Heroes Con 2008 Report

I had a great time at Heroes Con 2008. It was a terrific show, plenty to do but a comfortable, laid back mood and lots of nice people.

I’ve already talked about my experience on the comic journalism panel. I also played fan at this show, getting a bunch of stuff signed from the talented creators present. (Picture idea stolen from Chris Sims‘ con report.)

Books signed at Heroes Con

Turns out I have a first printing of Danielle Corsetto’s Girls With Slingshots, which you can tell by the hat on the cactus you can’t see in this picture, because I put Liz Prince’s Delayed Replays over top of that part of the cover. I picked up the Chiggers hardcover from Hope Larson. Because it’s covered in paper, instead of sketching inside the book, she actually drew on the book itself, under the dust jacket. Secret sketch!

I brought my Midnight Sun by Ben Towle’s table, where we had a great conversation about reviewing and expectations. (I’m sorry I couldn’t convince the other visitor at the time to buy the book — I think he would have enjoyed it.) I also had a terrific conversation with Jim Rugg (The Plain Janes, Street Angel — none of his work is pictured because we had such a good time talking I forgot to get anything signed), who has done a lot of thinking about the industry and where it might be going. That’s the cool thing about this show — the relaxed feel allows you to spend time chatting combined with people with a wide range of experience and background due to the presence of the Indie Island area.

I wish that I’d had more of a chance to catch up with Jeff Parker, but he seemed busy (which is always good to see — I don’t want to get in the way of people doing the work they came for). I did keep bumping into Max Ink, oddly.

Comics from Heroes Con

I found some new comics to try, too. My most surprising/pleasing discovery was seeing Stephanie Gladden at the show! I adored her Hopster’s Tracks series, even though it ended after its second issue back in 2000. She had a wicked cool Girls of Monster Paradise sketchbook. Monster Paradise, it seems, is where all those monsters drag all those girls they kidnap in the 50s movies. It’s a happenin’ place with music, surfing, and fun. And it’s a cartoon waiting to happen. (For information on getting your own copy, email Stephanie at hoptrack at aol.com.)

I hadn’t seen Ben Towle’s Farewell, Georgia: Four Folktales before, but it looks cool. I’m looking forward to Superior Showcase‘s latest issue, and I always enjoy talking with the Students of the Unusual guys. Lapses in Judgment is a collection of Kidnapped by Gnomes, a webcomic I didn’t previously know about.

Last, on the right are four issues of Diary of Night. Turns out that the writer is Will Allred. Last decade, he and I were on a Legion of Super-Heroes mailing list together, and now he’s writing comics. So how could I not check them out?

Minicomics from Heroes Con

Let’s not forget minicomics! Robert Ullman had a new one, Crustacean Frustration, a wordless slapstick about a chef trying to serve lobster that takes a distinctly strange turn. Vito Delsante brought buttons featuring head shots of various cast members from FCHS along with this minicomic preview. Rachel Freire’s DeCarlo-inspired art is wonderfully suited to this high school webcomic strip. (This seemed to be the year of little pin-back buttons, smaller than a quarter. I also got two sets of Owly buttons, which were just adorable.)

I haven’t tried Papercutter yet, or Mila and the Prince of Space, which is by Evan G. Palmer, intern to Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley. Creeping Terror Tales is the latest by Sandy Jarrell, whom I’m always happy to see every year at the show. Games & Dames is a webcomic mini that I’ll be talking more about later.

Comic Queen

In addition to the comics, I almost bought a t-shirt from Rich Faber, who had this cute Drama Queen image on royal purple, but the sizes didn’t work out right.

Heidi reports that several art comic publishers had poor sales, which doesn’t surprise me. There were a couple of tables with lots and lots of similar-looking books with minimal or no signage. I found it confusing and overwhelming, and I’ve heard of these guys. It’s not the kind of art style or approach that will go over well at a mainstream convention, as opposed to a show more focused on do-it-yourself/art objects. I would recommend providing more guidance to the browsing customer, signs and labels and more space so that it’s easier to pick out individual items with the eye.

The best part of this year was getting the chance to have dinner both nights with different sets of old friends. What a wonderful chance to catch up over a meal. Saturday, the conversation spawned both the internet and how people behave (a long-time interest of mine) and bootleg DVD dealers (which allowed me to educate people who’d never heard about Automan). Seriously, the question did arise, if the program rules say “we don’t condone the sale of bootleg videos,” why were there 3 or 4 tables that sold nothing but homemade DVDs? You know the kind, the ones with the complete Batman TV series and imports of either British or Japanese television shows. I’m not knocking it — I bought a couple of things myself. I’m just wondering why the discrepancy.

Next Heroes Con is June 19-21, 2009. Mark your calendars now! Announced guests include Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Jeff Smith. See you there!

10 Responses to “Heroes Con 2008 Report”

  1. odessa steps magazine Says:

    Coolest thing I learned from this article: Bryan and Hope are successful enough to have an intern. Yay them~!

    I enjoyed the two years I set up at Heroes and wished I lived close enough to go again sometime.

  2. Max Ink Says:

    Wow, Johanna! You took home quite a haul. (I find it interesting that I picked up a lot of the same books you did. Obviously we both have good taste.)

    I had so much fun that I plunked down the $300 and bought a table in the small press area for next year. I missed out this year on getting a table (sold out) so I had the chance to do a lot of walking around meeting & greeting, buying & trading, attending panels and so forth (which is why we happened to bump into each other over the course of the weekend).

  3. Johanna Says:

    Oh, cool, glad you’re coming back next year! I look forward to seeing what new comics you have.

  4. Chuck Says:

    I picked up Papercutter issues 5 & 6 at HeroesCon, and they are both very good. I also picked up Chiggers, which i read last night, and it’s amazing.

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  6. Ben Says:

    Hey Johanna, thanks for the mention. We ended up selling about 20 copies of our Games and Dames mini. Not bad for a first time printing with little to no marketing. Did you get a chance to visit the site yet?

  7. Johanna Says:

    Not yet, but I’m looking forward to checking it out and reading the comic.

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