Wax and wane

I am broken today. Two comic conventions in as many weekends and no break has pretty much outlined my limits post-stroke but thanks to events outwith my control I only have one more event this year before being thrust into the year 2019 where lots of things may be happening.

But the latest show I’ve done was probably the weirdest place I’ve done one in 35 years (and that includes nearly selling comics at Glastonbury) which was Mark Millar’s old primary school, St. Barthlomew’s, in Coatbridge. Upon driving to the school it dawned on me and my driver Jordan, that it was a fucking primary school, and that means everything in it would be wee, and of course it was. So big hefty units such as myself squeezed into tiny wee chairs meant for frames far, far, far younger than us. Also,we expected to turn up and for the dealers to be in a central gym or hall but we were strewn through the corridors of part of the school like discarded Panini World Cup 2018 stickers.

Luckily I ended up with a spare table, so managed to take over the end of one such corridor like this.

Plus I was positioned next to someone I’ve only spoken to online, so it was nice to put a face to the name and as the doors opened at 10am that was consolation for the fact nobody came to where we were. but with a wee prompt for the staff, and some carefully placed arrows, there were soon people coming up our alley for comic, and comic-based, delights.

And I ended up having more fun (while obviously making enough money for the day to not just pay for itself, but so I can put money in the bank) than I was expecting as it wasn’t just the faces that have become familiar to me over the last year, but loads of kids who were attracted by the impressive spread Mark and his staff had laid out with lots of guests like Frank Quitely, Leah Moore and cast members from Still Game and Burnistoun. Many of these kids had no idea what comics to collect having just come down to see what was going on, or come with a mate. I was taught years ago by someone wiser than me to encourage the kids because if you don’t, there won’t be an audience in the decades to come.

And that’s what made this event something a bit different, and a bit more fulfilling than just flogging comics to folk. Keeping the flame burning and passing it on to kids, boys and girls, was great but it’s worn me out . As for the show overall, it’s always hard to say when you’re stuck behind your tables, but people clearly enjoyed it and although there were problems (the cramped space being the biggest one, and although some of the issues were teething pains some things will need to improve if there’s a next time. Having a free for all for tables at a show where to be honest, too many tables were sold, was a big mistake especially when dealers left better positions very, very early in the day leaving some areas virtually dead)  I’d do this again next year.

But I’m done for now. One more show this year, which means I can regroup and plan out 2019 a bit better than just letting it happen and hope for the best which to be fair, is how I’ve led my life up to now but look where that’s led me!?!

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Come to Mark Millar’s Coatbridge con and say hello

If you’re one of the lucky 200 to have a ticket then swing by, say hello and buy some lovely comics from me. I’ll have a bloody good selection of back issues priced reasonably if I say so myself and it promises to be a comic convention a wee bit different for a good cause.

The ‘Treasury of British Comics’ panel from SDCC 18

I know there’s a few folk who read this blog who are big fans of British comics, so this panel from this year’s San Diego Comic Con which discusses the history of British comics. There is an over-long explanation of the concept of girls and boys comics not to mention other diversions, but for fans and historians it’ll be an interesting 45 minutes of your time.

San Diego Comic Con Cosplay

Back in the old days of comic conventions we used to have a fancy dress competition which would normally be won by one of the few women entering, or by some bloke wearing the inside of toilet rolls on his arms to pretend to be Mr. Fantastic. Invariably it’ll all be a bit naff and fun with the occasional time of it being something very good indeed.

Then in the 21st century fancy dress vanished to be replaced by the juggernaut of cosplay as fancy dress and play-acting was consumed by capitalism, but it’s hard to be too cynical as after all, this is (done right) essentially just another form of theatre which brings me to the Masquerade Ball at San Diego Comic Con. The ball is the Oscars of cosplay with a touch of Glastonbury Festival, so seeing as things are a bit shite in the world have a shufty of these videos to cheer yourself up a bit.

The comics of San DIego Comic Con

Every year at San Diego Comic Con there’s endless trailers for films and TV programmes not to mention some often awful tours of the convention or some good ones like this.

But for me if I got myself there I’d go round the dealers selling comics and quite literally I would expel every bodily fluid I coujld at some of these tables looking at some of the books on display. So this video is basically hardcore porn to me.

Sure there’s a lot of slabbed books there but bloody hell, if I were to win the lottery I’d be bankrupt if I was unleashed in there.I’ve seen, held and even sold some of the key books on display in the video but never in the condition of some on display here.

So enjoy and remember, if you want to get me a Christmas present I’ll accept the original Jack Kirby pages…

Another year where I’m not at San Diego Comic Con

Today is the start of San Diego Comic Con which if you’re at all into comics is the Glastonbury Festival of comic conventions, even if like that event, it’s somewhat diverted from its roots.

To what it is today.

Today it’s a bastion to late capitalism but at it’s heart lies a convention about comics and it is that as a fan I would love to actually do one year, but it won’t be this year or next year as Worldcon is heading to Dublin and that’s too good a chance to miss.

So 2020 seems like a goal.  It’s also Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary and that’s too good a chance to have two huge events in one year, but until then for those friends who are there now or turning up today have a fucking good time!

What I thought of Glasgow Comic Con 2018

Yesterday I attended the eighth Glasgow Comic Con (GCC) as a punter, not a dealer so I was able to soak up the atmosphere more than usual, and the atmosphere this year was 30c heat which for Glasgow is unusual to say the least. I primarily went to catch up with friends but I also wanted to see if there was any Kirby, Wally Wood or EC stuff I could pick up for reasonable prices and amazingly, I managed to pick up a few bits of Kirby cheapish.

As for the con, GCC is based upon the old school style of comics con where comics are at the fore, with a dash of cosplay. It also managed to bring in young kids, as well as the Millennial audience, though I will say it was somewhat lacking on the programme for us older folk. I have to say though the heat was sometimes too much, and the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow isn’t a good venue for this sort of event, especially if you’re disabled and have to spend time waiting for lifts so you could meet friends in the cafe or the main convention floor. The organisers did stick up signs saying that could people respect the lift is there for folk who can’t climb the large amount of stairs but too often was the lift held up with people who just couldn’t be arsed walking down stairs.

This brings me to the biggest problem with the GCC. It’s clear too big for a venue which isn’t fit for purpose for an event like this and I’ve been in worse venues over the thousands of cons I’ve been to, but this wasn’t fully fit for purpose. Rooms were often too crowded and corridors crammed with people which meant cosplayers standing there being photographed caused bottlenecks. The Royal Concert Hall is a fantastic venue and the GCC is a good event, but they don’t fit each other though the panel room was lovely and cool.

This is during the panel where The Punisher gets a Queer Eye makeover, and indeed throughout the day this corner provided an oasis of cool and calm to watch the days panels.

I had a few wanders round the self-published/small press tables and there was some splendid stuff there, with the comic Escape From Coatbridge raising a few laughs for the title alone, but nothing really stood out spectacularly I am glad to see the small press scene in Glasgow to be as large as it is.

If I’d not forgotten my drugs (suffering from chronic pain isn’t fun in this weather) I’d have probably stayed on but as the day wore on all the people left were the cosplayers, and some of the guests tables were looking barren of visitors which considering there were people of the calibre of Ian Kennedy and Leila Abdelazaq was a pity.

Glasgow can accommodate a proper comics convention of the type we used to organize back in the day,  however GCC needs to work out whether to stay a one-day event crammed into a venue that doesn’t work for it or see if there’s somewhere in Glasgow it can fit into, and even whether it expands into a second day but it does need to grow, develop itself so it can set itself aside easily from the MCM con or the one-day events held across the West of Scotland. I’d like to see it develop.

On my way home the con did throw up one more treat.

That’ll be Pikachu getting the bus home to Coatbridge I assume.