And we’re back!
You know, I’ve heard vague rumors that Darwyn Cooke exists, but I haven’t actually seen any proof. I mean, I assume that quarter-mile line was for something, but I never got close enough to find out what.
Anyway, last year’s HeroesCon was hands-down the best convention I’d ever been to, but this year’s just blew it away, and I don’t even know where to begin recapping this thing.
For starters, if you like comics and you’ve never been to a convention, you’ve gotta go to one, and not just because they’re a good place to fill out a run of Power Man & Iron Fist. There’s just something about being able to talk to the people who actually make your favorite comics that’s really cool, and HeroesCon especially is a great show for it. It’s a big enough show that there are a lot of big-name guests, and enough to look at to keep you busy from open to close for three days, but not so big that it’s an overwhelming sprawl.
And best of all, pretty much everyone’s just really nice. You hear a lot of horror stories Well, they were all nice to me, but you’ll have to ask Rachelle about that.
Which is another thing that’s great about cons: Not just meeting creators, but getting to meet and hang out with other cool folks. Rachelle Goguen was down from the Canada as a guest of the Dollar Bin, which marks one of the few times I’ve gotten to meet one of my fellow bloggers. I’ve talked to her online and I’ve read her blog for a couple years, and while she might have a different view on things, I think we got along pretty well in person.
Also, this con marked a pretty big deal for me, Chad and Jay, as we debuted the mini-comic version of our comic, The Hard Ones:
Longtime ISB readers might recall this as its original title The Skiptracers, since it turned out someone beat us to it. The ashcan had the first six pages along with some sketchbook material and some amazing pin-ups from Benjamin Birdie and Matthew Allen Smith, who handled lettering and grayscaling, respectively. Out of the 150 that we went to the con with, we handed out almost all of ‘em–mostly to creators that we talked to, but also to anybody who came up and asked about W.E.I.R.D.–and if you got it, I’d like to know what you thought.
So, who else did I meet?
First up: Benito Cereno and Nate Bellegarde of Invincible Presents Atom Eve and the awesome, still-available-to-order Hector Plasm fame. Benito and I have been online pals for a while now, and one of my biggest regrets about this year’s trip to Charlotte is that we didn’t get to hang out anymore. He and Nate are a couple of very cool, very easygoing guys, and if you’re lucky enough to meet them at a show, they won’t disappoint.
Also, a bit of trivia about Benito: He is very tall.
Next, was Josh Elder, of The Batman Strikes and Mail Order Ninja fame, another online acquaintance. He’s very fun to talk to and he’s got a lot of great ideas about comics–corner him and ask him about his Owlman story sometime–and again, I hate that there wasn’t time to hang out with him more often than I did. Of course, that’s mostly because he was spending most of the con giving comics to kids, and that’s probably more worthwhile than listening to me.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that I was schlepping around my camera like Peter Parker for the whole weekend, I forgot to get pictures of any of those guys. I did however, get a few others:
The handsome devil in the bowling shirt on the right would be me. On the left is Matt Sturges, co-writer of House of Mystery and Jack of Fables and writer of Salvation Run and an upcoming run on Blue Beetle. He’s a great guy, and in addition to hanging out and talking about Mr. Miracle with my crew, he’s also the only creator to sample my newest creation and the official mixed drink of the ISB:
The ROM Collins
2 shots Gin
1 shot Malibu Coconut Rum
3 shots Sweet & Sour or Bar Mix
Combine gin, rum and sweet & sour with ice in a shaker. Shake thoroughly, then mix with an equal amount of Sprite in a highball glass. Stir and garnish with cosmic vengeance.
See, because it’s a Tom Collins and a Rum Collins put together, but sweeter. Maybe I should just move on.
Me with Matt Wagner, who has been one of my heroes since I first picked up an issue of Mage when I was in high school. He did not disappoint.
By the way, this picture’s a little blurrier than the others because it was taken with Dr. K’s camera instead of my super-awesome Canon Powershot. Who would’ve thought it’d be HeroesCon that brought out my inner camera snob?
(Please note: This will be important later)
Throwin’ up gang signs with the always-awesome Jeff Parker, still one of the nicest, funniest and most approachable guys in comics.
This is Jacob Chabot, creator of the wonderful Mighty Skullboy Army who, upon reflection, probably didn’t believe me when I told him that I looked for my copy of the trade before I left for Charlotte and couldn’t find it, but that is totally true.
Chabot also did the illustrations for Jake Bell’s upcoming children’s novel, I Think My Teacher Is a Super-Hero, which are great. You might remember Jake as the fellow Jimmy Olsen enthusiast who used to write Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge, and really, I just wanted to mention that his book’s fantastic.
The great Stuart Immonen, of the best comic of the New Willennium, who responded to my request for a photo with “Sure, let’s do an Alex Ross cover.”
Me with Mike and Matt Chapman, alias The Brothers Chaps of Homestar Runner, and I know I’ve said this about everyone, but they are incredibly nice, even despite the Senor Cardgage Controversy that erupted between Benito and I. I’m a complete and total line-quoting, t-shirt wearing, Strong Bad Email-watching H*R fan, and they made it easy to talk about how I knew it wasn’t going to work with my ex-girlfriend when she told me she didn’t think Marshie was funny.
Sometimes, I think I overshare.
That’s Chad on the left, and on the right is Tommy Smith, an amazingly talented artist that I’ve been wanting to work with ever since he sent in some samples for the Hard Ones. He’s going to be doing something for 12-Gauge Comics soon, and trust me, you’re not going to want to miss it. He’s a great new talent.
And of course…
…my BFF Matt Fraction, throwin’ up the Pentagram. He is just that metal.
The details of my man-crush on Fraction are already well-documented here on the ISB, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s gone to a whole new level after this weekend, and not just for reasons known only to me, Chad and Dr. K. No, it’s because I have now met Matt Fraction’s Mom, who made a special appearance on Sunday.
I think she’s got a Shang Chi series coming out or something.
I also got to meet Kelly Sue DeConnick, who is absolutely hilarious, and Henry Leo, who is absolutely adorable.
And those are just the folks I got pictures of. I could go on and on about the rest of the people I met, like Randall Jarrell and Cory Casoni from Oni Press who are great guys; Zack Smith, whose Satan, PI mini-comic had me cracking up on the way home; Jason Horn of the phenomenal mini-comic Ninjasaur; Kent Archer of Dr. McNinja; and Bryan Lee O’Malley, who… well, who’s Bryan Lee O’Malley, and needs no introduction.
The best picture, though, has to be the one I got with Jim Rugg. I’d talked to him on all three days of the show, about how much I loved Street Angel and how much we both love Jack Kirby’s ’70s work, the NES Pro Wrestling game and blaxploitation movies, but when Dr. K snapped a picture of us, this is the result:
Personally, I blame Dr. K for this one, and now understand that when he looked down at the screen and announced “That’s good,” he was totally getting me back for dissing his camera in front of Stuart Immonen. He maintains, however, that this is the perfect graphical representation of my excitement at meeting Jim Rugg vs. Jim Rugg’s excitement at meeting me. Which, you know, is probably true.
Still a nice guy, though.