Gather forth your Heroes, your villains, and all the wine!

2 Sep

Ventured towards California’s coast over the weekend to attend the 2nd Heroes and Villains Fan Fest (HVFF) in San Jose. This is a convention that has been growing steadily since its first event a year and a half/two years ago. It was a good weekend- not perfect- and something we’d love to check out again.

HVFF banner

Most of the conventions that NerdLush attends are “comic conventions”, which means that though their are genre guests the focus is primarily around the comics/dealer room. Fans get presented with arts and crafts, selections of old and new comics, and other options to see, do, and interact with presentations of upcoming movie/TV/books/& comics. There’s also usually a smattering of different comic artists, actors, authors, and other “celebs”. HVFF reminded us of the Oakland Buffy con of 2004, events put on by Creation, and the old Star Trek events we went to as kids back in the 80s. The focus was on the guests (actors and a few artists) with a small “dealer area” in the middle of the convention center space, separating the panel area from the autographs.

It was a nice change of pace but also led to some issues.

At one end of the room, was the panel area- a basic stage and roped off seating area for fans. The sound was good, and the screen behind the guests allowed for a better view of the stage for those not in the VIP section. The major downside to this space was that since the panels were in the same room as the rest of the activities, sounds from the far side echoed and occasionally were loud enough to over power the guests on the panel. Also, one of the available activities- a 4 person jumper- was directly behind the crowd space and every group of guests commented on it, most often along the lines of being vaguely nauseated.

The far side of the room was edged by the autograph area with the guests grouped together by the show they represented. Actors from Arrow, The Flash, Once Upon a Time, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even The Walking Dead were available to chat with fans. Autographs and for most of them, selfies at the table, were also available. We had the occasion to approach some guests merely to say how much we enjoyed their work and to wish them a lovely convention. However, we also were denied that with one guest who apparently opted not to deal with fans unless they were paying for her attention. Not going to name names, but it did put a negative flavor to our appreciation of her work.

Smack dab in the middle was a second, smaller stage which we only caught Sean Gunn briefly being interviewed at, as well as the “dealer” area/vendors, and a multitude of ginormous inflatable fun activities- including a zip line! Based on what we’ve seen from previous HVFF events, they’ve had similar activities before- and we approve. We’d been to a convention before that had an obstacle course of them, with zombies attacking throughout… that would’ve been fun to see here. And finally, just outside of the main room was the location of the photo ops. Definitely want to praise the staff of the photo ops for keeping what could easily be an insane mess running smoothly. Speaking of staff, the volunteers working the panel area would’ve benefited from more training. Though minor changes were made on Sunday based on issues we saw on Saturday and that was a vast improvement.

Most of our weekend was spent in the panel area. We were able to catch panels from cast members of Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Guardians of the Galaxy. The only panel we wanted to see but missed was the solo panel by John Barrowman that was canceled due to illness. Our issue with this was that the internet was poor and we were told that information was on the website- after we’d waited some time for the panel. This could have been easily fixed by someone making an announcement over the convention center intercom or even by the MCs of the panel area making a quick announcement. Back to the panels- the casts of Arrow were broken up into 3 panels, and a solo panel with Stephen Amell, which turned out to be very nice as it allowed for more conversation within the smaller groups, as well as dynamics between DSCN0679them to be highlighted. For example, one of the Sunday panels was made up of Paul Blackthorne, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donnell, and Charlotte Ross- the connection here being the Lance family and their significant others. Made it fun to see the group share stories and connect. We do wish fans were capable of following rules though- the convention staff reminded fans before each panel that due to time they were limited to 1 question and every person in the line attempted to ask more or have a conversation. Sadly, this meant that during every panel many people who had hoped to be able to ask a question were denied the ability to do so.

Some highlight moments of the panels include:

  • Apparently no one knew how to play “2 truths and a lie” and sadly the girl asking for it from every panel never explained it well. Now we want to know if any of them have ever played MASH.
  • Girl challenged several panels to the 22 push-ups- great cause! Poorly executed. But hey, got the crowd pumped and the panelists were excited to participate.
  • Willa Holland explained that the casts have to warn the writers when they come to visit. Then writers than stick fake plots throughout the lists on the “wall”. Willa has seen Thea hooking up with pretty much everyone, “Thea’s running trade and it’s not OK!”
  • “He’s coming back! Hopefully Captain Cold comes back soon and hopefully makes out with Sara again”, Caity Lotz on Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold coming back to Legends of Tomorrow (and the other DC shows).
  • Chloe Bennet shared a story about Clark Gregg planting a remote controlled fart machine under her seat during a dramatic scene.
  • Clark Gregg twerked. “Did they twerk in the DC panel? I don’t think so!”
  • Moderator during The Flash panel, “I love how light the show is-” “You’re talking to 3 guys who are dead”, Robbie Amell referring to characters played by himself, Teddy Sears, and Rick Cosnett.
  • Robbie Amell said, “this’ll never happen, but I’d like to come back and be Bruce Wayne”. This sentiment was echoed in Stephen Amell’s solo panel.
  • “I really want the jealousy he feels to push Eddie into becoming a huge super villain”, Rick Cosnett on his thoughts on his character coming back.
  • DSCN0606Someone asked Candice Patton who she shipped Iris with… “I was really into that relationship but… He dead”, referring to Eddie (Cosnett)
  • Sunday morning panel with Blackthorne, Ross, Cassidy, and Donnell highlights- Blackthorne couldn’t hear anything, there was discussion of cannibalism and dry humping (and Barrowman wasn’t even there!)
  • Michael Rooker called James Gunn regarding Guardians of the Galaxy 2; pointed out “you know better than to answer the phone when I call”.
  • Someone got Rooker to show his abs…
  • Someone asked Stephen Amell what color underwear he was wearing. “This isn’t a Barrowman panel”… “Boxer briefs. That’s enough.”
  • DSCN0782The famous boxing glove arrow was brought up. “If we can’t have fun with the boxing glove arrow, why the fuck are we making the show?”, Stephen Amell
  • Someone asked if Batman would ever make an appearance on Arrow, “I’m signed for 7 seasons, so in the contract for 8…”
  • Stephen Amell went on a lil rant, “Oliver’s gotta be a billionaire again soon cuz this is bullshit”… “Which is something I said to an EP recently”

As noted, most of our time was spent in the panel area- either seated or in line for the next panel, as they cleared the non-VIPs after every panel. However, we did wander the vendor area. Had to get our free Red Vines after all. Not too much of interest was available- a few local-ish comic artists were represented, as well as a few jewelers and other such creative folks. Nocking Point had a booth with merchandise (no wine, sadly). To be honest, it was a much larger vendor area than we had anticipated. Which was very nice. But it was not the focus of the event- which was also nice.

Speaking of wine, we also attended the Nocking Point party on Saturday night. However, the line for wine was longer than we wanted to wait in and thus we missed out on wine. The booze tickets made up for this. Sort of. The party was mostly a mixer, with a live band (Brother Sal!!!) (which DSCN0638was frequently joined by the likes of Colin Donnell and Stephen Amell), and an intriguing bit of art being painted on stage throughout. We would like to request more chairs and tables in the future, however, especially because some of us are people watchers and the party provided a lot of good people watching time. Quite an entertaining evening.

Probably the only thing that was really problematic for us was timing. In order to do certain photo ops, we had to miss panels. The only way we could think to fix this would be more panels for the other shows… Just as example, had to leave the Stephen Amell panel and miss the last Arrow panel completely to go to the Brandon Routh photo op and get in line for the Amell one. If there’d been more non-DC show panels, these ops could’ve occurred during them and fans would not have had to choose. While in line we spoke to other fans who were upset to miss the panels as well. Additionally, it was not clear when a guest was away from their table when they would return. Or at least, for most of the guests, it wasn’t clear. Example, we wanted to get an autograph and the volunteers at that guests table were unable to provide an accurate time when the guest would return. We were told “5-10 minutes” and an hour later the guest still hadn’t returned. And they were still telling people “5-10 minutes”. Oh, and the main space could use a sitting area, as well. The only chairs around were designated for handicapped, which is great but the floor was cement and after a while feet started to hurt.

In the end, we were able to attend most of the panels we wanted, as well as 3 photo ops, and get 2 autographs. And eat many, many, many Red Vines. We’d attend this con again. Maybe we could score a press pass next time- we’d love to actually be able to chat with some of the guests, something that we couldn’t do as mere attendees.

The full gallery can be found in an album on our Facebook page…

DSCN0739 DSCN0675 DSCN0625 DSCN0549 DSCN0454 DSCN0823


2 Responses to “Gather forth your Heroes, your villains, and all the wine!”


  1. See Ya Later, 2016! Don’t Let The Door Hit Ya! | NerdLush - December 31, 2016

    […] went out to a few new conventions! Including the San Jose, Heroes and Villains Fan Fest which was a lot of fun! Which led to getting to meet some people whose work I […]

  2. Heroes & Villains Fan Fest, San Jose… Stephen Amell | NerdLush - January 1, 2017

    […] summer 2016, we headed over towards the coast to check out a new (to us) convention, Heroes & Villains Fan Fest. We had a lot of fun… and I’m finally getting off my butt to share the video we shot of […]

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