Entertainment

Heroes Con is 35 and hotter than ever

This version of Harley Quinn attended the 2015 Heroes Con.
This version of Harley Quinn attended the 2015 Heroes Con. Observer File Photo

Heroes Con has become one of the city’s signature events over its 35 years. What was once a destination for a small segment of the city’s population – comic and toy collectors, fledgling comic artists and writers, kids of all ages – has become hip and happening.

It’s praised for its commitment to tradition and its family-friendly atmosphere while also highlighting cosplay, independent publishers, writers and artists, and attracting celebrity guests like Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer DMC (aka Daryl McDaniel) of rap pioneers Run DMC. He returns as a guest this year and co-hosts Saturday’s art auction.

Its presence in Charlotte has also nurtured a growing community of comic artists and writers who grew up attending Heroes Con as fans. Heroes’ growth means there’s a lot going on at the Charlotte Convention Center and the surrounding area this weekend. Here are a few things to look out for.

Variant covers

Heroes celebrates its 35th year with a handful of comics with variant covers – that means special art that’s only available on issues released at the Con. These include “Loose Ends #4,” “Baby Teeth #1,” “DKIII #1,” “Motorcrush #1,” “Love & Rockets #1” and “DMC #2.5.” Creators, writers and artists will be signing copies at the Heroes booth throughout the weekend. Check the schedule for specific days and times.

Art

The Artist Alley has become so popular it’s spilled over to the convention floor. What’s cool about the art at Heroes is that there’s something for everyone, regardless of budget or style. If you want a one-of-a-kind, high-dollar piece, head on over to the annual Art Auction at the Westin, which draws serious art collectors as well as curious onlookers. For those who make art, there’s a 20-minute quick draw contest each day and Friday’s annual Drink & Draw in the Westin Ballroom, where art sales benefit Parkinson’s Research.

Panels and workshops

The ever-expanding list of panels and workshops cover all aspects of comic creation, promotion and pop culture from both an academic and fan perspective. Savannah College of Art and Design hosts a number of classes, covering everything from action figure and toy design to storytelling and anatomy. Elsewhere, panelists gather to discuss hot topics like the progress of heroines in pop culture (or lack thereof), art collecting, LGBTQ in comics, horror, villains, cosplay and comics as a teaching tool. Panels on Deadpool and Harley Quinn, tributes to Jack Kirby and Will Eisner, and Kelly Sue Deconnick’s “Bitch Planet Games” are among some of the rumored can’t-miss events.

Oddball comics

Cartoonist Scott Shaw hosts his acclaimed slideshow, featuring “the craziest comic books ever published.” The hilarious look at the some of the strangest art and ideas to hit the page takes place before bidding at the Annual Art Auction at the Westin, 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Grading

The comic book grading service CBCS will be on site grading comic books for fans and collectors. So if you have something you think might be worth something, bring it along.

Heroes Con ends Sunday by honoring the memory of artist Mike Wieringo (The Flash, Fantastic Four), who died in 2007. Several of his industry friends will discuss his life and legend to commemorate the release of “The Mike Wieringo TELLOS Tribute Book,” which features art from more than 200 artists, with proceeds benefiting the ASPCA.

Heroes Con

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St.

TICKETS: Single day pass $25 Friday and Saturday; $20 Sunday; 3-day pass $50; children 12 and younger free.

DETAILS: www.heroesonline.com/heroescon/

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