We all do stuff for the love of comics. We do it for free especially on great sites like downthetubes. It also seems that there are a series of cynical money grabbing 'Comicons' out there who charge you to come in then rinse you of your coins before booting you out the other end. This we know.
But sometimes you find an event that is all about the love of the medium. The love of the comics community and the art that cheers up your day. Nottingham Comic Convention is now in its fourth year and is guaranteed to brighten up your day. Kev and Kel are the organisers and a hardworking pair of people they are too. I personally attend a couple of comics events every month and I can't recall one that was so smoothly run with a genuine enthusiasm and sense of humour.
Couple the above with the fact that this convention is run to raise money for some really worthy charities. The Royal British Legion, The Ear Foundation and The Marfan Trust and for me this is a must attend event in the convention season.
For the third year of its run it has been held at Nottingham Conference Centre. The organisers were keen to encourage the growing Small Press and Indie scene this year with guests like the mighty Avery Hill Publishing, Rachael Smith, Sally Jane Thompson, Dead Canary Press and Improper Books.
To this attendee this was a one day event that managed to join the cool small press scene with a big dollop of Professional 'big two' players and a colourful mix of cosplayers and stalls. After getting in early I set about buying some back issues before the doors opened. I managed to find some reader copies of The House of Hammer and The Halls of Horror to fill some gaps in the collection. There was also a healthy dose of reasonably priced back issue sellers at this event too.
This was a really great find from a stall that seemed to specialise in 1970s and 1980s UK magazine format comics.
Once the doors were open it was all about getting round to see pals and creators. First on the list was my favourite collaborator Jen Brown (@JenRhyssa28 on Twitter and can also be found at www.dragonfairydesign.co.uk). She and I have done a short page strip for the Nottingham Comic Con anthology called 'Forest Tales'. We did a pastiche on the old girls comic Misty and called it 'Shifty'. It tells the story of a plucky 1970s, East End, shoplifting vampire girl.
I then popped over to see pal and comics creator Nick Prolix (seen above with Dave Robertson on the left). His webstrip The Sheep and the Wolves has just been packaged into a comic and is a joy to read. It tells the story of a London long gone by full of cool kids and is chocked full of character. Head over and grab a copy at www.thesheepandthewolves.com.
Nick turned out as a big hit on a panel he shared with equally funny and educational guests Chris Imber and Sally Jane Thompson. (Wiith Alex Martin asking questions).
Chris Imber and Chris Jenkins run the Indie publishers Reckless Hero. This company is fast becoming a really slick operation. They produce books of real quality that could easily be part of an Image or Dark Horse comics stable and they do so with bags of wit and talent. I had a chat with both the guys and they have got some really interesting projects in the pipeline with some new creators onboard.
Pop over to www.recklesshero.com and find out some more.
I also got to chat to Darrell Thorpe (aka Forpe) and hear about all the new projects he has in the pipeline (yup, that's an axe he has there - in your face 'MCM Weapons Policy'!) His comics and prints were full of crazy imagination and individually observed quirky humour. Genuinely refreshing to read and a fun guy to chat to I thoroughly recommend a click over to www.forpe.co.uk to see some more of the sam.
As a big friend of The Awesome Comics Podcast it is always great to chat to Chris Baker from Dead Canary Comics. His book The Last Driver (with art by the National Treasure Shaky Kane) has just dropped after a hugely successful Kickstarter run is eye Poppingly Good. So do yourself a favour and go pick it up!
www.deadcanarycomics.com or @DeadCanaryComic on Twitter.
What you going to do at a comic convention without Christian Wildgoose and Laura Wildgoose. Two of my favourite people and comics artists they were there with the equally spot on Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton. I managed to keep up with them in the drinking stakes in the pub and also got to hear some great news from Improper Books.
Matt and Sara have just launched the third issue of their ruddy excellent series Mulp on the public, Laura is gearing up for Halloween with her intricately detailed and gorgeous kids comic The Night Post and Christian showed me pages from his third instalment in Improper's Porcelain series and his upcoming run on DCs Batgirl. To a person this company puts out beautiful product. Get on this and don't be late to the party for a group of creators who are going places.
www.improperbooks.com or @ImproperBooks on Twitter.
I hadn't seen the prolific Andy Bloor for quite a few months so it was great to chat with him and look through his portfolio. Any is without a doubt one of the secret weapons of the Indie comics scene. His use of bold characters and solid blacks works excellently in the horror/action genre he has been working in of late. Pop over to www.andrewblooor.blogspot.com and have a look for yourself.
My old mucker Marc Laming (seen above with Vince Hunt looking like the doormen on a nightclub you probably wouldn't go to sober) was on hand to sketch and chat to fans about his recent work for Marvel on their Star Wars comic, Avengers and Planet Hulk. He also had a fit of the giggles later on a panel with Chris Wildgoose (obviously the trouble maker) and Roger Langridge.
Pop over and have a look at some of the art Marc is producing for his upcoming stint on Ninjak for Valiant Comics. Stunning stuff indeed. Find him @monkey__marc
Matt Harrower was there and it was great to see him after his triumphant strip I recently reviewed in Dark Matter issue 2. Matt was showing off some artwork from quite a few upcoming projects that are bound to open your eyes to this exciting artist. I have been a fan of Matt's work for a couple of years now and can't wait for others to catch on.
Find him at www.hpmatt.blogspot.com or on Twitter @hp_matt
Those two talented maniacs Emily Owen and Gavin Mitchell were on hand to abuse me.. Currently engaged (so calm down Fanboy Nation) Gavin is just finishing up on a graphic novel that will show the British Comics industry that this is a guy they should bee fighting over! Grab a copy of Santa Claus vs The Nazis from Gavin and find him at wwww.gavinmitchell.blogspot.com or find Gav on Twitter @bobgoblynn and Emily @TommboyPrincess.
It was also great to see Will Overton (pictured above with his son) had a table. Always there with a witty comeback he is a ball of energy and the creator of the fun and jam packed Smart Bomb magazine! This combines retro gaming and amazing visuals to produce a magazine that is well worth your coin and time. A great guy to chat to at a Con.
Find Will at www.wiloverton.carbinmade.com or on Twitter @Kosmikat
All in all you are going to have trouble finding an event as friendly and fun as Nottingham Comic Con. Our comics frolics continued into the night and it would be remiss of me not to namecheck comics pal and excellent panel co-host Alex Martin and comics drinking pals Sarah Harris and James Gibbs. Much hilarity was had.
So, make sure you attend next year. You'll have a blast.
MMany thanks for reading.