Heroes Con 2013: “What I Got Better Get Some (Get On Up)”

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Heroes Con is always unique when compared to even the best comics conventions across the United States. But this year was a one-of-a-kind experience because the North Carolina GOP held their annual convention at the same time, in the same place, while staying in the same hotel. Regardless of your politics, you can see why this made for an odd cultural mash up. While they had a Faith & Freedom Prayer Breakfast, we had a panel on “good girl” art. When they held a reception for the governor, we had a Drink and Draw party.

The best evidence for this weird stew came Saturday night, when it was reported that Ed Piskor (creator of WIZZYWIG and HIP HOP FAMILY TREE) rode the same elevator as Karl Rove. Above is my rendition of this curiosity, which I desperately wish I was a fly on the wall for.

But let’s focus on comics! My favorite event this year was Rich Barrett’s panel on Graphic Design in Comics, with Robert Wilson IV, Matt Kindt, Jim Rugg, Chris Pitzer and Matt Stevens. As a designer myself I was pleased that there was much to learn from the panelists, especially Wilson’s insights into designing covers for digital devices. 

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Wilson also designed two of my favorites purchases at the show (above): his new custom comic LIKE A VIRUS and a screen printed poster in the style of Japanese Edo-e or Nishiki-e. LIKE A VIRUS is an emotionally powerful comic and I highly recommend it. 

Other items I picked up at the show include Andy Belanger’s BLACK CHURCH, Becky Cloonan’s DEMETER and Robbi Rodriguez’s FRANKIE GET YOUR GUN. I also got the last copy of Jim Rugg’s stylish magazine anthology SUPERMAG.

I regret not picking up any comics by Ben Marra, who I met at the convention after party on Sunday night. Looking at the material on his site, his work seems right up my alley. Check out this commercial for his Traditional Comics.

It was great to finally meet social media comics friends like Eric Newsome and my collaborator on THE CABINET, Kelly Williams. Kelly and I communicate daily but haven’t had a chance to meet in person. As I expected we became fast friends and I suspect we’ll be working together on comics for some time to come, even after THE CABINET is finished. We have similar interests, personalities and backgrounds that play well together. It’s rare to find someone you can work together with so effortlessly and I’m really excited to see what comes next! Here’s a photo of us marching through Charlotte like a boss.

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Two more things I’ll share with you re: Heroes Con 2013. First, we found an excellent breakfast spot called The Midnight Diner that’s only a ten minute walk from the convention center. Cheap, filling food for comics folk on the go.

Finally, I want to share two amazing commissions my friend Rafer Roberts (creator of PLASTIC FARM) got for his sketchbook of self-portraits. The first is by comics legend Bill Sienkiewicz.

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The last is by our friend (and comics legend in the making) Dave Wachter. Dave’s launching a Kickstarter for his webcomic THE GUNS OF SHADOW VALLEY this week and you should definitely support it!

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