Monday, June 7, 2010

Once More, with Feeling

Thank you, Shelton Drum, for another great Heroes Convention! Despite the absence of so many of our friends this year, Suzanne and I had a wonderful time. That was due, in large part, to the fact that we lucked into a spot on the main drag between gentleman drawing machine superstar Rick Leonardi (who looks nothing like I pictured him) and Mike's friend, the hilariously funny and handsome Ron Garney. Ron kept us laughing so hard the entire show that the muscles in the back of my head were hurting by Sunday. (A college friend used to call that "permagrin.")

We had a slow start but, by the end of the show, we ended up having a very productive weekend. For that, we can thank several people, including one British gentleman who ended up buying, I believe, six pages over the weekend. We also got several generous donations from professionals who were sitting around us or stopped by on their way home after the show. I got a big laugh when my favorite blogger, Chris Sims stopped by to wish us luck and ended up buying a page from Mike's ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN run. If you know anything about Chris' tastes and you're familiar with Mike's Superman run, you could probably guess which page got him excited.

Most impressively, we've noticed a trend the last few shows and this one was no different. We've been getting more in donations than we have from people buying stuff. From pocket change up to some hefty contributions. That's really warmed our hearts and we can't thank everyone enough who contributed to the fund. Every penny, and I mean every penny goes into the fund and that means it goes to a student. So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you also to Brett Carerras, who officially invited us to set up at the Virginia Comicon, coming up this November. Thank you to friend of the blog Warren Newsome who kept me company. Sometimes sitting behind that table can get dull and Warren was a lot of fun to talk to. Thank you also to Brian Pillow, Paul Rogers and Brian Mulchahy for "minding the store" for us so we could have lunch together or just walk around holding hands from time to time. (Brian Pillow is either lucky as hell or the best sales person ever because he always brings in more than we do and in one tenth of the time.)

I'll wrap up the scholarship fund part of this post with one last item. In the chaos leading up to the art auction, one thing led to another and we never made our announcement. Since I'm a terrible public speaker and suffer from just a touch of social anxiety disorder, I can't say I was altogether disappointed. But what Suze and I were going to say was that a) Rae Rochelle is keeping the scholarship this year and that in all likelihood, we will be announcing a new winner at next Heroes and b) thanks to everyone's generousity and a (temporarily?) rebounding stock market, the award went up from $1100 last year to $1500 this year. That's great news. Now, let's keep at it and get Mike's fund up there where we can put a kid through school on a full ride.


Now on to the fanboy stuff. Suze was nice enough to sit at the table and allow me some geek time. I'm a little shy around people so I was too nervous to go talk to some of the pros I wanted to meet like Mike Mignola, Herb Trimpe and Jim Starlin. But I did run over and snag a Nova sketch from Franco, who draws the TINY TITANS book for DC and writes BILLY BATSON AND THE POWER OF SHAZAM, one of new favorites. Also, after listening to our friend Chris Kemple describe the plot of the latest issue of THE RISE OF ARSENAL, I got queasy and had to run over and buy a few issues of G-MAN from Chris Giarrusso. And since we were in the same "corral", I screwed up the nerve to tell Steve Lieber how much I loved UNDERGROUND, which was my favorite book of the year so far. (Suzanne, never bashful, bought the trade from them and got them to sign it to her and Steve did a great sketch for her.) But I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to pick up some of Chris Sim's comics, including AWESOME HOSPITAL. Aargh!

Most of my free time was spent running around the hall checking out the bargain trades. As has become tradition, behold my wall o' loot!

I tried to be good this year. I tend to go way overboard and blow the budget all to hell. But this year I went in not really looking for much (just the THORs, really) and trying to stick to the real bargain stuff. I found some great surprises (like the CAPTAIN CANUCK hardcover and EERIE collection) but I was proud that I didn't find myself returning over and over to the ATM. I even passed up a half-price TOMB OF DRACULA VOL. 2 OMNIBUS. That took real willpower, as I had just about 50 bucks in my pocket at the time.

But then my BEST WIFE EVER, Suzanne, spotted the guy selling out-of-print soundtracks. I'd walked past him a couple of times, holding my hand up to shield my vision from alluring merch. But not Suzanne. She walked up to me and quizzed me about what soundtracks I wished I had.

"Ummm...THE THING is kind of my holy grail...maybe DAY OF THE DEAD by John Harrison...OH! and ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES by Jerry Goldsmith!" Why?"

Next thing I know, she's standing in front of the soundtrack guy, holding up all three. "THESE OKAY!???"

It was almost too tempting. But I figured the CDs wouldn't sound very good in the poor house so DAY OF THE DEAD went back and Suze got me these:

Thanks, baby!

Sunday night, Shelton kindly invited us to his afterparty. It's our third one and it's always fun. I love shopping in his store because he's always got great stuff in stock. It's also a great way to indulge fanboy fantasies by standing next to guys like Tony Harris while checking out the latest issue of SPIDER-MAN. Mark Waid is usually there and it's usually the only time we get to say, "Hi" because he's always all over the place but we didn't get to see him this year. (Except for 30 seconds in the hotel elevator when I gave him shit for destroying Richmond in IRREDEEMABLE. I told him between him and John Carpenter, I was getting a complex.) Valerie D'Orozio was there and I really wanted to introduce myself because I was a fan of her blog but I didn't have the nerve. She was shopping and I didn't want to get all fanboy on her in her personal time. Maybe next year.

Though Shelton always puts out a great spread, it's sort of become tradition for Suze and I to eat at the Cajun Queen restaurant down the street from the shop. Mark Waid kindly invited us to join him three years ago (along with Christian who dubbed Mark "Uncle Boom", cracking us all up) and we fell in love with the place. The food is magnificent and there's great atmosphere. This year we ended up going by ourselves but, Suzanne being Suzanne, we still wound up talking with the folks at the next table and having a great time.

We ended the weekend with breakfast with our friend Rich Faber, his son Jason and a friend at, of all places, the convention center food court. It was close and cheap (I think we were all officially broke by then) and I'm glad we did. Not only did we enjoy the company, we got to see something I've never seen before. The Charlotte Convention Center, post-con. Observe:

I god, Woodrow.

We had a great time seeing everybody (and missed seeing those who couldn't make it.) I also had a great time creeping out Jeff Parker with my obscene Planet of the Apes fixation but I don't think I skeeved him quite as much as did Paul Roger with this rather unmanly display of fan affection. Hand check!

Okay. Enough rambling. Back to real world. Ugh.



Sam said...

It was good to meet you and Suzanne at this years Heroescon, Matt. Glad you guys had a great time on top of it being productive for the scholarship fund.

Take Care


Josh said...

I enjoy reading about your comic convention experiences, Matt. That looks like a great selection of graphic novels. I wouldn't mind having my own copies of the Marvel ones. One of them that especially caught my eye was The Essential Werewolf By Night. I'm glad the Mike Mike Wieringo scholarship is doing so well.

Christian D. Leaf said...

Looks like you had another nice haul, my friend. Sorry we missed out. Next year is a definite for us.

Jadielady said...

I'm sorry I didn't get to stop by and say hi. Sam *commented above* my husband stopped by while I was being whisked around the Ikea by a local friend. I am thrilled to hear you got some awesome donations. Brian is definitely a great salesman.

Adam Hutch said...

Glad you guys (and the scholarship) did well. You planning on heading up to Baltimore this year?

Joe Alexander said...

Matt-I had the pleasure of meeting you on Friday at HeroesCon--really enjoyed chatting with you. I was the big guy with the goatee. I am very glad to hear donations were good. I did not even think to look at any of Mike's art you had for sale! Next time.

Loved your haul-I'm jealous. Jim Shooter's run on Avengers was always my favorite. And I didn't even know there was a Captain Canuck collection. Always liked the George Freeman art and colors on his run of that series.

I mentioned to you in person how much I loved your Iron Fist. Let me know if it is ever for sale, or if you'd be interested in doing another. I would love to add it to my sketches from Mike. Especially love the "Kirby dots" which you nailed. To do those dots right, I've always liked them of various sizes, each dot distinct from the other ones. Yours are perfect. Man, I am a geek!

I will always miss Mike's presence, his conversation, and his letting me watch him draw. Your artwork has a lot of the same beautiful spirit to it that his did. Thanks for being at the con and allowing me to share about him with you. I know I mostly mumbled my incoherent thoughts, but you were cool to chat with. Hope you are able to come back next year.

Brian said...

Ah man, I wish I knew you wanted to meet Trimpe, I had dinner with him once in Boston and would have been happy to introduce you.

Next time, big guy.

Matt Wieringo said...

Good to meet you, too, Sam.

Thanks, Josh!

Sorry we didn't get to see you, JadieLady.

Adam, we're planning on going to Baltimore though I still need to discuss it with Marc Nathan. Don't think it will be a problem.

Thanks for the compliments, Joe. Email me and we'll work out the Iron Fist transfer. I'd offer to do a new one but it might be a bit of a wait considering my upcoming work schedule. Up to you. And good to meet you!