Tuesday, September 13, 2016

ICE 2016: Jolly good show!

Badge art by Staz Johnson
Having returned from ICE 2016 yesterday and had a good rest to catch up on lost sleep, I thought I'd commit a brief review to this blog. I've always rated the International Comic Expo (ICE) highly and this year was equal, even better, than previous years. It was a tremendous show and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

The venue, 'The Studio', in Birmingham's Cannon Street, is ideally suited just a couple of minutes walk from New Street Station. It's deceptively bigger on the inside, and perhaps aware of this, one of the lift frontages is decked out like a TARDIS. The Studio is an ideal place to host a comics convention, with large rooms on three levels for exhibitors and various rooms along its corridors for talks and presentations. 

As I was launching my new Derek the Troll one-off comic at the event I'd taken along a stack of them, hoping that at least 50% would sell. By 5pm I'd sold out! Brickman Begins also sold out, and I only had a couple of copies of Brickman Returns remaining by the time the event closed. 

I was also busy sketching all day, and even have some to finish at home as I ran out of time, so my thanks to every one of you who stopped by my table! This was my last event of 2016 so you all made it very special and one to remember. 
Sketch in progress.

My apologies for not having time to get around to see friends on other tables. Sadly, I missed Jessica Martin, who was only there for the day, and the Etherington Brothers, and only had time to wave to Jenika Ioffreda. Next time! 

It was great to catch up with many other comic pals though, and to meet new people. I became a bit of a fanboy on meeting the legendary Steve Parkhouse, whose work I've enjoyed for many years. (As a little lad I used to have the Marvel pin-ups on my wall that he drew for Fantastic.) 
Steve Parkhouse and Peter Hogan.

Here's a few more snaps taken on the day...
Ian Churchill
Joe and Michelle Matthews.
Bambos Georgiou and David Leach.
Ian Edgington and Dave Taylor

On Saturday afternoon it was my pleasure to be a guest on a panel alongside Robbie Morrison, Rachael Stott, (Titan's Doctor Who 12th Doctor comic) and Sarah Milman (indie comic Heart of Time) hosted by the Geek Syndicate (http://geeksyndicate.co.uk/). Lots of laughs and well attended. 
Rachael Stott, Robbie Morrison, Sarah Millman, and some old bloke.
There was an artwork auction on the day, with items from many of the guests up for bids with the money raised going to charity. I submitted my original art for the Derek the Troll postcard which I'm pleased to say went for higher than I expected.

The next day saw the same venue host another event, Comics Uncovered, which comprised many seminars and workshops for people wanting to either break into comics or brush up on their skills. It also enabled attendees to relax and mix with the guests in an informal atmosphere (the bar) which was a good way to wind down the weekend.

Thanks to Shane Chebsey and his team for making ICE2016 / Comics Uncovered such an enjoyable event. Last but not least, to name-check a few friends old and new who were there, it was a pleasure to catch up with Deborah Tate, Robbie Morrison, Nigel Parkinson, Nika Nartova, Phil and Pippa Winslade, Simon Furman, Rachael Stott, Geoff Senior, Dylan Teague, David Leach, Paul Trimble, Bambos Georgiou, Ryan Brown, Karen Rubins, John Short, Ian Churchill, Gary Erskine, Pete Doherty, Staz Johnson, Patrick Chaduc, Jeff Chahal, Jimmy Broxton, Peter Hogan, Jatinder Ghatora, Joe Matthews, Mel Horton, Duncan Fegredo, Sean Phillips, and many more. 

ICE 2016 proved that the UK comics community is alive and well and as bright and barmy as ever. It was a great representation of the British comics industry (not forgetting the U.S. guests too of course) and showed that it's still in good hands. Anyone who still harbours doubts about the quality of modern comics only needs to look at the incredibly high standard of scripts and art that are around today to prove otherwise. Long live UK comic conventions, and long live ICE!

The photograph of the panel discussion is by Leonard Sultana who runs an interesting blog called An Englishman in San Diego, which features interviews, vlogs and reviews of various comics events. 

If you missed the event, you can still order copies of Derek the Troll and other comics from my online shop and I'll post them to you:


Real Ale Guru said...

As a first time attendee at the grand old age of 53 at a comic con, me and my wife thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and being able to met you in person (thanks for the superb drawings) along with people like John Wagner (what a gentleman) among others was beyond my wildest dreams! I will putting it in my dairy for next year.

Manic Man said...

Good you had fun and sold a lot of comics. The Derek the Troll comic is great and I look forward to the next comic you get printed ^_^

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks, Manic!

Good to meet you and your wife, Real Ale Guru! Glad you enjoyed the day. Yes, John is one of the best. Hope to see you at another show in the future!

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