So I spent the majority of the recent Heroes Con — held at the Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, N.C. — working at a table and schmoozing with creators. But I was able to break away from those “duties,” to make the rounds every once in a while, and check out some family friendly fare.
I was overjoyed to see the number of children and parents walking around the convention together — nerdy parents geeking out and sharing what they loved with their children. They were having fun and actually talking to creators, including ones they didn’t know. Even better: The creators reached out to them, too.
Over the weekend, my table was giving away sketches, and parents were happy to approach and talk. Parents felt safe coming up to tables and asking for advice. And it was also cool seeing what kids got excited about. One kid was getting freaked out over seeing Doctor Doom walking around, and that was a hoot. There were a number of kids in costume, too, including a twins dressed as peanut-butter-and-jelly Mabel and Dipper (from Gravity Falls). I regret not taking a picture of those two. These cuties will have to suffice:
Unlike most conventions of this sort, HeroesCon was roomy. For parents bringing kids in strollers or with younger children who might want to run around, there was plenty of space. Instead of the sometimes over-packed halls at other conventions, here you had about 10 feet of table space minimum between rows. I’ve seen convention lines blocked by children who get stressed out and cry. It would stop traffic and make things worse, but at N.C., there was room to move safely through crowds. Topping that, there were tables set up at the convention just for sitting (and eating if desired).
As for the actual events, the Crogan’s Adventure radio was a smash hit. The children’s comic panel apparently did very well, too. In the main hall, despite being far from the center, I could hear when audiences cheered during the kid’s drawing contest, during the cosplay contest, and the kids loved it.
If I had one criticism, it would be the lack of grouping. If you have all-ages writers, find out if there will also be all-ages creators in the artists alley who you can put them together with. It would be better than sending parents down the long hallway looking for a particular table. Also, while it was very nice to have 10 feet between each table, it made for long hikes around the hall and it was easy to get lost sometimes — even if you had a map.
I can’t recommend another convention more than I can HeroesCon. It is the nadir of the conventions of yesterday: kid-friendly, family safe, and there is plenty to see and do. Make your plans for next year. Just don’t tell the kids until the car is packed and ready to go.