Unfortunately due to political machinations beyond HeroesCon’s control — or the control of the many good folks who live in NC including a bunch of my family members — the state has passed ridiculous legislation that infringes on the basic rights and safety of innocent people who need legal protection the most. Although Charlotte the city has passed anti-discrimination legislation, the revolting HB2, which strikes down basic protections afforded to all citizens by the Constitution, still stands.
It’s caused some mixed feelings among members of the comics community. Although many know that HeroesCon is an accepting, open institution, they feel that withholding their dollars from NC is an economic protest that shows how harmful this bigotry is.
HeroesCon owner Shelton Drum addressed this in a page from the program book which he posted on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
With #HeroesCon only a set-up day away from opening, we have posted the entire contents of this year's program book for everyone to check out and begin planning their daily agendas. Here's the welcome I wrote with my staff. I hope everyone knows we welcome all with open arms! #SeeYouSoon!
I think this is a gracious statement that speaks to what the HeroesCon community stands for.
There are a few things people who do go can do to support tolerance and equality. Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, the company owned by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction, will be selling a special “Non-Compliant” t-shirt with proceeds going to Equality NC, as well as donating 10% of the proceeds from tonight’s convention kick-off party to the cause:
This AMAZING Non-Compliant “Bitch Planet” inspired T-Shirt will be available at HeroesCon 2016 with many thanks to Kelly Sue and Company!! This version of the shirt will be part of a limited print run available during the HeroesCon Kick-Off Party / Milkfed Criminal Masterminds Art Show at Buffalo Wild Wings (400 E. MLK Blvd. Charlotte, NC) on Thursday, June 16 from 7pm-12am.
100% from the sell of this shirt, along with 10% of the total sales of food and drink at Buffalo Wild Wings, will be donated to Equality NC to encourage tolerance and change in our government and society! If you’re planning to attend HeroesCon, be sure to stop by Buffalo Wild Wings on Thursday night and help us to make a difference!
We will also have this design available as a “print-on-demand” Indie Island shirt at Fine Print Shoppe Booths 1010/1109 throughout the convention. You can bring your own shirt, tank top or bag and have it screen-printed, or you can purchase one on site.
HeroesCon will donate all the proceeds from the sale of “Non-Compliant” print-on-demand items to Equality NC as well!
Milkfed Criminal Masterminds + HeroesCon 2016 = NON-COMPLIANT FOR A CAUSE!!
In addition, Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss have produced a special HeroesCon editions of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #1 with a cover by Josh Hixson. Proceeds of this will also go to Equality, NC. Several other Black Mask titles are also producing benefit editions for the show. Rosenberg spoke with Robot6 about the variant:
Mixing comics and politics can be a tricky business. Why have you chosen to advocate for causes you believe in within the comics community?
First of all, I don’t think mixing politics and comics needs to be tricky business. I try and be tolerant of other people’s beliefs and ideals and I think comics and all art are a good way to usher in civilized discussions. Just because a lot of people have forgotten how to have civil discourse doesn’t mean we should shy away from having beliefs. I feel pretty confident in the things I believe in so I don’t have a problem reading opposing views. I think that’s healthy, but if people don’t want to support my work because I believe in gay rights, or gun reform, or prison reform, or whatever, that’s fine too. I understand not wanting to support people you disagree with. But that shouldn’t really be a risky career choice.
As for why it’s important? I don’t really know what the point of the medium is if it’s not constantly trying to say things. I don’t know what the point is of putting work out that is just about conflicts and resolutions. The comics I care about the most, that speak to me the most, have things to say. I think that’s true for most people. It doesn’t have to be in your face or aggressive about it, but good and important work is personal to the creators and has something to say. It just is. It doesn’t matter if it’s V For Vendetta and Maus, American Splendor and Fun Home, or X-Men and Batman, the iconic books matter because they have something to say.
I think a lot of us feel helpless against the sounds of conflict, anger and hate that seem to be getting louder and louder. Good people can always take action, however. Supporting these benefits, and practicing tolerance, empathy and basic human decency are things we can all do, every day, and that’s how we can try to effect positive change. It isn’t easy, but it has to be done. And to everyone going to HeroesCon, have a great time. It’s one of the best pure comic cons out there. Kyle Pinion and Hannah Lodge will be representing The Beat, so say hello if you see them!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.