Drum's Heroes Con 2004 was a blast.
I arrived at the Westin, [truly one of the finest
and most reasonably priced hotels anywhere thanks to the
Heroes Con rate] at 10:30AM on Friday. The
show opened at 11 and I was anxious to get in.
As we were unloading the car I saw Cully Humner
and Casey Jones who were also getting ready to
John Beatty was able to get me a guest pass since
I was helping him with his art and thanks to Shelton,
my son, Mike and I were able to get right in. John's
table was next to tables occupied by Craig Hamilton,
Neil Vokes, Michael Avon Oeming, Arron
Lopestri and Andy Smith. We were in good company.
Mike and I took a quick trip around the con to
get our bearings and ran into several fans including Steven
Lee [who was wearing a StalloneZone t-shirt!
Thanks Steven!], James Howell, Hal,
Robert Jewell, Kwan, The ComicDude
and others. I saw that Tony Harris was setting
up and took him a StalloneZone shirt since I ran
out before he completed my sketch at AtlantaCon.
Gus Vasquez told me that he'd have my Stallone
piece on Saturday.
I then made my way to Jason Pearson's table. Only
two other people were ahead of me so I felt pretty confident
that I'd get a sketch if Jason didn't mind drawing
Stallone. Jason was running late, but luckily
"The Big Man" had his portable dvd player
and entertained us with a history channel dvd on comics.
Jason arrived and when it was my turn I asked him
about doing a Stallone piece. Jason said
that he wasn't real good at likenesses, but I explained
that I wanted HIS take on Sly. He said he'd give
it a try and that I should bring back my reference material
at the end of the day since he wanted to work on it in
his hotel room. Cool!
Next was Michael Avon Oeming's table. I picked
up his sketchbook [a bargain at five bucks]. Michael
had already turned out a couple of cool sketches and I
asked if I could get on his list. He said that he wasn't
real good at likenesses [where had I heard that before?]
and I told him that I wanted HIS take on Sly. He
looked at my portfolio of Stallone sketches and
said he'd like to give "Nighthawks" a
shot and that I should check back in an hour or so.
it was back to Beatty's table where he was working
on a Punisher commission. Craig Hamilton
had arrived with his lovely lady,and he was sketching.
Craig's amazing. Not only is he a super talented
artist, but he puts a lot of thought into his work.
For each of his convention sketches Craig draws
roughs and really thinks about the character. Not just
what the character looks like or what kind of costume
he/she wears, but how they would sit or stand and what
kind of attitude they would project. I loved hearing Craig
talk to fans and having the opportunity to watch him sketch
all weekend. Craig has a broad knowledge and appreciation
for all types of art. You just know I had to ask to get
on his list! Craig said that he'd like to draw
Sly from "Oscar" since he has
a real affinity for the time period [and he really liked
As Friday was winding down I picked up my sketch
from Michael Avon Oeming who did a great job [and
I think that it does look like Sly] and dropped
off my reference material for Jason Pearson.
Several of us, actually about 20, had decided to walk
over to Uno's for dinner. My wife and two sons,
Big Beatty, James Howell, Steven Lee,
Robert Jewell, Gary McGee, Jason Walker
and others made the trip. Because our group was so large
it took a while for them to get us in and even then we
were split into two groups. And of course my group was
the rowdy one thanks to Gary and Big Beatty...
and believe it or not Gary was wilder. It was about
10:30 when we finished up with dinner so it was back to
the hotel for a little visiting and then to the room for
As the con was gettting ready to open on Saturday
I found myself in line for some breakfast at the concession
stand with Michael Avon Oeming. He said that he
met several StalloneZone fans on Friday
[they saw him working on the Sly sketch]. Michael
offered to buy me breakfast! I thanked him, and instead
offered to buy his breakfast! As it ended up, we both
bought our own eats, but what a cool guy. I'd heard good
things about Michael and he lived up to his rep
of being "one of the good guys."
I spent Saturday alternating between Beatty's
table and walking around the show to talk to fans and
pros. I was able to spend a bit of time with or at least
say hi to Kelsey Shannon [Beatty's son!],
Cully Hamner, Brian Stelfreeze, Jeff
Parker, Adam Hughes and Allison Sohn, Phil
Noto, Tony Harris, Eric Powell, Casey
Jones, Tommy Lee Edwards, Sanford Greene, Lesean
Thomas and so many others.
Gus Vasquez was able to get me my sketch before
he had to fly out to the set of Sin City! He gave
me two characters [Rocky nailing Clubber Lang]
and it was definitely worth the wait!
Vokes and I had fun conversations about movies
[horror flicks, re-makes, B-movies], comics, and more.
Neil is a cool guy and I had a blast hanging with
him. Neil's project The Wicked West has
the tagline "What would happen if Josey Wales
rode into Salem's Lot"... it's a great concept
and the art is right on. It's going to rock! In the meantime
you might want to check out Neil's Parliment
of Justice [with Michael Avon Oeming] or Black
Forest. It was also cool to see Neil's apppreciation
for other artists. Neil keeps a sketchbook and
was excited when Eric Powell contributed a killer
piece! [Michael Oeming also keeps a Lord of
the Rings sketchbook from other artists!]
I checked in with Jason Pearson. He had sketched
out my Stallone piece and had decided to do Rocky
hitting the meat. It was looking great. The big beefy
Rocky punching the beef! LOL!
Dinner Saturday night was at Fuel for some
pizza or subs. This time it was Beatty, James
Howell, Steven Lee, Hal and others.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel and spent an
hour or so in the lobby talking with fans and pros. Then
a bunch of us headed up to James and Hal's
room to look at their portfolios and latest acquisitions.
On Sunday Jason had my Stallone
piece ready. Several people came up to me and told me
it was done and looked great. When I picked it up I saw
that they were right. Jason Pearson is such a talented
Hamilton was not going to be able to get to my piece
before the end of the show. He offered to do a take home
piece but part of the joy of Craig's work is watching
his process so I decided to wait... I may be able to up
to DragonCon later this year.
As you can see from this picture Craig and Big
Beatty hit it off pretty well!
I had been by Tommy Lee Edwards' table. He was
doing some really cool sketches and I hoped that I'd be
able to get on his list. Luckily he could fit me in. Tommy
and I talked about which character he would do... he wasn't
sure and so I suggested Jack Carter if he couldn't
decide on one. I went back to Beatty's table and
told him I had the hook-up with Tommy.
Beatty was stoked. He's a big Tommy Lee
fan and so we walked over. It turns out that Tommy
likes Beatty's work as well. We all talked for
a bit and then Tommy said I should check back in
a little while. When I did, I found that Tommy
had started to do Deke from "Nighthawks"
but then remembered that I suggested Jack Carter
and so he changed it to Carter. Man, I can't tell
you how much I love this piece. The energy and colors
and... just look at it! Beautiful!
auction was a lot of fun. So many artists donated work
to help support the con. Some of the highlights included
Phil Noto's painting of "The Bride"
from "Kill Bill," Brian Stelfreeze's
painting of Mary Jane, Mike Wieringo's huge
Fantastic Four piece, Craig Hamilton's Fairey
[done in crayon -- you'd have to see it to belive how
nice it was!], Alison Sohn's Harliquinn,
and many others.
Believe it or not Big Beatty was even recruited
to serve as one of the auctioneers with Tim Townsend!
you can probably tell, if you've read this far, it was
another great show.
We make Heroes Con part of our annua;
family vacation -- it's that much fun. If you haven't
ever attended you should give it some thought. Next year
Heroes will be on June 24-26, 2005.
Maybe I'll see you there!