BLOG The British International Comic Show
Did you attend BICS last weekend? Blogger Stacey Whittle was there and this is her report:
The British International Comic Show
The first weekend in October was BICS weekend. Now the British (rather than Birmingham) International Comic Show, it is the largest comic convention in the UK and held at the Think Tank at Millennium Point, which fittingly looks like something from the future. It has escalators which change direction as you approach them and cashpoint machines which laugh in your face, it is a monument of gorgeous, sinuously, shiny wonder. Perfect place for a convention.
The weekend kicked off with a launch party on the Friday night, with a bar well stocked with bottled real ale and lovely crispy fish and chips on the buffet table – I was in geek girl paradise. Lots of creators were present for the party. I spotted and chatted to: the rather fabulous PJ Holden, Al Ewing and Kev Sutherland. I noticed Tharg himself in attendance and narrowly avoided smacking Bryan Talbot in the mush with my bottom. It was really nice to catch up with Dave and Barry of the Geek Syndicate as well as the rest of the pod-casting network and forum guys. A shame Giant Sized Band Thing weren’t appearing this year as they were a highlight for me last year – please bring them back next year!
The checking-in process to the con seems to be more and more streamlined each year and having Judge Dredd and Judge Minty patrolling the queue keeping everyone in line was a stroke of genius, we could’ve done with a member of staff at the end of the queue as we got stuck on the escalator but once the doors opened it flowed smoothly.
The first panel I made it to was the fan favourite Comic Artists Flip Out. This was Staz Johnson, Mark Buckingham and Alan Davis sketching like crazy with every single audience member holding a raffle ticket for the opportunity to win each sketch. It is fascinating to see artists at work and it is a great opportunity for a free sketch! The Mighty Geek Syndicate’s panel celebrating 70 year of Marvel was interesting and should be available on line at their website soon!
We saw an incredibly surreal quiz panel hosted by The Watcher (Steve Marchant wearing a white frock and a giant ball on his head), during which – through the use of Skrull technology (cardboard cut out faces) – he turned ordinary panel attendees into superheroes. Each hero was led through a hilarious scenario-based quiz until two heroes remained. The winner was then decided by each of them punching an inflatable Spider-Man and the hero who punched him the furthest won! The second half of that panel was taken up with a chat about a new website called Cartoon Classroom, the aim of which is to promote the teaching of cartoon-based skills by introducing educational organisations to professional creators.
I also saw an interesting panel discussing the publishing and retail future of comics Hosted by Tim Pilcher this was a very honest discussion of how the emergence of digital comics will influence the future comic market and how and what publishers and retailers are going to do to deal with it. We also managed to catch half of Garry Leach’s live colouring demonstration, I was gutted to have to leave half way through this. Garry’s panel last year was a highlight and I really wanted to see this! Ably assisted by Steve Pugh, we did get to see Garry finish inking and start laying first colours down before we had to go.
The dealer hall was a thing of wonder. In the first smaller room, there was a signing area; the Eclectic Micks had their table as did Gary Erskine, and these areas were constantly surrounded! There was also Jimmy Bott sketching and Bryan Talbot promoting his new book Grandville (which is brilliant – ed). In the main hall the most densely-populated areas were the Insomnia Publications and the 2000AD stands along with the Murky Depths table. There were too many small press creators to mention though I will say John Higgins and Sally Hurst had the most amazing sculpted head on display on the Razorjack table which at various times throughout the weekend was part of an amazing costume paraded throughout the con by a lady also wearing an awesome pair of sequined trousers!
This was the first convention I have attended since starting to produce my pod-cast, and it was very odd but lovely to have my voice recognised and I think you’ll find, good people of the inter-webs, that I am now officially, “that Geordie girl off that thing!” Fame! At last! Thanks so much to everyone who made this a con of awesome (especially to The BFC for the beautiful artwork) and to Shane and James the organisers for putting on such a wonderful, smooth running, spectacle of fabulous. See you all in November for Thoughtbubble in Leeds! Oh, and for a the best version of a convention round-up I have ever seen have a squizz at theraggedman.blogspot.com.
This is a personal article by Stacey Whittle, one of our site contributors. Were you at BICS? What are your thoughts and highlights?