tradition] along with Matt Haloub, Zack & his better half, and Tom Fleming. Tom is into MMA and we had a great discussion during dinner. He’s really a funny and cool guy. I was glad I got to get to know him a bit better at this show.
We then headed over to the auction. Eric Cante’s auction piece was stunning, but I had a feeling that the Frank Cho painting would break the previous Heroes Con Auction Record of $4,200+. I took several pictures and decided to tweet results of key pieces from the auction floor. The Cho piece ended up going for 5 grand… and so did the Mark Brooks’ Scarlet Witch painting! Evan Bryce came in and we talked for a bit. I stuck around to the end of the auction since I wanted to see if Rico would win the Andrew Robinson painting. I was pulling for him, but unfortunately he didn’t get it. I was happy to learn that Dexter Vines was the winner — it’s always cool when someone you know wins.
Matt Haloub and I headed back to the Hilton. When we entered the room the place was empty. Everyone was still out partying. Matt asked me my plans for the last day of the show. I said, “’The James’ still has a couple of pieces to pick up and that it would depend on when they were ready as to when we left. “The James” is really excited about them.” At that point Hal came out of the bathroom laughing. He had heard us speaking and he thought I was “The James” and couldn’t figure out why he was speaking about himself in third person. Of course that led to each of us speaking in third person.
Soon after “The James” and crew showed up at the room. Matt Haloub called it a night and headed to his hotel. “The James” was feeling pretty woozy and conked out… followed by Will. It seemed like a good idea and so it was lights out. I was expecting some “Granny Goodness” talk, but instead we got on a riff which began… “So You’ve Been Dating This Chick for Six Months…” she would then proceed to provide you with some information about herself and the question was, was the info a deal breaker? Some were easy [she has a vitamin B deficiency] but most were strange and totally funny. Again, it was one of those things where you just had to be there.
Sunday, as I was going over my list, I realized that there were two artists that I really wanted to see, but up to this point had missed. Otis Frampton wasn’t there [I later learned that his father had passed away. My condolences to Otis and his family] but Derek Fridolfs was. I walked over with Hal and “The James” to see if Derek was available for a sketch. He was. I got him to do his take on Cosmo from “Paradise Alley”, “The James” and Matt liked Derek’s work and so they got sketches too! James got a sketchbook and a Batman sketch and Matt got a two figure commission of Zatanna and The Demon. I also set up a sketch with Dave Wachter who said he’d have to finish it and mail it to me. [Dave has already sent me a scan of the piece — he went above and beyond on it since he didn’t have it ready at the show!]
Finally we said our goodbyes and packed out gear. It had been a great show. As I was pulling up to pay for parking [$18 a day times three days] I couldn’t imagine how the weekend could have been any better and that’s when the parking attendant waved us on through with no charge!
I am already looking forward to Heroes Con 2010.