Home Field: Shelton Drum
Shelton Drum, owner of the comic book store Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, started his career in the comic book industry as a UNC-Charlotte student in 1972 by putting an index card on dorm bulletin board advertising that he was buying and selling comics. Today Drum leads Heroescon, one of the most popular conventions in the country for comics and cosplay. Drum spoke with us his early days in the world of comics, and the evolution of Hereoscon.
A Heroes origin
When I was opening up the store in 1980, there were other stores opening up around the country. They were always something like Joe’s Comics or Comic Kingdom and I didn’t want to be just another generic comic book store. I wanted something different. I didn’t want to use my name and I’m a fan of the band Fleetwood mac. They have an album and song entitled “Heroes are Hard to Find.” I just changed one word and it seemed to fit.
When I was a living in Newton [North Carolina], Charlotte was the place we came to for shopping and entertainment. Charlotte has grown exponentially and it’s still a great place to shop, do business and be entertained. That’s why I’m here. It’s my home and I love it. I’ve never really thought about being anywhere else.
I started the Heroes Convention in 1982 and it’s been an evolution since. Before that I was doing Charlotte mini con’s multiple times per year at Eastland Mall. But after I opened the store in 1980, we grew our customer base and I thought it was time to do something for multiple days and bring in industry professionals. We really wanted to reward the customers, promote the industry and make new customers.
At the first convention we had maybe 400 or 500 attendees at the Holiday Inn on Woodlawn. We doubled [in attendance] in the second and third years. This year we have 810 artist tables in the room, and some of those have multiple artists. Heroescon now as more artists than we had total attendance when we started. People from all over the world come. People come from Australia, South America and from all over Europe. It’s a worldwide thing now.
It’s been really neat to see that growth.
To the hero go the spoils
I enjoy seeing old friends [at Heroescon]. People who were here in 1982 are here in 2017; that includes professionals, customers, friends, colleagues and sometimes family. It’s really like a reunion and a chance to trade and find something you don’t have yet.
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