Heroes Con 2006

Heroes Convention 2006 was my eighth year at the show. (It might be longer, but I know it’s been at least that many). Due to lots of industry support in response to Wizard’s attempted poaching of the weekend dates, this was the biggest the show’s been in a long while, with an extensive guest list, including the usually reclusive Warren Ellis.

I expected to enjoy the show even more than usual as a result, but that wasn’t the case, and I’m still not sure why. Probably just a bad mood on my part, so please take the following with a grain of salt.

The increased attention meant some of the things I liked in the past were negatively affected. The show seemed to fragment: you could pay attention to the indy comic creators, or you could spend all your time going to DC or Marvel panels and waiting in line for their big names, or you could do nothing but shop bargain bins or buy old comics. I felt the overall family feel of the show, the way in the past you could easily move from one to another of the above with others whose interests also crossed lines, wasn’t as strong as in previous years.

At the booth

The best part of the show for me was seeing friends. The retailer whom KC and I were helping out got engaged. His fiancée’s birthday was Friday, so we went out to dinner with them and some other friends, which was fabulous. Robert Ullman showed me how he gets killed in Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre #2. I bumped into, as I do every year, some old old friends from Usenet days: Pat, Kevin (whose Suicide Squid shirt I unfortunately didn’t get to see), and Brian. I got to say hi to Colleen Doran, who brought delicious fudge to sample.

Here’s a picture of KC (making the rabbit ears), Marc Nathan (whose booth it was), and Steve Conley (showing off a pinup he was working on for Supernatural Law).

I only bought two things at the show, Peach Girl Book 7 and Ben Towle’s Midnight Sun. Oh, and driving back, we bought a bunch of Cheerwine for a local friend who loves the cherry soda. They were tickled by the surprise.

Charming and garrulous B. Clay Moore signed my Hawaiian Dick: Byrd of Paradise, and I got my copy of Human Target: Living in Amerika signed by Cliff Chiang. I especially wanted that one because it’s got his behind-the-scenes section on how he creates each page. We talked about the Baltimore Convention, coming in September; I hope he’s able to attend.

Warren Ellis signed Stormwatch: Force of Nature, but to do that required an hour-and-a-half wait in line, and I wasn’t able to tell him what that particular book meant to me because of the hundred people waiting after me. I’ll wind up sending him an email instead, which I could have done regardless of the signature. (Short version: I read that series at a time when I believed that superhero comics couldn’t effectively deal with adult concerns in a mature fashion. I’ve since revised my position to think that it’s very rare for them to do so, but it can be done.)

I forget how privileged I’ve been, sometimes. While near the beginning of the Ellis line, Joe Quesada walked up to say hi, and the two wanted to swap cell phone numbers to catch up later. Neither one had paper, so I offered a piece of my notepad… which was one of KC’s old office pads, so it had a big DC bullet at the top. This made me giggle, that I was handing that over to Mr. Marvel.

While waiting in that line, I struck up a conversation with a fan named Michael. This was his first comic convention, and his enthusiasm and energy was quite the tonic. It’s refreshing to see through new eyes, and he provided a great perspective on how exciting it was.

I only went to half a panel, because they were either focused on making indy comics or DC and Marvel’s latest PR blitz. (The half I went to was part of my laughable attempt to report fairly on the show — I couldn’t overcome my disinterest in superhero comic “news” to stick around.) It wasn’t much of a show for news, anyway, since companies were saving their big announcements for bigger shows or those that come with their own magazine.

Me at Heroes Con 2006

Programming has never been Heroes’ strong suit, though. As a show large enough to attract big-name guests but not widely attended on a national scale, the appeal is the ability to talk with people one-on-one when they’d normally be swamped at other shows. That wasn’t as much the case this time. The increased presence at the show of more higher-ups from DC and Marvel meant there was more business being done. That’s good for pros, not so much for people who just want to visit. I missed catching up with at least one friend because every time I saw him, he was talking to his editor, and I didn’t want to get in the way of work opportunities. Also, I don’t drink much, so hanging out in bars all night doesn’t appeal, although I guess that was the best way to spend much time with people you want to catch up with.

I did quite enjoy talking to B. Clay Moore, Jeremy Haun, Jim Demonakos, and Kelly Sue DeConnick for various interviews, and I thank them for their time. I also got to meet Kalinara in person, which was fun — she was younger than I expected!

In closing, as promised, here’s a recent picture of me. It was the first one taken on my new digital camera — the guys at Image took it to show me how to use the device. I was lucky that Jim had used a similar model, or I would have spent the whole show with a camera I didn’t know how to use!


14 Responses to “Heroes Con 2006”

  1. Leigh Walton Says:

    Johanna, I was hoping to meet you at the show but for one reason or another it never happened. Thanks for the report!

    I tend to share your apathy for superhero comics, but my two con-mates brought a lot of contagious enthusiasm: one was a DC fan who was very new to comics and thrilled about “52,” while the other was a Grant Morrison devotee who dove into the dealers’ boxes looking for obscure issues of “DC Secret Origins” or whatever. Combined with my own enthusiasm for the contemporary indie scene (I was flipping out over Rick Remender, Jaime Hernandez, David Mack, and Danny Vozzo, not to mention Warren), we made a pretty fun team.

    Not bad for my first con! Hope to see you at another one sometime.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Sorry I missed you! Glad you and your friends had such a good time. Those are the great kinds of stories to hear.

  3. kalinara Says:

    It was nice to meet you too! :-) I had fun!

  4. James Schee Says:

    Aww that Owly shirt is so cool looking!

    I like your hair too, shorter than usual and you have bangs, but nice. Very good to see what you and KC (I thought he was giving the peace sign, or maybe the English version of the finger:) ) look like, after not having seen you in a few years. Y’all look like you’re doing well.

    Anyway that story about the DC stationary made me chuckle too. I did wonder if the increased amount of big names might make it a little less even(slow?) pace of a show.

    Heroes had been a pretty good launching point before though. There was the Wayward Tour and the Gorilla Comics launch party, but yeah mostly it is just more of a Q&A show for panels.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Sadly, the Owly shirt now needs to be replaced due to an over-enthusiastic consumption of munchies with marinara sauce yesterday evening. I’m hoping they have more at Chicago.

    I’m glad you liked the stationery story. I thought it might be too in-jokey.

    Yeah, I remember Gorilla — I still wear the Heroes shirt commemorating their launch. But what was Wayward?

  6. James Schee Says:

    Ah the dangers of eating messy stuff while wearing slightly harder to replace clothes.

    Wasn’t the Wayward Tour the name of the then lesser known creators Linda Medley, Marc Crilley and… darn I can’t remeber now tour. Or was that the one where the creators of Galaxion, Thieves & Kings and the one with the intergalactic zoo?

    Gosh my memory is bad.:)

  7. Johanna Says:

    The tour with Jill Thompson, Stan Sakai, Jeff Smith, and those you mention was the Trilogy Tour. I don’t remember what Tara Tallan, Mark Oakely, and the guys behind Xeno’s Arrow called theirs, though. Could have been Wayward. :)

  8. James Schee Says:

    Ah yes, that first tour was going to be my first Heroes (and ever con) but I had to have surgery that year and missed it. The next year was the one with Tara and co., that I did make. (and since I got to have dinner with them, it was a big deal for me:) )

    Heh strange how memories can blend together a few more years and I might call you KC and KC Joe or something.:)

  9. Lea Says:

    Finally I have a face to go with the writing.
    Now, what are you laughing at?

  10. Johanna Says:

    I’m laughing at the fact that the first picture with my new camera is of me because I had to be shown how to use it! I felt so stereotypically tech-dumb.

  11. James Schee Says:

    What kind of camera do you have? I’ve been looking for one, but finding one that is Mac compatible has been harder than I would have thought.

  12. Shawn Fumo Says:

    Cool.. nice to finally put a name to a face Johanna. :)

    James, my Sony DSC style camera is detected as a normal USB drive by my PC. After doing a quick google search, it seems as though at least some of the Sonys are Mac compatible. I think you’d have a good shot anyway..

  13. James Schee Says:

    Thanks Shawn, I’ll check that brand out.

    I know Kodak has one, as a friend had one, but it was a bit much for what I plan to use it for.

  14. Johanna Says:

    This one was a Kodak. I had to go to their website to get the current drivers, but it was easy to set up and get working on my Mac.




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