Heroes Convention 2012

Writing about Wizard World yesterday, I realized that I never put together my comments on this year’s Heroes Convention in Charlotte, NC, held June 22-24, 2012. Mostly, I’m posting this now because I want to share the pictures, since I bothered to take some.

It was a really mixed show for me. Friday was the best time I’ve ever had at a convention. I moderated a panel on “Writing: The Leap From Indie to Mainstream” with Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, and Ivan Brandon.

Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, and Ivan Brandon at Heroes 2012

Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, and Ivan Brandon

I also moderated a panel on “Cover Art” with superstars Bill Sienkiewicz, Lee Weeks, Adam Hughes, and Stuart Immonen. That was great fun, as well as easy, since I’d start a topic, and the guys would take it for 15 minutes.

Bill Sienkiewicz, Lee Weeks, Adam Hughes, and Stuart Immonen at Heroes 2012

Bill Sienkiewicz, Lee Weeks, Adam Hughes, and Stuart Immonen

Overall, Friday seemed much busier than usual for the show, likely due to the presence of Stan Lee this year. He attracts visitors, many of whom spend a few hundred dollars to get his autograph and picture. (I’m not sure they spend much elsewhere, though, since I’m not sure they’re shoppers for new comic material.)

I kept running into both Ron Marz and Paul Levitz a lot, for some unknown reason. I think I saw Mr. Levitz more that weekend than the year I worked for him. Here’s a bad picture of KC with Paul, taken right after we were talking about his work on Worlds’ Finest.

KC and Paul Levitz at Heroes 2012

KC and Paul Levitz

I have a whole bag of books I picked up at the show around here somewhere, and I’m looking forward to rediscovering them. The only thing I remember buying now was the newest Girls With Slingshots collection by Danielle Corsetto. This volume, the sixth, is newly full-color and begins the second millennium of the comic, with strips #1000-1199 included, as well as some pinups, a couple of drawing lessons, a cast introduction, and a story catchup. The latter two are supposed to be helpful for new readers, since otherwise, book six might be a bit intimidating, but I appreciate them as well, since they point out nuances I might have missed or don’t recall from my daily webcomic reading.

Oh, and I got a button set from Yale Stewart, creator of the amazing Little League.

Yale Stewart at Heroes 2012

Yale Stewart

Saturday, for some reason, was the total opposite in mood for me. The day started poorly, as we were supposed to volunteer for the show from 8-12. We stayed up later than usual — although the bar was packed, and the roar made it impossible to chat with people, so I was very sorry I didn’t get more chance to talk with Craig Fischer — but we got up and made it in on time, only to find out that they didn’t have anything for us to do until 9. We wound up working the show information booth, where the only thing anyone asked about was where Stan Lee was.

KC at the Heroes information booth

KC at the Heroes information booth

This was KC while we were waiting the extra hour. Oh, and the best costume I’ve ever seen at a comic convention — this guy was on stilts or something, because that’s his head.

KC rests at Heroes 2012Hulk costume at Heroes 2012

That afternoon, I had some sort of midlife crisis meltdown, feeling like I couldn’t keep up with all the 22-year-old webcartoonists. It seemed like everyone was wondering about the future of comics. Plenty of long-time creators were bemoaning not being able to make a living any more, while the youngsters were all “I love comics!” because they didn’t have to worry about supporting a family or buying a house. I’m glad their energy and enthusiasm keeps the medium going, but I’m curious to see what happens to the industry. I know exciting times are coming, but I fear it’s going to be very painful getting from here to wherever there turns out to be. The industry is changing, but a new hope isn’t fully visible yet (at least to me).

Kevin Chen at Heroes 2012

So I took off from the show that afternoon. KC and I went to Manifest, an impressive used record and DVD store, but we couldn’t find anything there we wanted either. We did miss shopping with buddy Tim, though, who couldn’t come to Heroes this year.

Sunday morning, I had a terrific conversation with old friend Kevin Chen, whom I bumped into in the hotel lobby. I’ve known him since the Usenet days, so 20 years or so, but we only ever see each other at this show. I thought it was hilarious that we were even wearing the same shirt that morning. (It’s the Serenity logo. I like it because it’s fannish at the same time it reminds me to keep calm.) He had some great perspective on looking at things realistically but with optimism.

Finally, KC and I were part of the small audience for the Immonens spotlight panel. Kathryn and Stuart gave an overview of their career and were very informative and entertaining in their dry, witty way. It was a great way to end the show. That’s Tim Callahan with them, who moderated, and KC acting up.

Kathryn and Stuart Immonen at Heroes 2012 with Tim Callahan and KC Carlson

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