Thursday, June 25, 2009

HeroesCon Report

HeroesCon this year was, I think, the best show I've ever been to. It's so much fun, so laid back, and it was the first real show I've done since Crogan's Vengeance came out. It was really nice how many people brought their copies of Vengeance for me to sign. It was also great seeing so many of my cartoonist friends in one place. I sold a lot of books and a lot of Smokers of the Marvel Universe posters (including a few to kids [with parents in tow], which I felt kind of bad about... I had to throw in an impromtu PSA each time), and got to talk extensively with cartoonist heroes of mine, including Jeff Smith, Roger Langridge, and Don Rosa (with whom I have a surpising amount in common, including a Kentucky upbringing, an affinity for the books of George MacDonald Fraser, and a collection of first edition H. Rider Haggard novels, among other things).

I cannot underestimate how great a show this is. I give it my strongest possible reccomendation to any cartoonist considering thinking about attending. It's so comics-focused (rather than media-focused), it's incredibly family friendly (kids get in free on Saturday, for example), the panels are great, the organizers treat everyone, from newbie through superstar, with the highest degree of respect and kindness, and the fans/attendees are the nicest and most enthusiastic you'll find anywhere. Plus, for being as busy as it is, it's also the most relaxed, laid-back show around. The evenings are spent with the majority of exhibitors hanging out and shooting the breeze in the hotel lobby bar, the mornings catching a liesurely breakfast... if there's a comic show in heaven, I expect it's modeled after HeroesCon.

I also had about a dozen students go out, far more than have ever come before, and they really did a great job. They had their own tables with the Temple of Cartoon Mojo booth, and really made a great show for themselves. They also owned the room at the afterparties, and I couldn't have been prouder of how well they carried themselves. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that they were true professionals, including mine.

On Saturday I did two panels. The first (pictured above) was a panel about all-ages comics that featured (from left to right) me, Roger Langridge (of Fred the Clown and the Muppet Show fame), Jeff Smith (of Bone and Rasl), and David Peterson (of Mouse Guard). It was moderated by Andy Mansell, on the far left, who definitely knew his stuff and really asked some great questions.
This panel was especially exciting for me because Jeff was one of the main reasons that I'd gotten into comics in the first place. Bone not only changed the tone of comics to where it'd be more accepting of the subject matter on which I prefer to focus, but also was the vanguard in the fight (and it was a fight) to get graphic novels off the ground and into stores - I had a long conversation with Jeff and Colleen Doran about the down-and-out-warfare of the introduction of regular trades to comic shops, exhibiting at shows, etc, and although I felt professionally indebted to them BEFORE, I had no idea how much.
I also got to have a solo dinner with Roger (though felt guilty about dragging a vegetarian to a Tex/Mex restaurant), as well has share him with a number of buddies to go get smoothies, which was loads of fun. He's one of the nicest folks in comics, in addition to perhaps being our medium's greatest living draftsman, and it's always great to see him (though it' all too rare an occurence, him living in England and all).

I also had a chance to meet Guy Davis, and get an original page (which is, of course, gorgeous). He was as friendly as can be, and was doing free sketches, though I figured that with a page, a sketch would have been greedy. I also got to meet Aqualung's Paul Maybury, whose art I was unfamiliar with but am now completely nuts for. He's going to be doing a project for Oni, which is always exciting to me... it's selfish, I know, but I love it when people I like do work for my publisher because it means we'll get to hang out at the Oni table at the bigger shows.

I also did a Steve Ditko lecture (he's the guy that co-created Spider-Man) with Ben Towle and Craig Fischer, and their presentations (especially Craig's, which was mind-blowing) were easily the academic highlights for me.

I got to see my see-at-every-show friends, which is great (the Athens, Savannah, Nashville, and Carolina crowds), but I also got to meet up with my I like-em-but-only-see-them-occasionally colleagues, like Jim Ottaviani, Alec Longstreth, Mike Maihack, and Greg Means, as well as Indie Spinner Rack's Mr. Phil, with whom it's always great to hang out. Phil gave me my contributor copy of Awesomer, now available online and in comic shops, and so far it's a riveting read! It's got a full Crogan Adventures short story in it, featuring David Crogan, the smuggler. If you're a completist, pick it up! I also got to meet Finder's Carla Speed McNeil, who was not only wearing a great colonial-style pith helmet but turned me on to wear she got it. Now I can finally score a monocle!

I also got a LOT of graphic novels at the five-dollar bin (including a number of books that I'd had at one point but given away), and 19 of the 54-volume Carl Barks Library in Color books. Score!

All in all, a great show. I haven't mentioned half the people who it was great to see here, and that's no reflection on how great it was to see them... I simply don't want to bore blog readers with a litany of names and links. But it was, really, a great show. Anyone who's considering an invitation for next year, take it! It's a heck of a time.


allaboutduncan said...

Chris - it was great meeting you at HeroesCon. Currently reading Crogan's Vengeance and loving it. Thanks for personalizing the copy for my son Carter (http://bit.ly/noynx)

Nolan Woodard said...

What?! No mention of The Clairmont Junk-shake or Schweizer vs. escalator? For shame!

Vee ! said...

In the event someone accuses you of doctoring that photo of you at that panel, here are a few more photos for you:


I'm really glad you enjoyed yourself at Heroes Con! You always had people at your table every time I walked by, so I assume business was good as well.

Andrew Wales said...

Sounds like a great show. I should try to go next year.

Andrew Clark said...

Hi Chris! I just finished reading a copy of 'Crogan's Vengeance' that I purchased. It was absolutely wonderful. The script was tight and the art was refreshing and delightful to muse over. Congratulations on all the work you've done so far and I can't wait to see more of the series!

Brian said...

Great to see you again at Heroes and thanks again for helping us with our piece for the art auction!