Con-goers, cosplayers, and fans of television’s finest comic-based shows flocked to San Jose for Heroes & Villains FanFest, where multitudes of stars awaited them. There were actors from “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and more awaiting, and for full weekend, attendees could meet them and enjoy the other activities the convention had to offer.
Like most comic conventions, HVFF had plenty of excellent guests to meet, for those with the strength of patience to wait through the lines and the mightiness of wallet to afford their autograph and photo prices. Fantastic guests such as Stephen Amell, John Barrowman, Clark Gregg, Chloe Bennet, and many more were there, along with several other cast members from their shows, and actors from “Once Upon A Time,” “Heroes,” and even “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Each were at their booths for a good long while, and there were lengthy lines for all of them.
The downside is that meeting guests is never cheap, with prices ranging from $40 to $60 for a single autograph. Getting photos with them would also cost anywhere from $20 to $40 just at the booths, with professional photos costing even more. That’s not to say that the guests aren’t worth paying for autographs and pictures, but rather that meeting them all would require no small amount of budgeting, and a few selfies could leave a big hole in one’s bank account.
Fortunately, nearly all the guests were more than happy to meet their fans, even if they weren’t buying anything. Everyone was met with a hearty handshake, a smile, and a little conversation; after all, the guests understand that their fans have waited a long time to see them, even if for just a moment, and made sure to make those moments memorable.
Throughout the weekend, the panel stage hosted discussions and Q&A sessions, the seats surrounding it packed with guests. Many lined up to ask the guests questions, or on some occasions to issue the 22 pushup challenge (a challenge all accepted, understanding the cause it’s for).
What makes the Heroes & Villains panel stage stand out from the others is its placement – while many conventions keep their panel rooms separate and behind closed doors, the HVFF panels were out in the open, just off to the side of the autograph booths and dealer’s hall. This allowed for a more welcoming, even intimate feeling for the panels, where anyone walking by could look over and see the guests talking about their shows, or watch the musical acts between events.
Some of the panels had their times changed, due to unforeseen circumstances, and the changes were not reflected in the mini schedule available at the information booths. Fortunately, due to the panel stage’s placement, it was easy to see what was going on and to ask volunteers for information on what was coming up next.
Saturday evening also saw the cosplay contest, which was open to all ages. As per the convention’s theme, it was divided into categories for heroes and villains, and saw cosplayers of all shapes, sizes, and skills walk onto the stage and introduce themselves. The vast amount of young children entering the contest was a heartwarming sight, and at the same time, there were some excellent costumes on display, showcasing some great craftsmanship. However, the end result was determined by audience applause, which is not always the best way to judge.
Of course, there were more cosplayers than just those on stage for the contest. All around the convention were cosplayers dressed as their favorite characters, and often times the characters portrayed by the actors there. There were plenty of Green Arrows, and all the members of the Arrow family, several Constantine cosplayers, multiple SHIELD agents, and more than a few characters straight out of Storybrook.
There’s one more thing that Heroes & Villains offers that many other cons don’t: bounce houses. Yes, you read that right. There was an inflatable zipline, a bounce house obstacle course, a giant bouncy slide, and an inflatable velcro wall in the middle of the convention center. After signing a waiver, attendees could enjoy them to their heart’s content, and many of them certainly did. And while most things at the convention would cost a pretty penny, enjoying those was absolutely free.
Overall, Heroes & Villains FanFest is an enjoyable convention, with plenty to see and do. While it may get a little expensive to get autographs and pictures with the guests, being able to meet so many amazing actors is an enjoyable experience, and they were all super kind to their fans. The openness of the panel stage and the addition of the bounce houses made for a more fun, intimate, and welcoming feeling for the convention, and there was plenty to see and do throughout the weekend.
HVFF continues to be an enjoyable experience, and I look forward to its return.
All photos in this article/gallery are from Danny D Photography