Comfort those closest, entertain the rest.

Heroes Con 2011

Last weekend I jumped in the car and drove six hours to Charlotte, North Carolina for a comic book convention called Heroes Con. I’ve been to a couple of comic book conventions, but not for several years, and never to Heroes Con.

I went, specifically, so I could mark one more name off my “People I Want To Meet” list; namely, comic book writer, Matt Fraction:

Fraction was really nice. We got to talk for a few minutes about Grant Morrison, Casanova, and The Mountain Goats. I asked if I could get a picture with him and he said, “Yeah. Okay, I’m gonna slurp on my coke and pretend to eyeball you.” Which he did. I got the kid in line behind me to take the picture. In hindsight, I should have given him a little tutorial on my camera first:

I also got Fraction to sign my Casanova: Luxuria hardcover:

I got a chance to do some other neat stuff while I was there. I bought a mini-comic from Becky Cloonan that’s only available at cons right now. I got to watch comics legend, Michael Golden, sketch a picture of Batman, and I got to basically walk around for four or five hours immersed in a hobby that I love.

My haul for the weekend included two of Stuart Immonen’s sketchbooks, a Paul Pope mini-comic, and the aforementioned Becky Cloonan book, Wolves:

When I wasn’t at the con, I got to try some different restaurants, my favorite of which was a braised pork cheek sandwich with pickled vegetables from a farm to table place called Blue Harvest Grille. I also had some good soul food at a place called Merts, and some mediocre sushi at a place I won’t name.

It was a good trip, but probably my last con for a long while.


Ten years ago I was kind of a douche about comic books. I had decided, thanks to various voices on the internet, that super hero had choked all the potential out of the medium. It was a popular opinion on certain websites, and not altogether untrue. So I put away the majority of super hero comics and only read indie stuff; crime stories, slice of life stuff, auto-biographies. I discovered a lot of great comics during that phase; unfortunately, it was at the cost of some good super hero comics, no doubt.

Super heroes do indeed have a peculiar choke hold on the comics industry and recognizing that, in and of itself, isn’t particularly douchey. It was my looking down my nose at the capes and super-powers set that strikes me now as unnecessarily snobby.

I’ve done the same thing with music. I’ve scoffed at mainstream, popular music and felt a smug sense of self-satisfaction over the fact that my favorite bands would never be heard on most radio stations. I’ve even professed to like bands that I knew were popular even though, in my heart of hearts, I didn’t like their music. Like Sigor Ros. I know they’re a talented band. I know their fans are hard won and by no means indicative of the attitude I’m discussing here. I simply never could get into them. But when asked? “Oh yeah, love ‘em.”

So, I’m trying to get past that kind of thing. For one thing, as I said above, it’s a douchey attitude. It’s also, I’m sure rooted in vanity or, more likely, insecurity. Those aren’t things I want to drive my personality.

I was recently accused of hating everything until it proves to me that it’s worthy of my affection. There’s probably some truth to that, bad as it sounds. I was also recently accused of only liking something until it becomes popular and then suddenly hating it. I don’t want there to be any truth to that. If something is good it should be good whether 5 people like it, or 5 million.

So here’s to saying goodbye to comic book and music snobbery and being open to whatever’s out there. It’s not that my taste is changing, it’s just that I’m going to be more concerned with what I actually like instead of what some people think I should like.

Luckily when it comes to movies and television I’ve always watched crap, so no change there.