For the fourth consecutive summer, the Spawn and I found our way to the Charlotte Convention Center for HeroesCon. We’re staying at the same place we stayed last year, but this year we seem to be renovation free.
We checked in just before three, and after letting the Spawn’s stomach settle a bit from the drive (she tends to mild carsickness — but of course, it’s only mild if you aren’t the one experiencing it), we went downtown, parked, and checked in at the convention. We’re getting to be old hands at this stuff — we knew the drill about keeping our wristbands on for the whole weekend (the laminate we get (this year featuring the Black Panther) is a souvenir — the wristbands show we paid for the 3-day pass.) and got our guidebook and goodie bags.
We ambled around the floor a bit. Traffic was pretty light, but tomorrow will be a zoo. Saturday is the Spawn’s favorite day at the convention, because that’s when the cosplayers are out in force. She isn’t cosplaying this year herself, but she loves to see what other folks have done. One notable fellow today appeared to be The Man in the Yellow Hat from the Curious George series.
I drew first blood when I ran across a booth that was selling trade editions of graphic novels at five bucks a pop, or 5 for twenty dollars. I picked up four of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Criminal series and a Jonah Hex-themed collection as well. Haven’t seen any collections of my favorite current comic yet, but I’m keeping an eye out.
Another booth was a bit outside my price range — it’s for a collectibles company that specializes in cartoon art, both original and in cel form. In particular, there was a piece from Virgil Ross I coveted, but not having four grand to spare, it will have to decorate someone else’s wall.
There were also several Chuck Jones pieces and a few from Charles Schulz, but again, all of them were well outside the Mondobudget.
After wandering a bit more, we found our way to the Artists’ Alley, where folks sell prints and commissioned original work as well. Our buddy Todd Nauck isn’t here this year, but there’s plenty of cool stuff. I was struck at one booth by a series of works by Brad McGinty that warmed my garage-rock heart, a bunch of work showing the distinct influence of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Basil Wolverton. A visit to the artist’s site will give you a sense of what I mean. This stuff would be perfect for an album cover.
When we rounded another corner, however, I was hit right in the nostalgia. Someone was inspired to set up a mini-arcade of vintage games from my high school years. The first one I saw was a Popeye machine, like the one in the student center my sophomore year. But when I looked at some of the other machines, I saw one of the great time and quarter wasters of my high school and undergrad years:
Yes, it was Karate Champ, a game that the Mad Dog and I played incessantly at the supermarket near his house as we endured another dateless Friday or Saturday night. I didn’t have any quarters on me this afternoon — but I will tomorrow. Oh yes, I will.
The Spawn saw a variety of paraphernalia about some of her generation’s geek culture, particularly the TV show Steven Universe and the video game Undertale. However, she noted that there was an absence of stuff connected to Homestuck, the obsession for quite a few of her teen years. “It makes me want to buy a coke at dinner and pour it out for my fandom,” she said.
And speaking of dinner, we adjourned for burgers and fries at a restaurant a few blocks away, and then we returned to the hotel, where we’re unwinding for the night and looking forward to a full day at the convention. Details will follow, and thanks for checking in.