CURRENT SOUNDTRACK: Battlestar Galactica Podcast, Ron D Moore, 'Pegasus'
Today, I learnt how to play the Firefly opening title music on the guitar. And that's pretty much all I've done.
So I thought since it's been ages since my last post I'd get my arse in gear and do a report on...
Friday began with the train down to Euston Station, before realising we really had no idea where the ETAP London Airport 'Recommended Hotel' actually was. It was in the arse end of nowhere, as it turned out, about £13 in a taxi and three and half miles away from the Venue. We got a succession of three tubes then a train to King Georges station, had a taxi refuse our fare ("Oi've been in this queue for two hours waiting for a fare, and Oi ain't movin' for a £2.60 trip daawn the road to wait another two hours, chim chim cheroo"), and had to borrow a trolley to make our way there. The hotel though small was adequate and was probably chosen because it was cheap (£78 for two nights), but since any savings went on taxi fares, it would have been better if we were actually nearer the Venue.
After settling in we headed back out to the Wetherspoons on Mile End to meet up with the likes of Shane Chebsey, Jeremy Dennis (who I finally met for the first time) and later joined by David Baille, Jay Eales and Selina Lock for several pints. We thought it none too many, and ended up back to Baillies house for the now traditional whiskey session. I think we got back around 4am to the hotel.
Next morning, skipping breakfast and with something of a hangover, we set up at the Venue, meeting faces old and new, and I try to organise my thoughts for the panels. Luckily Matt B arrived with perfect timing and shortly took control of our table while me and Leon headed to the stage, joined by Danel Merlin Goodbrey, Weebl, Colin Dinnie, Gianna of thenoobcomic.com, and Shane Chebsey.
As the first one began, based on the topic of promoting and distributing in print and online, I started to realise again the divide between the web comics community and the print community. There are some crossover of course, but its telling that a large portion of attendees at the Webcomixthing wouldn't be seen at the Bristol cons. Is it the distance, the cost of tables, or that they are seperate beasts? Print comics have the physical problem of paper costs and distribution. Webcomics have the problem of being seen by the larger community who don't have ready access to a computer, growing bandwidth charges and getting some form of income from their creation, which is why the webcomics creators also have a line of impressive merchandise, like t-shirts, toys and (very popular on tables) badges.
The panel brought up some interesting observations: Although most of the panel audience read online comics because they were good and free, 99% wouldn't be prepared to pay for them. The creators agreed that easily accessible previews (whether print or online) were essential in drawing in new readers, though few would find something like Shane's new Frontline Catalogue venture, which would deal with retailers directly for creators alongside a cheap print service, suitable for them, as they would print comics as and when in response to interest in their site. The more wider ranging practical applications of Shanes' venture could still yet be of major benefit o the overall UK comics community.
After a break Matt and Leon led David Baillie, Andy's Luke and Winter to the stage for the second panel on criticism in comics, which went very well by all accounts.
The rest of the afternoon included Matt and Leon's fantastic performance in making sure REDEYE 5 sold out by around 3.30pm, and me walking around the hall looking at some of the new stuff on display, being impressed and saying hello to now old friends.
After dropping off the last remaining box of reviews at Baillies, we headed back to the Wetherspoons, where the challenge of a) finding a chair and b) finding a member of bar staff was quickly overshadowed by c) the hour and half wait for food. I think Shane held the record for the night with a two hour wait.
Eventually we all managed to find a seat and table, and stayed there for the remainder of the night, with Shane, Leon, Anna, Andy Luke, Doug Noble, Baillie, Daniel, newcomer David and Bridgeen among a few others who came and went.
I fell into my old habit of sketching on anything reasonably flat and stationary, illustrating Andy Luke's Ouija board tale. I think it ended up about 12 small a5 sized pages.
It went downhill from there with first Transformers porn...
and then rewriting Jesus Christ Superstar with the cast of Transformers, with Optimus Prime in the lead, though there was some debate over whether Grimlock or Brawn won the coveted Judas role. Shockwave though was a clear choice for Herod. Shane's frighteningly encyclopedic knowledge of all things Cybertronian was one the highlights of the evening.
Eventually getting kicked out of the pub, Leon, Daniel, Doug, and Shane and me headed back to Baillies again, stopping off for a dirty kebab in the meantime, before once again the whiskey was out and Transformers the Movie came on the DVD. For some reason though the low humming of the DVD menu itself was strangely hypnotic. A Decepticon trick, to be sure, because I could barely keep my eyes open, and we jumped a taxi back to the hotel around 4ish.
Overall it was a successful weekend, great to meet up with friends again, and great feedback from retailers, creators, and readers alike. The fact we sold a fair few was quite nice too, and gives us more momentum to take us to May and Bristol.
For more photos go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/barryrenshaw/sets/72057594081537047/
For other reports go to: