Another weekend, another AMAZING COMIC BOOK CONVENTION IN NC! Wait, what? Yes, it’s true, Charlotte NC is home to one of the awesomest comic book conventions out there—HeroesCon, which has its 30th anniversary this weekend and is celebrating by being even better than ever.

If you’ve never been to a comic book convention, don’t be afraid to give it a try! Heroes is an especially good one for newbies to check out—it’s known for being family-friendly, there are a lot of different panels (ie, comic book people sitting on a state and discussing comics and taking questions from the audience) on all sorts of different topics, PLUS lots of artists who you can actually go and talk to!
I actually can’t make it this year—one of my cousins picked this weekend, of all weekends, to get married—but if I was going, there’d be a lot I’d want to check out! So here is a mini guide to HeroesCon in case you’re heading down there!

For artists, I’d definitely want to visit Jaime Hernandez (one of my all-time favorites, as a previous column here can attest), Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer of Milk and Cheese/Action Girl/Yo Gabba Gabba fame (apparently their young daughter is selling homemade hair accessories at their table this year), Bill Willingham of Fables, David Petersen of Mouse Guard, Mike Mignola of Hellboy/BPRD, Skottie Young of the Marvel Oz books, and Jim Rugg of Afrodisiac and many other great books. And those are just a few of the people there—you can see the complete list here.

As for the panels, I’d definitely go to the one on Jim Henson characters, Jeffrey Brown’s talk on his latest book Darth Vader and Son, and the one on the comic book canon (I am very sad about missing that one), and, of course, AN HOUR WITH STAN LEE. For those more artistically inclined than I, there are plenty of how-to panels and even some where you get to actually draw! Again, those are just a few of the ones to go to, and a complete schedule is here.

And if you’re not heading down there, let me recommend books by some of the aforementioned artists (at least the ones I haven’t talked about at length in previous columns). I’ve been a fan of Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer for years—they’re a married couple who often collaborate. Dorkin is probably best known for the Milk and Cheese comics, which are well worth checking out (especially for teenage and college-age boys), and for Beasts of Burden, which I’ve probably recommended before (because it’s excellent). Both also work on the Super Martian Robot Girl cartoons for Yo Gabba Gabba, which should delight your young children, and have worked on other cartoons as well (including Space Ghost!). I’m still mad that Dyer’s anthology Action Girl (the most 90s comic anthology ever, and I mean that in the best possible way) has never been collected, and I cherish my battered single issues.

And if I haven’t mentioned Mouse Guard yet, that’s a GREAT all-ages (well, not for tiny children) series—I mean, it’s hard to go wrong with mice with swords.

Anyway, I hope at least a few of you guys are heading to HeroesCon this weekend—if you do, be sure and let me know how it was in the Comments below!