HEROES CON 2015

heroes con logo

THE GEEKY REDHEAD 29-JUNE-2015 Heroes Con 2009 (I think?) was my first ‘real’ con. It was when I cosplayed for the first time as MJ from SPIDER-MAN. The addiction set in quickly. This year’s convention was held June 19th – 21st in Charlotte, NC.

As such, I have a lot of love for this con. I had to take a few years off from it when I moved away but have been trying to make it back as often as I can. It’s a con where I’ve brought nearly everyone who is important to me, from lovers to family. It’s where I first found my hands down favorite comic, Love and Capes by Thom Zahler. By the way, his new comic Long Distance is amazing. Read it. READ IT NOW. Actually, wait until you finish this review cause Heroes Con is amazing. Then read it.

Without Heroes, I wouldn’t have met so many friends who then connected me to other people. And I would possibly have never gone if the late Jeremy Dale hadn’t told me about it during a Free Comic Book Day. Not seeing his booth this year was gut wrenching. Both he and Kelly had been so kind to me over the years, they always made time to say greet me warmly whenever I could work up the courage to stop by. (Painfully shy, even with known people – I did work up the courage to say hello to her and offer my condolences)

ATMOSPHERE

With that in mind… I have always found the Heroes Con atmosphere to be overwhelmingly friendly. Those of us who are long time attendees love to see each other and reminisce about when there were all of 5 cosplayers there. Ok there were more than that, but it certainly felt that tiny! That said, it’s a very welcoming group – we want new people and we’re excited at how much the con is growing. It’s thrilling that our class photos are getting bigger and bigger and more and more folks are traveling to see the con. So the overall feel is that of a bubbly, excited, family reunion. You hear a lot of happy calls out to old friends and enthusiastic introductions to new ones.

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So many awesome families!

 

The convention center itself is well lit and the information/help booth is literally directly across from the only entrance to the con floor. There are ticket booths outside if you need information before getting to the floor and both of these have giant, colorful signs so that it’s incredibly easy to find them.

In addition: with a number of hotels and bar/restaurants within easy walking distance, this is a great place to share drinks with friends and new old!

STAFF

I have never had a problem with the convention center staff, be it the volunteers, security or food vendors. This year the con staff were a bit more intent on keeping the walkways flowing – many of us are used to being able to stop in the middle of the aisles without causing a problem simply because there never used to be enough people for this to be a problem! Still, they were polite and apologized while asking us to move, and only approached a group I was with once.

VENDORS

Love the shopping here. Love it love it love it.

This is a great con to check out up and coming comic artists, established artists, new comics, independent comics as well as shop for back issues. I picked up my Birds of Prey issue 8 there once upon a time. Because I needed it. Really. I did.

In addition to the comics, this is also a good place to check out geeky jewelry, plushes, unique art and accessories. I didn’t used to consider this a shopping con, but it is definitely growing.

There are also several charities that set up every year, including the Klingon Assault Group who I was there with, and Warrior Service Dogs, who are SO adorable!

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The Orions need your money for Hospice!
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K-9 meets canine!

FOOD

Fairly limited selection. Three to eight dollars for hot dogs, nachos, fries, etc. Pretty tasty though, so I wasn’t complaining. Not gourmet by any means, but I enjoyed my food. That said, the good stuff is across the street. Fuel Pizza is the standard go-to with very tasty pizza and Italian-American fare. A large perk of this con however, is that there are a lot of nice places located nearby so you can either eat at Subway or walk/taxi to something nicer depending on what suits your mood/budget.

If you have diet restrictions, brings snacks with you onto the con floor. Do a little research ahead of time, but odds are good you will find something nearby to suit your needs for dinner.

ACCESSIBILITY

The con floor is accessible in that it’s all a big flat rectangle with fairly wide aisles. However, that con floor is one floor down from the entrance and the only way down is through escalators or elevators. I wish there was a way around this but, short of redesigning the building, I don’t think that is possible. There are two large elevators not far from the escalators. They are slow but quite roomy so I’ve never seen issues with getting mobility aides inside even with other guests – which is rare. Most people prefer to dart down the escalators.

There are hotels within easy walking distance, by which I mean directly across the street. The terrain is uneven (sidewalks are well cared for, just the ground isn’t even) though so folks with mobility issues may prefer to stay closer to lessen their walk. If you would like to stay further out, there is a train that runs within a block or two of the con and some of the hotels on the edges of Charlotte have free shuttles to the train station. This is an option that I didn’t know about until this year and it’s worth checking out to save some money.

There is still plenty of parking in pay lots nearby, however be prepared for the heat and giant fans. I spent time curling my bangs and styling my hair, walked to the car to get something and BOOM – disaster. For me, it was a fairly minor fix, but for someone with a carefully and painstakingly styled wig… It’s just a heads up!

COSPLAY

One of the reasons that Heroes has always been a favorite for me is that it is a family convention. There are always families running around together, both in and out of costume. There are a lot of kids and they are all precious. Everyone has a great sense of humor and loves to joke around.

This year was no exception. My friends and I had a blast. I was actually in the middle of a massive insomnia issue so I apologize that there aren’t more photos – there was a TON of amazing cosplay at this event.

The only downside of this con, from my perspective, is that the general public at the con aren’t used to cosplayers yet. I noticed an increase in “drive by photos.” I’m actually really lenient when it comes to drive bys and candid shots since I have found that some of my cutest shots are when I didn’t know I was being photographed. However, there are times when I think it’s just obviously not ok to take a cosplayer’s photo – like when they are frantically running from point A to point B, talking on their phone and obviously upset or when they are in the middle of shoving food in their face. I did confirm with a few other folks that they felt this was either A) on the rise at the con or B) that it’s always been a problem.

Despite that, I sincerely love my ‘home’ con and hope that in the future they will follow the suit of other big cons with clear guidelines. As it stands, I am willing to be patient while they work out their growing pains!

Kate Foil is an unrepentant lover of sweet tea, grits and buttermilk biscuits. Also, if you see her at Heroes Con and she runs away, it’s probably because she is chasing a certain Joker who knows who he is and what he did wrong! You can find her ramblings at The Geeky Redhead on Facebook, GamerNationGirl on Twitter and KateFoil on Instagram.