2006 Heroes Con Photo Parade

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If ever there was a comic book convention that could be labeled as “perfect,” the 2006 Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC would have to top this year’s heap as being the closest to. Promoter Sheldon Drum didn’t crumble in the face of adversity. He just went out and assembled one hell of a talent-filled roster to prove to the convention circuit that his show was worth hitting more so than some corporate multi-media circus…, and even though it looks like this same “fight” will extend into 2007 when two major cons have the same weekend booked (Heroes and Wizard Philly), at least this year Sheldon can claim to be the victor.

Everything fell into place. I was on that convention floor from 9 a.m. until closing each of the three days it was open and never did I hear a complaint. Many creators were overheard saying things like “this Friday has beaten my entire convention season so far” or “my sketch list is fully booked already for the weekend.” Indeed, by the end of Friday, many of the widely famous artists like Adam Hughes, Tim Sale, Tony Harris and J.G. Jones were all out of spots on their respective lists. One retailer told me that his only complaint about the entire show was that it was difficult for his wireless credit card machine to get reception in the convention center. Besides that, he’d had an excellent show.

There was plenty of walking space down isles, with the tables and booths being well placed all over the entire convention floor. Concession stands were still pricy as per usual, but that isn’t any fault of the Comic Con’s. At least most people liked the food they had to offer, with some pretty meaty deli sandwiches offered up along with burgers and fries and good drinks besides soda like orange juice, SoBe and Gatorade.

With the exception of Arthur Adams, none of the professionals had really ridiculously long lines on the convention floor either. Many of the huge attractions were at booths on the second floor of the convention center (with the con being on a sub-level): Warren Ellis, JMS, Bryan Hitch, Joe Quesada. While some had tables or booths down with the rest of the conventioneers, they were primarily stationed upstairs where their throngs of fans could easily line up and not clog the place.

Without further ado, here are photo highlights of the people who made up the 2006 Heroes Con:

Each time that Warren Ellis had a designated signing time, you could count on the line looking like this. I guess this is what happens when you make exactly one American convention appearance this year. Mr. Ellis was a little more jovial that we expected. Perhaps it was the Red Bull?

Above Brian Defferding holds up his latest issue of “Deftoons” while below Keeley Carrigan displays his newest “Bloo Empire” wares.

On the left Nightmare World creator Dirk Manning was in good spirits with his trade paperback selling briskly. When he showed me some top secret pages for “Tales of Mr. Rhee” I nearly tossed my guts! Horror fans be on the look out. Thanks for making me queasy Dirk! While on the right, flying all the way in from the Netherlands was Stuff Sucks creator Liz Greenfield. I spotted this gal all over the place the entire weekend so she must be making many friends here in the states. I nabbed one of her books and you should too!

Was it my breath? For two guys who sold a slew of art over the weekend, Tony Harris (above, Mohawk) and Phil Noto (below) didn’t look to happy to see me. Hmm. Maybe I shouldn’t interrupt people when they’re working….Hey Tony, ya owe me ten bucks ya pirate! Look for an announcement soon on some upcoming new work from Mr. Noto. I hear it could be mentioned as early as San Diego!

Pinup artist Joe Pekar was a late addition to Heroes con and still managed to sell out of his brand new Naughty Girls Vol.1 hardcover! I swear the man was doing a con sketch every time I walked by his table.

Look at that smile…isn’t Cully Hamner just adorable? I guess being part of a hot seller like DC Comics Blue Beetle ongoing series will lift one’s spirits.

So just who is the “Sidekick”? Neither Chris Moreno or Paul Jenkins would admit to it, but their comic of the same name from Image Comics was garnering very good word of mouth.

Another indie title that has been a cult favorite for months now is none other than The Hunger. Series creators Jose Torres, Chris Dibari and company were busy peddling their newly collected trade paperback but took a brief respite just to smile for a photo op.

(sighs) Ah, the lovely Colleen Doran. We chatted about the recently released Superman Returns movie and she almost convinced me that Brandon Routh is the prettiest man alive. Almost Colleen….almost.

Pictured at right are the men of Silent Devil. Left to right are Christian and Adam Beranek with Last Sin of Mark Grimm writer Sean McManus. Playful competition was happening at their table as I overheard Sean may have been pushing people to purchase his comic just a little bit more than the other entertaining Silent Devil wares. Whether it is the funny animal Silent Forest or the violent fantasy of Dracula Versus King Arthur, this is one indie company that believes in quality first. Give them a look see sometime!

Renaissance man Jim Mahfood (above) talked art, music and sketched his weekend away. A fellow “bar con” attendee, Jim was within eyesight most of the weekend. Thanks to one of Jim’s fans I even discovered a new Danger Mouse CD. YES!

Below are the men of Antarctic Press. Standing is Rod Espinosa while the sitters are legendary Ben Dunn and the bald-is-beautiful David Hutchison.

Notice the sketch list sitting right smack in front of Ed McGuinness (above)? Yep, Ed’s list was another that was totally full by early Saturday. Sketches or no sketches, the fans came to Ed by the bus load, dropping off plenty of comics for the man to sign.

Legendary Hate creator Peter Bagge (below) was on hand and selling art as well as doing sketches. At one point I even spied Bionicle artist Stuart Sayger getting a con sketch self-portrait!

The gorgeous Rosario Dawson was stationed with Occult Crimes Taskforce creators David Atchison and Tony Shasteen. They were selling a Heroes Con exclusive preview edition of the soon to be released comic and for those who wanted Rosario’s autograph, this seemed to be the weapon of choice. I was taken by surprise by the art on this title and I’ll be among those who are at their comic shop buying it.

Below is one insanely talented artist, Travis Charest. Had I not been awestruck by his appearance at the show, maybe I’d have asked him where he has been for the last few years. Travis, why have you forsaken us?!

Jason Palmer (above) made me spend a lot of money at his booth. His movie-related art reminded me of the Mcquarrie Star Wars posters and here he was selling original pieces! Thanks for the Harry Potter piece, Jason!

I shot this photo of No Face (below) while on the run. He was in the retailer area eating people and dropping little bits of gold all over the floor.

Raven Gregory (above) was disappointed in me because I didn’t want a $5 lapdance. That said, I hear the twisted man is working on writing a comic book version of the movie Seven that starred Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt.

Jason Pearson (below) was stationed at the 12 Gauge Comics booth all weekend and that meant lucky for him. He got to gaze at Rosario all weekend!

I kid you not. When I originally shot the above photo of said cutie spokes model, I never knew she was holding a comic book in her hand. I guess I just didn’t see that low…bad marketing.

And below is yours truly in the center of the photo. I’m journalistically sandwiched by Stephanie Mangold on the left and the one and only Heidi MacDonald on the right. I don’t know what it is about journalists and drinking after convention hours,… but I like it!

This picture was shot on the way home somewhere on a highway in Virginia. Apparently, they’ve got interesting names for bread down there.

Friends, look all over the internet, and you’ll find a consensus opinion that the Heroes Con is the place to be. The atmosphere couldn’t get any better, and I’m excited to book my room for 2007 already! Thanks to everyone who made this year’s con a special one; you know who you are and how appreciative I am of you. To my night time bar buddies: hope to see you soon on the circuit!

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