As always this year's Bristol Comic Expo proved to be an enjoyable weekend, and this time we had the bonus of fantastic weather which was a blessing considering many of us were staying in different hotels.
Not a lot to report on the Expo itself as I missed most of the panels. (The Hypotheticals panel was good fun as ever, hosted by Dave Gibbons.) Not that there was anything unappealing about the rest of the panels, just that I decided to spend the weekend socializing with colleagues. (No, that doesn't mean drinking 24/7.) Comics can be a solitary job and conventions are often the only chance to meet up with friends old and new in the industry.
Thanks to all who attended the Dandy/Beano panel on Sunday afternoon and thanks to fellow panelists Hunt Emerson, Morris Heggie, Nigel Parkinson, Laura Howell, Duncan Scott and Gary Northfield. Thanks also to everyone who asked for a sketch afterwards. Hope I didn't disappoint.
I didn't take so many photos this year for some reason. I think I assumed that most people were a bit tired of people snapping them but given the amount of photos on other sites I probably assumed wrong. I'll take more at the next event for sure. Here's the handful that I did take:
1: Above: The Exhibition Hall on the Saturday was extremely busy. The photo above just shows one part of it around mid-day. I understand the Hall had to be closed for a while so that it wouldn't exceed its capacity. Good to know the Expo can still attract huge crowds.
2: Above: Good to see my old pal and mentor Mike Higgs attending the event. As most visitors to this blog know, Mike was the creator of The Cloak for Odhams' Pow! and Smash! weeklies back in 1967-69. He was also one of the organizers of the very first UK comics con, in Birmingham, back in 1968.
3: It's great to see more humour artists attending UK cons than there used to be. This year, DC Thomson had a booth to celebrate the 70th anniversary of The Beano and regular Beano/Dandy contributors such as Nigel Parkinson (above) and Wayne Thomson were around to sketch for the readers.
4: Above: The small press play a much larger role in conventions today. One such company, Time Bomb Comics, had a professional set up to promote their titles. Here, Time Bomb Booth Babe Suzanne Tanner and artist Andy Dodd show off their premier title Ragamuffins with future comic Dick Turpin previewed to the right.
5: Above: One of the busiest artists over the weekend was merry Mike Collins producing numerous sketches of NCsoft characters for the Draw the World Together charity. Like myself, Mike is celebrating 25 years in comics this year! Well done mate.
6: Above: Paul Roberts (left) and Tim Perkins (right) at the eye-catching Wizards Keep stand. Tim has worked hard on his new business and his work's looking great. You can visit Tim's website here and read his own review of the Expo (with more photos) here.
Above: Winding down on the Sunday night, a group of us went out for a meal at the Spyglass boat restaurant. Left to right: me; Ed Hammond (editor of Panini's Eagle Award winning Spectacular Spider-Man; Ferg Handley (writer of Spectacular Spider-Man and DC Thomson's Commando); Jim Stewart (creator of Ganjaman); William Couper and Tom Green (respectively copy editor and editor of the fantastic Dangerous Ink magazine); Dave Alexander (artist on Electric Soup and Northern Lights); Simon Frith (editor of Panini's Spider-Man and Friends). Photograph by Jon Haward.
It was fantastic to catch up people I haven't seen in years; Nancy Abnett from the days of Marvel UK and David Leach from the days of Oink! Also good to chat with Expo regulars such as Phil Clarke, Mike Conroy, Emma Vieceli, Charlie Adlard, Sean Phillips, Gary Millidge, Martin "Biff" Averre, Sam Morgan, Lee Townsend, Brady Webb, John Short, Leah Moore, John Reppion, Dave Windett, Dylan Teague, Simon Furman and many others. See you all at the next event!
Many more photos from the weekend can be seen at Matt Brooker's Flickr site here:
including this amazing one of the huge crowd of attendees: