Good guys and bad guys alike from across the Marvel and DC universes came together at Heroes & Villains FanFest, the third year of the increasingly popular convention. For two days, the San Jose Convention Center was filled to the brim with eager attendees, lining up to meet their favorite stars or buy some convention goods.
The biggest draw of the con was the guest list, and boy did they ever have some impressive ones. “Arrow” star Stephen Amell has continued his streak of being a guest, along with several of his co-stars. Jon Bernthal, star of Netflix’s “The Punisher” also drew a long line each day, as did Ming-Na Wen, the voice of “Mulan” and actress portraying S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Melinda May in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Yet those were only a few of the many guests the convention had to offer, all of whom had photo ops and booths where guests could meet them.
Of course, prices varied from guest to guest. While some only charged $20 for selfies or autographs, others went well into the $60+ range, even reaching $100. The professional photo ops were more expensive, of course, but those were purchased separately and came with a printed photograph. While meeting everyone would certainly drain one’s wallet, several guests were willing to let fans come up and say hi for free, and all were very kind to those who did.
In previous years, the convention’s panel stage was located inside the main hall, so people enjoying the con could still check out the panels and events while wandering or waiting in line. This time, that was no longer the case, as there was a separate room set up for panels. While that did help with the noise levels, being able to see the panels while wandering around was a nice touch in previous years.
There was also the ever-enjoyable activity zone, complete with an archery game and rope bounce. It was a fun little spot for children (or the young at heart) to have some fun during the con, and is always a welcome addition. Yet the bounce house zipline from previous years was no longer there, and it was certainly missed.
One noteworthy addition was the “Stranger Things” photo stage, set up to look like the living room from season 1 of the hit Netflix show. The “walls” were made of a stretchy fabric, so a person standing on the other side could reach through it as though trying to escape from the walls, making for a great “Stranger Things” inspired photo op. The line for that was always long, and people got some great photos out of it.
As always, the vendors had a nice assortment of goods and art to sell. There were plenty of special guest artists selling original pieces or autographing their works, and places to buy all sorts of comics and DVDs. With the holidays just around the corner, it was a fine place to buy hard-to-find gifts.
And of course, no convention would be complete without cosplayers, and there were plenty of those. Attendees came dressed as their favorite comic book characters, and often the characters portrayed by the actors in attendance. Avengers and the Justice League could mingle, while Supergirl meets Deadpool. Some people came dressed in insanely impressive costumes, boasting foam armor that took hours upon hours to construct.
Overall, the third San Jose Heroes & Villains FanFest was plenty of fun. It was a good weekend out to meet some wonderful guests, and while it may not have anything particularly unique or mind-blowing to really stand out, it did its job well and presented a good weekend for those attending.
Hello, Skulldouggary here! I knew Rob was covering the show, so there was no need for a second article, but I had such a fun time and a couple of good stories I asked if I could add to his review. I’ve never attended Heroes and Villains before so when the opportunity to work the show came up I was interested, and what an opportunity it turned out to be. My friend Tatiana from TDArt posted that someone was looking for booth help at the con I replied I was interested. As it turns out that person was Neal Adams!!! Neal is a giant in the industry, producing work for both DC and Marvel and a host of other publishers including his own Continuity. When Green Arrow was a forgotten Golden Age Robin Hood knock off that occasionally showed up in the JLA Neal paired him with Green Lantern and along with Dennis O’Neil turned both characters into the “must read” book of the year in 1970. He is also the man that saved Batman. At the end of the 60’s when Bat-Mania was waning and the Batman TV series was canceled, DC was at a loss of what to do with the character next. Under the direction of editor Julius Schwartz, this same pair breathed fresh life into Batman by returning him to his darker roots and tackling more serious stories. I’ve met Neal before, and know he is, along with being amazingly talented, a no-nonsense kind of guy. It was an honor to help at his booth, hear war stories from
comicdom’s Silver Age, and be surrounded by fantastic art all weekend. HVFF follows the model Wizard World and other autograph driven conventions do…they pack their guest line-up with A-list stars from a multitude of genre shows; Arrow, Walking Dead, Flash, etc. While they assemble a line-up of guest most other international cons cannot touch, the rest of the show is not nearly as top shelf…that is not saying the con wasn’t fun, it was, just that panels and other events like a major costume contest aren’t really present. I did end up with two kinds of cool stories from the weekend though. At the end of Saturday, Jon Bernthal (Punisher, Walking Dead) was escorted to take what must have been a much-needed bathroom break. I did find it a little humorous that the Punisher needed someone to take him to the bathroom, he is a big boy 😉 On his way out he stopped by the tattoo exhibition booth right across from us. After a short discussion, he plopped down on a chair and started getting a tattoo! Even more surprising, after a little time, a second artist started working on the other arm! I guess he just felt the urge and went for it. My second brush with greatness was in the Green Room where I got to meet Mr. Beezlee, Caity Lotz’ (Arrow, The Pact) super cute Frenchie. You have to play it cool when you’re allowed backstage with the guests, but I lose it around animals so I stupidly asked Caity if I could grab a pic of her pup and she graciously allowed me to do so! All in all the weekend was great. I got to work with one of my comic heroes, met some cool guests, hung out and with friends (shout out to Camille and Matt for letting me crash!), and partake in a con I’ve missed in the past. The staff was super friendly and helpful and really seemed to enjoy being at the show too. I’m adding Heroes and Villains to my list of cons to hit next year for sure!
All gallery photos by Agent P G33ktography