BLOG The Bristol Comic and Small Press Expo

Were you at the latest west country comics convention? Blogger Stacey Whittle was, and here's her verdict...

The Bristol Comic and Small Press Expo was held over the weekend 21-22 May and once again was housed over two venues. The mainstream part of the convention was at the Ramada hotel and the small and indie press were housed at the Mercure hotel. There were some differences to last year: the small press expo ran for both days this year rather than just one like last year, for a start (and it was better promoted, with its own panels and workshops).

All of the panels I attended this year were ones based at the Mercure, the first being an interview with indie creator Chris Lynch whose book The Dark has recently been published my Markosia. This was hosted by the brilliant duo responsible for The Sidekick Cast podcast. An entertaining and funny panel, the highlight being a live audience participation of their quiz Secrets And Lies where we were given five pieces of geeky news and had to guess which one was the lie. The audience lost - we are bad geeks!

The second panel was wrongly billed as a "breaking into comics" panel but really was the Egmont panel, with Garen Ewing creator of the marvellous Rainbow Orchid (volume two of which was available to buy before its official release date at the con), and Glenn Dakin author of Candleman, both explaining their routes to publication. Both of the hosts were self deprecating, informative and open about their experiences.

My third and final session was the Image panel, which was a highlight of the weekend. Hosted by Richard Starkings (Elephant Man) the panel comprised Charlie Adlard, Ian Churchill, Paul Grist, David Hine and Kieron Gillen. This panel was mainly extolling the virtues of creator-owned material over working for the "Big Two" how it's effected them all and the material they produce. This panel was great: moments of humour, great interaction with the audience, incredibly informative and very interesting.

My "must buy" books of the weekend were The Rainbow Orchid volume two by Garen Ewing - I so thoroughly adored the first volume I broke my "never buy anything on the first circuit of the hall" rule! And secondly, the second volume of Harker by the very fabulous Roger Gibson and Vince Danks. This book is brilliant - a very British detective series I can't recommend highly enough.

I do have several reservations perhaps about the convention being split between two buildings, but overall I really enjoyed it. It delivered some real highlights on a personal level – roundtable podcasting with the indomitable Geek Syndicate, Comic Book Outsiders, Birds of Geek and Waiting For The Trade podcasters. Group interviewing Tim Pilcher and GM Jordan from the new Comic Book Alliance. And being part of a panel on Comic Podcasting hosted by the lovely Emma Vieceli with the fabluous Jimmy Aquino from the American podcast Comic News Insider as well as a group of UK podcasters, which was great fun and hopefully good to watch. And finally meeting Dave Bradley and a quick hello to Nick Setchfield (don't ask him about baby octopi!).

This is a personal article by Stacey Whittle, one of our bloggers. Were you there last weekend? Let us know your thoughts. And don't forget SFX is at London Expo tomorrow!

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