There’s one thing vitally clear about HeroesCon, Charlotte’s biggest comic book convention: it’s all about the art. Or more specifically, it’s about fans getting original art from creators, chatting as they draw commissioned sketches – and everything else is a far second.
This was my first time down at HeroesCon, and while I wasn’t expecting a larger, media-centric convention like San Diego or even New York - heck, they even plug their laid back, family friendly atmosphere on the website’s banner – I was surprised how squarely the focus fell on original art, and nearly nothing else. Sure, there were panels, we even covered a couple of them, and they were spirited, lighthearted discussions. And the floor was pretty evenly split between comic book dealers and Artists Alley, so you’d think your focus would be split too.
The comic book dealers did do a fair amount of traffic, most of them sporting fantastic deals like 50% off trades, and 10-cent back issues. And in that half of the room, there was the always-present giant T-shirt cave, a table for storm troopers to chill at, and even that guy who sells swords. You know, real swords. Because if I was in a crowded room with awkward, emotionally stunted nerds, what I would want to do is sell weapons.
Anyway, Artists Alley was were most of the fans immediately head. Though Friday was mostly dead, with creators bemoaning slower traffic than even the year before (and a few wondering if they shouldn’t just head home now), Saturday picked up significantly, with everyone seeing good sales across the board. For my eye, Sunday was equally busy, and that may have something to do with this being a family friendly Con. Normally, Sunday is “Kids Day” at cons, but here, every day was kids day, as plenty of children got to meet creators for the first time, and toddlers were underfoot everywhere.
But like I said up top, the Con was all about the art. Even in Artists Alley, if you just came with written material, or offered up sketchbooks, you probably weren’t going to go home any richer. On the other hand, literally anyone offering commissions was booked up from the first day on, with those offering slightly better deals staying up late nights in their rooms painting, instead of going out partying.
On Saturday, a live painting section dominated the traffic on the floor, as Adam Hughes painted a piece featuring Black Cat and Catwoman in a sort of old school French poster. This was part of the HeroesCon annual auction, and Hughes's painting was the star attraction – going for $12,000 – but I talked to smaller creators like Bobby Timony and David Williams, who expected their paintings to go for peanuts, but found them selling for thousands of dollars, instead.
In fact, Williams was hoping his piece would go for a thousand, but found Adam Hughes himself purchasing it after a heated bidding battle for over $3,500. “He was all like, ‘I got it! I got it!’ and I couldn’t believe Adam Hughes was so excited about getting my piece. It was great.”
Other creators praised the atmosphere of the Con. One told me that, “Unlike some conventions with magic in their title, this is about the work, and interacting with fans. It’s great.”
We couldn’t agree more.
We'll leave you with a couple more pics from the Con, but even if the weekend is over - don't worry, we've got plenty more interviews and video coming at you in the next few days!
Adam Hughes talks to MTV
The Walking Dead's Tony Moore
The Wasp lives!
Legendary Donald Duck artist Don Rosa
Superhero (and supervillain) line-up!
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Alex Cox