Another year and we have seen Heroes Con come and go. I’m always bristling with excitement as the show draws near, I must confess that Heroes has a special place in my heart, it was my first con experience way back in 1992, it was the show that helped me get my first big break in the industry with Joe Staton, and every year it feels like I’m coming home to a family reunion; albeit a reunion filled with toys, costumes, comics, and some crazy entertaining creators. And alas I’m also sad to see Heroes go...the time with my brothers and sisters, and cousins of comics is always too short, and it’s always bittersweet to tell them goodbye until next year, but that three days in-between? We pack that with every bit of excitement and shenanigans as possible. So off to some shenanigans, the names have been redacted to protect the innocent, the guilty, and the casual observer.
Day one, making this a family affair, Brynn and I take the 12 going on 30 yr old of Nataly, as we approach the table, my corner of the kingdom of Shelton Drum, we are greeted by SUPERTODD DAVIS, who now goes by Mr. Todd A. Davis, so as to not cause confusion. Todd is a welcome surprise, we didn’t know he was coming and after 3 years of not seeing him, we know the show just stepped up a notch for us. We set up the table, get the first guest to the table butterflies, and introduce us to our neighbors. It’s common courtesy, plus you need to find out if they are good people, or the people you want to blame all the trash around your table on....not that we would do that, but just saying it has been done. Then it hits, the trickle of the first few browsing customers, and then WHAM! the tsunami of fans...what feels like a few minutes has now become 4 hours of your day...you realize this by the pain in your stomach telling you that you are hungry, but you just ate...or so you think as you look at your phone and realize your day is almost over. You look around your table, look at your neighbors and sigh a relief as you rush to the bathroom and concession stand as fast as possible, you pick the order you go..just make sure to wash your hands. Now you rush back to your table...trying hard not to be distracted by the other art, and that one toy vendor with that one toy you really want to buy, but your table calls, besides your family is there and they want to go to the bathroom too. Finally the announcement to pack up, and you crawl to the escalators, tired, but resolute. Then finally outside the air hits you, recharged...YOU MAKE A MADE DASH TO FUEL Pizza, otherwise you will wait another 4 hours to feed. Then finally bellies full, hope high, and exhaustion setting in, you retire to the Westin, promising to appear at the Drink N Draw, promising to show up at the bar, but instead falling asleep at 8 o’clock because well you are THE MAN and nothing will stop you...except this 12 hour food coma you have just induced.
Day two, wake up, shower..VERY IMPORTANT, put on the Bret Michaels hat and across the street we go. Check in with the neighbors, smile, set the booth up, and then hope to have a good excuse why you...MR. I’m tough and can do this all night didn’t make it to any of those things you said you would. Finally you realize it’s better to admit you are old and can no longer hang, so you hand your MAN CARD to your friends, and bow your head in shame. And now you wait, you wait for that trickle of fans again, that trickle that lasts another 5 hours as you realize you are running out of books, prints, and even ink to finish sketches with...and its DAY TWO, you still have another day to go...you never do this, you are never this busy, did that deal you made with Mephisto finally come true? What has happened? Where are all these people coming from, and are there 4 lights or 5? Finally the storm breaks, you wipe away sweat, regain your posture, and look at your neighbors....then only then do you laugh and in the face or exhaustion do you all begin to sing....Bohemian Rhapsody. Then off to that bathroom/concession stand area, and remember you have 5 minutes before you are a guest on a podcast about the Blue Balls you, Todd, and Brynn have been throwing around. During the NAME REDACTED podcast Todd finally discovers the best way to tell everyone how to use a semi-colon, and the Oxford comma, and I am labeled with a new nickname of BRET MICHAELS WATKINS. Then finally back to the Westin, and looking to retrieve your lost man card to the bar..to show my friends I can do this...then hurry back upstairs and go to sleep. BUT I WAS THERE YOU SAW ME.
Day three, wake up and shower, see above, go to show and watch the barter day start...the I know you want 10 for it but I only have 5 dollars day, but then they settle for 7 dollars, two of which they supposedly didn’t have, but somehow with the powers of science, magic, or a combination of the two, they produce more money. Of course this day is slower early on so you finally get to spend some time with the neighbors, share some tricks, tips, and concession stand food..and then mid fry in ketchup they appear, your fans have returned for day three, but this time is different, they have seen the show, they are as tired as you, as you both look into each others eyes you realize you have conquered the show together, and now you are bound to each other, like blood brothers..you are now inseparable.
Finally you walk the show floor for a few minutes and see your friends, buy some more stuff to take home and add to your army of dust collectors and holders “i.e. Transformers” and then its off to the after party where Shelton takes care of you, with usually the best spread of food in town, and then you hunker around your fellow creators and build those new family members, that new brother or sister, or distant cousin twice removed, that will always look for you year after year from this point on.
That’s Heroes Con to me...with a few twists of bad comedy in it just for posterities sake.
All in all thanks to Shelton, Karla, Rico, Trey, Kibby, and the entire staff and volunteers of Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find...I’m grateful everyday that you allow me to be a part of a great show. Thanks you all of my Fans, WITHOUT YOU I AM NOTHING! And to my extended Heroes Family: Jim Amash (Dad) Joe Staton (Best Uncle you can adopt) Mark Texeira (Big Older Brother), Mike Lilly, Matt Slay, Norman Lee, Colby Ziglar, Jermaine Exum, Nathan Massengill, Xylon Otterburn, Randall Trang, it was great seeing you all this year. To the missing members this year Matt Webb ( That other Uncle you adopt), Steve Scott (Older Brother different mother), Jamal Igle, and Buzz (Frank Cho and Jim Lee stacked atop each other older Brother) ...we missed you this year.
With as much love, yet exhaustion...