HeroesCon 2017 Panels, Panels, Panels
Like any large convention, HeroesCon has a number of panels with the various attending guests talking about a number of subjects pertaining to the convention. In past years I haven’t attended as many of the panels as I felt I should have so this year I made an effort to correct that. The following is a rundown of the panels I saw and why you should make an effort to attend them while at HeroesCon.
The first thing I realized while flipping through the panel schedule for the weekend is that you physically can not see every panel there is at HeroesCon. Every hour there are at least 3 different panels going on at the same time! You have to pick the panel that interests you the most because you will inevitably miss a panel or two you may want to see over the full weekend.
I started my Saturday off by attending The Art of Horror panel. The panel included Alison Sampson, Paul Azaceta & Andy Bennett who all talked about influences to their art and how they deal with the depictions of violence they create. These panels are very informative because you get a peek behind the curtain of how artists create the books you love. The artists on this panel (and really all of them I attended) are generally humorous so there’s plenty of laughs while also dealing with subjects of people being ripped apart.
The next panel I attended was a bittersweet one, A Tribute to Bernie Wrightson. Moderator Joe Rauch and panelists John Totleben, Jason Moore, Thomas Yeates, Scott Hampton & Joe Jusko shared stories about their experiences with Bernie Wrightson who passed away earlier this year. There were many stories talking about his impressive work and varied styles of art, but also the humbleness and generosity of his character. It was very interesting learning that he had a knack for having happy accidents with his work such as trying new art techniques and making them work in ways they aren’t supposed to work. Clearly a color outside the lines type of person. I’m very thankful I got to meet him two years ago at my first HeroesCon. He has super nice and friendly when I met him and my biggest takeaway from this panel is that’s how he was all the time.
Sunday had me in the Marvel Town Hall panel. This panel had Charles Soule, Chip Zdarsky, Ed Brisson & Matthew Rosenberg all answering audience questions. There were many humorous moments (especially at the beginning due to latecomers Charles Soule & Chip Zdarsky) The panel starts off with all of the artists explaining the various horror stories of their trips to the con (every one of them had some problem from dodging lightening strikes after departing planes to sleeping in airports or in Wal-Mart parking lots)
The discussion moves on to differences between working with Marvel vs working with their own creations. This brought a lot of interesting information of behind the scenes in the comic making world such as how the artists deal with major crossover events possibly disrupting the storylines of their books. There are also the advantages of not having to build the characterization of most of the Marvel characters because the work was already done long before they started work on those books.
As previously mentioned, there was a good amount of humor mixed with interesting info in the panels and this one was no exception. When asked what each artist did with their first Marvel check, Matt Rosenberg relayed the story about how Marvel primarily uses direct deposit now. Matt however wanted a check to show off so he told them he didn’t have a bank account…..and apparently hasn’t yet corrected that info as he said he still gets checks. Ed Brisson said he’s always gotten checks but thinks it’s due to him living in Canada. He talked about how he took many pictures of his first Marvel check to show off to family and friends. Chip Zdarsky then asked Ed if he cropped out the numbers so they didn’t see how little Marvel paid, Ed replied that of course he had. Chip mentioned how he believes the first thing he did with his Marvel check was cash it and eat some food while Charles Soule joked that he put it into a high-yield IRA or some other adult thing because he has a bank account.
The panel ends with recommendations from the artists. Charles mentioned Black Monday Murders, God Hates Astronauts & My Friend Dahmer. Chip suggested Hostage by Guy Delisle. He was very into the story of this man held hostage and all the intricacies of said story. Ed called Scalped one of the greatest crime stories and also suggested “They found the car” Finally, Matt heavily recommended Stray Bullets and “The Dregs” published by Black Mask. Later that day I found a couple of trades of Stray Bullets at one of the dealers’ tables and picked them up (I read through them in one night so I’m going to be looking at some of these other recommendations as well)
My wife and I attended the Bitch Planet Games as our last panel on Sunday. My wife was worried that it was a trivia based panel and that we would be out of our element as we aren’t current on the Bitch Planet comic right now (my wife being a few issues behind and me having only read the first one) Our fears were assuaged when Kelly Sue Deconnick (the panel moderator and co-creator of Bitch Planet) explained that the following games were more like inclusive, empowering activities that she has played with young girl scouts. We sat out the first game (named “Woosh” IIRC) that involved a passing of energy in a circle. Everyone seemed to have fun performing various movements like “Truck Driver” and “Bunny Backup” It’s a hard activity to describe, but it did look fun.
The next activity which may have been called Neighbors or Hello Neighbors (I’m not sure at the moment) was a mashup of standing in class and introducing yourself with a dash of musical chairs. Everyone sits in a circle of chairs with one person standing in the middle. The person in the middle would say hello to their neighbors and then mention something they love or like. An example would be “I love all my neighbors, but especially those who like Horror Movies” At that point, everyone who enjoys horror movies would get up and race to an empty chair and whoever is left standing, says hello to their neighbors and chooses another subject. We joined in for a round of this game and thanks to my swift feet, I didn’t really have to face my social anxiety of public speaking. The game was very fun though and I’m sure I’d join in again with no problems.
The final game was a version of never have I. The group splits up and half stand on either side of the room. Kelly Sue will then say something like “I am confident” and everyone who feels that statement pertains to them, crosses the room. I sat out the first round but joined in on the second one. While I was playing the role of spectator, I was surprised to find I was having some emotional reactions to watching people cross a room. Some of the subjects were fairly personal and seeing the courage of some of these people crossing the room by themselves was a powerful sight. There were also a few times when your heart went out for the one or two people who DIDN’T cross the room. I’ll be perfectly honest, when I found out what the panel was going to be, my inner self did an eye roll and I wasn’t very sure I’d really enjoy it, but I was dead wrong and I’m very glad to have participated in it.
In summary, HeroesCon has so many panels that while you definitely can not experience every panel, you can definitely find at least one for you. I’m sure that if one was so inclined, you could spend 90% of the con just attending different panels. If you’ve been to HeroesCon in the past and spent most of your time on the dealer floor, do yourself a favor in the future and check out some of the panels, they have always been fun and informative in my experiences.
We have videos for The Art of Horror panel and half of the Bernie Wrightson Tribute on our Facebook page along with an extended write up of the Marvel Town Hall panel if you want to check those out in more detail.