Not to mince words, HeroesCon is my San Diego. Scheduled for June 3-5 at the Charlotte Convention Center this year, I recently caught up with Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find Creative Director Rico Renzi, to discuss what to look forward to at HeroesCon 2011. Anyone that has read my past con reports knows how much I always enjoy this family friendly/comics focused con, and will not be surprised to learn I will be in attendance again this year. Thanks to Renzi for the interview and for giving us the scoop that Farel Dalrymple is returning to the con this year. I was also enthused to learn the con is trying a Friday night event this year, as well as introducing a new section of the convention floor devoted to comic strip creators.
Tim O’Shea: How are things shaping up with less than a month to go before the con, starting to panic? Planning-wise, how do you and Shelton Drum (con founder/organizer and owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find) divvy up the heavy lifting of making this con happen?
Rico Renzi: HeroesCon is like breathing to Shelton so I’m pretty sure he’s not panicking. This is my first time doing anything like this so, yeah I think there’s some pressure on me. Maybe I get a pass since this is my first year though? Dustin Harbin has been a great help showing me the ropes on a few things, especially the floor plan. Deciding where everyone is going to sit seems like the hardest job to me right now. Aside from that we get great help from our warehouse manager, Seth Peagler. Whether I need someone to brainstorm with or edit my blog posts, Seth is my guy. Also, Andy Mansell has been instrumental in planning and coordinating our programming. These guys keep me sane!
Stumptown is over, and now it is time for the other Portland—Portland, Maine—to host its comics festival. Unlike its West Coast namesake, Portland, Maine, is not well known as a teeming hive of comics activity, but there are some homegrown cartoonists, and this festival has attracted quite a few Boston and New York creators as well.
While it doesn’t advertise itself as a kids’ comic con, the lineup is heavy on all-ages creators: Andy Runton (Owly), Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon (The Last Unicorn), Rick Parker (Diary of a Stinky Dead Kid, Harry Potty and the Deathly Boring), and Colleen AF Venable (Pet Shop Private Eye) leading the pack. Maine’s own Jay Piscopo, whose Capt’n Eli books are inspired by a Down East root-beer mascot, will be there as well. The one headliner who is not best known for his children’s work is superhero artist Joe Quinones.
The full guest list reveals a wider range of creators, including Carol Burrell, Cathy Leamy, and Mike Lynch. MECAF promises the pleasures of a small con; it is creator-focused (no card tables full of longboxes), affordable ($5 admission for adults, kids are free), and likely to be blissfully free of large crowds, which makes for a more relaxed atmosphere for creators and visitors alike. If I were in Maine, I’d make a day of it.
Paul Dini has a long history with DC’s resident magic woman Zatanna, and it looks like a long-gestating project will see him team the character with Black Canary. The girl-centric comics blog DC Women Kicking Ass picked up this scoop while walking the floor of the Boston Comic Con from none other than the artist himself, Joe Quinones.
Titled Bloodspell, the book is set to debut in 2012. The blogger recounted the plot as told to them by Quinones, saying “The book begins with a back story where an 11 year old Zatanna meets a 16 year old Dinah Lance. And the two don’t get off to a good start on this trip to Mt. Everest.” Here’s two pages from the project that Quinones had on display at the con.
Sometimes an artist’s work will just make your heart go pitter-patter. Take this pin-up by Joe Quinones:
Published on his blog, Quinones says this commission was done as an art exchange for a piece of Mike Allred art owned by a comics fan. A year in the making, this X-Men pin-up seems definitely worth it. Go to Quinones’ blog to see more about this, including an animated graphic showing the different stages of this project.
Joe Quinones is a relative newcomer to comics — he made his official comics debut on the “Green Lantern” strip in last year’s Wednesday Comics, and has gone on to do work on Marvel’s Spider-Man and some covers for Dark Horse’s Star Wars titles. He’s currently working on a graphic novel for DC that I hope is announced soon. And I take more than a little bit of pride in the fact Joe debuted on the comics scene over at the Project: Rooftop site I co-founded.