Heroes Con Report 2008: Read the Report, Stick Around for the Photos

It was another fantastic Heroes Con last weekend...awesome, as usual, and came at a great time, as I was really ready for a break from my Mr. Mom duties. Sadly, it's one of only two conventions I get to do this year (the other being SPX). Fortunately, it's so much fun that it's like a year's worth of shows in one weekend!

Special thanks go out to my mother- and father-in-law, Bob and Linda in Greensboro, for letting my pals and I crash at their house on Thursday night, leaving only a third of the trip to be tackled Friday morning. In the past, I've always gotten up at the crack of ass Friday morning to make the five-hour trip, leaving me behind on sleep and playing catch-up all weekend. This was definitely the way to go!

It was a busy weekend from stem to stern at the old table...every time I got up to leave and check out some of the other booths, someone would walk up and I'd spend the next ten minutes talking with them. Likewise, on the occasion when I did slip away for a few minutes, I'd keep an eye on my spot across the way and dash back over when someone stopped by. Good for the ol' pocketbook, not so good for bringing home a bunch of fanboy bullshit. In fact, about all I picked up that could be considered really geeky is the Essential HULK Vol. 1, which I acquired for the measly sum on five bucks. Otherwise, nothing. Usually I try to swing some con deals on Sunday, but with a panel on Sunday afternoon and a full house, I just didn't have the time to search 'em out! I looks like that Emma Frost camel-toe statue will have to wait until next year.

Lessee, I did pick up some cool books here and there: Alex Robinson's new one, TOO COOL TO BE FORGOTTEN, which was the first thing I read when I got back, and really enjoyed. Alex does such a great job at setting the scene, at making you feel part of the world he's creating...he's just an excellent talent. Also finally picked up Pat Lewis' THE CLAWS COME OUT, which I'm gonna try to read tonight. Picked up Kyle Webster's new LIGHT CHILDREN and Dean Yeagle's cheese-cakey MANDY'S SHORTS, sold by the ever-lovin', ever-charmin' Alberto Ruiz at BrandStudio Press. Got some minis from JCC, Duane Ballenger, Jim Rugg, Laura Park, Shannon Smith, Josh Latta, and Brad McGinty. Got one'a them sweet Jim Mahfood-illustrated Indie Island t-shirts. Chatted with Heidi MacDonald and Chris Duffy, my editor at Nickelodeon Magazine a bit, and finally met Tom Spurgeon for the first time!

I also goofed around a good bit with my neighbors, the Dollar Bin guys. They're always good for about a thousand laughs, even though Dustin had them scurrying around like fire ants trying to record every single panel at the show. The Dollar Bin guys also introduced me to the lovely Rachelle Gougen, of the Living Between Wednesdays blog and Halifax, Nova Scotia. I had a completely unlikely yet totally fascinating conversation with her about such topics as Sloan, Sidney Crosby, the QMJHL, Jimmy Beaulieu and the fact that Darwyn Cooke shops at the comic store where she works. She did me a major solid later on, when she introduced me to the man himself, as I nervously handed him some comics and tried to stammer out how big a fan I was as he sketched the Green Lantern in my NEW FRONTIER ABSOLUTE EDITION. Definitely one of the high points of the weekend, and the biggest fanboy moment I've had in years.

I was wondering how sales, attendance, etc. would be this year given the economic mess our country has sunk into over the last twelve months. For my part, I didn't really notice much of a change...much to my good fortune, I always seem to have many of the same people walk up year after year and inquire "What's new?" before plunking down some cash. Still, there were rumblings, I guess, about other exhibitors not doing as well. I dunno. Call it impatience or whatever, but I really feel like any exhibitor who expects to set the world on fire exhibiting at a show like Heroes for the first time is deluding themselves. It's a receptive crowd, but it is still a more mainstream crowd, and it takes time to win them over. In my eyes, (and I've been there since the beginning) Indie Island is an unqualified, spectacular success...Shelton and Dustin have given us he keys to the kingdom, and have allowed creators like myself access to all kinds of new readers. Unlike on that TV show, this Island isn't going anywhere, and I can't help but think that anyone who's producing quality stuff that shows up for a second and third year will see interest increase every time.

Another thing I took away from the show was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and a renewed desire to push myself to create some new, fantastic work. For one thing, I desperately want to complete SELLOUT sometime before the sun grows dim. I've been working on it for awhile, in stolen moments here and there, but I think it's past time I really buckled down and started churning out the pages. My self-imposed deadline is growing ever-nearer, and I'd love to actually bring something in on time for once, even if it's just for myself. I'm also considering making the next ATOM-BOMB BIKINI into something really special. Maybe full-color, hardcover...but also a bit more expensive. We'll see. There are offers, I just need to ascertain exactly how many people would plunk down the cash for my girlie drawings. Be interesting to see how it turns out.

No Heroes Con report would be complete without HUGE thanks going out to everyone on the staff that make it so great. Shelton, Dustin, Shawn, Todd, Andy, Rusty...everybody soooo nice, even to a nobody like me. My heart swells with apprecation, and I love 'em for it. I'd fight a tiger for Heroes Con!

Finally, the pics. One of the advantages to having a baby is that you need to have a good camera to capture ever goddamn thing...lucky for me, it also takes great pictures at the comicon!

Draw, monkey, draw!

Brad McGinty was doing hilarious, awful portraits of con-goers as sexy ladies for only five bucks. Here's Scott "posing" with his. I feel sorry for this drawing.

The aforementioned Brad, with Josh Latta and Shannon Smith.

J Chris lords over his tiny minions!

Do I look like I need reference for Big Barda?

Kelly Alder, selling the PopIdiot tees and corrupting America's youth.

I love this photo of J Chris, Brad and Josh, but the unexpected Pat Lewis sighting in the BG pretty much elevates it to classic!

JimRugg pretends to remember who J Chris is again.

The Joker takes care of Duane Ballenger's other eye.

Adam and Shawn enjoy the "latest" in alcoholic beverages.

Before we knew it, it was six o'clock Sunday, and it was "Goodbye, Charlotte" until next year.


Shannon Smith said...

Hey Rob. Great to see you there. Good report. I'll buy a big Bikini hardcover!

Robert Ullman said...

Thanks, Shannon. That's one!

I meant to mention your blog post in my recap, 'cause I thought it made a ton of good points re: the economic situation. Everybody, give it a read here.

Jay Geldhof said...

Sounds like a pretty good time.
Maybe not as good as taking care of my Ivy and watching "Jumper," but it's nice that you made the best out of what you had to work with.

Michael Dooney said...

This was my first trip to Heroes and even though I spent most of my time drawing at my table I did make a point of walking around and seeing the sights. I loved the indy Island section and your work in particular. You were away from the table when I was there but I bought one of your tee shirts anyhoo...the girl with the lpod...nice!

Mark Ricketts said...

Dang. Looks like fun. I might have to go next year.

Robert Ullman said...

Thanks, fellas! Yeah, it was great.

Mark: I can't promise sales, etc., but I can promise you will have an aewsome time and be very well taken care of by the staff. Heroes is like the anti-Chicago...all the good stuff, none of the bad! If you and Will could somehow make a trip..my god, the mind boggles at the possibilities!

Jay, if there's any way you could arrange a few days' escape next June, I promise it will be almost as good as JUMPER.

But it won't be any JUNO.

SubSub said...

Hey Rob. Thank YOU for the trades. You have a beautiful, consistent line. And Crustacean Frustration is hilarious.

Shawn Reynolds said...

That pic of Adam and Me is hi-larious. I'm glad I got to hang out with you guys. Everyone in Indie Island was super nice this year (as always). I couldn't imagine Heroes Con without such wonderful, gracious people.

J Chris Campbell said...

Dude! I'm such a looser I just read your recap.

Thanks for letting me crash your room and for driving me to the art auction and for the skectch pad and the huge bag of awesome girly cloths and that stuffed attic bug and the t-shirt that my sister almost stole right out of my hands and the killer pictures you took. You're the best comic pal a guy could ask for and I'm sorry I'm flaking out on SPX this year. I'll miss my Ullman happy fun time!