Thursday, June 26, 2008

This one's for North Carolina! C'mon and raise up!

Alright, let's get this HeroesCon recap underway.

First of all, the five boys from The Dollar Bin were the greatest hosts ever. Adam, Brian, Devin, Tre and Kris are all really nice guys and even spoke to me again after I totally ditched them on Saturday night when Darwyn Cooke invited me to dinner with Matt Wagner, Michael Golden and Francesco Francavilla and their assorted and lovely dates. Because...what are you gonna do? Say no to that?

Alright, so that ends the shameless namedropping portion of this post. I do want to say that I met a lot of my idols this weekend, and every single one of them was completely awesome and nice. I'll get to that in a minute.

North Carolina is a nice place and the people there are very friendly and have great accents. There was less taking off of shirts and spinning them round their heads like helicopters than Petey Pablo suggested, but it was still fun. I was something of a curiosity around the con as a Canadian who seemed to have strayed very far from her Nova Scotia home. My accent also seemed popular with the locals.

You know what else rules about North Carolina? The food! My first night there I ordered something called the Pork Three-Way at a BBQ joint. As if I could not order that. And if you are ever in the Charlotte area, I highly recommend the Cajun Queen restaurant. It's pretty outstanding. Don't let the blinding grape-coloured website fool you.

So I met a ton of people whose work I have admired for a long time, including Cliff Chiang, Matt Fraction, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Frank Cho, Guy Davis, Phil Noto, Jason Aaron, Robert Kirkman, Dean Trippe, Adam Hughes, Mark Waid, Peter Laird, Stephane Roux, Nicolas Gurewitch, and Chris Giarusso, along with the above-mentioned people I went to dinner with. Amanda Conner gave me one of her sketchbooks she was selling. Man, I just love her stuff. And Matt Wagner is just a really great guy. It's so nice to meet people that you've been a fan of for so long and they are just awesome.

I also got to meet Josh Elder, which was exciting as we've been conversing through email for some time. He even gave me a signed copy of his book, Love Bytes. He's a great guy and I really hope Mail Order Ninja gets picked up by someone so we can get some new books!

AND...I got to meet Matt and Mike Chapman of Homestar Runner fame, which was a really big deal for me. I have been tuning into that site regularly for five years now. Meeting them in person seemed so crazy because it was like "Wow! You guys are real!" They were really nice and easy to talk to and I got a Poopsmith sketch from Matt, shown here:

He said it was the best one he ever drew. And then told Robert Kirkman that he got the second-best Poopsmith he ever drew. I compared my sketch with Kirkman's and concluded that mine was indeed better. Mostly because it had a bigger shovel. Rachelle 1, Kirkman 0.

Robert Kirkman, by the way: really nice guy.

I actually have no complaints about a single person at that con. I hear stories sometimes of fans going to cons and getting some pretty rude treatment from their heroes. I have nothing but good memories.

And on top of meeting lots of my heroes, I also made lots of new friends! Benito Cereno is a regular LBW reader, and is a very nice guy and a talented writer. You may have read the Image-published Hector Plasm (which is fantastic and you should get it from your local shop), or the also excellent Atom Eve two-part Invincible tie-in. Or perhaps you've read Tales from the Bully Pulpit, which is drawn by Graeme MacDonald, who is from Halifax (which was in a movie with Kevin Bacon)! Small world!

Anyway, he's very cool. And his art partner, Nate Bellegarde, is also really nice and he drew me this sweet Two Face!
I also met Rob Ullman, who is insanely talented and loves hockey! Almost as much as I do! You should check out his site and everything he's written/drawn. Dude is awesome. And he gave me this amazing print of Barda listening to her Mother Box/iPod!

AND I got to meet some fellow bloggers and blog readers! I met the Invincible Super-Blog's Chris Sims in person after months of gmail chatting. I also met Andrew Kunka, aka Dr K. And I met Chris Haley, who was kind enough to walk me to my hotel late at night.

So the Dollar Bin guys worked insanely hard the whole weekend, running around and recording the panels and interviewing the stars. Especially Adam. I barely saw that guy. Thanks to their efforts you can listen to a lot of the panels on their site. I was at the Collaboration in Comics panel they recorded with Darwyn Cooke, Matt Fraction, Cliff Chiang, Barry Kitson and Jimmy Palmiotti. And you can listen to it at that link. They will have many more posted soon, so keep checking.

They also have some interviews up on their site. They have one with Mark Waid, and one where Adam and I are interviewing Jimmy Palmiotti. Palmiotti is an easy interview because he is hilarious and talks a lot. If you listen to the end of the 10 minutes, you can hear a guest appearance by Amanda Conner. There will be an interview I did with Jason Aaron going up soon. I'll let you know.

And now it's time to post some pictures and some scans of sketches I got.

Francesco Francavilla was great to talk to, as was his wife. He told me all about how he refuses to draw rape scenes in his comics, and that sort of thing only happens off panel in his books. It was really great to hear that. He drew me this great sketch of Zorro as a wedding present! Isn't that nice?

He also generously gave me a copy of his book, Sorrow (rhymes with Zorro) which was written by Rick Remender. I haven't read it yet, but the art is certainly beautiful. By the way, are y'all reading Zorro? Because it is awesome.

After three days of searching for him, I finally got to meet Jeff Parker, who as you probably know if you read this blog, is one of my very favourite writers. He doesn't do art so much anymore, so it's easy to forget that he can also draw. Check out this sweet Cyclops he did for me! was great to meet you too, Jeff Parker!

I got Dean Trippe to do a Superman sketch for me. I absolutely love it.

He did a Batgirl sketch for my friend Tiina, too, but I forgot to scan it before I gave it to her. Trust me. It's great.

Oh, and I was also lucky enough to see a lot of commissioned sketches being drawn by various artists. There were some really amazing ones that made me jealous. I know that Cliff Chiang has the ones he did up on his site. You should check them out. The Mister Miracle is so good I want to explode.

I seem to have misplaced my camera, so I can't post any photos from the weekend yet. I honestly didn't take many pictures. I wish I had taken more. I was just so busy running around looking at everything! I want to do another post where I talk about all the mini-comics and such that I picked up. I picked up some fantastic ones from Jason Horn, Rob Ullman, and Pat Lewis, among others. Rob Ullman has an old timey hockey stories comic! It's like he can read my mind!

It was really an amazing weekend. As I've mentioned, I'd never been to a con before, so I don't have much to compare it to, but this seemed exceptionally amazing to me.

I don't know if the DC Nation panel from HeroesCon is going to be on the DC website, but I did ask a question about Catwoman at it. I learned that she'll be showing up in Detective Comics...fighting Hush...booooooo.

I am sure I am forgetting lots of stuff, but I am getting tired of writing the words "really nice."


Jeff said...

I really need to go to Heroes Con next year. Glad you had a great time.

Oh, and I'm super jealous of your awesome Francavilla piece. I love his stuff, and am a bit of a Zorro fanboy, so, well, duh.

Dean Trippe said...

Awesome to meet you Rachelle! :)

the HZA said...

Glad to hear the BBQ was all you hoped, and glad to hear the Cajun Queen is still in business! I think I took a homecoming date there one year in undergrad.

--ah, charlotte, I miss ya.

Benito said...

First ever con; first ever con report. It is a rite of nerd passage.

rachelle said...

Dean - Tiina loved her Batgirl sketch.

Benito - Man, that post took me forever. And I didn't even post photos!

Kris Black said...

We were glad to have you as our guest. You will always be welcomed back with open arms, unless you DITCH us again for Darwyn! I mean, what the heck! Like that guy is more fun to hang out with than the Dollar Bin.

Thanks for the Lobster sucker and that wicked cool Steve McNiven sketchbook.

Benito said...

I posted my con report last night and it took about two hours with editing and uploading photos. So far the most common response has been, "Yeah, it was nice meeting you too, dick! Thanks for not mentioning me!"


Josh Elder said...

It was great to finally meet you, Rachelle! I'm so happy to know that you you had a great first con (hopefully the first of many), and I'm even happier because I helped make it so!

Here's to seeing you again next year!

Dan McDaid said...

I've never met Francesco Francavilla in person, but we're online chums and he's one of the best: talented, humble, seriously cool guy.

Oh... I fricking love your blog, by the way! I came across it the other day, and happily blew a few hours just going through the archives (when I should have been working!). So... thanks for that!

rachelle said...

Dan - Cool! Thanks for reading! I'm glad I could waste your time at work. This blog was started because I wanted to waste time at work. And, yeah, Francavilla is crazy nice. And talented.

Josh - Man, I really want to go back next year. Could it be this awesome again?! Time will tell...

Siskoid said...

That is just the CUTEST lil' Barda I've ever seen!

Nick said...

What's your take on Matt Wagner's old Doctor Midnite series? Just finished reading it a month or so ago and had to go "Why didn't this become a monthly!"

Pat Lewis said...

Hey, it was nice meeting you! I hope you like those minis!

Robert Ullman said...

Rachelle, it was a pleasure...I hope you can return next year. Maybe we can have a chat about who deserved the Conn-Smythe more: Crosby, Staal or Fleury!

I'm also gonna work on Pfeifer or next year, so stay tuned!

rachelle said...

Rob - I think Fleury.

And it would be awesome if Will Pfeifer made it next year! That is one person I really want to meet!

Robert Ullman said...

Will is an old friend, and one of the funniest people I know. We seldom see each other these days...distance, kids, etc...but a few days with Will will keep you laughing for weeks!

Tiina said...

I DO love my Batgirl sketch! Thanks, Dean Trippe!