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  • So I Went To HEROESCON

    Okay, I never do this anymore, but HeroesCon 2010 was the deal, so I need to write some of it down before I forget it all. Another triumph for retailer Shelton Drum!

    I began the way I would end, incoherent, because I wisely chose to take a midnight flight across country. So if I seemed shaky to you, there we are. Thanks to Dustin Harbin, I was seated between Gabriel Hardman and Tom Fowler with Steve Lieber flanking the West wall, all my big collaborators of the past year. And did we remember to get a group picture taken with us as the Mount Rushmore of Awesome? No. And now all I can do is try to get Hardman and Fowler to go to the Baltimore show to see if we can recreate the scenario. As a result, a lot of Atlas, Mysterius, and Underground were signed and sketched in this weekend.
    Friday night was productive- after I straight-lied to everyone about how I would see them in the bar later to drink up and be merry, I went to Lieber and Fowler’s room and worked on commissioned sketches with Steve while buddy Chris Kemple joined us to draw and watch The 40 Year Old Virgin. For some reason, the Canadian wasn’t overjoyed when he rolled into the room bleary eyed to find it full of us and every light on. I know, right?

    Saturday I spent little time at my table because I had agreed to be on every panel that was put on. First was me and Ace Editor Bill Rosemann ostensibly talking about the upcoming Shadowland event that connects our books to Daredevil, but we quickly turned it into talking about how wonderful Thunderbolts is.

    After this my friend Pat alerted me to the presence of a Bojangles in the convention center. Not two miles away, right there upstairs. I went and bought piles of their food, and rudely brought it to the Defective Comics panel run by cartoonist Ben Towle. I forget what the point of the panel was supposed to be, but what it actually was was Evan Dorkin rubbing ugly truths in the audiences’ faces while Colleen Coover and I tried to talk everybody back off the ledge. In theory Chris Pitzer was up there with us, but this has yet to be confirmed. Here’s a fairly accurate breakdown of that at the Westfield site.
    The only thing keeping that from being a stupendous good time was the aforementioned Bojangles and the enormous sweet tea I’d been drinking during the panel. If I looked pained towards the end, that was why. I hope Chris Schweizer didn’t take my running out of the room as an indictment of his next presentation, which was probably terrific.

    The last panel of the day was the Mondo Marvel panel, which Rosemann and editor Lauren Sankovitch worked wonders running. The outstanding costumes of the crowd were Hawkeye and Mockingbird and Truth-Captain America Isaiah Bradley. I can’t remember much about that panel now, but I think it was covered at Newsarama. I remember Jim McCann whispering and fidgeting so much that I almost sent him home. My favorite part was everyone who worked with Bill realizing he’d emailed us all the same article last week, which each of us took as individual criticism and suggestions on how to not be big losers.

    As usual I fell asleep in my room immediately afterwards, text-beeped back to consciousness by Colleen and Paul Tobin so we could join Rosemann for dinner at the Mimosa Grille. Which, was delicious. We were a regular Algonquin Round Table, but with repartee that focused on Howard the Duck and 80′s comics in general. I had the trout.

    This night I actually did head to the bar, first penciling a Prince Valiant piece in a sketchbook. People don’t ask for a Valiant every day, I wanted to make sure I got it right. Hardman appeared with his iPhone to give me the reference for Val’s chest insignia. Then I finally got to catch up another old pal, inker Rich Faber. Somehow in the midst of all this, we crammed in meaningful discussion. I didn’t realized that probably at that very second I was being sized up for… a hit.

    A rift was nearly created among the people who bring you Comics Alliance when writer Chris Sims approached me in the Westin Lobby, smiling, a hand conspicuously in pocket. In the alternate Earth where everything went wrong, Mr. Sims was going to ice a bro. Said bro being me. At that moment his boss Laura Hudson slipped me the countermeasure, another bottle of Smirnoff Ice, which I can only assume is the modern equivalent to a sickly sweet Bartles n’ Jaymes wine cooler. If you review the rules over at BrosIcingBros, you’ll see that I could now ice-block Sims, and he would be obligated to take a knee and chug both warm drinks. Fortunately, this betrayal didn’t create a permanent rift, as Comics Alliance is running smoother than ever. Here, go watch their entire panel from the weekend.

    I got to finally meet Chris Roberson, writer of iZombie in the flesh, and his demure, laconic wife Allison- quality people. Got to bed at three. By the way, there was a peculiarity of this wing of the Westin hotel, in that there was no cold water. I know that sounds like the most first-world complaint ever, but just imagine everything putting out hot water and I’m sure you’ll see some possible problems. For one, the showers were HOT. And the bathrooms could use VENTS. But, like the rest of the hotel, they have the best beds of anywhere. And that’s what counts most.

    Sunday morning I woke up feeling fine, a testament to the fact that they really put no alcohol in those drinks at the Westin Bar. I went down to join Matt and Suzanne Wieringo, Kemple, Riches Case and Faber with Faber’s awesome girlfriend Christine and his supercute son Jason, Craig Rousseau, and expatriates of the tarheel state, my longtime friends Chuck and Marc Wojtkiewicz. This is informally the Mike Wieringo Memorial Breakfast, and thanks to Matt we had a room to ourselves to ramble on loudly and pretend that finishing with fruit absolved us of all the bacon.

    The rest of the day blurred by, but I’m pretty sure I did a panel with Tom Spurgeon and Jonathan Hickman. Spurgeon you know as the Comics Reporter, arguably our greatest comics journalist if he could only use “who” as the relative pronoun when referring to a human. (But everyone seems dead set on using ‘that’ nowadays. It’s just like Streisand sang, folks. People. People WHO need people.) And those people listened to me and Hickman ramble on about working for Marvel, doing creator-owned work, and whatnot. Tom mentions it on his write-up, leaving me out like inconvenient history.

    The aftershow gathering over at Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find was again the perfect way to end the experience. I got to catch up some with old buddy Richard Case and snottily judge many books on the shelf with Declan Shalvey. But straight up truth time; nothing beats listening to Sanford Greene tell Brian Bolland why one kind of southern barbecue is superior to another. This was after several of us were congratulating Brian on his eloquent take-down of Erro, the Icelandic Lichtenstein who has been making money off the works of ‘primitive comics artists’ by recontextualizing them for elite buyers.

    I didn’t get to see the legendary art auction, but what I did enjoy was watching my artist pals make trades with each other. Everybody was very happy with their new art pieces without the pain of having spent money. But I think everyone agrees one of the best places to spend money was at Roger Langridge‘s table. I chided Alex Saviuk every time I went to the bathroom, and met Humberto Ramos. JonBoy Meyers promised me a free page. I got a new Kirby Krackle cd. I talked to a thousand people, and they were all friendly and cool.

    Monday. Since no flight to Portland ever happens before 6pm from Charlotte, I got to go with Ford Gilmore to the Original Pancake House, worked a bit in the lobby, and jawed with Steve Niles who gave me a copy of Mystery Society before jetting off on his multi-state tour. Then I joined Fowler and studiomate Erika Moen to go joyriding around with creator Jason Latour, who-funfact- attended the same university as me. While discussing the soul food restaurants of eastern NC, I had the pleasure of reminding Jason of a large Faulknerian Man-Child who worked at one in particular. We hung out at a bakery-cafe that is a perfect place to write comics. Jason related the surreal moment of talking about James Ellroy’s fiction with Mick “Mankind” Foley.

    And then bam- Erika and I rode to the airport in a pimpin’ towncar and it was all over. But it was great, and I’ll go again next year if they’ll let me.


    Comment from Craig
    Time: June 8, 2010, 2:50 pm

    Great con report!

    Comment from Jim McCann
    Time: June 8, 2010, 3:26 pm

    Hey, I eventually went home. :)

    (I was over-caffeinated…yeah, let’s go with that)

    The word “Portland” has been mentioned in my apartment more than 10 times since Sunday. Thanks.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: June 8, 2010, 3:33 pm

    A fact-finding mission…

    Comment from Chris Roberson
    Time: June 8, 2010, 3:37 pm

    “Demure.” “Laconic.” HA!

    Comment from kjchen
    Time: June 8, 2010, 4:11 pm

    Hey, I was one of those thousand people! I’m friendly and cool!

    Good times, Parker. Sorry we’re going to have to wait another three hundred sixty odd days to do it all over again.

    Comment from Eric
    Time: June 8, 2010, 4:32 pm

    Schweizer (who went from being someone who made a mini-comic I once liked to being one of my favorites in the span of a weekend) gave a really interesting presentation on what indie comics could offer the mainstream, especially in light of Dorkin’s (admittedly true) diatribe.

    T’was good to see you! Will you be at NYCC this fall?

    Comment from Parker
    Time: June 8, 2010, 8:48 pm

    Schweizer is the Real Deal, no doubt.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: June 8, 2010, 8:48 pm

    : )

    Comment from Parker
    Time: June 8, 2010, 8:48 pm

    Unless you go to Baltimore.

    Pingback from More Heroes Con Coverage » Comics Worth Reading
    Time: June 9, 2010, 3:59 am

    [...] Parker has posted his own thoughts on the show, a funny writeup explaining the Bojangles chicken at the Defective Comics panel and [...]

    Comment from Matt Wieringo
    Time: June 9, 2010, 10:50 am

    I cannot take credit for that room. That was all Suzanne. (AKA Julie, the Cruise Director.) I just wish we’d managed to grab Cully at some point. You’d think, with twelve people stalking him, someone would have found him. And the whole thing was his idea!

    It was nice to see you, Jeff. And let Steve know that Suzanne promises to never again bring up the horse he drew on the tablecloth at Bistro 100 fifteen years ago or so. Still, drawing an entire horse, starting with the back hoof is pretty darned impressive.

    Comment from Parker
    Time: June 9, 2010, 11:42 am

    I did find Cully, he was in the next room with Chiarello! He thought we weren’t doing it for some reason.

    Comment from jackmarlowe
    Time: June 9, 2010, 11:51 am

    A great review. Very big event and a lot of creator and independent work. This Con is one of the bigger country or the big is San Diego and others?.

    PD: When a Agents of Atlas and Secret Warriors crossover or special?

    Comment from Declan Shalvey
    Time: June 9, 2010, 8:38 pm

    Those books got snotted alright. Snotted hard.

    Pingback from Heroes Con: Southern Comfort | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment
    Time: June 10, 2010, 9:01 am

    [...] Jeff Parker's con report sounds like the absolute essence of comics conventions—eating too much, staying up too late, having a great time with friends, and talkin' comics. A lot like being in college, in other words, but crammed into a single weekend. [...]

    Pingback from My HeroesCon 2010 Perspective | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment
    Time: June 11, 2010, 1:01 pm

    [...] Ben Towle and Craig Fischer's Defective Comics discussion (which featured Evan Dorkin, Jeff [he who should avoid drinking "the enormous sweet tea" from Bojangles during panels] Parker, Colleen Coover and Chris Pitzer [while barely getting a word in edgewise, Pitzer was damn [...]

    Comment from tomg
    Time: June 11, 2010, 3:10 pm

    I’m sorry I missed you again. I didn’t know you were coming. Didn’t realize HeroesCon wasn’t on Fathers Day this year. And was flying out to St. Louis for a work related conference Monday morning.
    It’s even sadder because ConCarolinas was the same weekend and I could have gotten in some good gaming and see some of my friends in that circle.
    Do come back. I’ll make plans this time.
    Glad you got some Bo’s. That was the truly important thing.

    Comment from Rich Faber
    Time: June 11, 2010, 4:27 pm

    Hey Jeff,

    That conversation is one I won’t forget. Your support means a lot to me. I know I’ve already said this, but thanks. I’m so glad we had the chance to catch up, and hang out so much. Thanks for being such a great guy!


    Comment from Al
    Time: June 11, 2010, 8:34 pm

    You’re going to Baltimore Comic-Con? YES!

    Comment from Brian M.
    Time: June 13, 2010, 10:03 am

    Sounds like you had a blast and, for future reference, I’ll trade my room at the Westin with cold water and snoring roomie for your hot water only room any day of the week.

    See you in Baltimore.

    Comment from Patman
    Time: June 14, 2010, 10:52 am

    I think this photo epitomized the Defective Comics panel: