After-Action Report: HeroesCon ’09

I’m not sure, but if I had to point to a single moment that defined this year’s HeroesCon for me, it’d probably be sharing an elevator with Cobra Commander and the Baroness.



It was shortly after this picture was taken, which was slightly unusual in and of itself, as I don’t usually take pictures with the cosplayers. It’s not that I have anything against them–they add a nice bit of color and even the bad ones are fun to have around sometimes–but it’s just not something I go for. Unless it’s a picture-perfect life-size Cobra Commander, in which case I am all about capturing some treasured memories.

Anyway, I was heading back to the hotel with Dr. K, who played the role of the Official ISB ConBuddyâ„¢ over the weekend, and we spotted Double-C about fifty yards ahead of us on the street. I mentioned how impressed I was that he hadn’t even bothered to take the helmet off, since it was like 93 degrees outside, and Dr. K said “Yeah, that guy’s dedicated. He’s going to be in character until he gets to his room.”

“Then we have to hurry up,” I said, “because I totally want to catch the elevator with this dude.”

So we did, and just after the doors closed, I turned to him and said “I’m really excited to be sharing an elevator with you.”

When he responded, it was in the perfect half-hiss, half-shriek of Cobra Commander: “Thisss sssort of thing doesn’t happen every day! Life is FULL of little sssssssurprises!

The only thing that makes that story better is that when I recognized the guy when he was out of costume on the floor the next day–okay, okay, I recognized the former Baroness, I admit it–and struck up a conversation, I found out that underneath the mask, Cobra Commander has a super-friendly Southern accent. Fan-tastic.

Aside from that, HeroesCon was pretty much the same as it always is, which is to say a huge amount of fun. A couple of people even recognized me, including Douglas from, the home of the truly amazing X-Men Hookup Chart, and Vee, who gave me a page of original Tania Del Rio/Jim Amash Sabrina the Teenage Witch art as a present.

Also as usual, the pros were great. I may have mentioned before that Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick are maybe the nicest couple I’ve ever met in my life, and Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting are always great to talk to, but even the folks I’d never met before–Ed Brubaker, CB Cebuslki, Dean Trippe, Paul Maybury, Love and Capes creator Thom Zahler, Roger Langridge, and yes, even Brian Bendis, about whom I may have said some very angry things during my early days of blogging–were all just super-nice.

Also–and bear with me here, because I’m not done dropping names yet–I got to meet Let’s Be Friends Again’s own Chris Haley.

Haley, of course, is a great artist, and I’ve been after him to do some stuff for the Action Age for a while now, and I was hoping that meeting him at the con would allow me to intimidate him into doing some pages, forging the same kind of I-Yell-At-You-Until-You-Draw-Something relationship that I currently have with the phenomenally talented Matthew Allen Smith and Rusty Shackles.

Unfortunately, that hit a snag when it turned out that Chris Haley was taller, tougher-looking and more heavily tatooed than previously advertised.



That picture, incidentally, was taken during an outing to BBQ King, a drive-in not too far from the convention center that was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. We piled six people–including your friend and mine, Rachelle into Dr. K’s car to head over there, and I swear to God, they make their BBQ chicken by deep frying it first, and it is the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten. If I start living right, I might just wake up there when I die.

And if I ate there as much as want to, that day would probably come a lot sooner.

As to what I ended up picking up at the con itself, it was a much lighter haul than I brought back last year, mostly owing to the fact that I blew most of my con budget on Friday to get the Cliff Chiang piece I posted yesterday. It feels like it’d be gauche to say exactly how much I paid for the piece, but I will say that for me, it was a significant but not insane chunk of cash, and I don’t regret it, especially since Chiang was nice enough to throw in prints of the faux-LP covers and the “Atomic Bombshells” postcard set. And at the risk of repeating myself, it’s worth noting that in addition to being incredibly talented, Cliff Chiang is an extremely nice guy.

Aside from that, I came home with a copy of Fred Chao’s Johnny Hiro and the fun-looking trade pxaperback of Super Human Resources (solicited this month in Previews), and two (2) issues of Life With Archie.

Plus, I got to show off Rusty Shackles’ fourteen finished pages for The Hard Ones and give some folks a sneak preview of an Action Age project that we’ve yet to announce, so that stuff was fun.

All in all, not a bad show. And now I’m done with the obligatory diary-style nonsense post for the year. I’m sure you’re all relieved.

Sketchbook: Marshie by Matt Chapman



I’m sure this will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but I’ve been a fan of Homestar Runner for years–specifically since SBEmail #36: Guitar–so it was a pretty big treat for me to meet the Brothers Chaps at last year’s con.

Those guys are super-nice–especially since I tried and failed miserably at not quoting their own work back to them–and both of ’em did sketches for me: a Strong Bad & the Cheat from Mike, and far and away my favorite character from the site, the immensely creepy Fluffy Puff Marshmallow mascot. Keep it in your sketchbook for seeeeecret eeeeating!

Sketchbook: The Baroness by Jeremy Dale



This one’s not actually in my sketchbook–although a similarly awesome Cobra Commander by Dale is–and to be honest, I was a little reluctant to actually get this one, because I didn’t want to be That Guy. You know, the guy who asks for pictures of the Baroness. It’s a short step from there to being the guy who totes around a Moleskine full of naked Legionnaires.

Still, I’m glad I got it, because Jeremy (obviously) did a fantastic job with it. He is, of course, the artist for the GI Joe comics that were included with the Comic Two-Packs, and you can find more of his work in Image’s Popgun v. 1, or on on his website!

And hey, he’s at HeroesCon this weekend, too!

Sketchbook: MODOK by Jeff Parker



I used this one in the MODOK gallery I did for Comics Alliance, but it’s worth a second look because it is totally awesome.

Jeff Parker is, of course, one of the best writers working in comics today, with titles as varied as the great Mysterius the Unfathomable to the kid-friendly Marvel Adventures Avengers–which includes the greatest comic book ever printed–but what you might not know is that he’s also a pretty good artist too, who wrote and drew the immensely fun spy comic, The Interman.

Off to HeroesCon!



This weekend, I’m heading up to Charlotte for my annual trip to HeroesCon, and if you live anywhere in the Southeast, you oughtta do the same, as it’s a fantastic show.

I’ll be up there all three days representing the ISB and the Action Age, and while we didn’t get a table this year, I’ve loaded up the Netbook with some never-before-seen finished pages from Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N., and we’ll have some promotional material for The Hard Ones and some projects we haven’t even mentioned on the site!

So please, if you see me wandering around the convention (or most likely, if you see me hanging around Matt Fraction’s table desperately trying to lure him into a conversation about who he likes better, Philly Boy Roy or the Gorch) feel free to come over and introduce yourself.

Chad’ll be up there on Saturday and Sunday only, but I’ll be around all three days, rolling with my homeboy Dr. K. And just for reference, we look like this:



If you’re there, say hi! And if you’re not, I’ll be posting pieces from my convention sketchbook from past years while I’m away, so don’t break nothin’ while I’m gone.


For a better idea of what I look like when I’m not wearing my glitter crown, check out last year’s post.