Saturday, July 01, 2006
HEROES CON DAY 1
I figured I'd try and toss up some Heroes coverage and break up the reporting a bit as i go along here at the con. Echo and I made good time in or trek down from the land of Ben Franklin to the realm of the Krispy Cream. For once Yahoo Maps got it right, the directions I printed out were spot on,and we made the almost 600 mile trip in really great time. Echo was the co-pilot giving me the directions and plotting the course. Once we passed the Washington-Baltimore area traffic thinned and we really had pretty smooth sailing. I have driven to North Carolina once before, way back in the late 80's when I drove down from Honesdale, PA with Al Williamson to a show in Greensboro. Once of the things both Echo and I noticed is how clean North Carolina seemed, less trash on the roadside even compared to Virginia, yet the landscape looked pretty much the same. Road, trees on either side, guess the route we took wasn't so dramatic. We remarked on the just how much America looks the same, the same stripmall apperence all the way down the east coast in pockets or clumps of the same chain resturants, Home Depots etc. Sitting in a Hardees in NC on RT 85 having a burger for lunch it seemed as if we could be in Delaware, or even New Jersey,Pennsylvania. Travel that far in Europe nand you'd see bigger difference for sure.
Charolette is really a cool looking modern city.
We pulled out of Philly about 11am or so after I filled the cooler with ice for the drinks and snacks and we rolled into Charolette and the Mariott Courtyard where we are staying about 6:30pm. Unfortunately by the time we checked in and made it to the roomk it was too late to take the books and stuff over to the convention center which closed at 7 for the load in and set up.
I have to say the Marriott here for $75 a night is really great, the bed is super comfortable and the staff is so nice and freindly, and helpful. Sure they are suppose to be, but people here really seem ...well, extra nice. Compare this rate to the rape-age you get in San Diego for the con and your wallet will never feel the same.
The very comfortable bed, which looked really good after the drive down....
I guess what they say about southern hospitality is true. We got unpacked in the room and I set up the laptop and logged in over the free internet! Hey another great feature here. I intially had a problem connecting and once phone call and 5 minutes later the thing was up and running...snap!
The sign outside of the Charolette convention center teased us with the promise of excitement and a good con....
The Westin bar from the outside, John Beatty for scale.
In a short time John Beatty called and we headed out to grab a dinner at a local sushi resturant called Fusion where I had some awesome Godzilla rolls and some beef noodle dish. I destroyed those rolls just like that big lizard did to Tokyo....Yum! Echo had Kungpow Chicken. After dinner we walked down to the Westin hotel where many people were staying and hanging out in the bar there. That seems to be the bar of the con so most shmoozing will be here. We had a few drinks and hob-knobbed with Remender, the NYC Mecers Ivan and Andy, Greg Thompson, Mark Nathan and many more.
John beatty, Alberto Ruiz and yours truely, looking a bit rough...
Friday started off quick, we got up late after the long drive and the super quite room, comfortable bed and missed breakfast. We grabbed some coffee and a sandwhich and fruit around the corner and I drove over to the con to unload the gear. I had to park in the gate to the electric company which is next to the convention center as again we missed the time to go in via the loading dock, I unloaded the stuff, left Echo with it, drove back, parked at teh hotel, hoofed it back. just as I got there Charles Vess pulled up looking to get in, and so he had to run in with blinkers on to get his badge etc.
Shelton Drum the guy running the con is a swell fella and helped out right away and soon everyone was set up. I had folks flocking over right away and soon had a huge list of skecthes to do, I did more sketches on Friday, the slowest day than my whole time in Wizard Philly. last nite at the bar the rumor circulated that Wizard was again going to go up against this con on father's day weekend next year. If this is true all I can say is that they really are foolish to do this, utter fools. Guys like Shelton put on a show that is about comics and the love of comics, not a con that is about everything else about comics and he treats each attending pro with a hospitality and respect you never get outside of the usual Wizard guest list. More than one pro told me that is Wizard did indeed try to go up against this show they are in Shelton corner all the way.
The Friday traffic at the show was good and everyone seemed happy for the show and good spirits abounded. Already I am impressed with the city of Charolette and the people, the food. We ate some great soul food for dinner tonight at
Merts a few blocks from the Marriott with Donna and Eric Nolen-Weathington from Twomorrows, Alberto and John Beatty.
All in all a greaat day and a lot of fun, I chatted with many folks on the show floor like Russ Heath, Joe Pekar, Chris Pitzer and many more.
Well that's it for day one...more tomorrow...