Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Special Guest Appearance - John B does Bristol

As promised, here's John Bishops's report on last weekend's Bristol Comic Con. A big LLC thank you to John for doing this. Enjoy!...

Camera charger broken? Check. MP3 Player not charged up? Check. Phone not charged? Check.
Thoroughly prepared for the Bristol Comic Con I set off.

So as usual it's a sweltering day, perfect for a long journey on a packed train. My only source of amusement is the poor sap who had bought a ticket for the next day and claimed his seat reservation was valid for a month. He had to cough up an eye-watering £119. I managed to wake up seconds before pulling away from my transfer stop narrowly avoiding ending up in Swansea. After another appalling train ride I finally got to Bristol, which is actually a pretty nice looking place- I've been there a few times and never get bored of walking around.

When I get there I'm immediately immersed in a blisteringly hot stinkpit. It always seems the air-con never works on the day that most of the people attending are more interested in being bombarded with cosmic rays than a hot shower.

This time it seemed smaller than ever. It used to be in a big warehouse-sized room, so you could just walk up and down the aisles, but this was spread out across about 5 rooms of varying shape and size, almost like having a convention in your house. I could have missed some of it and not even known. Not much in the way of comics to be honest, unless you enjoy the ramped up prices of Incognito, or slabbed books (don't set me off). There were a few bargain boxes, including a real treat of 10p comics! Yes, nowadays the 25p boxes are dwindling, so a 10p box was a delight. I picked up a few guilty pleasures, and a couple of picks to sell on ebay- Marvel Thundercats #1 which I've sold in the past for about 8 quid, but just looked on ebay now and one just sold for 55p, and the often overlooked Next Men #21 featuring the first mainstream appearance of Hellboy. That goes for anything between 15 and £30. So that's nice.

There were a few artists doing sketches, and I've been after Doug Braithwaite to do a sketch in my book for years now, but he's always well busy. Luckily this year I finally got a headsketch of the Punisher (Braithwaite's run on the title a few years back was fantastic) and as expected was brilliant. I was going to get Gary Erskine to do a sketch, but he had just started a rather intricate Megatron for a little kid. He was a lovely guy, very patient. I managed to snag a photo of a Wonder Woman he'd done for someone.

If you were getting Sean Phillips to draw a sketch for you, why on Earth would you ask for Mr. Fantastic? Admittedly it is beautiful, but come on? Zombie Cap surely!

Sean Phillips

Went to the Chris Claremont talk, which was pretty good although a guy next to me seemed to be unable to resist his stupid little pistachios in the most rustly bag ever. And someone letting their Thunderbirds ringtone go off every ten seconds. When the talk was over I went to ask Chris if he had any words for the London Loves Comics blog. "Great talk Chris, thanks". He walked past. I like to think he didn't hear me, rather than ignore me.

As always, there were a few hardcore geeks who dressed up. Luckily no sign of the absolutely terrifying Silver Surfer in his skintight leotard this year. Would have got a better picture of Rogue here, but her boyfriend was already looking a little irritated.

Bumped into a few of my chums in the small press area, Joel Meadows editor of Tripwire www.tripwire-magazine.com Giovanni Spinella, who I'd illustrated a story for, which was included in 'Lovealiensex' from the Comics Creator's Guild. Dave and Art Goodman, my Square Eyed Stories homeboys with their latest wares (which I was too slack to get anything in this time round) www.squareeyedstories.co.uk and Christian Wildgoose promoting his upcoming work www.dream-solver.blogspot.com All good stuff. For some reason, this part of the convention isn't particularly easy to get to, it's round the corner on the fifth floor of a different hotel. Although this seemed to be the main gathering point for those wacky Stormtroopers who seem to haunt every con nowadays. Cue facebook pic of 'me surrounded by stormtroopers'. LOLs all round.

The Goodmans

Christian Wildgoose

Lord Vader

After a gruelling day of stamina-sapping heat I decided to refresh myself in the bar. Camera battery done for, I sat on an empty chair of three round a table. Turns out the two guys who next sat down were Philip Bond (legend) and who sounded like some kind of legal rep for Brian Bolland. He really liked mentioning his name, and just happened to have about his person two original 'Killing Joke' pages. Which were, as expected, amazing. For a split second I wondered if I could find anything to club him over the head as he left the building. My homicidal thoughts were interrupted by a fellow who came to talk to them. I needed another beer so I let him have my chair. He turned out to be Phil Noto, who looked a lot less like James Bond than I'd imagined.

After getting another beer, I sat near a chap who might have been the most rabid Wally Wood fan I've ever met. His name was Graham, and he also self-published comics. Nasty ones. I said I liked the sound of that, so he let me peruse one of his works as he got himself another beer. The very first page has cock and pussy action, and the centre spread features the subtle message 'Hey Cunt Face, fuck your pets, asshole.' It's relatively well drawn, reminiscent of Kev O'Neill by way of Francis Bacon and Jeffrey Dahmer. On drugs. When he came back, I reminded him my train was coming. He generously let me keep his comic, saying the reason no comic shops wanted to stock it was because they didn't understand good work. As I made a run for it he shouted about how the Turner Prize would soon be won by a comic such as his. I didn't turn round.

On the way home there was a massive brawl on the train. I'm already looking forward to 2011.


mr wheatley said...

haha. The comics life is full of adventure! Nice one John.

JJT said...

Smart review! Just today I was bemoaning how tiny the Bristol Convention was to Mr Salmond in Gosh. This year was a particularly dispiriting turn-out, but we did get to see a Seagull steal the whole of a man's burger at a bar along by the Watershed...

Dom said...

seagulls are evil fuckers.

Anonymous said...

Nice report John.
Love it.

Big D