Britons, robots, champagne, and savages – Bristol International Comics Expo 2008

Still annoyingly busy, but a quick post about the Bristol International Comics Expo this past weekend. This was only my second Bristol con, and the first where I got to spend more than an afternoon there (last year clashed with a friend’s hen party). Cons are weird at the best of times, with lots of dead space and wandering around the main hall wondering who to talk to next, and they’re especially weird when you’re a middling hack who is there sort of as a writer but mainly as a fanboy.

My primary excuse for going was to be there for attending the con was the launch of Robots, the new Accent UK anthology, which contains Crime and Punishment in Switchertronia, written by me with art from Stu Chapman. The story turned out great (thanks Stu!) and the book as a whole is a fantastic piece of work, even bigger and more professional than last year’s Zombies. Congratulations to Accent UK’s Colin Mathieson and Dave West for pulling together a great book, and extra thanks to Colin for giving me plastic folder when I needed one (for reasons that would become apparent). Copies can be bought from any of the links in this paragraph, or by clicking the cover.

So that was the ‘professional’ bit of the con. The rest was all fun. Staying in town this year meant a later night in the bar, and it was a pleasure to: buy drinks for Andrew and Will from Gosh! by way of thanks for their excellent service on many a Thursday lunch time; talk Marvel geography with Marvel Atlas contributor Stuart, Captain Britain and MI:13 author Paul Cornell, and Dave from Geek Syndicate; briefly talk Bioshock and the free affections of Eddie Robson with Kieron Gillen; pimp the merits of Death Note to whomsoever made the mistake of listening; and bear witness to the frankly incomprehensible but very loud spectacle that was the Golden Champagne Glass Awards. We burnt out and headed back to the hotel earlier than some, but later than many more. On balance, I think we did respectably well.

Sunday was, unsurprisingly, a quieter day. Apologies to anyone who was subjected to my slightly stilted Sunday conversation, especially Selina Lock, who kindly looked after my stuff a couple of times. Sunday involved a lot of nice opportunities to talk to people whose work I like, and tell them so. I spoke briefly to Paul Grist, and mentioned how much I appreciated him bringing decent art to the Torchwood comic, met Garen Ewing, John Reppion and Leah Moore around the Accent UK table, and spoke to artist Sean Phillips about Criminal and his take on John Constantine. Sean was accompanied by his teenage son Jake Phillips, who along with writer Lewis?!?!, launched the minicomic Galleon 43 at the con. A punchy slice of youthful craziness, Galleon 43 is impressive stuff for a creative team whose ages added together are still about five years shy of mine, the precocious little sods. Oh, and did I mention its got an intro by Bryan Talbot?

Sean Phillips is one of my two favourite British comics artists, artists whose dynamic, controlled linework I’ve loved since the early nineties. So it was a pleasure to also meet, fetch lunch for, and get a sketch from Mr Charlie Adlard.

Even though I like my zombies, I really wanted a character sketch from Charlie, and ummed and ahhhed a bit over who to ask him to draw while waiting in line. It then hit me – Bill Savage. Charlie drew the first three books of Savage, Pat Mills’ sequel to demented rebel revenge saga Invasion, and it was (and remains, under new artist Patrick Goddard), one of my favourite current 2000AD strips. It was a pleasure to not only get this brilliant sketch of Savage (it may not be visible from the small photo here, but the look in Bill’s eyes brutally contrasts with the almost casual way he’s lifting the gun), but to watch Charlie at work, sketching in the loose proportions with a pencil before going straight to inks, finally finishing off the heavy blacks with a marker pen. Cheers, Charlie, and I hope you enjoyed your lunch when you eventually got time to eat it.

So that was Bristol. There was plenty more going on, but I’m sure the missus will add her personal highlights on her own blog. I got back late on Sunday, enthused and buzzing. I’m still in a slightly different timezone a day later. CMT. Convention Mean Time.

Mark

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May 12, 2008. Tags: , . Uncategorized.

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