Bigger than Mini-Con and smaller than HeroesCon, Giant-Size Mini-Con comes to Charlotte this weekend
For people who love comic books, the actual art and storytelling and collecting of them, Charlotte’s Heroes Convention is the purest expression of that affection.
There are no actors, no movie premieres and no edgy panels designed to make news or provoke reactions.
HeroesCon at Charlotte’s Convention Center each year is simply a celebration of comic books. Collectors and artists convene, and magic is made in the shared appreciation of the craft.
“Not many shows around the country are doing it the way we do it, and the ones that are doing that are copying us. Because we've been doing it forever,” said Shelton Drum, the founder of the annual convention and owner of Charlotte comic book shop Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find. “They'll say, ‘We're going to have an old-school show.’ I'm like, ‘Yeah, we're just having "a school show"’ because we've been doing it the whole time.”
Except for last year, of course. And this year. The pandemic wiped out HeroesCon for the last two years, and the three-day event that draws 35,000 people annually was sidelined.
But when things began to look up in early summer as vaccinations tamped down infections and before the delta variant began to surge, Drum thought they might be able to plan something for this year, after all.
Something smaller than the big HeroesCon, but also bigger than the one-day Mini-Con that Drum has been holding since 1977.
Hence, the Giant-Size Charlotte Mini-Con.
Stretched over two days this Saturday and Sunday, it’s bigger than the Mini-Con that usually draws about 1,000 people. But with about 50-60 professionals and writers instead of the typical 500 at HeroesCon, it’s still much smaller than the full-blown convention.
Still, Drum said that they’re expecting about 5,000-6,000 attendees.
“But we won’t be real surprised if it’s more,” he said.
Because advance tickets for the next year’s HeroesCon are sold during conventions and throughout the year, many people already had purchased tickets for the 2020 HeroesCon before it was scuttled. So, anyone who had tickets to the 2020 or 2021 HeroesCon can attend the Giant-Sized Mini-Con with that ticket.
Drum is simply thrilled for some small return to normalcy — even if there will be strict health and safety guidelines in place just to ensure the event can happen. Everyone must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours, and, per Mecklenburg County rules, must wear a mask.
And no, a Spider-Man mask doesn’t count.
“I think probably most of the costumes they could wear a mask under whatever mask is part of the costume,” Drum said. “But yeah, they do need to wear a mask.”
And although there will be no costume contest — one of the major draws of comic book conventions in recent years — Drum expects many attendees will still don superhero wear.
“That's one of the things that comic conventions have spawned in recent years, is cosplay,” Drum said. “A lot of people like to dress up and come to these shows. So, we welcome that, too.”
But most of all, it will simply be a chance for comic book fans to convene for the first time in years. Not in massive numbers like you see in San Diego or New York versions. But in the way that Drum loves best.
“It's something personal for me,” he said. “This is a show I started and I'm still running. It's been over 40 years and comic books are what I like, so that's what we have.
“So, yeah, they (other comic-cons) have more numbers than we do. But people who collect comic books know to come to HeroesCon. We have people attending from all over the world. We have the top collectors and the top sellers in the same room. And it's become kind of a mecca for vintage comic books.”
Drum said he’s hopeful 2022 will allow for a special 40th anniversary celebration of HeroesCon.
“Mainly we just want to have a great show and have all our friends back and enjoy what we like – comic books and comic art.”
Tickets for Giant-Size Charlotte Mini-Con are $10 for Saturday and Sunday, or $5 for Sunday only, and can be purchased here.