Well this weekend was my second year at BICS. ( The Birmingham International Comics' Show, as previously linked to.)
We had decided to take the hassle out of the journey and went via train, by booking ages in advance, the good lady and I got there and back for the sum total of £32!
I arrived pretty relaxed and uncharacteristically chipper and confident. The Hotel, Holiday Inn (Queensway, City Centre) was brilliant and in that respect it was a nice contrast to The Britannia that we stayed in last year. The only other thing to say was that we were in what appeared to be a room equipped for disabled people and for the entirety of the stay I had this scene from the it crowd in my head!
The evening was spent in the fabulous Wellington pub - a real ale pub with a selection of 10 real ales on tap. Met up with Rich Clements, Vicky Stonebridge and Dave Evans (the FutureQuake gang) and also Duncan Nimmo, another contributor to the current issue Dogbreath. It was a fine evening with good people and lubricated with very good quality drink! I think the strong beer contributed to a weird dream about submitting my work to Tharg, in the dream he liked my samples, but I awoke from the dream feeling somewhat scuppered and a bit groggy. After an hour or so, I drifted back to sleep.
Headed over to the ThinkTank/Millenium Point. I had a quick chat to my good pals PJ Holden and Dylan Teague - and as always, they were generous and helpful in reviewing my porfolio. Then it was a quick stop over at the FutureQuake table to pick up my comp copies of Zarjaz & Dogbreath both of these are still available to buy if you haven't already ordered your copies. I showed Dave and Rich the art for the strip I'd been working on for them too, I'm chuffed to say they were pleased with the pages.
There are a number of developments from Saturday that I'd like to keep under my hat for now, suffice to say I think I'm moving in the right direction...
I once again had the opportunity to show Tharg my samples - those very ones I was working on only last week. I still don't think I feel confident that I'm interpreting his comments correctly. Basically he said that there were some nice things going on in the pages and that I should send the samples in to the usual address and that he would put them on file and let me know if a suitable strip arose. I'm taking that with a pinch of salt as I don't want to go getting ahead of myself. (I did say I would rework a couple of panels before I submitted the samples, see below).
Over the course of the day, I met up with some cool people - Matt Soffe and his good friend Olly, Jim Campbell, Jim Boswell, Nic Wilkinson, Gary Erskine, Stacy Whittle, Ben Clark, Matt Banners and Paul Gravett amongst other exellent folk whose names I'm ashamed to say I have forgotten.
The evening was spent in the Briar Rose, the local Weatherspoon's pub just a few doors down from the Wellington. In short, great laughs, good people.
My head was a little swimmy, but I was buoyed up by the developments of the previous day. All I really had time for was a quick chat and cheerio before my portfolio review with Michael Wright - a DC commissioning editor. He said he thought I had some drawing chops - I took this as a compliment, ultimately I don't think he thought I was up to the required standard for DC or Marvel but he said I might make it as a penciller at somepoint... ahh well, whatever will be will be. I made a quick dash out of there thinking I had only a narrow window in which to catch my train out of Birmingham... we ended up at Birminham New street station about an hour early - but that was good as it gave me a chance to take stock of events and have a good chat with my better half about what it meant for us going forward.
Of all the pieces in my portfolio, there must be something about this piece, because it caused for the second year running, by far and away the most comment. I guess it says something about the comic reading demographic - worth pursuing in more pin-up pieces I reckon then.
Sorry for the wordy post - normal service will resume in due course.