We were in Birmingham at the weekend, and so was comics fan and SFX blogger Stacey Whittle. Here's your full report...
The British International Comic Show, 16 and 17 October 2010
I think I may be becoming a bit of an old hand at the comic convention scene and for the first time I wasn't particularly excited about last weekend's British International Comic Show in Birmingham. I felt a bit blasé about it – typically, then, I ended up having a fantastic time!
The Friday night launch party was in a much nicer location this year but it was less of a “party” and more just a specific pub to hang out in. I found SFX and Comic Heroes legends (they paid me to say that!) Nick Setchfield and Stuart Galbraith in there and had a really good chat with both of those wonderful and pretty men (it was lots of money AND cake!). The turnout seemed disappointing compared to last year but I think that may have been a combination of the room being very big for the amount of people, as well as a VIP area downstairs (which we blagged our way into… as had everyone else – I can't understand the point of a VIP area at a comic con in this country to be honest).
The convention proper began on Saturday morning at the Think Tank – which I still think is a great place for this event; it has great facilities and a wonderful futuristic vibe. The first panel of the day was the now legendary Comic Artists Flip Out, with Staz Johnson, Alan Davies and the brilliant Nicola Scott on art duties. They got an impressive amount of fabulous sketches done and handed out to thrilled audience members.
The second panel was meant to be the mighty Geek Syndicate interviewing the even more mighty Bryan Hitch. Unfortunately Dave had to pull out of the convention at the last moment and so Barry asked me to stand in. Yup guys and gals that's right, I interviewed The Hitch! The interview went really well: Bryan was eloquent, funny and fabulous. Thanks to Barry for asking me and holding my hand throughout and thanks to Nick Setchfield (this is from the heart not from the purse) for all the hints and tips he gave me beforehand! You can listen to the panel in its entirety here .
After that – needing a break and some severe retail therapy – we hit the dealer rooms. After hearing from a lot of small press creators that they were going to be missing from BICS this year it was a joy to see the dealer hall so full and bustling. Graham Pearce (creator of Sgt Mike Battle) was there with his very first trade paperback. The Futurequake stand was it's usual hive of activity. The Sleeping Phoenix - an anthology created to raise funds for The Comic Book Alliance– was available. I hope they did well! Al Davison had a table selling his fabulous looking new paperback version of Hokusai: Demons And Other Tales Of The Fox Mother (available from his website ). Judge Dredd artist Colin Macneil, one of my favourite artists in the world, was doing amazing pastel sketches on coloured paper for just a fiver! The vibe was great, the hall busy and a movie was being shot! However exciting that was it did cause no end of problems for both sellers and buyers as aisles were blocked up for filming - which was a shame.
Sunday brought the guys from the Judge Minty Fan Film – I hope the Dredd movie has costumes as wonderful as these! It also brought a laid back and interesting panel with artist Charles Vess, and one of the conventions biggest attractions a panel with Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards. Tommy was unable to make the con and Wossy stepped into the breach but Tommy video called and was there visually if not personally. This was a great, interesting and funny panel, as you might expect, focussing mainly on their comic Turf. We had an exclusive peek at artwork from an upcoming project and treated to the sight of Jonathan Ross's own artwork – which was pretty blummin great actually. Jonathan was funny, excited and impressive with his comic geekery and seemed really happy being there and signed comics for so long he must've had cramp! A panel which I really had wanted to see was with Paul Cornell, sadly I had to leave before it started but it was revealed at that panel that Knight And Squire artist Jimmy Broxton is actually in fact BICS organiser James Hodgkins! My lovely friends and co-podcasters on the Geek Syndicate Network, Daniel and Lily, managed to nab the very first interview with Cornell/Hodgkins so look out for that on the next episode of North East Geek Feast.
And so ends another successful BICS. Thanks to the organisers for continuing to do such a good job, and so much of the convention is made by the social scene and that part was cracking! Thanks to all the guys I ate and drank with for being instrumental in making a wonderful weekend. All the podcasting crowd and 2000AD forummers in particular, plus Matt Timson, Alec Worley, Ben Clark, Lee Grice and Nick Setchfield for making me laugh so much. Biggest hugs to my fabulously supportive boyfriend for encouraging me and holding my bags so I could interview people and Barry Nugent for letting me crash his panel. You guys all rock – see you in Leeds .
This is a personal convention report by Stacey Whittle, one of our bloggers. Read more posts from bloggers here .