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 fiancÃ©e 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.
I decided to make an original and collectable style toy for my girlfriends birthday as a unique gift and it also gave me an excuse to put everything I’d learned in my First and Second attempts into practice.
The full process (if not as detailed as my first two experiments) can be found either through my Toy Making Page or directly here