Monday, 15 October 2007

Convention Report: Volume Two

Saturday at the con.

Found the convention hall without major incident. Not interesting or relevant, perhaps, but miraculous nonetheless.

The Thinktank is a pretty cool place. The floors are labelled in an obscure code so you never quite know where you are, and the escalators are randomly switched between up and down modes throughout the day so you're never quite sure how you got there. One of the escalators actually skips a floor, which can catch you out if you're off your game. I was, incidentally, profoundly off my game, and have the entire car-owning population of Birmingham to thank for that. For some unknown reason, every nut-job with a driving licence convened in the street underneath my single-glazed hotel window to serenade me with a rousing medley of car-horn classics that lasted from around midnight to about 5am. Happy times...

Anyway, long story short: the Thinktank is a Death Star on the outside and an Unreal Tournament CTF map on the inside. I liked it a lot.

Queued for almost half an hour for the Mignola talk, only to find that the room it was held in only seated about four people. I checked in with Alasdair Duncan from Insomnia Publications and had a nice, long chat about a story of mine they want to publish. A satisfying amount of progress was made on that, and a couple of other doors seem to have edged open.

First major revelation of the convention: the difference between turning up at a comics show as a total unknown and turning up as a guy that a couple of people have heard of and want to speak to is vast. Once one person with some credibility appears to be taking you seriously, doors do start opening. I'm only just getting my feet wet here and already people are going out of their way to help me. This is a major divergence from any of the fields I've worked in before, where everyone around you was considered a competitor and no-one went out of their way for anyone else. All quite disorienting, really.

Finally got to meet the artist on my first Starship Troopers story arc. He's a very cool guy, and really seems to be unaware of quite how brilliant his work is. I'm sticking to my prediction that he's got a big future in front of him.

Quick tangent: what's the one thing worse than being involved in a cosplay event at a comics convention? Answer: being one of only three people involved in a cosplay event at a comics convention. Major respect points for the people who made the effort, though.

Turns out that everyone I ever went to university with eventually became mates with Tony Lee. Two old friends of mine showed up, and there was suddenly a whole big thing when Tony spotted them. Weird coincidences all around. Gotta love that.

Yet another high point was reached when the mighty and influential Rich Johnston accused me of having a "neo-fascistic body image". Nice to be appreciated. I also met David Montieth from the absurdly good Geek Syndicate podcast, who's another really cool guy. I crammed a business card into his hand before he had a chance to object or wonder who the Hell I was.

By now utterly dehydrated, Nic and I foraged for water near the teleporter to the Red base. Found a vending machine and shelled out £1 for a bottle. Two bottles popped out at once - biggest result of the day! Retired back to the hotel before our luck ran out.

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