New York Comic-Con:
From The Hero Initiative Booth
many ComicCon rookies are lucky enough to experience their
first Con from behind the scenes by volunteering their services
to unique charity The Hero Initiative - founded in 1992
by President Jim McLauchlin - but not everyone is lucky
enough to have a friend like Tabitha Johnson.
care of those who took care of our imaginations.
Hero Initiative Regional Advisory board member Tabitha last
year through various networking channels. Although Tabitha
runs circles around me in her knowledge of comics, I’m
able to hold my own just enough to receive the invitation
to volunteer with her at Hero booth this year, in exchange
for my pullout couch and some sandwiches.
charity’s official mission statement reads as follows:
“"Hero is the first-ever federally chartered
not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping comic book
industry veterans. Through Hero, financial aid is available
for comic creators who may need assistance with the necessities
of life or simply, a helping hand back into the comics industry
It is a chance for us - the fans - to give back to the people
who have given us so much enjoyment."
the official statement, but the living, breathing testimony
is the time so willingly given Hero booth by the artists
and writers of today who want to give back to the people
who made their career possible.
the three days spent at the beautiful Jacob Javitts Center
just a few short blocks from Penn Station, we were graced
to share a table with the likes of the delightful George
Perez (Chairman of The Hero's Disbursement Committee, George
is a frequent and especially dedicated artist to the Cause
– he spent the better part of all three days with
us. George is often is the single highest grossing artist
for Hero at a con, and every penny he makes at a convention
goes to Hero.)
Brathwaite and George Perez.
Hero signers and sketchers included: Leinil Francis Yu,
Leonard Kirk, Adam Kubert, Matt Fraction, Jimmy Cheung,
Marv Wolfman, Doug Braithwaite, Jim Lee, Dave Gibbons, Len
Wein, Arthur Suydam, and Joss Whedon. Joss was kind enough
to make a special trip over to our table to thank the volunteers
the added pleasure of trading pleasantries with George’s
radiant wife, Carol, and Doug’s lovely wife, Sue,
as the rest of us watched in awe as their husbands penciled
out beautifully detailed sketches ten minutes at a time
for auction. Never underestimate the contribution of these
women, who fully enable their talented husbands’ unconventional
lifestyles. Both are beautiful, intelligent and articulate
women and artists in their own right, meeting them was a
held a silent auction each night, but it was on Saturday,
the busiest Con day by far, that I got to help out with
the real deal – barkered by Hero founder Jim McLauchlin.
It was a lot of fun, and Hero surpassed their goal that
of the hotspots this year included the Game Pavillion, where
Congoers were wowed by demos of Grand Theft Auto and Street
Fighter IV, Warhammer 40,000, Final Fantasy XIII and Magic:
The Gathering to name just a few. Also packed all weekend
was the table diagonal to ours: Cyanide and Happiness. Three
young men in top hats made homemade cards for the hordes.
It goes without saying that the DC, Dark Horse and Marvel
booths saw heavy treading as they showcased gorgeous action
figure prototypes and graphic novels for Emily the Strange,
The Umbrella Academy, Watchmen and X-Men.
not a big deal for Marvel.
being said, my favorite action figures were Mike Richter
and Michael Jackson, although I acknowledge that they were
simply very good blast from the past replicas and not new
prototypes. Would the exhibitors behind these two please
stand up? Forgive me for not taking down your names.
Whedon, George Perez, Jim Lee, Lou Ferrigno and Peter Mayhew
never ran out of starry-eyed fans seeking to shake their
hands, take photos with or get their treasures signed by
of my favorite costumes this Con included a couple of Stormtroopers,
a Green Lantern, an ambitious Dr. Manhattan, two very creative
Wonder Women, a badass Hellboy, a very cozy-looking Chewie,
a positively flawless Flash and a couple of very beautiful
highlight included watching the development of an amazing
work of giant chalkboard art come to life over the course
of the weekend (will that artist please come forward?)
to see a larger pic of this amazing work.
was Kids’ Day and I scored (then lost) the lightsaber
my son has been wanting. It was something else conversing
with the under ten comic fan set as they proudly produced
their sketchbooks full of original art and signatures that
they’d been collecting over the past two New York
Cons as their parents glowed proudly beside them.
get the chance to attend any panels this go-round –
preferring instead to remain close to the booth and help
out as much as I could, but I did attend a screening of
the new Futurama film, which promises to be every
bit as ridiculously funny as its predecessor. A few of my
friends were lucky enough to attend the Wonder Woman
screening as debuted by DC Guest of Honor Bruce Timm.
highlight was the volunteers’ dinner, which was also
attended by Hero supporter Georges Jeanty -- a dear friend
of both Tabitha and fellow volunteer Shannon Lower –
who is one of the loveliest men I have ever had the honor
of meeting. At the end of the Con, Hero took in $30,000.00
– not bad at all for a recession!
Wolfman signing for HERO.
up on not nearly enough books, made several lifelong friends
and am counting down the days to October 2010, the tentative
date of the next NYCC.
time, though, we’re packing more food and drinks!