So I just got back from the first day of Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the first major comic convention I’ve attended since my last Comic-Con, which was in 2008. (Dragon*Con doesn’t count for reasons I’ll explain below.) So here are some thoughts inspired by Heroes Con:
Thought 1 – Going to conventions is really a central part of the way I experience and think about comics fandom. It’s something I’ve missed more than I realized, and maybe it’s because of the lack of that experience that I haven’t been enjoying comics so much lately, even though I’ve been buying as many comics as ever. When all I do is read the comics, it’s an essentially solitary experience. My appreciation of comics is enriched if I feel some personal connection with the people behind them. Going to conventions and talking with creators turns the solitary practice of reading comics into a social practice. I don’t feel that Facebook can easily substitute for this.
Thought 2 – Heroes Con is a much smaller and more intimate convention than Comic-Con, which is my primary point of comparison. It reminds me of Comic-Con in 2002 or 2003, when it didn’t even occupy the entire convention center and it was still possible to buy a four-day pass on site. Heroes Con has not expanded to the point of unsustainability. Nor has it completely taken over the city; I don’t think I saw anyone else who was attending Heroes Con until I was actually in the building. Further, Heroes Con is entirely devoted to comics. I don’t know that it’s an entirely bad thing that Comic-Con now includes so many other fandoms, but as someone whose primary fan interest is comics, I find it kind of refreshing when my hobby (and profession, sort of) is the main event rather than a side attraction, as it is at Dragon*Con.
Thought 3 – I forgot what an exhausting experience a comic convention can be. I’ve been going to local mini-conventions recently, but at those events I can use a wheeled suitcase to carry my purchases, and I didn’t think that was appropriate for this convention. Carrying around a backpack full of trade paperbacks and comics makes me tired and sweaty in a hurry. I had to go back to my hotel at one point to shower and drop stuff off.
More thoughts later. I hope to write a blog post about the Comics Canon panel, but that will have to wait.