A long Good Friday

It is Easter weekend and for the first time in several decades I’m working. for little point and I’m now seeing triple as I’ve been busy more often than doing nothing of late.so I feel a bit like this…

So, junk food, Easter Eggs and Star Trek will reset things as I finally grab some time off to recharge.

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A few words for traders at Comic Cons

For the past few weekends my vision in front of me has been something like this.

From the front it looks something like this.

It’s old skool comic convention tables. Back issues and new stuff. No Funko Pop’s, no merchandise, no bubble tea. Just comics because even though I’ve been reading comics for five decades, and in and out of the industry for four of those and I have had days when I’ve had, or not wanted anything to do with the industry I’ll tell you a wee secret.

I fucking love comics. Not just for the characters but the entire medium and I love selling them. It isn’t easy. You need to know your stock, plus you’ve got to know what people want to buy as after all if you’re still dragging around a Thunderbolts section that nobody has asked about in years then you’re not just wasting limited space, but you’re putting strain into dead space.

Basically, it isn’t as easy as turning up, throwing open the boxes and sitting back watching the cash flow in. So one of the things I’ve seen a lot of are traders who are sat behind their tables at cons who do nothing to sell their products who then complain to the event organisers they had a terrible show as if to blame them. Yet I’ve seen over the years traders who don’t have great shows because their stock is poor, overpriced or they’re not doing enough to sell it. Here’s a vague example of what I mean. At a show last year I watched a trader spend all day on their phone while people were looking at their stock. No attempt to engage or interact with them meant people walked up interested, but were quickly put off because the trader was too busy on their phone to pull people in.

Another common example is of traders who spend their shows chatting with mates at the expense of potential customers. Worst of all are those traders who are just rude to potential customers, or sometimes you get the perfect storm where traders just so put off customers they don’t attract them.

It takes a lot of time and effort to put together a show. Good show organisers who give you a good few thousand people can’t be blamed for any lack of success however there’s one simple rule in becoming a trader who may end up being successful enough to make this game a full time job but you’ll never do that by sitting on your arse, staring at your phone as people walk by you. Engage people, chat with them. Talk about what they like. Draw them into your stock because you will do shows that are hard, and this is the difference between a bad show, or even an average show, or one that’s good or massively successful. This is a hard industry but it can be fun and of course, rewarding but only if you do a few things to engage people which should make things better for you.

Come to the Edinburgh Comic Con and buy lots of lovely comics from me

It’s that time of year again as the Edinburgh Comic Con comes running towards us to break up the misery of Brexit and the fact I’m fighting off a dreadful cold. Thankfully most of the work is done and this year Neptune Comics will be in the same place as last year but expanded with lots and lots of goodies from the Golden Age through to the Silver and Bronze Age and today.

I’m even going to fanboy over Kevin Nowlan who’s an artist I’ve loved for a long, long time. Assuming I get the chance to as I hope the show is as busy as last year so come along. They’ll be tickets on the door as the event is sold out of advance tickets and come buy comics and have fun at Scotland’s best large comic con.

There goes the cure

Out of all the tens of thousands of bizarre records that litter the 1970’s like discarded Gary Glitter singles, is the cash-in single or LP so you’d have ‘Thing A’ (normally a film or TV star) record a hit song so you’d get things that only a marketing man higher on cocaine that its humanly possible to be to come out with stuff like this.

Yet for all the superficial awfulness I challenge anyone not to give a wee smile at some point because these things were never meant to be works of art rather easy cash-ins so executives could binge on coke and hookers. In effect an awful, terrible ‘creative’ process that somehow belches out something moderately joyful.

I mention this because the last few weeks, even months have been a varied catalogue of shite but as often has been the case over the last few years, something positive has come out of what has felt like being locked in a room where the only thing to listen to is the Best of Telly Savalas.

Things came to a head last week at a friends funeral in Liverpool where all the horrendous horrible things that bounce round one’s head during a funeral batter against each other negatively. It possibly didn’t help staying at the Adelphi, one of Liverpool’s more, well, salubrious hotels in an area where there’s more ‘Irish’ pubs doing karaoke that you’d think is possible in only a few streets. I chose to stay there because it was cheap, and for old times sake as it was the location of comic marts back in the distant past.

It also carved from Stephen King’s dreams.

You know if you stick your head round the corner you’ll see two twin girls but when you do…

They’re gone!

So, after seeing friends from Bristol at the wake and catching up in what was, less than admirable circumstances, I made it back to the hotel after remembering to check the map so I could remember the location of my room, not to mention where the location of the club key & the spare ammo was.

Off I ventured into the Liverpool night for some food, but quickly wishing I wasn’t just fitter and able bodied, but 25 years younger as the night would have been a lot more fun than it was. I also remembered how much I adore the city and its people.

Still, next day it was back to Glasgow and after spending nearly half an hour trying to leave I made it to Lime Street to have a wee wobbly. I’d forgotten to take some of my meds and the last 24 hours had caught up with me so I sat myself down outside the station watching the Captain Marvel trailer on the largest advertising screen I’d seen in some time.Eventually I left Liverpool realising that I needed to give myself a royal kick up the arse.

Essentially I’d pulled all the horrible disparate things that’d happened and somehow pulled a positive attitude out of it, as frankly, things were slipping and I’d entered the world of the mundane. So having acted upon my newfound positive attitude I hope to change things up over the next month and it’ll be a challenge but I beat a stroke and cancer so I can do what I intend to do, and frankly, not everyone beats cancer. Sometimes you attend their funerals. It’d be rude to waste this chance.

As to what exactly is going on I don’t want to bore you with details, but it’ll be as fun as a 70’s cash-in record I hope.

My Captain Marvel

This weekend Marvel’s Captain Marvel film opened. That’s this Captain Marvel.

Not this Captain Marvel appearing in Shazam! (long story, copyright but if you want to dive into the rabbit hole start here) which is the original Captain Marvel.

There’s no sign of new Marvelman/Miracleman comics let alone a film, but I’m sure his day will come.

It thankfully isn’t this Captain Marvel.

The Captain Marvel film isn’t even the first Captain Marvel that Marvel Comics produced.

This Captain Marvel had his own series which struggled hard for 16 issues before enjoying a revamp but even though he had a better costume the series struggled.

It wasn’t til Jim Starlin took over with #25 bringing in a more cosmic flavour, while bringing in characters like Drax and Thanos to tell a story which today would have been a major crossover, with its own series and everything but the 1970’s were cheaper times so readers could pick up issues cheaply as they came out. Well, readers in America that is. Over here many of the issues either weren’t distributed or had suck a low distribution they may as well not come over from the States. So to read this story which dived from one title to another (Captain Marvel to Avengers to Warlock to Marvel Two in One) involved some serious work.

This was my Captain Marvel that I grew up on. There were other Captain Marvel’s (at least two) after this one, not including the one currently packing cinemas but that run by Jim Starlin that ended with Captain Marvel dying not because of Thanos, but because of cancer, is among the best run of SF/superhero comics you’ll ever find.

There’s now pretty cheap trades collecting all these stories so when you’ve enjoyed the Carol Danvers version, go back to the comics for the best run of Captain Marvel done so far. You won’t regret it.

And back again…

Back from Liverpool thoroughly worn out. More about this wee trip later but upon arriving at Central Station I noticed the wonderful iron lattices that make up the roof.

Been though the station thousands of times but today was the first time I really noticed how glorious it is.

Anyhow, a pizza with this week’s Star Trek:Discovery then an early night.