HeroesCon 2014

There is something about summer that just brings people together. With blockbuster movies, music festivals, mountains, beaches and lakes, there’s always something to do and somewhere to explore. For fans of super heroes and comic books, there’s no better place to be then at one of the many conventions taking place over the summer.

One such event, and a staple in the convention circuit for over 20 years is HeroesCon, a weekend long celebration of all things comic related. Located in Charlotte, NC, HereosCon attracts fans from around advance for a chance to meet their favorite authors and artists and show off their best costumes each June.

Getting to the convention is a simple matter, visitors can either fly in to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, then grab a cap across town, or if you prefer to drive, the Queen City is located just four hours from both Richmond, V.A. and Atlanta G.A, meaning the drive is quite manageable. The convention center where the event takes place is located in the downtown area, and hotels are easy to come by, many even offer special offers and rates to convention goers.

My first adventure of the convention was finding parking. While there are parking garages and metered parking all over the city, it can be difficult finding ones that are not full or not open to the public—one such lot exists on a side street by the convention center and doesn’t mention not being publicly available until you are already inside—fortunately I was able to locate a lot across the street from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, virtually right next door to the convention center.

Once inside the convention hall, there’s a lot to take in. My first stop was the food court, where Starbucks, Bojangles and a few other fast food places had set up shop and were consistently busy all weekend. By the time I finished eating, the doors to the show were open, and I picked up my pass into the event and stood in line for the escalator to the bottom floor of the building and the convention itself.
Having never been to a convention before, arriving on the floor was something to behold. A red carpet stretched across the doorway and up to an information desk where event programs, schedules and a lost and found were located, and stretching to the walls on the left, right and back of the hall were hundreds of artists, writers, vendors and fans.

Finding your way around a convention like this is no simple task, and usually comes down to a matter of what interests you. I started by walking up and down the aisles of vendors and “Artist Alley,” meeting not only the staff and regulars at my local comic book shop, and spending more money on T-shirts and comics than I originally intended. I also had the chance to bump into Marcus Hamilton, writer of the daily Dennis the Menace comic strip.
“This is the only con I go to. I’ve known Sheldon (owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find—the host of HeroesCon) for many years now. I always come by and sign prints and talk to fans,” Hamilton said.
After several hours walking on the convention floor, and finally completing my first trip across the hall, I had accumulated multiple pictures of men and women in costume, I came across a man dressed as Marvels Deadpool, but covered in gold jewelry and carrying a large boom box, blaring music so he and other convention goers could stop and dance periodically.

The man in the suit is Eddie Newsome, who said he attends conventions regularly.
“It’s a way to let loose and pay homage to your favorite characters,” he said “and the people you meet are more fun than anywhere else, because they are just like you.”

After speaking with Newsome and a few other fans, I made my way to a panel in one of the upstairs conference rooms. In the panel, members of the animation and design team of the television show “Archer” talked about their experiences working on the program, and answered questions from fans about the show.

After a long afternoon inside the convention center, it was time for dinner, and while Charlotte has plenty of high-end restaurants and bars to eat in, there is only one place to go, and it’s right across the street—Fuel Pizza is a staple and a must try for any trip into the Queen City. Offering New York style pizza and slices, it was easily the best way to cap off the first day of the convention. There were still two more days to go however, though aside from the panels I attended, there wasn’t much of a change in my routine there.

If you’re looking for something new and enjoy the more super things in life, check online for a convention nearby, it’s a worthwhile experience, and one you aren’t likely to forget. If you’re interested in HeroesCon, their website can be found here.

The story was produced as part of the Travel Writing class, Summer 2014.