Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Birmingham Comics Show 2007
Part 2 Friday night (late)

I hadn't been to a comic convention for many years. I went to a few of the old UKCAC shows back in the day, but circumstances and other stuff (life mostly) had kept me away from the hallowed halls of comics culture. (Or alternatively I realised that working at Nostalgia & Comics and going out drinking at night had the same effect without huge hotel bills).

I even missed the inaugural Birmingham 2006 show because we had just moved Bruton Mansions up the road to Yorkshire. (Crap excuse I know).

But this year, I was determined to get down to the show. Louise and Molly, looking forward to a daddy free girly weekend were even keener for me to go.

Friday night at the comic show was the launch party to be held at Bennetts, a rather large and ornate bar in the city centre. Walking up Bennetts Hill I was greeted by the all too stereotypical sight of comic fans outside Bennetts. Why do we always seem to carry huge bags, carrier bags, dress in black, wear too many layers and look hot, sweaty and out of shape?

The old friends theme of the weekend started immediately: The very first person I met outside was the granddaddy of bloggers Mr Pete Ashton. Even though I haven't seen him in a few years he was instantly recognisable, shaved head, dress down friday look and roll up in hand. Pleasantries were passed, compliments about Pete managing to infiltrate Birmingham's cultural arts scene yet still remaining completely Pete - that sort of thing.
Next up, the lovely Ben McCool, ex of Nostalgia & Comics and soon to be making a big noise for DC when he gets the contracts all sorted.
Ben is perfectly suited for comics; talented, loads of ideas and possibly the biggest pisshead / networker I've ever met. In the heady alcohol fuelled world of the comic convention networking and drinking go together. Ben is the epitome of how to do the networking while drinking thing. He knows everyone and everyone knows Ben.
He also owes them all drinks.

Inside and it was pretty obvious that the Birmingham Show was going to be a massive success. The place was packed. Hunt Emerson's band was pumping out blues standards from the makeshift stage (talking to Hunt later he confirmed what was pretty obvious - he was having an absolute blast).

Hunt Emerson & The Black Country Cats in full flow
pic by the ever-present blogging nexus that is Pete Ashton

The Nostalgia crew were there and from the looks of it had been there quite a while. The drinking would get sillier and sillier as the night wore on -cherry vodka shots? Ouch.
Strangest thing about being there was the feeling I always used to get around Birmingham. I kept getting hellos and nods from all sorts of folks I didn't really remember - that was always the thing about working in Nostalgia for so long - being a member of staff at the best comic shop in the midlands instantly made you a face in Birmingham. I hadn't seen most of these people for at least a year and with my memory being what it is I had no concept of who they were, but polite nods and hellos were exchanged nonetheless.
The pros were also out in force (there was a bar, what do you expect); Bryan Talbot, Lew Stringer, Dave Gibbons, Leah Moore and John Reppion, Micah Wright, Jordan Smith, Hunt Emerson, Esad Ribic, Phil Winslade, Ian Edginton and I'm sure many, many more.

And before you ask I didn't cosy up to Esad Ribic - given that he's a bear of a man with a habit for drunkenly lifting people he likes over his head in a drunken state and I wrote this about his art on Silver Surfer Requiem #1 for Propaganda:
The art doesn’t help the dismal nature of the story either. Veering from very occasional delights (such as the Surfer on page 16) in full flight to absolutely bloody awful. Ribic’s figurative work and his lack of detailing is desperately in need of a good inker. Or maybe just a better artist.

Basically it was the good time had by all and we crawled out of there at closing 1:30? 2am? and made our sorry way home.

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