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Southern Fried Batman

So HeroesCon was this weekend, and I teamed up with a couple of friends and went down to Charlotte for three days of comics and crowds and other fun stuff.

Things worked out so damn conveniently for us. I had originally wanted a hotel downtown, close to the convention center, but we opted instead for a significantly cheaper LaQuinta Inn by the airport. Friday and Saturday, we were shuttled for free from the hotel to the lightrail station and rode the train straight to the con. Maybe it wasn't much quicker, but it was certainly cheaper and more interesting, especially the guy who drove us back to the hotel from the station talking about extra terrestrial intelligence and stuff.

I got. So much. Stuff. And I met so many artists whose work I've enjoyed over the years. I'm not even sure where to begin, man.

Out of my rather large list of people I wanted to see, Geof Darrow was absolutely one of the top five. He was the first person I looked for on the show floor after a quick stop by Becky Cloonan's table, which I had just happened to notice while on the way. I bought a Godzilla print from him, got my copy of Hard Boiled signed, and talked to him about Bojangles, KFC, and the weird orgy that was taking place at the beginning of the comic. The next day, he did a panel with Don Rosa, and I asked him about any future plans for the Shaolin Cowboy. Awesomely, there's an old-school pulp magazine called the Shaolin Cowboy Adventures that'll be coming out this year! YES! He also kept rambling about some weird Japanese manga about an island of vampires that make people piss themselves and stuff. I love that man to death.

The two coolest artists I met over the weekend were Michel Fiffe and Paul Maybury. Both of these guys were a part of the LiveJournal comics group Act-I-Vate years ago, which I was a pretty big fan of. Funny thing was, it wasn't until I saw them there and started talking to them that I realized how big of a part that group and their work played in my comics sensibilities. Both of them were incredibly nice, and I bought more from them than I did from any of the other guys.

I also met James Harren, whose recent work on BPRD and Abe Sapien has been mind-blowingly awesome. I freaked out looking through the original pages of the Long Death, and when I told him I wished I had brought one of his books to sign, he generously pulled out a Mignola variant issue of BPRD, signed it, and handed it to me for free.

Other folks I met: Becky Cloonan, Ben Templesmith, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman, Ryan Bodenheim, Mike Mignola himself, Bill Sienkiewicz, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Robbi Rodriguez, and probably some other guys I've embarrassingly forgotten. I gave most of them copies of Burst Reach too. I was afraid that some of them would turn me down or just shove it aside, but quite a number of them seemed really gracious and interested in what I was doing.

Meeting these artists, giving them my own book, and looking at their own work and seeing what all they've accomplished was so amazing and invigorating. These past few weeks I've been in this stupid slump, so down on my own work and struggling to maintain some kind of motivation to continue working on Other Sleep, and this con was absolutely the kick in the ass that I needed. Now I'm just absolutely pumped to start working on more stuff.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS:
The panel with Dustin Harbin and Scott Campbell was incredible. Only 5 or 6 people showed up for it, so we all sat right up front, making for a rather "intimate" panel that was a blast. It was absolutely the best panel I attended that weekend.

Our hotel was dog-friendly, and Saturday night there were a number of the beasts and their lazy owners hanging around the pool, which was kind of weird. The hot tub wasn't terribly hot or even remotely bubbly, so all in all it was a little surreal and a little mundane. Still, can't complain too much, we paid just over 50 bucks each between the three of us for two nights there.

Stan Lee was there, and I caught a little glimpse of him from a distance. I think Trey and David got some blurry, distant photos of him. He wasn't looking too great, but apparently at his Sunday panel he actually RAN up to the stage and can still really work a crowd, so maybe he was just...conserving his energy?

I saw wayyyyyy too many Harley Quinns, Deadpools, and guys in Captain America shield shirts. The cosplay all around wasn't much to be amazed at. I got molested by a Tusken Raider at the 501st booth immediately after walking into the con on Friday, and kept stumbling upon a pretty amazing Silk Spectre. I think Dr. McNinja was there Saturday, which was badass, and he was walking around with Axe Cop too! I also bumped into a guy carrying Tom Servo around, and kicked myself for not getting a picture. There were two large t-shirt booths set up, and they seemed to be getting a lot of business, but the only shirts I bought were from Michel Fiffe (the one pictured above) and Paul Maybury.

We saw some TV show in the hotel room with Betty White and a bunch of other elderly folks called Off Their Rockers. It was a prank show that was...honestly kind of awesome, but pretty terrible at the same time.

Hm. I think that's it. I'm still really sore and tired from all the damn walking we did, so I'm gonna go relax and go through the insane number of comics I bought, yeah? I definitely plan on going next year, and might even try to get a table for myself. I just don't know if I can stand up to some of the awesome talent there...

...Oh crap, I gotta prepare for next month's Rob-Con!

[Brett]

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