A few years ago, when I was still in high school, a person who liked anime was made fun of for it. My school had a manga/book club, and the entire group was often ridiculed by jocks who wouldn’t know good writing if it were mixed in their protein shakes. Despite this, I grew to love the art form, and when I learned that there were whole conventions devoted to it, I begged my dad to take me to one. Surprisingly, he agreed.
Anime conventions were smaller then, including my first, Ichibancon 2012, which was held at a tiny hotel in Charlotte, NC. I originally went with two friends to meet none other than Vic Mignogna, who was–and remains to this day–my favorite voice actor. We stood in his autograph line for about 30 minutes, and when I finally got to his table, I said “Hi” in a talking-to-your-crush-for-the-first-time voice.
Now, five years later, I’m still going to that same convention. It was held this year over New Year’s Day weekend at Embassy Suites Hotel in Concord. Comparing this year’s Ichibancon to the one in 2012 is like comparing the inside of the TARDIS to the inside of my closet. Over 5,000 attendees pre-registered this year, which doesn’t include those who bought a badge on-site. I don’t think 5,000 people even knew about it in in 2012. The cosplayers were awesome. I saw anime, Marvel, and DC characters, plus assorted Pokemon and pop culture figures (the guy dressed as John Cena was meme-tastic). One group of cosplayers was from Undertale, a video game that just came out, which was impressive in its immediacy and quality. Dozens of panels were scheduled on just about any nerdy topic you could imagine, even for Homestuck, the webcomic created in 2009 by Andrew Hussie. The gamers had their own room: dozens of PlayStations and Nintendos (and I don’t mean Nintendogs) projected onto the walls. There was even a TARDIS bouncy house for all the children. I didn’t see the cosplay contest, but I’m sure it was fabulous, especially since, for the first year, a $500 prize was available for first place (this would probably cover the cost of half an automail leg).
Speaking of automail, I got a chance to talk to my five-years-ago idol, Vic Mignogna. Vic is the Johnny Depp of anime. Other voice actors were there, including several members of the cast of Durarara!! (Saki Mikajima, Kasuka Heiwajima, Seiji Yagiri, and Saburo Togusa), whom you don’t see often. But Vic was clearly the biggest draw: one girl came all the way from New Jersey to meet him.
After seeing him a dozen or more times over the years, I felt more relaxed than that initial time. Here is what we discussed.
Me: As Edward Elric, you’re very emotional and over the top. Then you recently switched to playing Kasuka on Durarara!! who is emotionless with a very emotional brother. What was that like?
Vic: You know, I have to tell you, I’m kind of naturally emotional and expressive with my voice. Then, when I was doing Durarara!!, started, and they asked me, can you take the emotion out of it? Can you make it flatter? I’m thinking, it’s pretty flat already. So, yeah, that was a big change.
Me: How long have you been doing conventions?
Vic: Wow. Honestly, maybe a total of thirteen years.
Me: How did you get started?
Vic: Well, I got started in voice acting sixteen or seventeen years ago, and I didn’t know anything about conventions. In fact, there weren’t any at the time. Then, a few years into my career, I saw Monica Rial, and she said to me, “Hey, do you want to go to an anime convention?” I was like, “A what? They have conventions?” I went to Star Trek conventions when I was a little boy, but I had never been to an anime convention. So I went as a guest to one in Ohio, in Columbus, and I was just blown away. I couldn’t believe that there were these wall scrolls with my characters on it and pencil boards and plushies. I had no idea this stuff existed. That was the first one I went to, and of course it ramped up since then.
Me: I’ve also seen you at conventions like DragonCon that are not strictly anime conventions. Talk about the difference between those.
Vic: Anime conventions are very special in and of themselves. There is a real strong sense of community because everybody is there because they love this one specific genre of entertainment. Multicultural, pop culture conventions are more of something for everyone. It’s nice to have an anime presence there, but they don’t typically have the same feeling, a sense of family that you get at an anime convention. I suppose it would probably be the same for any convention that pertains to one thing. If you went to a Supernatural convention, it’s a little more focused. But I enjoy pop culture conventions, mostly because I’m a big sci-fi fan myself, so it’s a real pleasure to get to meet other sci-fi actors that I’m a fan of.
Me: Who is your favorite celebrity you’ve ever met?
Vic: Oh, Bill Shatner, of course. I’ve loved Captain Kirk since I was a little boy. [Want to see Vic as a little boy? Click here.] And you know, when I was young, I used to go to Star Trek conventions, and he is the only one of the original cast I never got to meet. Now, to literally be represented by the same manager who represents Bill, we get booked into conventions together, and we’ve gotten to have dinner together and travel a little bit and hang out, so it’s a real privilege.
Me: Have you had to suppress the urge to squeal like a fangirl?
Vic: All the time. All the time. [Laughs.] I want to respect him and not turn into one of those fanboys he’s dealt with for forty years.
Me: I read on your Wikipedia page that you were once a law enforcement officer.
Vic: I was. Right after college, my mom, who lives on the eastern shore of Maryland, was very good friends with the chief of police in the city where she lived. She always used to brag to him about her son who was a moral, ethical, upstanding member of the community. And so he said, well, I’d like to have someone like that on the police force. I didn’t have any plans right after college, so I went back there and went through the police training and became a cop for two years. It was never a career move. I enjoyed it a lot, but it isn’t something I want to do forever.
Me: It takes a special person to do that job.
Vic: It does. And to deal with the darker side of humanity so much of your life, always having to enforce the laws and deal with people breaking the rules can make a person very cynical and depressed.
Me: I have a copy of your Gospel of John CD. What was the genesis [see what I did there?] of that project?
Vic: Actually, it’s kind of interesting. I was at a convention, and a mother came up to me and said, “My daughter loves your work. She could sit and listen to you for hours. She loves your voice. You could read the phone book and she would listen to it.” I thought, what a nice thing to say. Then I thought, maybe not the phone book, but what if I were to record something of more importance and give it away. So I went home and recorded the Gospel of John and used a contemporary translation and played the piano underneath it to make it easy to listen to. I put a lot of money into it myself to get all the discs pressed, and now I give it away at conventions because what better thing to give to fans of my work than something that is very precious to me?
Me: Do you have plans to do more books?
Vic: I would love to, but it takes a lot of time, and to be honest, I don’t know what book I would do. There aren’t a lot of books of the Bible that stand by themselves, that tell the whole story. If you’re gonna get one chance to tell someone the story of Jesus, why he came, what he did, his ministry, his rising again, all of that, it’s all pretty self-contained in the Gospel of John. So I don’t know what book I would do, and it’s very time-consuming. I don’t have a lot of time, especially now with the Star Trek series I’m doing.
Me: So the Star Trek series is still going well?
Vic: Oh yeah. Bigger than ever. We just finished shooting episode six. Popularity is growing, and viewership is growing. At the risk of sounding partial, it’s fantastic. It looks and feels and sounds exactly like the original series. We have managed to continue the original series in every way, so you feel like you’re watching episodes that were never broadcast.
Me: But they’re all original stories.
Vic: Oh yes. From the recreation of the sets to the lighting, costumes, make-up, story, music, editing, characters—everything. No amount of description can prepare you for the quality. And it’s free. Just go to startrekcontinues.com. The first episode is wonderful, and the second is better than the first, and the third is better than the second. They just get better and better
Me: Last question. What is it like dealing with all the fangirls who are much younger than you?
Vic: Well, it’s kind of funny because, if I were half my age, I would be flattered. But I really look at it more like a father looking at younger people and going, Man, if I can give some joy to this person, if I can make them feel special about themselves, because so many of these kids are struggling with who they are and their place in the world and their security and self-esteem. I feel as if I have been given an opportunity to be an encouragement, somebody that they look up to and notices them and compliments them and puts his arms around them and gives them a big hug and engages with them. I think that’s very important. I didn’t used to realize how important that is, and over the years, with all the emails and letters I’ve gotten and interactions I’ve had at conventions, I’ve come to realize that God has put me here for a very specific purpose, and that is to bring encouragement and love and kindness and support to a lot of people who are at a very sensitive crossroads in their lives.
Of course, everyone has their criticisms no matter how much they enjoy something, and Ichibancon was not without flaws. For one thing, it needs a larger venue. There were lines to get into the dealer room and artist alley, and some of the panels were standing room only. Parking was ridiculous. I squeezed my car in next to a dumpster, and I saw people walking over from car dealerships and other hotels. According to one staff member, however, the only place large enough to expand to is the Charlotte Convention Center, whose surrounding hotels are much more expensive–$240 a night or more. Anime conventions are largely attended by teenagers, who don’t have much money (and spend what they do have on Call of Duty).
It was clear from artist alley and the dealer room that neither of them was “juried.” Some conventions judge vendors’ merchandise ahead of time and then make decisions on who gets a slot. This is done to make sure there is enough variety and quality in the room. Ichibancon, it seems, didn’t do this because there was a lot of repetition in both areas. Merchandise was mostly plushies, posters, and wall scrolls. There was no manga, and I saw only one dealer selling comic-related stuff (usually, there are more).
Even with all these negative things going on in the convention, that is no reason for the muggles to boycott this convention (I saw a picketer in the parking lot). In fact, I believe that this convention is the perfect one for any anime convention newbies.
HeroesCon 2016 has updated their guest list! June 17-19! Get your 3 day passes and see the full guest list (so far) at: www.heroesonline.com/heroescon
JOEL ADAMS | Lilz, Bucky O’Hare
NEAL ADAMS | Coming of the Supermen, Batman: Odyssey, Green Lantern, X-Men
LAUREN AFFE | Buzzkill, Five Ghosts, Turok
JIM AMASH | Alter Ego magazine, Jughead, Sonic Universe, Archie and Friends
NATALIE ANDREWSON | Adventure Time: Ice King, Mamuna, Meanwhile
KRIS ANKA | Captain Marvel, X-Men, X-Force, Wolverine
GABRIEL BÁ | Daytripper, Two Brothers, Casanova
MARK BAGLEY | All New X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Standoff
ALEAH BAKER | Sonic Universe, Mega Man
DARRYL BANKS | Green Lantern, Legion of Super Heroes, JLA
FRANK BARBIERE | Five Ghosts, Solar: Man of the Atom, The White Suits
JEN BARTEL | Jem and the Holograms, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy
JOHN BEATTY | Secret Wars, Punisher, Batman, Thanos Quest
SHANE BERRYHILL | Sherwood, Texas, Adventures In Crime
IAN BERTRAM | Batman Eternal, Detective Comics, House of Penance
STEVE BIRD | Robin, Detective Comics, The Crow
TAMRA BONVILLAIN | Rat Queens, Wayward, and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
CHAD BOWERS | X-Men ’92, Down Set Fight!, and Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return
JUNE BRIGMAN | Power Pack, Supergirl, Star Wars, Brenda Starr
REILLY BROWN | Lobo, Deadpool: Dracula’s Gauntlet, Incredible Hercules
RYAN BROWNE | God Hates Astronauts, Manhattan Projects, Bedlam
FRANK BRUNNER | Dr Strange, Conan, Howard the Duck
ALEJANDRO BRUZZESE | Proxy, Hyperpower!, Bartkira, Feral NYC, God Hates Astronauts
CULLEN BUNN | The Sixth Gun, Harrow County, Uncanny X-Men, Deadpool
BUZZ | JSA, Vampirella, Atomika
BEN CALDWELL | Prez, A-Force, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Dare Detectives
BOB CAMP | Ren & Stimpy, Thundercats
RICHARD CASE | Spider-Man, Doom Patrol, Hunter: The Age of Magic, Annie Ammo
BENITO CERENO | The Tick, Hector Plasm, Invincible Presents
AMY CHU | Wonder Woman, Vertigo Quarterly, DMC, Deadpool
MATTHEW CLARK | Legend of the Dark Knight, Ghost Rider, Wonder Woman
RYAN CODY | Doc Unknown, Monstrous, The Phantom
COMFORT & ADAM | The Uniques, Rainbow in the Dark
AARON CONLEY | Sabertooth Swordsman
BRIDGIT CONNELL | Brother Nash
JASON COPLAND | Pop, Daredevil, Kill All Monsters
JAMIE COSLEY | Cody the Cavalier
CREATUREBOX | Ratchet & Clank, 9 lives (Spider Kitty), The MONSTER VOLUME
TERESA R DAVIDSON | Sonic the Hedgehog, Archie
PATRICK DEAN | FLUKE, Big Deal Comics & Stories
KELLY SUE DECONNICK | Bitch Planet, Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel
MARC DEERING | Supergirl, Legion
VALENTINE DE LANDRO | Bitch Planet
VANESA DEL REY | Paper Girls, Southern Bastards, The Goddamned
TODD DEZAGO | Tellos, Perhapanauts, Spider-Man
DMC (Presented by Pros For Life) | DMC, Guardians of Infinity
MICHAEL DOONEY | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Grimm Fairy Tales, Gizmo
LOGAN FAERBER | Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors, The Cartoon Guidebook to Failure
MICHEL FIFFE | Copra, Zegas, Twisted Savage Dragon Funnies
NICK FILARDI | Powers, Heartthrob, Deadpool 2099
ANDY FISH | Dracula’s Army, Werewolves of Wisconsin, Warner Bros Licensing Artist
VERONICA FISH | Archie, Howard The Duck, Silk
JARED K FLETCHER | Scarlet Witch, Spider-Women Alpha, Hit 1957
IAN FLYNN | Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
CHARLES FORSMAN | Revenger, TEOTFW, Celebrated Summer
TOM FOWLER | Hulk: Season 1, Quantum & Woody, Howtoons: [re]ignition, D&D&D
MATT FRACTION | Sex Criminals, Casanova, ODY-C, Hawkguy
RAMONA FRADON | Aquaman, Metamorpho
FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA | Afterlife with Archie, The Black Beetle, Detective Comics
MONICA GALLAGHER | Part-Time Princesses, Bonnie N. Collide Nine to Five, Boobage
PAULINA GANUCHEAU | Zodiac Starforce, Another Castle
JUAN GEDEON | Ghost Racers
MITCH GERADS | Sheriff of Babylon, The Punisher, The Activity
STEPHANIE GLADDEN | Peanuts, Jingle Belle, Simpsons, Powerpuff Girls
BASIL GOGOS | Famous Monsters
MICHAEL GOLDEN | The Nam, Micronoauts, Dr. Strange, She-Hulk, Howard the Duck
KENDALL GOODE | The Doorman
RANDY GREEN | Tomb Raider, Red Sonja, X-Men
SANFORD GREENE | Power Man & Iron Fist, Runaways, Rotten Apple, Deadpool
JUSTIN GREENWOOD | The Fuse, Stumptown, Stringers, Wasteland, Resurrection
GENE GONZALES | DC Comics Licensing Artist, Iron Man 2 Cards, Diary of Night
JASON GONZALEZ | La Mano Del Destino
MIKE GRELL | Green Arrow, Warlord, Jon Sable Freelance
JOHN HAIRSTON JR. | 1962: The Age of Marvels
SCOTT HAMPTON | Hellboy: Sleeping and the Dead, Batman, Sandman
JAMES HARREN | Rumble, BPRD, Abe Sapien
JOE HARRIS | CANCELLED X-Files, Ghost Projekt, Wars in Toyland, Spontaneous
| The Beauty, Batwoman, Bad Karma, The Darkness
ERICA HENDERSON | Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Jughead, Subatomic Party Girls
JONATHAN HICKMAN | East of West, The Manhattan Projects, Avengers
| The Baker Street Peculiars, Varmints, Garfield
JASON HORN | Aw Yeah Comics, Ninjasaur, Gruff
BRIAN HURTT | The Sixth Gun, Cowboys, The Damned, Hard Time, Queen & Country
GEOF ISHERWOOD | Conan, Dr. Strange, Suicide Squad, Namor
JUSTIN JORDAN | Luther Strode, Spread, Dead Body Road
KEENAN MARSHALL KELLER | The Humans, Galactic Breakdown, Force Majeure
CHRIS KEMPLE | Red Vengeance, Fallout, Negative Burn, Fantastic Worlds
MATT KINDT | Dept H, Mind MGMT, Star Wars, RAI
SHARLENE KINDT | Dept H, Mind MGMT
CHARLIE KIRCHOFF | Doctor Who, Judge Dredd, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
LEWIS LAROSA | Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, X-Men, JLA, Punisher MAX
JASON LATOUR | Southern Bastards, Spider-Gwen, Loose Ends, Winter Soldier
STACEY LEE | Silk, Gwenpool, Spider-Man and the X-Men
JOHN LEES | And Then Emily Was Gone, The Standard, Oxymoron
BRIAN LEVEL | The Mantle, Constantine
CORY LEVINE | Bowery Boys
MIKE LILLY | Grimm Fairy Tales, Nightwing, Annihilation Conquest Quasar
MARISSA LOUISE | Broken World, Merry Men, Escape from New York
JAMES LYLE | Grimm Fairy Tales, Game of Horror, Abraham’s Journey
STEVE MANNION | Fearless Dawn, The Bomb
LAURA MARTIN | Black Panther, A-Force, Ragnarök
| Skylanders, Witchblade, Green Lantern, Ominous Press
CARA MCGEE | Over The Garden Wall
GARRY MCKEE II | Tomb of Horrors, Legend of the 5 Rings, Warhammer 40K
MIKE MCKONE | Justice League United, Avengers: Endless Wartime
BOB MCLEOD | New Mutants, Spider-Man, Kraven’s Last Hunt
KEVIN MELLON | Archer, Suicide Sisters, Heart, Lovestruck
REBECCA MOCK | Compass South, Spera, vol. III, Hana Doki Kira Anthology
FÁBIO MOON | Daytripper, Two Brothers, Casanova
JASON MOORE | Batman:Haunted Gotham, The Crusades, Evil Ernie
TRADD MOORE | Luther Strode, Ghost Rider, Secret Avengers, Deadpool
DREW MOSS | Terrible Lizard, The Colonized, The Crow: Pestilence, In the Dark
TED NAIFEH | Courtney Crumrin, Polly and the Pirates, Ame-Comi Duela Dent
TOM NEELY | The Humans, Henry & Glenn Forever, The Blot
ROBERT NEWSOME | Atomic Elbow
JOE PEKAR | Grimm Fairy Tales, Brandi Bare, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions
ANDREW PEPOY | Fables, The Simpsons, The Adventures of Simone & Ajax
| Mouse Guard, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
ED PISKOR | Hip Hop Family Tree, Wizzywig, American Splendor: Our Movie Year
RICHIE POPE | Newdini, The New Yorker
PAT QUINN | The Phantom, GI Joe: Declassified, Necrotic
JOE QUINONES | Howard The Duck, Wednesday Comics, Amazing Spider-Man
KHARY RANDOLPH | Techjacket, Deadpool, Justice League Beyond
TOM RANEY | Infinite Crisis, Batman-Superman, Phantom Limb Ghost Puncher
FABIAN RANGEL JR | Space Riders, Doc Unknown, TMNT: Amazing Adventures
BRIAN REBER | Bloodshot Reborn, Ninjak, Archer and Armstrong
ROY RICHARDSON | Convergence: Man of Steel, Iron Man, Flash
MATTHEW ROBERTS | Manifest Destiny, Battle Pope: Mayhem
RAFER ROBERTS | Archer and Armstrong, Plastic Farm Press, Carpool Buddies of Doom
ROBBI RODRIGUEZ | Spider-Gwen, Frankie Get Your Gun, FBP, Uncanny X-Force
DON ROSA | The Life and Times of Uncle Scrooge, Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories
JOHN ROSE | Snuffy Smith
STEPHANE ROUX | Harley Quinn, Star Wars, Zatanna, Birds of Prey, Action Comics, Batman
JIM RUGG | Street Angel, Supermag, Afrodisiac
ANDY RUNTON | Owly
K MICHAEL RUSSELL | Hack/Slash, Judge Dredd
STEVE SAFFEL | Spider-Man The Icon, The Best of Simon and Kirby
MARK SCHULTZ | Xenozoic Tales, Carbon, SubHuman
BART SEARS | Justice League Europe, X-O Manowar, Ominous Press
BEN SEARS | Double+, Pressure/Sensitivity, As You Were
CHRISTOPHER SEBELA | High Crimes, Ghost, Dead Letters, Alien Vs. Predator
KEVIN SHARPE | Thor, He-Man, X-Men
TONY SHASTEEN | Star Trek, Vampire Diaries, Batman: Arkham Unhinged
GEOFF SHAW | Buzzkill, The Paybacks
BRIAN SHEARER | GI Joe, Transformers, Doctor Who, William the Last
JEFF SHULTZ | Archie, Peanuts
BILL SIENKIEWICZ | Elektra: Assassin, Stary Toasters, New Mutants
HOYT SILVA | Operation: Nemesis, Quatermain: Ghosts of the Nzadi
CHRIS SIMS | X-Men ’92, Down Set Fight!, and Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return
ANDY SMITH | Thanos, X-Men, Stormwatch, Wolverine, Superman, Batman
RYAN CECIL SMITH | S.F., Style & Fashion Zine, Another Face
UKO SMITH | Heavy Metal, FX2
JOHNDELL SNEAD | Back to the Future, Rez, Zenescope Swimsuit
JON SOMMARIVA | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
CHRIS SPARKS | Team Cul de Sac, The Art of Richard Thompson
J. DAVID SPURLOCK | Vanguard Publishing
DOMO STANTON | Starbrand & Nightmask, Prez, Deadpool, Chozen
KYLE STARKS | Sexcastle, Rick & Morty, Legend of Ricky Thunder
RYAN STEGMAN | Inhuman, Wolverine, Superior Spider-Man, Fantastic Four
BRIAN STELFREEZE | Day Men, Wednesday Comics, The Ride, Gun Candy
JIM STERANKO | Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., History of Comics, Prevue Magazine
KARL STORY | Thors, Ocean, Tom Strong, Terra Obscura, Nightwing
WILLIAM STOUT | Heavy Metal, Wizards, Alien Worlds, Hallucinations
KYLE STRAHM | Spread, Haunt, Hack/Slash
MARCIO TAKARA | All-New Wolverine, Captain Marvel, Armor Wars, Batman
ERIC TALBOT | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Melting Pot
BRENO TAMURA | PIGS, 12 reasons to die, MUTE
BABS TARR | Batgirl, Bosozoku Sailor Scouts, Lady Knights//Women Warriors
CHAD THOMAS | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mega Man
RICH TOMMASO | Dark Corridor, The Horror Of Collier County, 8 1/2 Ghosts
WILFREDO TORRES | Jupiter’s Circle, The Shadow: Year One, Lobster Johnson, Aliens
DEAN TRIPPE | Something Terrible, Power Lunch, Butterfly, Project: Rooftop
ROB ULLMAN | Atom-Bomb Bikini, Old-Timey Hockey Tales, Traffic & Weather
RAMON VILLALOBOS | E Is For Extinction, Nighthawk
DEXTER VINES | Amazing X-Men, Nova, Avengers: X- Sanction, Buffy, Hulk
CATHRYN VIRGINIA | Light Grey Art Labs, ZAFTIG
CHRIS VISIONS | Dead Letters, Spider-Gwen, Scarlet Witch, Devils on the Levee
DAVE WACHTER | Breath of Bones, The Guns of Shadow Valley, Godzilla: Cataclysm
KEVIN WADA | She-Hulk, Catwoman, X-Men
JASON WALKER | Shadowman, White Wolf, Mage
MICHAEL WALSH | Secret Avengers, The Vision, X-Men, Winter Soldier
DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON | The Ghost Fleet, Space-Mullet, Quake
LARRY WATTS | Amy of Darkness, Evil Dead 2, Robyn Hood
LEE WEEKS | Superman, Daredevil, Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man
JOEY WEISER | Mermin, Spongebob Squarepants
JEREMY WHITLEY | Princeless, My Little Pony, Marvel’s Secret Wars: Secret Love
DAVID ANTOINE WILLIAMS | X-Men: First Class, GI Joe, Incredible Hercules, Hulk & Power Pack
FREDDIE E WILLIAMS II | Batman/TMNT, Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle, Flash
MATT WILSON | The Wicked + The Divine, Daredevil, Paper Girls, Black Widow
ROBERT WILSON IV | Bitch Planet, Laser Joan, Knuckleheads
JK WOODARD | X-men Origins: Beast, Star Trek, Doctor Who
JAKE WYATT | Necropolis, Ms Marvel, Hulk
JOHN WYCOUGH | Star Wars, Transformers, Secret Invasion
TRACY YARDLEY | Sonic the Hedgehog, The Adventures of Galaxy Man and Cosmic Girl
CRAIG YOE | Yoe! Books
SKOTTIE YOUNG | CANCELLED I Hate Fairyland, Rocket Racoon, Fortunately the Milk, Oz
ALEXIS ZIRITT | Space Riders, The Package
HEROES CONVENTION was founded in 1982 by Shelton Drum, owner of Charlotte’s Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find comics shop. Since then the convention has become famous for its comics-first and family-friendly atmosphere, where fans can mingle directly with professionals and exhibitors. Boasting an incredible guest list built mainly on reputation and goodwill, HeroesCon is known nationwide as a “must” on the summer schedule, drawing fans, exhibitors, and creators from all over the world to the Charlotte Convention Center.
Free Comic Book Day 2016 at Heroes is going to be our best yet! Come out on May 7th to meet amazing comic artists, get free comics and have a great time with your pals at Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find! Check out our awesome guest list below.
Creators will be signing from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM (or longer at the creators’ discretion)
BRIDGIT CONNELL – Brother Nash
KATY FARINA – Amazing World of Gumball
JOHN HAIRSTON JR – Painter
DUSTIN HARBIN – Behold! The Dinosaurs, Diary Comics
JASON LATOUR – Artist: Southern Bastards Writer: Spider-Gwen
JACKIE LEWIS – Merry Men, Play Ball
HOYT SILVA – Quatermain: Ghosts of the Nzadi
BRIAN STELFREEZE – Black Panther, Day Men
RIAN SYGH – Artist: Regular Show, Stolen Forest
CHRIS VISIONS – Dead Letters, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Gwen
Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find
1957 E 7th Street, Charlotte, NC 28204
Acme Comics hosts several comic creators on Saturday May 7, 2016 to celebrate Free Comic Book Day!
–Thomas Boatwright – Cemetery Blues, Zeke Deadwood
–Jacob Chabot – Mighty Skullboy Army, Plants vs. Zombies
–Stephen Green – Cafe Racer, Rumble
–Erica Henderson – Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Jughead
–Cassie Hart Kelly – Invader Zim, Cluster
–Andrew MacLean – Head Lopper, Apocalyptigirl
–Tradd Moore – Strange Talent/ Legend/ Legacy of Luther Strode
–Sara Richard – My Little Pony, Jem & the Holograms
–Dave Roman – Astronaut Academy, Teen Boat
–Chris Schweizer – The Creeps, Crogan Adventures
–Brian “Smitty” Smith – Madballs, The Stuff of Legend
As always, sketches and signatures are FREE, just like the official FCBD titles, but we encourage you to check out the procedures listed at AcmeComics.com!
Other on-site events will include photo opportunities with costumed heroes, face-painting provided my Munchie & Me, exclusive apparel and much, much more!
2150 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408
Garth Ennis, writer of Preacher, The Boys, Fury MAX, Punisher MAX, Hitman, Dreaming Eagles, and many more, appears at Ssalefish Comics on Sunday, April 24, 2016 from noon till 4:00 PM to celebrate the shop’s grand re-opening!
They are also celebrating the release of Dreaming Eagles #4 with a Ssalefish exclusive variant published by Aftershock Comics. The variant is available for $5.00. ****Purchase of this comic is required to serve as your entry ticket to the event****
As a bonus writer/publisher Joe Pruett will also be here signing copies of the Ssalefish exclusive Black Eyed Kids #1. I hope you can all make it. I’m sure there will be questions and there will be additional details soon enough.
3242 Silas Creek Parkway STE 20, Winston Salem, NC 27103
Ernest Cline, author of Ready Player One, appears at Malaprop’s Bookstore on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 7:00 PM for a special signing of his latest book, Armada.
55 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Chapel Hill Comics will host three awesome local creators on Saturday April 9th! Max Dowdle (Shattered with Curve of Horn), Gabriel Dunston (Purgatory Pub), and Chris Wharton (Giant!) will be signing in the shop from 11am-4pm!
Chapel Hill Comics
316 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Chad Bowers and Chris Sims appear at Ultimate Comics this Saturday April 9th for an in-store signing event for X-Men ’92 #1! They’ll be at the Ultimate Comics Durham location signing your books from 10am to noon. Then, at 2pm, the Raleigh store will be hosting a writing workshop where you can ask YOUR questions! After the panel, signing will continue until 5pm.
6120 Farrington Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
1301 Buck Jones Rd, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606
Valiant Comics takes over Memory Lane Comics on Saturday April 23rd. We’re going to have a great signing with writers Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar, The Flash, Green Lantern) and Rafer Roberts, maker of comics (Archer & Armstrong, Plastic Farm), live music, cool freebies and much more!
Memory Lane Comics
5214 Market St, Ste 105, Wilmington, NC 28405
ERNEST CLINE, best-selling author of Ready Player One, appears at Flyleaf Books on Tuesday, April 19 at 7:00 PM to sign ARMADA!
Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure. But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don t get chosen to save the universe.
And then he sees the flying saucer.
Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called “Armada “in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. No, Zack hasn t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills as well as those of millions of gamers across the world are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.
ERNEST CLINE has worked as a short-order cook, fish gutter, plasma donor, elitist video store clerk, and tech support drone. His primary occupation, however, has always been geeking out, and he eventually threw aside those other promising career paths to express his love of pop culture fulltime as a spoken word artist and screenwriter. His 2009 film Fanboys, much to his surprise, became a cult phenomenon. These days Ernie lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, their daughter, and a large collection of classic video games.
752 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514