Well, after breakfast, watering the plants, and putting out food for the cats this past Friday morning, Adama and I headed up I-85 to Charlotte, on our quest to find the Charlotte Convention Center and spend lots of money at HeroesCon! But more than spending money, going to Cons like this is a chance to see the sights and meet the folks, whether it's renowned creators, indy guys you've never heard of, or just other fans like yourself. To that end, this really was a success on pretty much all levels.
(As a note, let me say that over at Dispatches From The Arrowcave, Adama has posted a ton of pictures of costumes and creators; I'm posting a few here but be sure to head there to check out more zaniness!)
Right after we got on the floor we ran right into Al Feldstein, whose work on the EC horror comics as well as the early days of Mad magazine have played a big role in informing my tastes. Mr. Feldstein was very gracious, and seemed really happy that there were still EC fans kicking around some nearly 60 years after they first began to be published. I picked up a Tales From The Crypt cover reproduction print, which Mr. Feldstein was kind enough to sign for me. (Luckily, there was a guy selling the print flats right behind us.) After Adam took the picture, Mr. Feldstein asked for a copy of it, so I am going to email him this week and thank him again. Starting off the Con in such a way really put me into a good mood. Not that I wasn't already in one (the sheer amount of capitalism on display warmed the cockles of my cold, shriveled Republican heart), but having such an engaging moment with one of the true giants of the world of genre comics really put me on a different sort of track. Like a relaxed euphoria which took the edge off some other Bad Things (tm) which were going on in my mind at the time (unrelated to comics). Really a great experience, I must say.
After some more shopping, Adam and I were trying to find the ultra-elusive (apparently, since we never even saw him) Dick Giordano, whom did we run into but Iron Man himself! This guy went all out, from the LED repulsors and Unibeam to the voice modulator! This guy certainly looked the part of one ready to fight and smite with repulsor rays.
While Adam went over to see Michael Golden, I took the opportunity to visit former Iron Man artist Sean Chen. I had forgotten to bring a comic for him to sign, so I ended up lucking out earlier in the day when I found a copy of Iron Man v.1:no.1 in a dollar bin. Unfortunately, Mr. Chen was on the phone (looking annoyed to be on the phone at that), but he was kind enough to sign my comic and at least flash a smile when I thanked him.
Right as we were heading to lunch, we ran into the GI Joe team's firefighter specialist, Barbecue! I can't imagine he was all that comfortable in the fire suit and helmet, but he was a really cool guy nonetheless.
As Adam noted on his blog, I did set a screen on Darwyn Cooke while on the escalator coming back from lunch. I'm just standing there, my mind wandering, and the guy behind me asks if he can get by. And sure enough, it's Darwyn Cooke. I look at Adam and say "Wow, I could have held him hostage on the escalator!"
On Saturday, we started out on the other end of the floor, where we ran across the guys from Hallboy Comics, who had a nice display with lots of original art -- in the form of trading cards, buttons, and small poster-prints! We all got some nice swag; I picked up a trading card each of Iron Man and The Flash, and then a button of Luke Cage in his classic Power Man duds. Sweet Christmas! Check out their website with all of their original creations here, and see the art style here. Cool guys all around!
Since we were joined on Saturday with non-blogger Joe in tow (sucker had to work on Friday like a sucker!), and, seeing as Joe is the biggest GL fan I've ever met, we then made a bee-line for Ethan Van Sciver's table. Van Sciver was very amusing, and after we all made a comment about the randomness of having Tom Servo at his booth, he said that he was always on the lookout for other MST3K fans! The randomness continued, though, as who should pop up to talk to Mr. Van Sciver but Dan DiDio! I nudged Adam and nodded at him, saying, "That's Dan DiDio." To which Adam said "Where?" and I responded "Right there!" Repeat this exchange two more times. I'm personally amazed that when I shook Mr. DiDio's hand that I didn't just blurt out something stupid like "MIKE W. BARR ON OUTSIDERS!" or something. Mr. Van Sciver suggested we go to the DC Nation Panel later that day; I said that not only was I planning on going, but that I would make my Barr request there. For what it's worth, Mr. Van Sciver really seemed to like that idea. So maybe I'm not crazy.
The Panel was at noon, so we got up there about 11:30 to get good seats, and the room filled up pretty quick. From left to right, the panel was Matt Sturges (more on him later), Mr. Van Sciver, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Jann Jones, with Mr. DiDio standing on the podium. I knew things were going to be interesting when Ms. Jones brought in a box of Moon Pies! The Panel was pretty lively and I got a few words in, so that made me happy (even if I probably was trying too hard). When Mr. DiDio asked us what DC was doing that we liked, I called out "Outsiders!" evidently drowning out a guy in the front who had said "Final Crisis." I think my enthusiasm was evident, as he then asked me what I liked about Outsiders, to which I responded the pacing and action, as I have mentioned here on more than one occasion.
Once the floor was opened to questions, things got interesting. At one point, a gentleman in the back of the room asked if there was any truth the rumor that Rip Hunter was an older version of Booster Gold. I kid you not, the entire room, including the panel, went dead silent. We were all looking at each other with that "that's the most brilliant thing I have ever heard look." Dan DiDio was absolutely speechless and he dodged the heck out of it, not that I blame him.
There was a girl who identified herself as a Spoiler fan, and Mr. DiDio asked her if she was happy now that Spoiler was back. Her noncommital response annoyed Adam, who said in my ear "One of my favorites is dead, another just got murdered, and my top guy needs his wife to keep his comic from getting cancelled!" I can't say as I blame him, either. Another question about Catwoman prompted Mr. DiDio to ask if we all understood the concept of "when a book doesn't sell, we have to cancel it." He then explained that Catwoman will be moving straight into Tec, and that she isn't going anywhere. I didn't think his response was very dickish, but evidently others on the "blogosphere" thought it was. I don't know.
I finally got picked to ask my question, inquiring if we were going to get more "weird" stuff like Tor, The War That Time Forgot, and House of Mystery. I liked the response, which was that there is more of it coming, and while that audience is not very big, it's an audience they want to feed, which was pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear. Next, I made my request, taking it straight to the top: I told Dan DiDio to bring Mike W. Barr back to the Outsiders. This got kinda a laugh from the DC honcho, but he did say that after Frank Tieri's story, that big things are coming for the team, so I was happy about that.
Things got strange(r) in the Lightning Round, with Mr. Palmiotti throwing out Moon Pies to people, and constant references to "Mammazons" and Mr. Sturges' unfortunate choice to highlight a superhero-themed mini-golf course upcoming in Blue Beetle. Questions included whether Dan DiDio could take Chuck Dixon in a fight, a bizarre back and forth about a question involving Arrowette ("Arrowette...?"), and my utterly ridiculous request for Mr. DiDio to sign my Moon Pie (His response: "Find me later at the bar, maybe after you put a few drinks in me."), which I regret asking but oh well. Not a lot of news or information, but it was a ton of fun nonetheless.
After the panel, we hit the floor a little more in order to allow the creators to get back to their tables. As Joe went off to get his second batch of autographs from Ethan Van Sciver, I sought out Matt Sturges, whose House of Mystery is absolutely amazing. I gushed like a news anchor on CBS about how much I enjoyed the title. I had picked up a freebie copy from one of Adam's contacts we had run into, and it simply worked out. To my delight, Mr. Sturges said that because I liked the title so much, he'd give me a little run-down of it, and we went through the introductory parts of the issue, including the splash page, and he picked out each character and gave me a little tidbit about them. A very telling bit was about Hollow Sally's appearance; originally, she was depicted as hollow but still retaining her spine, but it was removed as it was simply too gruesome. Yikes! He struck me as a really cool guy who I think was excited to have someone be such a fan of his more off-beat title. (I was nice enough not to mention superhero mini-golf, as well.)
Soon after, we finished up for the day, then headed out to get lunch and catch a matinee of The Incredible Hulk (which was quite good, but that's a different post). Our wallets summarily drained, we decided to pass on going back on Sunday, but between Friday and Saturday, it was a pretty amazing Con. I had a lot of fun, met some really nice creators, saw some great costumes, and spent way too much money. That's pretty much all you can ask for in a Con experience.
The next one can't get here fast enough!