Last week featured one of the country’s most beloved shows, Heroes Con. This year felt bigger than ever, in both attendance and scope of content. The big theme for the show? Spider-Gwen. Merchandise, music, guests, and events celebrated the bombshell title and its creators. But wait, there’s more! In a way not typically featured at Heroes Con, exclusive announcements made the scene and creators overwhelmed attendees with big news about current titles and upcoming projects.
This year Heroes Con opened with its first kick off party featuring the musical talent of The Mary Janes aka Married with Sea Monsters. MWSM has been composing and playing events as the fictional Mary Janes at the behest of Robbi Rodriguez, artist for Spider-Gwen. The event itself was just the start of the Spider-Gwen-theme that made Heroes Con this year. Posters featuring Bill Scienkiewicz’s take on Spider-Gwen, t-shirts with Rodriguez’s art, and variant covers by Babs Tarr and Jason Latour bedecked the convention. During the official Spider-Gwen panel, writer Latour, Rodriguez, and colorist Rico Renzi discussed the evolution of the book and addressed the important question of what will happen to it after the Secret Wars event. Frustratingly, they could only hint that we’ll know Wednesday the 24th. Though from the attitudes of the panelists and the wild success behind SG, it’s difficult to imagine a future without the book continuing in some form.
An annual favorite of the convention is House DeFraction and Co. otherwise known as Milkfeed Masterminds, Inc. This features Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and various artists and writers associated with them and their work. Together they form, “Milkfeed Island,” which on the map of the convention floor comprises the lower part of the 1700 block. This year, Christian Ward joined the group and featured at the Milkfeed Masterminds panel along with Chip Zdarsky, Fraction, and DeConnick. This year the panel surprised us with the announcement that Bill Scienkiewicz and DeConnick will be developing a book together currently code named, “Parisian White.” On a sadder note, DeConnick also revealed that she will be stepping down from her post writing Captain Marvel to focus on her other projects like Pretty Deadly, Bitch Planet, and her upcoming television creations.
Immediately following the epic-sized 2 hour panel, the crowd shifted venue to Buffalo Wild Wings to hold the Heroes Con Brimp Up. Among various Sex Criminals hijinks and fried chicken, Fraction and Zdarsky gave fans copies of their extra special variants of Sex Criminals #11. Limited to 1000 copies, lawyers forbid Fraction and Zdarsky from distributing them due to various copyright issues. I would post a picture of one, but I don’t want either of them to be sued to death by Warner Bros. ‘Nough Said. Mine will be in a safety deposit box in an undisclosed location ’til the event of my passing.
One of the pillars of Heroes Con is its array of charity events. The first of the weekend was The Drink and Draw. Hosted by Team Cul Du Sac, artists gather, drink, and draw various pieces to be purchased by fans. Proceeds are then distributed to various organizations like the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Parkinson’s research. Of course this is just a warm up for the main event of the convention, the famous Art Auction. Every Saturday night of the convention, attendees gather at the Westin to bid on art pieces that guest artists have created during or before the convention. On another front, Sunday at the convention Jason Latour moderated a Live Draw panel with Babs Tarr, Robbi Rodriguez, Joe Quinones, and Tula Lotay. Each member of the panel drew a piece infront of the audience while answering questions from Latour about their process and experiences in the comics industry; the art then donated to Heroes Con for the purpose of collecting funds for charity. It was especially noteworthy that Lotay was drawing a panel from her upcoming guest spot on The Wicked + The Divine.
I think the basic takeaway I got from Heroes Con is that it’s developing a formula to be busier, not crazier. You’d expect a convention of this caliber to sneak under the radar for a few years and then suddenly explode one year in a giant ball of SDCC-like mania of crowds, mainstream attention, and more crowds. The reason Heroes Con has avoided this fate due in part to that Heroes isn’t trying to sell you something by hyping up scarcity to exclusivity. It’s giving you a viewport into a space that comics fans develop a fascination with: getting to know the people that make the art we all enjoy, love, and consume. Making that connection is a powerful thing, and you don’t get that sort of opportunity at other conventions because there’s so much going at one time.
This isn’t to say Heroes is perfect, it does have problems. Those AC systems can make you freeze in your panel; it’s no joke. Why don’t we have beds in the convention? It’d make life so much easier to live there. I’ve been going for 2 years now, and I already want to envision how awesome next year will be and then I realize it might be even better than I picture it.