HeroesCon Reminded Me of Why I Love Comics
It really felt like the world was against me going to HeroesCon this year. I was denied for a press pass around the same time Therese and Sam got approval for San Diego Comic Con, WeLoveFine never got back to me about volunteering at their booth for the weekend, and to top it all off, my roommate for the weekend was recently laid off, leaving me out of hotel space.
Still, I wasn’t ready to give up on the Charlotte based convention focused exclusively on comic book creators. Kelly Sue Deconnick, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky were going to be there! I could just wait to meet Kelly Sue at Dragon Con this year, but I’m infamously impatient. Plus, Matt and Chip aren’t going to be there and waiting a year for the next HeroesCon to meet them sounded kind of craptacular after the universe trying to find ways for me not to go.
So I did the math. Megabus would cost me about $10 to take it up to Charlotte in the morning and ride it back into Atlanta after the con. The convention for the day on Saturday cost $20. That was a fraction of the cost of a Dragon Con Saturday pass and it might actually add up to less time than said line at its height of terribleness. It was settled. I was going.
It must seem kind of insane, taking a four hour bus trip twice in one day to spend time at a comic book convention, but let me tell you kids, it was worth every penny and every hour spent.
First of all, this was the first time I’ve gone to a con that was strictly dedicated to comic books. Sure, I’ve been to plenty that featured comic book writers and artists, but they were all multi-fandom conventions or cons with artist or two in the dealer room. If you know any part of my story though, you know I never really had an excuse to go to a straight up comic book convention until now. It was a new sort of experience for me since it really did feel like an expo of artists showing you what they’ve been working on for the past year or so.
You can tell that this wasn’t the first rodeo for the convention organizers. From the moment I arrived at the back door of the con on MegaBus to the minute we were all kicked out for the day, everything seem to run smoothly with no one yelling at the crowds for causing a fire hazard. Then again, I only made it out of the main hall once to go to the Carol Corps panel, so any major technical difficulties that may have been present in the panel rooms were unseen by me.
Still, I wasn’t at this con to evaluate and cover everything as media. Hell, I wasn’t even here to schlep and sell for The Extraordinary Contraptions. This was the first con I had been to in a while that wasn’t Dragon Con that I was doing strictly for me. And dammit, I was going to enjoy it for me.
The first person I went to meet was Kate Leth of Kate Or Die! If you think she’s cool online, I’m glad to report that she’s hella cool in real life. At least from the few minutes I spent talking to her, but I can’t speak ill of anyone who’d sign my copy of Sex Criminals just to troll Chip and take a selfie with me after selling me an advanced copy of Bravest Warriors #21. Because Kate Leth lives for the selfie.
I have to admit, I took extra long to get to my main goal of meeting Matt, Chip, and Kelly Sue. Partially because I was nervous as hell, but also because I was distracted by all the awesome art. Did you know that the woman who drew the sailor senshi as a biker gang was there? Because I didn’t and then I immediately walked away with a print of Sailor Mercury. Her name is Babs Tarr by the way and she looked as fabulous as her art.
Kevin Wada is also fabulous and adorable. He jokingly offered to sign my phone after I told him most of my issues of She-Hulk were digital. I did offer him to sign my iPad, but he didn’t want to diminish the resale value.
Okay, let’s get to the main part of my journey.
Matt Fraction’s line was probably the longest wait I’ve willingly put myself through in a while. Though, apparently NOT the longest line at all of HeroesCon. Still, it was an hour of snacks, chatting with people around me, and one transaction for a sketch commission I had made in advance. Note that this was about 40 minutes of standing in a slow moving line, 10 minutes of waiting on Fraction to come back from the bathroom, and another 10 minutes of being concerned for his well-being when said bathroom break took longer than usual. For the three of us that were in the front of the line, it was a lot of profuse apologies, offers to watch our kids, and swearing that he was never going to pee again after the ordeal that was trying to go to the bathroom and get a bottle of water. I wasn’t mad for the wait, but how could I be after all of that? I hate that I kind of clammed up around him since there was so much I wanted to tell him about Hawkeye and Sex Criminals, but Matt Fraction is an awesome guy through and through.
After that, I immediately jumped into Kelly Sue Deconnick’s line, which was much shorter. I was kind of grateful for that because if I had stewed as long as I did in Fraction’s line, there might have been actual crying.
You guys, Kelly Sue Deconnick is a gem. She greeted everyone who came to her table with a smile and a “hello friend!” You think she’s social on her Tumblr, just wait until you meet her at a con. She was chatting with everyone in front of me, telling the most epic story about her daughter Tallulah Louise facing down someone who was bullying her older brother. When I got to her and put my Captain Marvel sketchbook down on the table along with my comics, she stopped and said, “I’ve seen this on the internet!” I would certainly hope so since she reblogged it, but it made me happy to see that she remembers stuff that comes across her Tumblr feed. After looking at the art I had acquired up until that point (including a Flatbear piece that made her give the happiest “YAAAAY!” I’ve ever heard), she signed it with “Keep punching holes in the sky” and it took everything not to turn into a sobbing mess at the table. Carol just means so much to me and of course I told Kelly Sue that. I also told her about my friend who constantly rags on me about the legal issues over the Captain Marvel name, which just made her laugh.
I cannot wait to see her again at Dragon Con. There will be so many more duckface selfies with more cosplay and more sketches to show her. It’s going to be awesome.
Before I went skipping away from this section of the con happily, I popped over to Chip Zdarsky’s table and got an original sketch of Captain Marvel from him as well as taking the most stupidly amazing pictures with him and Fraction. Chip’s kind of the coolest. He used my copy of Down as reference instead of my tank top so he wasn’t staring at my chest the whole time, but asked me what kind of shampoo I used when we were taking our picture. We talked about overhearing our moms having sex and clown orgies without batting an eye. Whatever you expect Chip Zdarsky to be, I can tell you it’s more majestic and Canadian than that. Maybe next time I’ll be smart enough to remember to get a hug, but at least I have that video Fraction took.
And my Carol sketch looks fantastic, by the way.
After all of that, my HeroesCon trip turned into a lot of sketch hunting. I didn’t really make it over to the exhibitor side because I was so distracted checking out the awesome artists and finding more artists to add to my sketch collection. Though, the floor is wide and this got kind of tiring after a bit when you have a camera bag and a heavy backpack full of comics strapped to you. To the point I totally walked by Jeremy Whitley’s table a second time after buying the Princeless short story collection from him and didn’t even notice until he said hi to me. Jeremy is awesome though and if you’re not reading Princeless, you need to get on that. He’s also a member of the Carol Corps, as evidenced by how he signed the book I purchased.
To cap off my day of getting comics signed and browsing for new art, I went to the Carol Corps panel. This was easily the most awesome way to end a day ever because I left the con with the most important thing ever: NEW FRIENDS.
And swag in the form of a Carol Corps button and the official Carol Corps dogtags given to me by Kelly Sue, but seriously. Friends are more important in this case. I finally got to meet with someone I’ve been friends with on the Internet since the days of Livejournal and got to chat with a guy and immediately followed on Twitter by someone I’ve met in Atlanta. When Kelly Sue told us to talk amongst ourselves and make friends, I looked over and spotted a Tendo Choi cosplayer in the row behind me. She complimented my earrings, I asked if she was Tendo and showed her my Jaeger pilot Carol sketch from Jiinsy. There was some flailing and two hours later, I was eating pizza with Christina and her friends and they drove me back to my bus, asking me to let them know I got home safe. Have I overused awesome in this write up? Probably yes, BUT THE CAROL CORPS IS AWESOME, YOU GUYS.
The panel was pretty amazing too since it was Kelly Sue pulling in people involved with the Captain Marvel in the past (or future in the case of Marcio Takara who’s working on issue 7 and 8) and letting them talk about what they’re doing. My review of the first issue is coming soon, but let it be know that it was this panel that sold me on picking up Skottie Young’s Rocket Raccoon series. BECAUSE OUTER SPACE WRESTLING MATCHES AND ROCKET’S LEAGUE OF PISSED OFF EX GIRLFRIENDS. HOW COULD I NOT?
We also all bonded over costuming, comics, and how freakin’ adorable little Amelia was. I’m friends with her dad on Facebook now too because we have mutual friends outside of the Carol Corps. My world is small.
After my last goodbyes to Kelly Sue and my new friends, I was back on the bus to Atlanta, reading my new comics and making plans for next year. There was a lot at HeroesCon to take in. Too much for a lady on a particular mission to meet her favorite writers such as myself and carrying around a heavy backpack full of comics and snacks is not ideal at all. I’m definitely going to need three days and a hotel room to take in everything the con has to offer.
Still, even with wearing myself out entirely on my own accord, HeroesCon was a great time for a comic book fan like me. It’s all about the creators and the fans of their works. There were lots of new creators to discover to and I can’t wait to go back and try to cover it all.