Friday, October 10, 2008
Birmingham International Comic Show 2008 report
The third Birmingham Comic Show took place last weekend and I headed down to Birmingham to play along with all the other comic fans. Of course, with Molly's Holy Communion on Sunday I had to be back in pocklington for 9am Sunday morning but this wasn't going to spoil my fun.
The weekend started in the best way possible: early. I'd arranged with the head to slope off early and was in the car ready to go at 1. Made it down the beautifully quiet motorways with no holdups or trouble and got into fair Birmingham by half 3. Very good going. Check in to the hotel and feel the wave of weekend exhaustion hit me. Shower and change. Wake self up with copious water and prescription drugs for back. Head into Birmingham.
It's either me zoned out of my mind of painkillers for the back or Birmingham was even bigger and louder than last time. The provincial lifestyle I live is really bringing it home to me just how big this big city is. Lovely to visit and experience, but certainly not somewhere I really want to live anymore.
Launch Party - Friday.
Obviously - as can be expected from these things, there were an awful lot of very drunk comic people at the launch party. Above is a picture of me with my collection of drunks: L to R: Mike, Surfer Dave, Dave Hopkins (everyone's favourite Dave, manager of Nostalgia & Comics) and me. We had a large Nostalgia & Comics contingent there, and spent a large part of the night chatting to various people and then an even larger part of the night wondering who all the young people around us were. It seems that while we've been getting older, comic folk have been getting younger and younger.
Dave's wife Debbie took the photo - a rarity in that it's a photo of me that I actually quite like.
The bands were all good, although sadly we got there too late to see Hunt Emerson this year. In the end us old folks left the younger Nostalgia & Comics workers to it and sloped off to home / hotels early (well - 2am). On the way to the hotel I took my life in my hands and partook of pizza from some very dodgy place on the Queensway. It was lovely, but a huge gamble that could have seen me spending all weekend in casualty.
Saturday: Birmingham International Comics Show 2008 Day One.
Amazingly, I wasn't ill on Saturday. Neither the drink or the pizza had that much effect and I actually made it down to breakfast before heading off around Birmingham, popping into Nostalgia & Comics on the way to the show.
The show was, yet again, at Millenium Point / Thinktank. It's a very imposing building housing Birmingham's Science museum (pictures from last year) and it's a really good venue for the Comic Show. Or at least it is once you can navigate the escalators / stairs / lifts to the third floor. Thinktank has an interesting idea for escalators - they seem to run them both ways. If it's going down all you need to do is wait 5 minutes and suddenly it's changed and becomes an up escalator. Or that's what it seemed to be doing. Unless the gin from the night before was having a delayed affect?
Once inside theComic Show it was straight to work. By which I mean getting round as many people as possible to say hello, introduce myself and generally have a good time. This year, as well as all the usual stuff I had another mission - get as many sketches as possible from the attending artists to start filling the sketch pad that Molly had made me get. I made a throw-away comment a while ago explaining how artists at these things would do sketches for you and Molly decided that she definitely wanted some. By midday, after just half an hour there I'd already had a couple of texts from her asking how many I'd got.
The show was bigger and better this year. The organisers had learnt from the overcrowding of 2007 and instead of cramming everyone into the main hall, they'd split the show into two rooms and moved the talks and presentations into the lecture theatre downstairs. I'd like to be able to tell you how nice the theatre was, but I had no time to get to any panels. I'll just have to take peoples word for it. (Leah Moore has pics and a good write up of the facilities).
It was lovely getting round to seeing so many people who I'd been in touch with over the past year but never met. And just as nice catching up with comic folks I already knew. So hello to all of you - Andi Watson, Paul Grist, Ian Edginton, Matt Brooker, Jas Wilson, Matthew Craig, Oliver Lambden, Laurence Powell, David Baillie, Andy Luke, Sean Azzopardi, Dan Lester, Jenika Ioffreda, Laura Howell, Phil Spence, Joel Meadows, Gary Northfield, Lew Stringer, Mark Farmer, Marc ellerby ( & his girlfriend Anna - who I'm sure was getting fed up of everyone saying how they knew who she was thanks to Marcs comics), Jamie McKelvie.
Thanks especially to those of you who I managed to get sketches from. You'll all be pleased to know that Molly loves them all; Molly's Birmingham Sketches.
And many apologies to those of you who I've either forgotten to mention or plain just didn't get around to saying hello to. Sometimes I saw you and meant to come over when something else cropped up, sometimes I made a mental note to come back when the crowd had died down around your stall, sometimes I just missed you and occasionaly I just needed to go outside and stop doing the small talk thing for a few minutes. I'm not the best at it, I don't enjoy it and, even at this advancing age there are times when my natural shyness and anti-social nature gets the better of me.
But in the end, at six o'clock, when it came time to leave, I'd had a great day. I thought the whole thing was a great success and I'm really hoping that the organisers will be announcing Birmingham International Comic Show 2009 very soon.
Of course, after that the only thing left to do was hit the bar. Except I couldn't because I had to get back to pocklington Saturday night so I could be around on Sunday for Molly's Holy Communion. Bah. No alcohol for me.
In the end I met up with Dave and Cat from Nostalgia and we went for drinks. First the Wellington, then off to the Diamond sponsored event at Malmaison. More out of curiosity than anything else. We didn't know what to expect, were bloody tired and not really in the right mood for a schmooze. Luckily, no-one else was either and the event was a bit of a washout. Tired and aching in the back, sad to say goodnight to Dave and Cat but glad to be going as well. Of course, on the way out we realised that seemingly everyone in comics had been in Malmaison's bar all along. Oh well. Another time.
I eventually made it home for 2:30am. The motorway driving policy of stopping whenever the driver damn well feels like it was observed all the way. Crawled into bed around 3am.
A great weekend. Next year I'll be there for the whole thing. Thanks especially to Shane, Andy & James for organising Birmingham International Comics Show 2008. See you all at 2009 BICS.
There's a report on the show, along with lots and lots of links to relevant blog posts on the FPI Blog - BICS 2008.