Not everyone is a comic book fan. However, regardless of your feelings on the subject, you should attend at least one Comic-Con event, and the HeroesCon in Charlotte NC is an excellent one. It was founded in 1982 by Shelton Drum, owner of Charlotte’s Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find comics shop. What has really made this convention famous is its comics-first and family-friendly atmosphere, where fans can mingle directly with professionals and exhibitors.
The event covers the entire 280,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space in the convention center. Therefore, this event is significant. Upstairs in the flexible meeting space, HeroesCon highlights workshops, contest, lectures, and more.
Although I only went to the Saturday portion of the convention, it is a three-day experience. Boasting an incredible guest list built mainly on reputation and goodwill, HeroesCon is known nationwide as a “must” on the summer schedule, drawing fans, exhibitors, and creators from every region of the country to the Charlotte Convention Center.
I do not attend every year, but I have made it a priority when every possible. During my visits, I have had the opportunity to talk with some great artists, entrepreneurs, and some creative dreamers. Like life itself, Heroes Con has changed and morphed along with the industry it is built around. Also for better or worse, I have also changed. Once an avid collector I have found myself over the years more interested in hearing from the artists in workshops, Q & A sessions or even exploring the world of graphic storytelling with discussions with industry leaders.
The 2018 convention was a blast for me. First, I’m living closer to Charlotte than I’ve ever lived before, so it was an easy commute. Next, one of my favorites Jim Steranko was back for another round of telling and sharing stories about the industry and his fantastic life. Not only did I get his autograph, but he shared a personal story with me (and the rest of the folks in line) about his encounter with Walter B. Gibson. (Gibson gave life to The Shadow and is one of my favorite authors.) Finally, I learned about Webtoon. This new venture in graphic storytelling originated in South Korea. Today it has over 10 million readers and thousands of titles. It was an eye-opening session, packed with teenagers, or, as I like to call them, “the new comic fans.”
There were some awesome costumes at this year’s event. With a couple dozen variations on Wonder Woman, lots of Star Wars, as well as a couple of Batmans, a few Thors, and even Harry Potter still made an appearance. It was hard to find comics from my era at my $1 budget threshold, so I forked out for three $5 editions of some hard to find – The Phantom’s from Gold Key. They were a favorite of mine during my family trips to the Nags Head in the mid-60s.
Another thing I like to do at the convention is check out the host of auxiliary businesses that find customers at a Comic-Con. There was someone selling collectibles insurance, an individual who built custom cabinetry, another selling handcrafted Potter style wands, toy sellers, inventors of board games, a club of aerial acrobats, jewelry, handbags, and a host of writers of fantasy books. In fact, I took a chance and picked up a Steampunk adventure novel, which I will be reviewing later.
Summer is the time of the season for most conventions for fans. If you missed the Charlotte Heroes Con this year, put it on your calendar for next June. In the meantime, do a little research in your region. Somewhere, someone is having a Comic-con, Pop Culture Event, Cosplay Con, or something in the realm of fan-based celebration. I’ve been to small and medium events and always found something that was Wow.