Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Non-Presidential Blogging (Comic-Con Edition)

I know I seem to have been preoccupied by US Presidents past, present and future lately, so here's an entry that has absolutely nothing to do with anything Presidential.

JennySlash and I had given some serious consideration to attending the HeroesCon in Charlotte this year, put on by the Heroes Aren't Hard To Find comic book store. It has grown to be quite a huge deal, one of the largest and the third oldest behind San Diego and Chicago. Unfortunately we let the date slip up on us before we could make Damien-boarding plans, but we will almost definitely go next year. If you've never been to a comic-con, I would strongly suggest that you rent Comic Book: The Movie, a spoof/homage to comic book fans and comic conventions directed by Mark Hamill. It's mostly set at the gargantuan San Diego Comicon and has a bizarre cast of ex-Playboy Playmates (well, one - Donna D'Errico), cameos from comic icons like Stan Lee and Kevin Smith and a cast made up almost entirely of cartoon and video game voice talent (like Billy West, who does most of the voices on Futurama). It's not Christopher Guest quality, but it's not bad and it definitely hits the right notes. (You can also get a feel for it from the beginning and end of Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy, which is just a brilliant fucking movie anyway.)

There were a number of guests on the schedule that it would have been nice to see this year, including my all-time favorite comic book artist - Bill Sienkiewicz - who canceled at the last minute anyway so no loss. I've also become a huge fan of Phil Noto (Danger Girl and Beautiful Killers) and of Brandon Peterson (bunch of Crossgen titles). Just to give you a little taste, here's a sample (in the order above):

But there were no Neil Gaimans or Alan Moores or Frank Millers or Kevin Smiths this year, so it's probably okay.

So lest you think that we go every year and that this is an anomaly for us, we've actually only been once, in 1987 when we were living in Charlotte for a short space of time. The con was MUCH smaller at that time, sharing ballroom space in the Adam's Mark Hotel in Charlotte with a mink oil sales conference (and if you think a bunch of comic book nrrds mixing in the lobby with a bunch of mink oil salesdroids has the makings of surreality, you'd not be mistaken). PC and Stacy Guess came down from Chapel Hill for the weekend, the highlights of which (for me) were: a panel discussion with Mr. Sienkiewicz (and the giveaway Wedding of Peter Parker and MJ poster with artwork by the aforementioned), listening to PC interview Bob Burden (Flaming Carrot, Mysterymen), catching a pristine, newly restored copy of Duck Dodgers of the 24 1/2 Century and the looks on the faces of the other competitors after Stacy got an honorable mention in the quick-draw contest - he apparently stared at the paper for fifteen minutes while all the geeks were drawing their little superheroes, then drew an outline of his hand and stabbed his pencil through it and turned it in (not sure whether the judges were amused or frightened).

It's much bigger now, having moved to the Charlotte Convention Center (and I'll guarantee they ain't sharing the space with anybody else) and I've got some holes in my collection that I wouldn't mind filling (hard to believe after doing an inventory over the Christmas holidays and finding that I had over 4200 comics), so we're going to find some way to get down there next year. With some money to spend. And we'll remember our friend Stacy, who is no longer with us, and hope some equally talented kid will shake up the spandex-drawing crowd with something truly out of the ordinary.


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