Tuesday, 26 August 2008

...And Another One

Both Nic and I'll be at the Birmingham International Comics Show again this year - and we're on the guests page of their website to prove it. From the looks of things, it's going to be a fantastic show with a stunning selection of professionals attending.

As usual for these gigs, there's going to be a pitching session - although there's a significant twist this time around. I've participated in one of these in the past, and spectated at others, and for the most part they're pretty depressing and painful affairs. Generally speaking, you get a group of reluctant judges who, frankly, don't see why they had to be dragged out of the bar for this, mumbling passive-aggressive bollocks at contestants and doing their damnedest to make sure everyone's having as lousy a time of it as they are. Not fun. The only practical up-side is the chance of making a half-decent impression so that, when you talk to an editor afterwards, you're remembered as the guy who could talk a good game and didn't make him want to slit his wrists. To be honest, you could probably achieve that more efficiently on your own without the ritualised humiliation - but that's just my opinion.

However, and here's where I kick off my ranting slippers for a moment, this time around the judges actually want to be there, genuinely know what they're talking about and are going to publish the winning entrant - in 2000A-fucking-D!

So yeah, basically - pretty impressed with how things are shaping up this year. If you're around the convention and fancy saying hi, I'll be about - probably somewhere between the Insomnia and Markosia stands.


  1. Sounds like you and Nic will have a good time at the show :)

    The end result of the competition sounds like a great opportunity, not to mention exciting and fun. The route to that result sounds more like the run of reality TV shows we are seeing these days. Is the aptitude of a comic writer really determined through being grilled in public, for the entertainment of the judges and audiences twisted sense of humour or wish to view others in an awkward situation.

    Also, to be honest, to me, making a short list on 10 words only shows the aptitude of someone who can string together 10 words....not a strong story with great characters that grips it's readers.....that's just me though :)

    It sounds like they've got just as much chance as ending up with a turkey drop as they have as finding a good comic writer....



  2. Yeah, I tend to agree with you. The reality TV phenomenon makes me long for the sweet release of death.

    The ten-word "idiot-pitch" is pretty much the industry standard in throwing ideas about these days. I've got my own (somewhat conflicted) opinions about that, which I'll keep for another time... ;)

  3. It's not that far away now, is it? Starting to get the con excitement building already.

    Re the Pitchfest thingy: maybe it will be something useful to someone now that it is an official 2000AD sponsored thing with a publication guarantee at the end, but I have to agrees that in previous years it has seemed much about the judges wanting to "play Simon Cowell" and entertain the audience at the expense of the pitcher than doing anything constructive.

    It can be very nerve wracking for many people to get up talk about their ideas, particularly in front of a room full of people. Some of the pitchers I have seen at these things were only really kids who genuinely thought this was a real chance to get taken seriously. In the end the only thing that got taken was the piss, in many cases, and I don't think mocking someone's first efforts in order to get cheap laughs, or try and make yourself look big or clever or important was a very good way to encourage new talent into the industry. The only thing it is likely to do is set up a vicious circle where the ones that do get in feel they should "get their own back" when it comes there turn to sit behind a table.

    Also I have my own ideas about a publisher making a decision to go with a book with nothing more than a 10 word / 2 minute "it's kind of like X...". Working in publishing this would never happen for magazines or books. The best you can hope for is interest in looking into it further. Given that a badly performing book could easily sink most indie publishers, does anyone really think someone is going to put their business on the line on little more than "I've got a really cool idea for X meets Y in a Z"?

    Hmm, that was a bit of rant.

    But like I said it might be different this year.

  4. Hey you got a good billing, right near the top. I was thinking it was alphabetical but it isn't quite.

  5. Heh - yeah. Just think - if I dropped my last name entirely, not only would it save countless hours per year in explaining the pronunciation to people, but I'd also shift up an entire bracket in any alphabetised lists I wind up on.

    Actually, I could even boost that up two more notches by becoming "Cy Awesome!"

    How cool would that be? Almost suicidally cool!


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