Searching for Reality-Based Comics at HeroesCon 2017

If you’ve ever been to a comic book convention, you know that science fiction and fantasy tend to be the focus. There’s nothing wrong with that. But at this year’s HeroesCon, I was on the hunt for reality-based and informational comics, the kind we read for our podcast and write about on this blog.

It took quite a bit of combing through vendor comic boxes and shelves, but I was able to find several books from our comic book directory, including: 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago, Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey by Nick Bertozzi, Dignifying Science: Stories About Women Scientists by Jim Ottaviani, How the World Was: A California Childhood by Emmanuel Guibert, Muhammad Ali by Sybille Titeux and Amazing Ameziane.

I also found a book that was not yet in our directory called XOC: The Journey of a Great White by Matt Dembicki. It follows a great white shark on a 2,300 mile journey through the Pacific Ocean, encountering prey and predators along the way.

At the AdHouse Books table, copies of the Eisner-nominated Your Black Friend by Ben Passmore were available as well as the travelogue The Venice Chronicles by Enrico Casarosa.

I knew there was potential for a reality-based comic or two in Artist Alley, but I was pleasantly surprised to find 4 different artists selling reality-based work.

First up, Rachel Ordway was selling copies of Chain Mail Bikini: The Anthology of Women Gamers at her table (she’s one of the contributors). I’d just featured it in my list of 7 books to read about gamers and gaming, so I was happy to see it at the con. (Her contribution to the book is really good, by the way).

I also picked up a copy of Abby Howard’s self-published autobio Junior Paleontologist Power Hour chronicling her field work during a paleontology course in Saskatchewan. Her book reminds me a lot about Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, which we read for episode 6 of our podcast. If you like reading about scientific field work as much as we did, you’ll enjoy her book.

High school chemistry teacher C.A. Preece was repping his new book CheMystery, which uses a fictional construct, two cousins gaining powers due to a radiation accident, to teach chemistry principles. Similar to Cells at Work, there are science factoids featured throughout the book that are fun to read and don’t interfere with the story. Here’s a trailer for the book, which officially releases July 1st.

Last but not least was kindergarten teacher Jon O’Briant. He’s self-published a series of books called Public Education. They are cartoons based on the things his students say and events that happen in his classroom. It’s a slice-of-life look at kindergarten. He also provides humorous teaching tips under each cartoon strip.

An honorable mention is the book Portraits by Dave Wachter. It’s a sketchbook of portraits of inspirational progressive and historical figures, as well as endangered animals. It’s not a comic, but I was thinking ahead of the con how I have a lot of art of fictional characters but very little art of real people who have inspired me. A portion of the proceeds from the book are donated to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which made picking up this gem all that much greater.

All in all, I was able to come home with a heavy haul of books to read and add to my library.