Another year, another Bristol Comics Expo. With seven shades of crazy going on all around at the moment, this was always going to be a wild ride. Still, it's impossible not to have a great time at this gig, and this year proved no exception.
First, the obligatory name-checking phase of the exercise. New friend-related highlights for me came in the forms of Vicky Stonebridge, Rob Carey and (although I only got to exchange a few words with him all weekend) Andy Brown. It's always a cool experience to meet people who are working on books with me in person - particularly when they're as animated and creative as the crews on The Indifference Engine and Slaughterman's Creed. Good times.
Nic and I also got to meet Matt Gibbs and Vicky Cox, who were instrumental in us retaining our sanity over the weekend. Matt's got a string of writing credits in comics, films and computer games. Gotta love a diverse portfolio like that.
After playing a complex hide-and-seek game with Henry Flint all day, we finally bumped into him on the Saturday afternoon. Considering the hurricane-force levels of palpably alien insanity gusting through the artwork he has assembled for his Outsider Broadcast art book (with words by me!), we were pleased to discover the man himself to be refreshingly human, in so far as we were able and qualified to judge such things.
Si Wyatt earned himself a slot in my personal Hall of Fame, when he not only showed me the outstanding Crosshair statuette he'd built, but actually presented me with it to take home (Stephen got the Badmouth, which was seriously cool). Check this fucker out:
My convention panel début was a lot of fun. In addition to getting to hear Harry Markos lay out Markosia's upcoming schedule and vision of the future, I got to blast a roomful of people full in the face with the double-barrel of Slaughterman's Creed and The Case Files of Harlan Falk. Highlights here included Ian Sharman's run-down of Hero 9-5 and watching an entirely overworked woman frantically trying to translate my red-mist Creed pitch into sign language for the people who came with her.
The Comic Book Alliance panel on the Sunday was both informative and surprisingly optimistic, and it sounds like just what the industry ordered.
As I write this post, my right ear is being delicately snuffled by the wrinkled trunk of what appears a large elephant in the room with me. Unfortunately, said elephant is just as clueless as I am about the situation. No, I don't know what the future holds for Insomnia Publications. Yes, I've heard all the same rumours everyone else has. No, I don't have any specialised insider knowledge (and, frankly, I'm surprised anyone expected I would have). Like everyone else, I'm just waiting to see what happens next. I've got several books signed with the company and, as far as I've been told, they're all still going ahead. If anything changes in that regard, I presume someone will let me know and I'll work up a Plan B.
Right, then - over to Nic.
Well, Cy has covered a lot of what we did already so here are some Nic-Specific highlights:
We had a great time on Friday night in the Ramada. One of the best things about Bristol is the central venue where you can find everyone at once. Lots of catching up was done with lots of people and I still maintain that a Lost Boys t-shirt grants more cool points than a Beatles one - whatever certain people might think!
You've already seen the Crosshair sculpt higher up the page that Cy got, now meet Rax from the upcoming Unbelievable graphic novel which is drawn and written by Simon Wyatt and lettered by me.
His wings and tail are even feathered. how fantastic is that?
We understand that Si's son wants to be a werewolf when he grows up, which is a fine ambition. Personally I want to be a Triceratops. We were privileged to see some rare cryptozoological footage, captured on a mobile camera, of the young cub in his transformed state.
These weren't the only original pieces of art we were given as gifts, though. Valia "Tw1sted Vision" Kapadai gave us a brilliant sketch of the two of us as The Joker and Harley Quinn from the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game. Scanner not operational right now - but when it is will post it up.
My top priority of Saturday morning was to seek out the location of Garen Ewing and get my hands on one of the limited numbers of Rainbow Orchid 2 that were out pre-release at the show. It's a great book and if you haven't read it you should. Garen did a beautiful little sketch of Lilly in this one.
I'd been looking forward to picking up Requiem as well, and as luck would have it, not only was there a "get both books for £20" deal, but Pat Mills was at the table when I went to buy them and I had a really good chat with him. He's one of my favourite writers of all time, so that was quite special.
Saw the first few pages of the Fallen Heroes comic book adaptation. It's looking amazing. One of the saddest parts of not being an editor any more is not getting to see these things take shape.
On Sunday I got to model my unique black "Rah" t-shirt to the kind people of the Genki Gear stand who had had it made up for me earlier in the year.
Had a moment of almost being sucked into a terrifying B-movie as the awful truth about mushrooms, slime moulds and boiling-sulphur-vent-dwelling organisms dawned on Ollie, Katy and both of us. Shivers!
We enlisted with the Fetish Men and are now standing proud in the rank of Tea Master General. We have an ID card, A badge, a personalised poster, a mug and everything!
I also learnt the deadly secret of the Nugent of Destruction - but I cannot reveal any more at this time!
All in all a brilliant weekend - but I'd like to request that they lower the temperature for next year.