Charlotte’s annual Heroes Convention has become a huge, three-day event that comic book and pop culture fans plan their vacations around. It celebrated its 35th anniversary in June, but what may surprise some is that its smaller, more comics-centered, sister convention, MiniCon actually predates Heroes and the Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find store, which puts on both events.
“The first one was in January 1977,” says Heroes founder and store owner Shelton Drum. “It was the first thing I ever did. It was before I opened the store. I was a flea market vendor in the mid-70s and by ’77 there was quite a group of regulars at the flea market and I’d met other dealers.”
The original MiniCon was held in a community room at Eastland Mall from 1977 until the mid-’80s when the mall changed management and the room was chopped up for office space. Five hundred comic book fans showed up.
Although the MiniCon was eventually phased out, when its 30th anniversary rolled around in 2007 Drum decided to resurrect it.
“There are cons every weekend somewhere and most of them are kind of pop culture blended shows where there are comics, but also toys, video games and a lot of cosplay,” says Drum who wanted to focus mainly on comics. “I started MiniCon as a comic book convention. When I started Heroes Con it was kind of the same thing.”
Like Heroes Con, there’s a guest list of local and national comic book creators, writers, colorists, and artists. This year’s MiniCon features the entire all-female team behind the new “Patsy Walker Hellcat” comic.
“Patsy Walker has been around since the ’40s,” explains Drum. “It was a teen romance kind of book into the ’60s then in the ’70s Marvel introduced her as a supporting character in the Avengers and then she decided she would like to be a superhero and she’s been in and out of storylines for about 30 or 40 years as a superhero.
“It hits on a lot of generations,” he says.
Although Drum says the show floor is 90 percent comic book vendors, there are others selling toys, handmade items, and original art as well as an afternoon costume contest on the stage.
As the name implies, adds Drum: “It’s a pretty close mirror of the Heroes Con, only smaller.”
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Grady Cole Center, 310 N. Kings Drive