Heroes Con 2010 Day 2

Now that I’m home, I still think that this year’s Heroes Con was the best con ever. Ok, that’s exaggeration — and my good experience was also greatly affected by me being sensible about things like leaving the floor to have lunch and going back to the hotel room in the afternoon to change clothes and shoes. So something like 16 years after I started going to comic conventions, I have finally figured out how to do them.

But a large part of the enjoyment was also due to the wide variety of people to visit with and meet. Whether it was old DC buddies (those who worked on superhero comics with KC, for example) or brand-new webcomic creators, there was a little bit of everything here. (Except for manga. Although at one point I saw spin-off toys and patches, I didn’t see any manga for sale anywhere on the floor. It’s just not that kind of audience.) Such good conversation, from so many varied perspectives!

Cool Things I Bought

I ended up spending money, as I said in my previous post, on non-comic things as much as books. Today, the big-ticket purchases were a bootleg Doctor Who DVD special and a Marvel comic hoodie from the “tower of t-shirts”, aka Stylin‘. (I would have rather had a DC, but this one was cream-colored, featured comics in general instead of a specific character, and was wonderfully fleecy soft inside.)

The books I bought were most often by known quantities and old favorites, such as a full-color Jill Thompson sketchbook mini or Cavemen in Space by the charming Joey Weiser. This was the first show that book had appeared at. The second debut book I got to check out was FCHS, by Vito Delsante and Rachel Freire. After that book was solicited, then cancelled, I was pleased to see it come out as a print-on-demand work (or available at conventions, as here).


Jim McCann and Janet Lee show off Dapper Men

Jim McCann and Janet Lee show off Dapper Men

I was astounded to see the original art for Return of the Dapper Men, a gorgeous 120-page graphic novel coming from Archaia in October by Jim McCann and Janet Lee. As I hope you can see here, the art is drawn, cut out, and then decoupaged onto actual blocks of wood. Janet hopes to hang all 120 blocks as part of a gallery show when the book launches — it would be amazing to see them all in one place! I asked her why the wood, and she said that paper just doesn’t survive all the layering and paint. This is her first comic, but they plan for this to be only part one of a trilogy.

I met Mike Maihack, whose Cleopatra in Space is my newest webcomic discovery. The first chapter of the story ended today, with chapter two beginning mid-June. So this would be a great time to read the adventure serial in a big chunk. Mike mentioned that he was planning to post a PDF download of chapter one to make it easier to read on iPads and laptops, which would be a great idea, I think.

Colleen Coover was a pleasure to talk to. Beyond her enjoyable Marvel work, she and Paul Tobin are planning to release Gingerbread Girl, a graphic novel that’s “not like anything I’ve done ever”, from Top Shelf early next year. I do hope there will be a collection of her Marvel shorts, too.

Van Jensen and wooden friend

Van Jensen and wooden friend

Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins are preparing a sequel to Pinocchio Vampire Slayer. Pinocchio Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater is due out in October and is planned to be book two of an eventual trilogy. Van had the most impressive prop I’ve seen at a booth in a long time, with this hand-carved model made by his uncle. The head is solid wood!

My personal biggest news came after breakfast Saturday morning, when I received word that my first niece was born early that day and was named after me. I was immensely touched and beamed about it to most people I saw that day. I appreciate their patience with me wanting to share the good news.

Links to Check Out

I wore my Serenity logo t-shirt to the con on Saturday. This was the first time I’d ever worn a geek shirt to a show — normally I go for solid colors under jackets in case I’m cold. I was surprised to note how reactions subtly differed. Or sometimes not-so-subtly. I was introduced to self-described “geek comic” Hijinks Ensue by having the author tell me I was one of his tribe of Joss Whedon fans.

I also enjoyed chatting briefly with Chris Sims, one of the minds behind Awesome Hospital, and I submitted a word to lexographical strip Dawn’s Dictionary Drama. I’ll let you know when it appears.

I was stunned to bump into Rafer Roberts. Not because I didn’t want to see him — it’s always nice catching up — but because I hadn’t realized that his Plastic Farm has been running for ten years! He’s gone back to minis from full-sized comic issues, but he’s also serializing online before putting out collected books.

Other Fun Happenings

Big thanks to Ellen and Tim O’Shea for joining us on a fun Saturday evening excursion. We went to Manifest Records, a huge new and used CD and DVD emporium of the kind I hadn’t seen since Tower Records shut down. Over an hour of browsing turned up a bunch of DVD bargains, including the kitschy DEBS (starring Chuck’s girlfriend), the second Dinosaurs TV set (love those Muppet effects!), the underrated modern screwball Leatherheads, and the now out-of-print classic The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, written and directed by Preston Sturges. (If you’ve never seen it, and you like screwball, check it out. I still can’t believe they managed to get a comedy about an unmarried pregnant girl in wartime released in 1944.)

Ben Towle, Jeff Parker, Evan Dorkin, Colleen Coover, and Chris Pitzer

Ben Towle, Jeff Parker, Evan Dorkin, Colleen Coover, and Chris Pitzer

I was sorry I only got to go to part of one panel. Ben Towle‘s Defective Comics was a hoot and a half, thanks to fresh, forthright, and funny comments by Jeff Parker, Evan Dorkin, Colleen Coover, and poor Chris Pitzer, who didn’t get much chance to speak. They let loose on the problems with superhero comics and stupid publisher decisions, including the recently much-maligned Rise of Arsenal #3. Hilarious!

The Lesson of the Con

I have a bunch of good reads to recommend to you, coming shortly. Some of my favorite conversations at the show were with young creators. Two in particular had put out one only issue of their comic and were exhibiting at a major show for the first time at Heroes. It was wonderful seeing such energy and enthusiasm, especially tempered by plans to build slowly and a thirst to learn good strategies for success.

Today’s lesson is that it’s much better for me to take time each evening and sum up the day. It’s a nice way to fix those memories in my head and make sure I share good things with you readers in a timely fashion.

Thanks for letting me share my experience with you. If you’re looking for a fun convention experience, visit next year’s Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC.

11 Responses to “Heroes Con 2010 Day 2”

  1. Julia L Says:

    Good to see you again, if only briefly. Heroes Con really did live up to its billing — very warm welcoming environment even for new people like me. A little overwhelming at first.

    I did discover at least one dealer selling manga on the last day. The long skinny boxes were on the floor underneath his other stuff, so it wasn’t as visible. And there was a local anime store as a dealer; I’m not sure if they were the kimono and Pikachu hats people or what. It wouldn’t surprise if there were more like that first dealer. I didn’t explore the vendors/exhibitors as much as I could.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Oh, I’m sorry I missed that. Good seeing you too! I’m glad you had a good time at the show.

  3. Bill D. Says:

    Is there audio or video of that panel out there anywhere? I’ve heard so much about it that I really want to hear or see it for myself now.

  4. Suzene Says:

    Congrats on the new arrival!

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