Heroes Con ’07 – Saturday

First, two observations:

1) Everything in Charlotte, NC is new, shiny and either silver or white. It’s kind of like being on the set of that bizarre “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” TV show from the 1970s.

2) Speaking of centuries, we’re currently well into the 21st. A hotel’s charging for internet access is cheap and tacky. It’s a necessity, like hot water or climate control–not an indulgence like a minbar, or ordering a plate of waffles at 3 am. (And yes, I will whine about this again at SPX.)

As for the convention itself, folks in the small press “Indie Island” area seemed to agree that there was a marked improvement in activity, interest and sales Saturday afternoon. I’ve been keeping a list of stuff I’ve sold and if I have time, once things have wrapped up, I’ll maybe post a comparison with last year’s show and/or last year’s SPX–assuming I’ve got that info still around. More important than sales, though, was the general vibe that Saturday afternoon brought some people interested in the small press/indie stuff that was available. This year didn’t feature as many “power hitter” indie people like last year’s Los Bros Hernandez, Pete Bagge, etc. lineup, so the level of attendee interest in this area was a bit of an unknown. While I don’t get the vibe that people were moving tons of books, I was encouraged by the presence of a number of people I met who had come specifically to seek out some Indie Island folks and to hit the Top Shelf and Adhouse booths.

As is the case with most conventions where I’m a guest, I really didn’t get to do any panel-attending other than the one that I was participating in, the minicomics panel at 4:00. A friend who had gone to the Paul Hornschmeir panel told me that there were only a handful of people there, so I feared the worst going into our panel (along with Andy Runton, J. Chris Campbell, Jim Mahfood, Rob Ullman and moderator Dustin Harbin), but I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout and the level of interest. I brought some “how to” handouts I nabbed from www.teachingcomics.org, Rob made a little 4 page sketch mini to give out, and Chris likewise had a freebie mini for folks who showed up. Additionally I brought the bulk of my minicomics collection so folks could get their mitts on the real deal as we took questions. Stuff like King Cat, Iron Clad, and the various works of Drew Weing, Eleanor Davis, Alex Longstreth, etc. made the rounds. The good folks from The Dollar Bin podcast recorded the whole thing, and I’ll link to that when it’s available. I ran into a guy after the presentation who had actually been to the Wizard show in Philly on Friday and who was ecstatic that there was a minicomics panel going on at Heroes. He mentioned that there was pretty much no small press/indie focus at that show–which isn’t surprising, but it was nice to think that, even given the general mainstream focus of Heroes, that it’s getting a bit of street cred for being indie-friendly relative to stuff like Wizard.

I missed the art auction in order to hang out with some friends of mine from Charlotte, but we all came back to the bar at 11pm or so to find the place totally packed with liquored-up con-goers spilling out into the lobby of the hotel. The place was still pretty hoppin’ getting on toward 1 am when we left.

My favorite memory of the day: as I walked back to the hotel in the afternoon, out of the windows of a passing SUV I heard “NERDS! NERDS! There’s nerds EVERYWHERE!”

My second favorite memory of the day: I saw a couple leaving the show; one was dressed as an imperial officer from “Star Wars,” the other as a Klingon from”Star Trek.” Truly these were “star-cross’d lovers.” Love will find a way, folks…

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