Phew!!! What a weekend!!! And so the Bristol Comic Expo 2013 has started and finished its' weekend of panels, artists and small press books and, for me, it's been one great event, despite my being unable to stay from start to finish.
The fantastic artwork of Liam Shalloo
The weekend started as these things always do; with me (and my girlfriend who came with me) in a queue to get in. This is where the experience fell a bit flat, with the young ladies responsible for tickets not being the most efficient (in fact one of them took our tickets with letting us in). However, once we were in, the experience became much more enjoyable with many tables of quality artists, comic book stores and small press comics. The plan for the weekend had been to see the comics on offer, duck into a couple of panels and find some elusive issues of major comic series. However, in the end those elusive issues remained just that (making me think that Captain Britain and MI:13 is now rarer than a unicorn) and the panels I wanted to see I never got around to. While the former was no one's fault, the latter, I felt, was caused by the panels being in another building down the road from the main action which was, for me (and more so my girlfriend) annoying.
However, in the end it was the indie creators and artists, along with their books and artwork, that made up for these downsides. The "artists alley" at the Expo had a long ling of talented artists, whose works were all phenomenal and much of which I wish I had had the funds to pick up (sadly, not enough funds for that). In the end, I decided (with my girl's approval) to pick up a beautiful Joker and Harley piece by Liam Shalloo (which he was good enough to sign, which didn't occur to me to ask).
Afterlife Inc. by Jon Lock
That said, when it came to the creators, their contribution to the greatness of their show had less to do with the quantity of their good works, but more about their enthusiasm and willingness to talk. The thing is, I love talking to creators at these cons. These are people who are enthusiastic about the ideas they make up and I can totally relate to (if not be as good a writers as them) and I would have been more than happy to have chewed there ears off all day (although I didn't, due to not wanting my girlfriend to be bored) about their books. In fact I did manage to do that with creators of the two best books I found there; Jon Lock (www.jonlock.com), writer/creator of a fantastic series called Afterlife Inc. (My thoughts on that will come in a later post) and the marketing team of the tremendous Twisted Dark Anthologies(www.facebook.com/TPublications) (Also, thoughts coming in a later post), both of whom talked about their comics with the same enthusiasm as I do about comics in general.
Twisted Dark by Neil Gibson
Oh, and (before I forget) amongst all the comics and artists and stores, came a fantastic little movie trailer for an independent movie called Banshee (www.mysteryofthebanshee.com). The Trailer, while obviously made in a shoestring fashion, had incredible atmosphere to it, very much in the vein of Silent Hill and many of these newer horror movies, though with a British twist. This tralier was so engrossing that I'm looking forward to seeing more about it.
And so, was it a good experience. Overall, I would say yes, although it was not without flaws. With the event split over two locations and the main room very cramped (though that one is typical of any con), there was an added problem of having no books that really appealed to me. However, the two tremendous books mentioned above, along with Banshee and the terrific artworks available make me admit that I don't regret going and will be more than happy to do so again, though maybe next time I'll just go for the one day.