I should forewarn any readers than might stumble into this quick review of my weekend at the Heroes Convention that I feel very much under the influence of unmitigated love and affection for comics and cartoonists as I write this out. I can easily see myself drifting off into the sentimental, the mushy and the embarrassingly luvvy-duvvy here. I’ll try to reign that kind of puffy marshmallow sentiment in as much as possible while slipping in some of my more traditional fart and wiener rhetoric as I go.
So, this was my very first HeroesCon spent “behind the table” as a seller and creator of comic wares and paraphernalia. I fully expected to be overcome with a toxic mixture of anxiety and boredom that would more than likely convince me finally of the futility of making these dumb picture stories. Much to my surprise, I exited the Convention Center on Sunday feeling more inspired, hopeful and full of love for this medium that I’ve felt in a long while. A lot of that optimist is due to my table partner, Tom Davidson, who has steadfastly supported me in my cartooning aspirations for the last several weeks. Tom was constantly saying to me, “Look at you, you’re doing it! You’re getting out there!” He is so enthusiastic and positive about the potential for comics to really reach people and affect them that I couldn’t help but feel good about myself and my debauched paper products. You would be doing yourself a terrible disservice by not reading his mystical and enigmatic Circle City Tales.
This little weekend at the HeroesCon has accomplished what I heretofore thought impossible: it’s made me consider liking living in Charlotte. To think I’ve languished away here for so long bemoaning the lack of a good comics scene and all the while there are fabulous cartoonists hid all around this place. Case in point: Rich Barrett.
I’d heard of Rich, I’d tweeted around with him a bit and I’d perused his web comic once or twice but I had no inkling that he was mega mega awesome. Turns out, yeah, that guy’s pretty great. I read both issues of his Nathan Sorry comic and it was like a punch to my brain kidneys that released a full bladder of body temperature wonderment. It’s a really great comic and Rich is a really super nice guy who has children who are too adorable to be real children. I’m pretty sure he’s assembled them in his basement out of top shelf robotics, bunnies and duckies.
Chances are I never would have met these guys if it wasn’t for the benevolent intercession of Eraklis Petmezas whom everyone lovingly calls Herc. Long before I came around, Herc had already started up the Sketch Charlotte group that led me to meet Tom and Rich. Herc is easily the greatest comics ambassador I’ve ever seen and seems to always be drawing people together from the disparate corners of this burg to talk and make comics. His new comic, Last Cigarette is full on Greek noir which is a pretty hard commodity to acquire in the non-Mediterranean world.
My pals Jason McLellon and Bryan Fowler were all banging around the convention hall as well. Sadly, I didn’t get around to doing more than lobbing a few hurtful insults their way as I passed through on the way to the pisser. But those guys are pretty great. Well, Bryan is a great guy anyhow. I also really appreciate my local pals who stopped by and said hello, especially J.P. Thompson and his WHOLE FAMILY who came by and bought a ton of my stuff and really made me feel good about making mildly offensive comics that, much to my surprise, have real family appeal.
So yeah, I’m feeling way less down on Charlotte after this con. I found myself bolstered up by the super sweet and supportive comments I got from many of the people I passed my comics to, most of all Ed Piskor who came over and congratulated me for making it to the other side of the table. I talked to Ed two years ago and gave him my first mini, Amateur Hour, and, much to my amazement, he remembered me and was kind enough to be complimentary about my messy squiggles and inky blotches. Plus the guy amazed me with his wide array of Public Enemy shirts. I also talked to and got warm feelings of acceptance from some other cartoonists whom I deeply like and admire like Joe Lambert, Gabby Schulz, Liz Baillie, Sally Bloodbath and Shannon Smith.
In addition to all that great stuff, I got to meet some fantastic new people including a whole group of crazy kids from NYC who made this great comic called Pale Rider that I will get around to reviewing eventually with all the other great minis I lugged home. Plus, I met a great guy with my exact last name who also loves comics (I thought I was the only comics Eudy ever)! I should also mention Brent and Tiziana of Deaver Park Press who shared our little corner of the convention space. Those two were so super friendly and fun to hang out with that it really made all that time piloting a table through an often indifferent Geektropolis a joy to endure. But whoa, what a great time. I came away with this great sense of community and an intense love once again for making and reading and secretly caressing comics, comics, comics! Thank you HeroesCon and the great people who put it together (Shelton, Dustin, Shawn, et al.) you have helped reaffirm my desire to destroy the world through crude drawings with word balloons. Thanks!