Wow- so Heroes Con (June 3-5 in Charlotte, NC) was an absolute BLAST! I can see why it's one of the darlings of the comic convention circuit- super artist friendly, well managed, an amazing guest list with lots to do both outside and within the con. I'm definitely coming back next year and hope to be a Heroes regular! (Maybe even be cool enough to get on the guest list myself one day... ::siggghhhh::)
There were a couple hiccups, but mostly because it being a unfamiliar con I didn't know exactly what to expect. First and foremost, next year we are SO flying. We took the bus from NYC to my parent's house in Maryland after work Wednesday night, which was running an hour late and is, of course the bus, which is never fun. Then Thursday morning we packed up my mom's VW Beetle and took the 7 hour drive from Maryland to NC. Which is WAY more fun at 21 with no responsibilities and you actually believe there's adventure (or drugs) around every corner, versus at 30 when you're pissed that it's taking so long and you're missing work and thusly losing money. Money which could have paid for the hour and a half flight from NYC to NC.
Side note: if you're in Charlotte check out Irish joint Ri Ra for dinner.
Potato cakes are off the HOOOOOK. ;d
Also, with Heroes Con being so artist friendly, sketches were a very big deal there. Which is something I've never been big on. I actually turned down requests which I felt kinda bad about. I just have this whole thing about focusing my attention on sales and customer service when I'm working my convention table. Standing and being able to present myself alongside my work and address potential customers in the eyes. While wearing a corset and feather headdress. And posing for pictures. It's very hard to split my attention between sales and producing artwork. I'm gonna try next year for Heroes tho, I've already been looking into standing-height roll around laptop desks so I can have my supplies set up to draw while talking and selling. That and I need to convince Fenny to come down with me next year and talk when I can't. Not getting dressed up for conventions however, is out of the question. That's just part of who I am. Plus shoot, it def helps out with getting folks attention, amirite? ;)
Also, with it being a 3 day convention that was away from my usual NYC/Baltimore territory Phil and I stayed at the Westin Charlotte, which is right across the street from the convention center. It is also the official hotel of the con, which forced me to have post-convention socialization for the first time in ohhh 7-8 years? And my first post convention socialization since I went 'pro'. Which was an equal mix of terrifying PTSD from when I used to socialize at conventions alongside mostly a rather unsavory crowd who would regularly embarrass me in front of my heroes/potential collaborators and exhilarating as people are starting to recognize me and my work and I'm starting to become welcomed as a peer into a profession that I've always wanted to to be a part of. Finding a place to hang out at the hotel bar however still has that 'new kid finding a seat in the cafeteria' feeling though. See usually I just go home, tear off whatever crazy getup I'm wearing, order Thai food and watch tv in my pj's. On a rare occasion I've gone out to dinner afterwards with friends, but for the most part I'm so exhausted from standing, talking, smiling, posing and selling I just wanna boogie on home and collapse. But fortunately I had friends at the convention, notably my "twin sister from another mister" Steph Buscema and her hubby Rob Harrigan, who are some of the awesomest, realest, most no bullshit people I know. And talented as hell to boot. Through them I also had the utmost pleasure of meeting kindred spirit and functioning psychopath Marsha Cooke, part of the team who's created/writing Teenage Satan, an insanely cool app/comic/game that Steph is doing the art for. It looks way cool and super fun. Can't wait to play with it!
Check out Teenage Satan's preview:
Something else I was concerned with that ended up working somewhat to my favor was my table placement. All the way in the back of aisle 100, facing the wall it wasn't the most ideal spot for customers and crowd flow. Buuut-- I was also directly across from the only men's room on the convention floor, so coming out of the bathroom the first thing you see is ME! ;D And everyone's gotta hit the can on a long show day eventually. Which resulted in some small talk with some of my fave creators, some I knew from online and other conventions, some I met fresh this weekend. Next year I'd ideally like a more centralized location, but I did make the best of an otherwise crappy spot. One of the folks I ran into was my online art buddy Jared Moriatis of Beast Wreck Studios, who makes crazy colorful, badass tshirts. His Grrrrilla shirt was actually was the one purchase I allowed myself all weekend, which I get always compliments on!
Both Friday and Saturday had me a little worried money-wise, as the earnings from my table by Saturday night were disconcerting at best. Lots of talking but no one was really buying anything. People seemed more interested in superhero related merch and interpretations of already existing franchises versus original characters. Also I was outside of my NYC/MD 'territory', I've been working to get myself out there on a local level up north, but down here I'm an unknown. I heard about the Saturday night art auction before coming to the con, with it being a big deal and stuff goes for crazy amounts and it helps Heroes be the awesome convention it is, plus it's awesome PR and gets the people who run the show to notice your work. (And maybe invite you back as a guest. Nudge. Nudge.) So in a random fit of karmic desperation, I put my Kitty Pryde marker piece that I did like 7 years ago in the auction for a paltry $45. The same piece that has been in my print book on my table for the past two years that anyone could have bought at any time from me, but at the actual art auction, which I was too tired to make it to myself, ended up selling for over $200! Haha, alright! Can I get the rest of my stuff sold thru them and keep the money? Shoot. Wish I had made the auction, it sounded like a good time.
Sunday I had my 'Sunday Sale-On Sailor! Sale', where I dressed like a sailor and all items at my table were buy one get one half off (of the lowest priced item). The interest generated in my work from the auction plus the return of people who spent most of Saturday just talking to me to my table on Sunday to buy made me earn back well over my table costs. Which was an awesomely pleasant surprise. We were also invited to the 'Dead Dog Party' after the show at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find, the comic shop that puts it all on. It's mostly for all the pros and people who work the show as a big 'thank you' and an opportunity to mix and mingle alongside fellow creators. And eat some awesome southern BBQ! After awhile we figured we'd head back to the hotel bar for a nightcap with a few friends and actually ended up closing down the bar with Marsha Cooke and her husband, legendary artist/creator Darwyn Cooke (pardon my fangirl moment: ::squeeeeeeeeeee!::) and new friends writer/artist/smartass Andy Belanger and awesome supercouple Jeni and Ben DeFeo. I even helped Marsha discover one of her new favorite drinks, Stoli Blueberry vodka and Sprite, which she has dubbed the Blueberry Pop. 'It's freakin' effervescent, man!' And yeah, totally delish. I get them all the time. ^_^ Try one for yourself next time you're at the bar!
Overall, I can see why HeroesCon is so beloved by professionals and fans alike. I wish more conventions were like Heroes, with being so out for the fans and pros alike and all for the love of comics. No giant pavilions. No multi-media assaults to the senses. No giant movie props or platoons of booth babes. ::cough cough:: Like NYCC... ::cough cough::
***Thank you to Tony Hicks and Joe Hicks for the awesome pics from the show! You two are sweethearts!**