I'm pretty sure you've heard from a bunch of folks already about how great this year's Heroes Con was by now. Well, add my name to the list, too, be cause it was truly excellent! I won't go into too much detail about everything that happened the entire weekend, but here are the highlights. Thursday The OOSA artists were invited to a party at our buddy Terence's house. Not everyone from the group could make it, but we went out there with two cars full of friends. It was a nice way to start the show off. The house was packed, but it was still a more intimate setting than the Westin lobby so you could get around and talk to some folks that you hadn't seen for a while. I also got to introduce the newest OOSA artist, Chris Visions, to some of the other guys. He fit right in, of course, and got along with everyone like they had know each other for years. The food was amazing and the people there were great. Thanks, Terence!
Friday We set up at the show in the same block as Robert Wilson IV, Aaron Conley (who brought JB with him) and Dave Wachter, so we were in good company. Ming and Chris Visions were in seperate sections of the hall, so we didn't get to hang out as much as I would have liked. Things were a little slow for me at the OOSA table, but I know that Friday is the day that people are hitting their priorities and getting on commission lists, so I wasn't too worried. The artists did OK with sales and commissions, though. Aaron Conley was at the table next to me and he was busy most of the day selling copies of his book Sabertooth Swordsman. Alexis sold out of all of his comp copies of The Package, too. Good thing I had more for the rest of the weekend.
That night was the drink and draw, for which Alexis was asked to do a print that they sold to help raise money for Team Cul de Sac. All of the OOSA artists drew at least one or two sketches to donate, as well. I ended up buying one Vanessa R. Del Ray drew. I also got to meet and hang out with her quite a bit during the weekend, so that was cool. Same with Aaron, JB, Scarecrow Oven, Board Inker (and friends) and Jeff Stokely. It's always nice to meet new folks, ya know.
Saturday I got to the convention hall early so I could take some time to look around at the exhibitors, but they weren't letting people in until 9:00. That's only 30 minutes before the 3-day pass holders get in. I don't remember that being the case last year. Maybe there was some sort of security issue with folks walking around unattended booths? I missed my exploration time, but the policy is understandable. Also new for this year was the dj playing music in the main lobby and incense being pumped into the convention hall. The scent was a little strong for my taste, but I get the idea. It was only at first anyway, so no big deal.
Anyway, Saturday was packed at the convention hall! I don't know what the numbers were, but it must have been at least double Friday's attendance. I went up the main lobby around noon and there was still a line of people wanting to get in. Crazy! I also heard the line for Kevin Eastman spanned pretty much the entire con floor. All of these people being present resulted in a much busier day for everyone. I sold a bunch of shirts and books, but no art, which I thought was a little odd. Speaking of books, though, we had our copies of the kaBOOMbox anthology delivered to the show. It turned out reeeeaaally nice. It sold well, too. Fabian Rangel Jr. was sitting at Alexis' table today since they have a project together, so it was great to meet him.
That night, it was Mert's for dinner. I love the food, but I don't think Saturday night during Heroes Con is the time to try to go there. Too busy. The company was good, though. Justin Jordan and Stephen Green joined Paul, Andrew, Erin and I. I had to leave early to get ready for the art auction and Saturday Night Suits, which turned into Saturday Night Sweats before too long and I had to ditch the jacket. There were a few people dressed up, but not because of the SNS. Still, it was nice to see. Although... Rico did wear a nice button up shirt just for the cause, as did Seth. Next year, next year.
The auction was well attended as always. While about all of the OOSA crew donated something, only Ming and Chris' paintings made it to the big show, as did a Nathan Fox SVA screen print he donated via OOSA. The nice thing is that they were positioned right next to three other prominent pieces by Bernie Wrightson, Andrew Robinson and Skottie Young so you couldn't help but notice them. The bids were a little low on our pieces I thought, but that seemed to be the case for a lot of the art. I think the days of the $10,000 bids are over. After that, lots of drinking and socializing plus late night pizza at the Mellow Mushroom. Did you know they're open until 4am?! It's a game changer!
Sunday No incense this morning. That must not have gone over well.
Sunday was another slow day for me. Not quite as slow as Friday, though. I sold my one and only piece of art of the weekend and sold out of The Package. I used the time to get out and see some folks and visit with friends, so it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I had to get home so I missed out on the Dead Dog party, regrettably.
Final Thoughts One really needs to devote 5 days to get the most out of Heroes Con. Come on Thursday and stay until Monday. There is soooo much happening and so many people to catch up with, it's about impossible to do it all in three days.
While I did fine selling shirts and books, I was a little surprised that I didn't sell any of the art (with the exception of the one piece) I had on hand from Nathan, Toby, Greg and Liz. I don't think it had to do with the prices, either. I just think there were so many artist there doing really affordable commissions (like, $80 or less) that the original comic art just wasn't selling. I wonder if that was the case for everyone. I also heard word of grumbles from the exhibitors that their sales were down because everyone seemed more interested in seeing the artists and buying things in artist alley. Not sure if that was actually the case or how prevalent that actually was. I didn't investigate.
I got a bunch of compliments and praise about OOSA and the OOSA artists from a ton of fans and professionals alike. I was really blown away. I've only been doing this for a short time and I'm super proud of the artists I work with, but I didn't know that so many folks were aware of and digging what we're doing. Thanks for the support, everyone!
It was nice to see Charles Vess doing so well at Heroes. He hasn't been to the show for a long while. I think everyone missed him.
It was also good to see my buddy Steve Mannion at the show for the first time. I believe he's now hooked and will come back again next year.
The show is huge! I don't think I saw half of the room. I even shut down an hour early on Friday just so I could go walk around.
Superman "flying" down the convention floor pathways on a skateboard was pretty funny. So was seeing a guy accidentally bonked on the head by a giant mallet as a Harley Quinn cosplayer put it up on her shoulder for a picture.
As always, the show was amazing due to the efforts of Shelton Drum, his staff and the volunteers. Thanks for another wonderful convention!!!!
That's right! OOSA will be at Heroes Con 2014 en masse with Ming Doyle, Chris Visions, Andrew MacLean, Alexis Ziritt, Logan Faerber and Paul Maybury all in attendance. Along with original art, prints, books and commissions, there will also be a few debuts for the show. The kaBOOMbox Volume 1 anthology, featuring over 200 pages of work from the OOSA and Brand New Nostalgia collectives will be available for the first time. A whole bunch of the artists who are in the book will be there and would love to sign your copy.
The Package, written by Elliot Blake with art by Alexis Ziritt, will also be available, as will Andrew MacLean's new book Head Lopper Part Two: The Wolves of Barra. I'll be there as well selling original art from Toby Cypress, Greg Ruth and Nathan Fox (including a new batch of Nathan's work), plus whatever Liz Subrbia and Toby Cypress OOSA tees I have left.
Heroes Con is such a great show so I hope you're planning to get to Charlotte, NC June 20th-22nd. It's not something you'll want to miss.
Aw, man. Heroes Con. I love that show! This year was pretty great, as it always is. Lots of talented artists, good friends, a relaxed vibe and tons of opportunities to socialize with like-minded folks at the show and after hours. A big thank you to Shelton and all of the Heroes Con staff/volunteers for putting on such a fantastic show. Here are some of my thoughts and highlights:
It was great to sit in Indie Island with Paul, Alexis, Andrew and his wife Erin. Those guys are always fun to be around. Ming was positioned in another section of the floor, but not too far away. That's alright, though, because she was soooo busy with commissions, I don't think she had time to talk anyway. Logan had to cancel at the last minute so he didn't make it this year. It's kind of bitter sweet because while we missed him being there, I got to use his table rather than just squeezing in somewhere. Also in our block were guys like Rob Ullman, Jared Cullum, J. Chris Campbell, Andy Runton, Wes Brooks and Hatuey Diaz from Top Shelf. They were all pleasure to be seated with. I know Rico Renzi works hard at putting people together who will enjoy each other's company, so kudos Rico.
I think all of the OOSA artists had a good show. I know they were all drawing a lot. Paul sold a bunch of books and did several commissions. Alexis brought a little of everything, but I think his new Doom Rider shirt was his biggest seller. He also had a bunch of commissions on Sunday. Andrew did great selling his book Head Lopper. Several people came over looking for it based on the recommendation of others that had bought it at the show. Other people would escort folks over to his table in person and say "Here is that book you need to buy". Ming, like I said earlier, had a ton of commissions. I'd be willing to bet it was close to 30. And me? I sold a bunch of the OOSA shirts and Liz Suburbia's zines. After related food and travel expenses for the show, I just about broke even and might have even made a few dollars profit. Which, after last year, is fantastic for me. Driving up Friday morning and going home on Sunday night shaved some costs, so that helped.
I'm sure you all have heard about how big the con floor was this year. I think this had it's pros and cons. As an exhibitor, I really appreciated the extra space behind the tables. Lots of room to put your stuff and still be able to get around without tripping over banners and such. I also liked the linear layout of the floor. There was a nice main thoroughfare through artist alley that allowed you to see the majority of the tables in one pass just by looking left and right. Also, the walkways were really wide which eased congestion and made it nice for people with small children and strollers. This also made it easy to get around slow walkers, sudden stoppers, lines of fans waiting for signatures, people taking pictures of cosplayers, and folks pulling carts loaded with comic boxes. The downside for the large floor space was that there was no quick trip to anywhere. Working a table, I had limited opportunities to get away. If I wanted to go say "Hi" to someone or go buy/look at something, I was gone for at least 20 minutes and there was no time for distractions. I bet I only saw about 25% of what was on display and a lot of that was just in passing. I'm sure the people on the outskirts of the floor saw fewer casual lookers than they would have in a smaller space. I heard random rumblings about how the large space was affecting sales, but then I heard others talk about how great their sales were this year. Not really sure how much of an effect the size of the convention hall had on that, though. Overall, I think having the larger space was a good thing. I know it was an expensive move for the show, so I'm hoping it payed off in extra ticket/table sales.
The organizers did a good job making use of the extra space this year. They had some cool cars in one section, an Akira gallery set up, large areas with chairs and tables for eating/reading/resting/talking, food vendors, etc. They also had several things set up just for kids like a super pet "petting zoo" where you could have your picture made with various comic book animal sidekicks and a kids comic library. There was a kids Heroes Con passport with specific kid-friendly destinations and activities highlighted and a reward of free comics if you got all of your pages stamped. (This was my idea by the way. Or at least I suggested it to Rico a few years ago. Just sayin'.)
Friday night was the Drink and Draw event. It got moved to the Hilton this year, which I think was a good decision. It was nice having a larger space for the crowd, and the indoor/outdoor option makes it so the fundraiser isn't at risk of being impacted by the weather. Which is good, because it rained. Hard. I think there might need to be a few tweaks for next year (like perhaps more tables for people to sketch on), but this was this was definitely a necessary step in the right direction due to the growing popularity of the event. My favorite moment of the night was seeing Paul and Dustin Harbin sketching together. Paul was drawing a picture of Dustin. Dustin was also drawing a picture of Dustin. On a side note, it makes me happy that all of the OOSA artists showed up and contributed some sketches for the fundraiser. That display of character in my artists makes me proud.
We had our Brand New Nostalgia/Out of Step Arts panel, "I remember when Brand New Nostalgia was cool", on Saturday. It featured Andrew MacLean, Alexis Ziritt, Tradd Moore, James Harren, Paul Maybury, Joe Dellagatta, Brandon Clarke and myself. Was it well attended? Did people remember when BNN was cool? Let's just say that there were a few available seats in the room. Making the best of it, we just had an informal chat about what everyone submitted to the kaBOOMbox Vol. 1 anthology and showed some preview pages. I think it was actually pretty fun and informative for everyone present. And Tradd got a chance to eat his breakfast, so that was good. I think we'll have a video of the talk available for you to see online soon.
Saturday night was the big auction night. I got invited to the pre-auction shindig Shelton puts on for a select few for the first time (which I really enjoyed and appreciated). Free food, open bar, great company. What a way to start the evening! The auction was packed and there were a lot of great pieces available. Pieces from Adam Hughes and Mark Brooks were notably absent, though, because they are typically the big money pieces. Hopefully that didn't effect the overall income of auction since the money raised goes towards putting on next year's Heroes Con. After watching the auction for a bit, I was invited to go out with Ming, Becky Cloonan, and Jimmy Aquino for oysters (which I had never tried before). I spent the rest of the evening/early morning at the Westin bar chit-chatting with folks. I got to talk a long time with my old friend and consummate class-act, Erik Jones, which was nice because we only get to see each other at Heroes Con. I'm happy that his career is taking off and it was good to catch up.
Sunday I was tired. I left at the end of the show to drive back home so I didn't have a chance to go to the Dead Dog party, regrettably. I hope everyone had a good time.
Other quick thoughts and highlights: - Chris Pitzer's and Jim Rugg's mustaches. - Shelton mentioned the museum exhibit that we are working on together during his panel interview with Jim Rugg. It should be on the TMSIDK podcast. - Next year, I am instituting "Saturday Night Suits". Let's class this place up a little fellas. - It was great to see everyone, even though I had to reintroduce myself to some people because I look so different from years past.
Something I'd like to see next year: I'd like to see more publishing companies on the floor. Especially if the con is going to keep the larger space. Being such a well-respected and popular show, there is no reason that companies like Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse and IDW shouldn't come. I'm sure this more of them deciding not to come as opposed to Heroes Con not inviting them.
Something I don't want to see next year: Aquaman. If you saw him, you know what I'm talking about. *Shudder*
Whoooo! HEROES CON!!!! The Out of Step Arts crew will be exhibiting at this great show again this year. Paul Maybury, Andrew MacLean, Logan Faerber and Alexis Ziritt will be in Indie Island at tables 1120 - 1123. Ming Doyle will be set up at table 1209. They will all have original art, prints, comics and other sundries like shirts, stickers and sketchbooks. They'll also be doing sketches and commissions so be sure to get on their lists early. And you'll really want to make a point to get there in time to get the following: Alexis Ziritt's Doom Rider t-shirt, Andrew MacLean's Head Lopper comic and Paul Maybury's limited edition Morebury sketchbook.
So what about the rest of the OOSA artists? Well, Toby, Greg and Liz couldn't make it to the show so I'll be set up with the guys in Indie Island with a bunch of their things like original art, signed copies of Rodd Racer from Toby and a bunch of Liz's zines (also signed). I'll also be debuting the OOSA tees with designs by Toby and Liz!!!
Man, oh, man! Heroes Con was a BLAST! There was so much going on and so many things happened that it's hard to remember them all, much less, write about them. Let me touch on a couple of things, though. The Out of Step Arts Panel Discussion I'm not sure whose idea it was for us to do a panel, but I sure was flattered. That feeling was immediately followed by anxiety, night sweats and visions of empty rooms and awkward silences. But, all of that worry was unnecessary. We had a good size crowd show up, there was lots of discussion with some great comments from the OOSA artists, and there were some good questions from the audience. I talked to several of the people who came and they said they found it informative and were able to take something away from the talk. Hey, that's what it's all about, right? The coolest thing is that Brandon Clarke (the behind-the-scenes guy from Brand New Nostalgia) caught it on tape, so if you missed it, you can now watch it in the comfort of your own home.
The Heroes Con Fun Run
The Heroes Con Fun Run was probably my favorite thing from the whole weekend. This was the first year for the run as an official Heroes Con event, so we weren't sure what to expect. Again, the sleepless night before the run thinking about logistics and worst-case scenarios was totally unwarranted. I'd say we had at least 50 people show up at 7:00 in the morning!! That's pretty impressive considering all of the socializing opportunities that were available the night before. There were kids, parents of con-goers, people dressed in costumes, art students, comic pros, and running and comics enthusiasts alike. The best thing was that there were several people who had never run in an organized event like this before. People were actually inspired and trained just so they could run in the Heroes Con Fun Run. That's so great!
For the rest of the convention, I had people swinging by the OOSA booths to pick up their free prints who all talked about what a good time they had and asked if there will be another run next year. With the overwhelming success of this year's run, I would say it's a definite YES. Other artists even offered to help Eric Canete out with the portfolio reviews for the SCAD students who participate next year. It's a good thing, because Eric was totally booked on Sunday with 10 - 12 30-minute reviews to do. Way to show up SCAD students!!
A special thanks to Eric Canete for the art donation and the portfolio review offer, Shelton Drum for letting us do this as part of the convention, Rico Renzi for the shirts and the pictures at the run, and all of the other Heroes Con staff and volunteers who woke up early to help give out shirts and water bottles and generally make things go smoothly.
Having (most) all of the OOSA artists together over the weekend was really nice. I got to meet Logan Faerber in person for the first time and I got to know everyone a lot better. I feel that Out of Step Arts was really well received and the show was, overall, a great experience for the artists with some sales, some commissions, and lots of opportunities to network and socialize. One thing that I thought was really special this year (and I hate that neither of us got to see the presentation) was that the Heroes Con Staff all pitched in to get Toby Cypress to paint a picture of Shelton's car as a gift for him celebrating 30 years of putting on the show. What an honor.
As is the case with Heroes Con every year, I met lots of great new folks and got to see several people who I typically only get to catch up with once a year. Good times were had. Thanks so much to everyone at Heroes Con for a great weekend. I will definitely see you next year.
A while ago, I had asked the OOSA artists to team up to create some one-of-a-kind prints to showcase the talent at Out of Step Arts. If you'll recall, Greg Ruth and Logan Faerber did an amazing job on their print that was debuted at Spectrum LIVE! last month.
Well now, the other prints are ready to be revealed and will be debuted at Heroes Con next week.
Alexis Ziritt and Paul Maybury teamed up on this ultimate team-up comic cover: "Unknown World".
We'll have all of these prints, along with the original art, for sale at the OOSA tables in Indie Island (522-527). The prints are 4 color inks on 11 x 17 100 lb "silk" paper and only cost $10 each or $25 for all 3! Supplies are limited, though, so swing by early if you want 'em. You can also have your pick of one the prints if you donate at least $20 to the Hairy Cell Leukemia Research Foundation AND run in the Heroes Con Fun Run Saturday morning.
I could not be more proud to be offering these, so I hope you'll come by and check them out.
The Heroes Con map with table locations is now available (here) and I could not be more pleased with where the OOSA artists ended up: Right in the middle of Indie Island surrounded by some serious talent. Look at this list of people in our block!
DAVE COOPER | AA-515 Bent, Weasel, Crumple, Suckle, Dan & Larry, Bagel’s Lucky Hat
SARAH DYER | AA-516 Beasts of Burden, Action Girl Comics, Milk & Cheese, MAD
EVAN DORKIN | AA-517 Beasts of Burden, Milk & Cheese, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book, Dork!
STEPHANIE BUSCEMA | AA-518 Something Monstrous, Womanthology
BENJAMIN MARRA | AA-519 Night Business, Gangsta Rap Posse
MATTHEW D. SMITH | AA-519 Simon Says, The Adventurers
ANDY BELANGER | AA-520 Kill Shakespeare, Bottle of Awesome, Black Church
BECKY CLOONAN | AA-521 Wolves, Conan, Dracula
KEU CHA | AA-528 Hex the Lost Tribe, Rising Stars, Witchblade
ROBERT WILSON IV | AA-529 Knuckleheads, Laser Joan
MIKE MAIHACK | AA-530 Cleopatra in Space, Adventures in Sandwich Making, Cow & Buffalo
JASON HORN | AA-531 Ninjasaur, Gruff
DEAN TRIPPE | AA-532 Power Lunch, Butterfly, Project: Rooftop
JOEL CARROLL | AA-533 Cuttle & Chirp, Topaz, Flight
BRADEN LAMB | AA-534 Adventure Time, Ice Age, Muppet Snow White, Tricky Journeys
SHELLI PAROLINE | AA-534 Adventure Time, Ice Age, Muppet Snow White, Tricky Journeys
And what’s even better, my friend and proprietor of AdHouse, Chris Pitzer, will be right across from us so I can throw things at him.
So come by and see us June 22-24th. All of the OOSA artists will be chatting, sketching and selling their art and wares. And since we're all together, we might try to do some live art or other such fun stuff.
Now that Spectrum LIVE! has come and gone, the next convention on the horizon is Heroes Con!!! Out of Step Arts will be there in force with SIX OOSA artists in attendance (plus myself). Alexis Ziritt, Logan Faerber and Andrew MacLean are raising the money to make the trip by listing new art in the OOSA store and taking pre-con commissions that can be picked up at the show. So here is the deal: Andrew's rates 1 character small (9x12) $50 - b/w ink 1 character large (11x14) $65 - b/w ink 2 characters or huge 1 character (11x17) $75 - b/w ink
Logan’s rates 1 character small (9×12) $50 – b/w ink or $75 for watercolor 1 character large (11×14) $65 – b/w ink or $90 for watercolor 2 characters or huge 1 character (11×17) $75 – b/w ink or $100 for watercolor
Alexis' rates 1 character (11x14) $50 - b/w ink custom sketch cards (face or bust) $10 - full color spraypaint/paint/marker 1 character (9x12) $70 - full color spraypaint/paint/marker
Keep your eyes peeled for more art and news from other OOSA artists in the weeks leading up to Heroes Con next month.