… only a month late.
So in June Ninja Monkey went to Charlotte, NC because his wife had a business meeting there and they thought they’d have some time alone. Then the meeting was cancelled but they still had reservations and a babysitter. So they went with no agenda, and looked for something to do. Here’s what happened.
Friday night we arrived a little worn from driving so long. We went to a restaurant to eat. I was wearing my new Green Lantern T-Shirt.
Unexpectly, since it was a high class joint (there were no mozzarella sticks on the menu), one of the waiters stopped by to compliment me on my shirt and asked me if I was going to Heroes Con. I was like… uh… “Not this week.” I had no idea what I was talking about.
Back at the hotel room, my wife and I looked it up. Heroes Con was in Charlotte that weekend. I swear I did not plan any of this.
As we had nothing planned, we went to the con the next morning.
In the entrance was this awesome cosplay:
The line seemed really long. But we got through and paid for a 1-day pass. Having had almost no time to plan, I immediately went to the one panel that met my exclusive criteria: 1) It happened on the one day I was there, 2) I had time to get there, 3) It was a fascinating topic OR a name I recognized.
There were actually a few panels that fit the bill, but there was one that started just moments before I got there: Mark Waid, author of, among a great many other things, one one of my favorite comic stories, Kingdom Come, and one of my favorite comic characters, Impulse. Waid spoke, of course, about writing for comics. And I would pass along two things he said, largely because I think it applies to any fiction (and a lot of nonfiction) writing. First, that he starts writing from the character. Ask yourself, how does it feel to be this character? How does this character experience the world? For an example he talked about Daredevil, who is a blind superhero. His discussion showed that it was more than just a guy who could do amazing things, but that he experienced the world differently. The second point was the answer to my question, which I made as a follow up to his answer that Superman was his favorite character to write: “why?” Waid spoke of Superman in terms I have often used to explain choices to Sunday School kids. Superman is a guy who can do anything he wants. He can rule the world if he wants. And what does he do? He helps people. “How can you not admire that?”
I saw Han and Leia get engaged. It was like everything that was supposed to happen at a comics convention did happen, just for me.
There was (naturally) a lot more cosplay. So I’ll just stick some of the best pics here (unfortunately, my picture of the superb Daenerys Targaryen picture didn’t turn out).
Not pictured: The scantily-clad Supergirl in Ame-Comi outfit that my wife prohibited me from photographing. I swear I only considered it because she did a really good job with costume details. My wife didn’t care.
The highlight though, I think is the art. I looked at a LOT of art. It was like living in the Deviant Art web site for a day. I convinced my wife to buy Cleopatra in Space And, while there, I commissioned Mike Maihack to paint me this super awesome cool Supergirl.
We also bought Kevin Bolk’s Enisgn II: The Wrath of Sue.
We left for lunch, and I couldn’t get my camera out in time to photograph an ENTIRE CORPS of Green Lanterns. Seriously, there was like, 10 of them walking across the street.
I came back to pick up my art from Mr. Maihack. I got to wander a little bit more, and I ran into a lot of people I admire. The highlight, of course, was saying hi to Kevin-friggin’-Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His art available was out of my budget, and the line was way way too long, so I didn’t get his signature. But just seeing him was a huge deal for me. TMNT came out in a really bad time in my life, and while there’s nothing specifically about TMNT that helped, it was something I was able to cling to. Seeing Mr. Eastman was the closest I’ll come to seeing a revered saint.
About an hour before the floor closed I found myself wandering. I’d checked out all the artist tables where I knew the people. And most had commissions full. I knew I wouldn’t be back Sunday, so I couldn’t come back the next day. Then I happened upon Jeannine Harmon and loved the artwork she had on display. She graciously agreed to take a commission and have it done in an hour. So I got this:
So it was a pretty good day. It was fun just to be there. And the whole last-minute surprise was really cool. However, it would have been even better if I’d been able to plan it. I was constantly flipping through the program book to see what artists were there. With a bit of planning I could have made a more efficient route, and probably seen more artists I knew. And if any other panels were as good as Mark Waid’s, that would have been super awesome. So if you have a chance to go to one, do it, and if you have lead time, that’s even better.