It used to be called “Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find,” but these days it’s known to many simply as “Heroes Con.” Officially, it’s known as the Heroes Convention Charlotte, and the 2015 event just ran this past weekend, from Friday, June 19, through Sunday, June 21.
I attended this con years ago, so going again was a real treat. Also, this time I spent time on both sides of the table, helping the Stabbity Bunny comic table as well as talking with various creators about interviewing with me for my Wayne’s Comics Podcast here at MajorSpoilers.com! (FULL DISCLOSURE: I also edited the Stabbity Bunny comic, making sure all the commas were in the right place and helping out in minor roles whenever I could.)
What makes Heroes a con many creators like to support is that it isn’t a “Comic-Con” as we understand them these days, with media stars as well as comics people. The biggest name there was Stan Lee, who drew a HUGE line on Saturday!
Needless to say, it was a busy few days for me!
I drove with my friend up to Charlotte on Wednesday, which took some time since there was record heat all along the East Coast that day. Still, we made in late that night and began to feel our way around town.
The next morning, Richard Rivera, who created the aforementioned comic, and I went to the Charlotte Convention Center to begin setting up so we’d be ready when the con started on Friday morning. To our dismay, we saw that the space we had reserved wouldn’t be able to hold all the books and goodies Rick wanted to make available to fans. I flagged down a con worker, who got us in touch with the person in charge of who was located at what booth. He was very helpful, agreeing that we could change locations to a space where there had been a cancellation. That was much appreciated since it was much better suited to our needs. We didn’t know it then, but we also had great neighbors to interact with the entire weekend! On one side was Colorworld Books (Rachel E. and Brad Kelly), while Seth Talley and Shawn McCaulley (who together made Dalrak The Mighty #1. Shawn both wrote and drew his Shadows of Oblivion comic series.)
I had never heard back from the con organizers about getting a press pass, so I went to the Early Registration booth and requested one. I was glad I had my business card handy, and I explained that I worked with MajorSpoilers.com. Before long, the lady I was making my request to handed me a press pass, which I gratefully accepted. I told her I’d review the con once it was done, and I’m fulfilling my word to her with this column!
The booth was set up after a couple of hours, and we began to plan for the following day. (That’s me below at the booth!)
There were a lot of great comics pros around, including David Petersen, Todd Dezago, Craig Rousseau, Roy Thomas, Babs Tarr, Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti, Tim Sale, Frank J. Barbieri, Matthew Rosenberg and Chris Zdarsky, just to name a few! Dwayne Biddix, the illustrator on Stabbity Bunny, also was there
There were many panels as well, discussing everything from creating comics to Cosplaying. Also, you could find comics old and new to spend your money on, and pros who had been working in the industry for years to pretty new names in the business. Very nice variety, especially for a guy like me searching for folks to interview!
I did notice something that surprised me compared to my other con experiences. Normally, the booths along the outer rim of the hall have some people who get to them, but this time, the line was busiest in that part of the con. The booth I was helping with was located in an inner row, and we did get some good traffic, but not as much as the folks in the outer rim did. I honestly had never seen that before, and it’s something to remember moving forward!
The convention also had very few overhead announcements. I’m used to hearing the beginnings of panels, for instance, but there was very little of that. The only times you heard a voice overhead was to request help with a lost child or to get vehicles out of the way of those moving merchandise into the building.
Unlike other cons, I also noticed that there were fewer cosplayers than I’m used to, although that may be just the part of the hall I was in most of the time. That doesn’t mean the ones around weren’t good – they were great, including a steampunk Hawkgirl.
Food was readily available both in the hall as well as in other parts of the building. Granted, at times there were long lines and the food was more expensive than away from the convention, but you pay for convenience!
This was by far the busiest day of Heroes Con. People were often really close to each other as they walked from aisle to aisle. It was great for the vendors, but at times a problem for fans trying to get from one place to another. At the end of the day, it was announced that this day broke con records. Based on how many people were there, I bet these were attendance records being broken!
Also, the aisles were numbered kind of oddly. The Stabbity Bunny booth was at 1723. We were asked several times just what the number of the table we were at was so they could figure out where they wanted to go. I think the signs identifying the various rows should have been moved because half of the 1700 aisle appeared to be in the 1800 row. I’d recommend that be re-examined for next year!
Most of the time, this wasn’t a problem, but occasionally lost attendees would ask people what booth they
One problem we continued to have was that we had to change from elevator to elevator in the building. We were staying in a hotel across the street from the NASCAR offices and center, so we had to walk into the building to access the convention center across the street. There was a shortcut through a parking garage we could take to reach the walkway over the street. It was somewhat confusing when we were on the fourth floor in the one building, then were on the third floor after walking over the street. Then we had to take an elevator to the second floor, then go across the lobby to another elevator which would take us down to the level the con was taking place in. Honestly, we struggled at times to remember where to go when. Yikes!
Still, it was a busy and successful day for fan and vendor alike, with people carrying bags full of books and other merchandise. Also, there was a charity auction in the evening that raised a lot of money! Great one!
It was also a time to make connections with other professionals, something I heard a lot of vendors and comics creators say. The attendance was slightly smaller than the day before, but since the auction and a lot of buying what people WANTED was over, they had funds to spend on things they had previously only been curious about.
The pros were all very friendly, and the fans gratefully stood in lines to speak with Klaus Janson and others nearby.
Another thing I really liked was that there was a nice podium where people could make presentations in the middle of the floor. Also near that was an area to sit and eat food or just sort out the great stuff you had just picked up!
A GREAT CON!
Yes, I’ve mentioned some things I feel could be improved on, but overall it was a terrific event! I’m looking forward to next year when I’m sure we’ll be back!
They represent the Charlotte, North Carolina, area very well, and it was great to accomplish so much there over the weekend!
To find out more about this convention, you can go to their website at http://www.heroesonline.com/heroescon/. You can be sure they’ll be releasing more information about 2016 before very long!