BICS 2007

Last weekend I attended the second annual Birmingham International Comics Convention (I know, I didn’t realise there’d been a first either, thanks a lot to a friend of mine who told me about it, you know who you are).

I had a pretty good weekend overall and managed to get out of there spending hardly any money on comics/graphic novels etc, and even managed to snag a few free sketches/signatures from a few luminaries of the comics world.

As I pre-ordered tickets I got entry into the launch night the evening before the show in a pub in Birmingham and found myself sat at a table with Bryan Talbot and Jordan Smith with Mike Carey and lots of other ‘names’ milling around within arms length, but I found myself a little shy that evening (uncharacteristically so, especially with a couple of pints inside me) and decided to let them all talk to people they knew instead of bothering them, before retiring fairly early (not the cheapest bar I’ve been to).

Getting to the show late the next morning, I just managed to get in and get a seat for ‘Comic Artists Flip Out’ which had Alan Davis, Staz Johnson and Mark Buckingham at the front of the room sketching whatever they felt like on A1 sketchpads (and taking requests and answering questions at the same time). It was great fun to watch professionals knock out such good pictures in such short order, and the really good part was that everyone in the audience got a raffle ticket before they started and as soon as a sketch was complete they called a number and whoever had a ticket ‘won’ the sketch. It turns out Mark Farmer was sat in the row in front of me and won the first completed sketch which just so happened to be an Alan Davis Batman, (I was gutted to say the least, but then I actually won a Mark Buckingham sketch myself).

Later on after queuing for an age I got to talk to Dave Gibbons who was a genuinely friendly and chatty bloke. As I knew Dave was going to be at this event I thought it would be fun to try and make something to take along and get signed, but as I’m still not very good or fast and only had a limited amount of time to work on anything I decided to use one of the penguin cast-off’s I had lying around from the penguins I make for my fiancée I made a couple of ‘Rorschach Penguins’ gave one to Dave to keep, and he was more than happy to sign the other one for me as well as do me a little personalized Rorschach sketch and sign all my copies of ‘Watchmen‘.

After a bit more wandering round I just managed to catch Mike Mignola before he went off for the first of his Q&A sessions of the weekend and gave him a ‘Hell Penguin’ custom I’d made and got him to sign one for me too. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get into his incredibly popular talk that day, but did manage to catch the ‘Darkness Calls‘ talk the next day as well as see the Q&A session with the incredibly talented and unassuming Kevin Nowlan who later on did a quick Wasp headsketch for Susan and a Jack B. Quick for me.

My only regrets from the weekend were missing the Adi Granov and Esad Ribic talk and the Matt Hollingsworth colouring master-classes and that I didn’t manage to get more sketches and signatures, but then there’s always next year.

Staz JohnsonMark BuckinghamMark Buckingham sketch, 'Fly Catcher' from FablesMike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo and Pete DohertyMike Mignola notes and layout thumbsDuncan Fegredo pageMike Mignola character designDuncan Fegredo pageDuncan Fegredo pageDuncan Fegredo pageDave Gibbons holding his 'Rorschach Penguin'RorschachWasp sketchJack B. QuickModded penguins signed by Mike Mignola and Dave GibbonsModded penguins signed by Mike Mignola and Dave Gibbons

Wooden Robots

I saw the link to these

Wooden Robots

over at Angry Zen Master, and I have so say they’re not only some of the best toy/collectables I’ve seen in some time they’re also some of the coolest pieces of woodwork I’ve seen.

I wonder if they’ll be available for sale and how much they’ll cost. Well I guess I could sell a kidney, any takers for a slightly used one? (only one not very careful owner, I’ll give you a good price)

Custom Keyboard

This is by no means a recent item but I only found it the other day so thought other people might have missed it too, but check out this cool custom keyboard.
Custom Keyboard

100 Year Old Fish!

Blimey, the world doesn’t get any less weird (which of course is a good thing, more weirdness I say).

The age of the fish was determined by removing an ear bone, known as the otolith, which contains growth rings similar to those in tree trunks.

The estimated age was between 90 and 115 years old

Full Story

The 300

I finally managed to go and see The 300, and I was not disappointed.
My girlfriend admitted it was OK but that she got a little bored due the fact that most of the entire film is a series of battles (and surprising too as I thought at least all of the testosterone filled near nekkid men would have held her interest but it seems she likes a little bit more story if she can get it).
The story itself was good, admittedly a little thin, but if you’re expecting an in depth drama then I think perhaps your expectations are a little skewed anyway if you saw the trailer for this and thought “now there’s the intellectual treat I was looking for”
As a friend of mine described it to me before I went there was “…lot’s of fancy killin’…” and the whole thing looks great throughout What more do you want?, go see it now.

Real life Jekyll and Hyde?

A quiet night’s sleep is not an option for Derek Rogers or his wife – because he turns from a mild-mannered “Dr Jekyll” by day to a “Mr Hyde” by night.

First time I’ve heard of someone having to take a potion before going to bed to stop them, becoming ‘Hyde’-like

Full Story Here

Blue Peter Scandal

Now if any more proof was needed to illustrate the decline of children’s TV in the UK, other than just trying to watch 5 minutes or more of it (there is the occasional good cartoon, but they are almost always imported), look no further than the following news story.

The hosts of BBC children’s programme Blue Peter have apologised to viewers after the results of a competition were faked last November.

Premium phone line regulator Icstis is investigating the incident, which was discovered when another visitor to the programme set, Mona Zahoor, wrote to the BBC’s Have Your Say messageboard.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a show with over 4000 episodes under it’s belt and nearing it’s 50th anniversary is found to be an out and out liar, makes you wonder how many other things they’ve lied to us about over the years, was that even a real elephant doing it’s ‘business’ live on air?, and how exactly did all of those pets die?!

Full story here

The Eve Figure

For those of you that already read Applegeeks you’ll already know about the Eve Figure they’ve had made, for those that don’t and like collectable figures/toys/model kits etc there’s a bunch of images here:- It’s listed as currently not for sale, but due to the huge amount of responses they’ve had for it I think it’s not going to be too long before they decide to release a retail version.

I’ve been reading their webcomic for a couple of years now, and highly recommended it to everyone else out there, there’s a mix of humour along with some real storytelling and drama and consistently good artwork, to the point where I decided to start making my own Eve Figure a couple of months back when I recently began sculpting again, but haven’t got very far yet. Seeing the excellent work they’ve had produced on their professionally made figure has left me undecided as to finish my version off, or try to convert it to a different character, we’ll see how the mood takes me I guess.