Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Enniskillen Comic Fest: "It's all about the comics!"

Belfast City airport, Thursday 4th May.
So many people made Enniskillen Comic Fest a fantastic event to attend, so my apologies if I've missed anyone out. From the day I arrived in Northern Ireland last Thursday to the moment I left on Sunday afternoon, the hospitality of organiser Paul Trimble and his team was warm and welcoming and once again it was a pleasure to be there. To use Paul's catchphrase, "It's all about the comics", and Enniskillen Comic Fest is 100% devoted to comics of all kinds.

It's events like the Comic Fest that keep the comics community alive and buzzing, and it was great to see old friends and meet new people. Thanks to everyone for a great weekend; Nigel Parkinson, Nika Nartova, Phil Boyce, Ian Richardson, Steve MacManus, Alan Hebden, Sue Grant, Alan A. Grant, John Wagner, Kathryn Kitty McGowan, Carlos Ezquerra, Joanne Alexander, Katie O'Kane, Jenika Ioffreda, Davy Francis, David Mc Donald, David Campbell, Mark Kenyon, Dan Cornwell, Yanick Paquette,  Andy Boal, Pieter A. Bell, the immaculately well behaved Class P9 and their teacher and many more!

My only regret is that I didn't take many photos but here's a few from over the four days I was away...
The plane that got me there.

I flew over on Thursday, as the organisers wanted us to settle in and relax before we had things to do the next day. I was met at Belfast City airport by Paul Trimble, and then we set off to Belfast International to pick up Carlos Ezquerra who'd had a long flight from Spain. Then Paul drove us to Enniskillen where we met up with some of the other guests and it was time to freshen up and go out for a slap up feed and a few drinks with the Beano's Nigel Parkinson (Dennis the Menace and more), and Nika Nartova (Beano colourist), along with ex-Tharg, Steve MacManus, who I hadn't seen since the 1990s, and writer Alan Hebden at his first comic con!

Next day (Friday 5th May), Nigel, Nika, and I were driven to a local school to give a talk about the basics of comics and working on the Beano! The class were extremely well behaved and very attentive. After our talk, we did quick sketches for as many of the children as we could, then we were driven back to our hotel.
Nigel Parkinson drawing Gnasher for attentive schoolkids.

The Comic Fest held a special 2000AD 40th Anniversary evening on Friday, with guest creators being interviewed, but as Nigel, Nika, and I don't meet up very often we went out for a meal. I met up with some of the other guests and attendees later though and it sounds like they enjoyed the 2000AD event. 

The Comic Fest itself opened on Saturday morning and ran from 10am until 6pm. The venue this time was in the grounds of Enniskillen Castle, with guests and exhibitors spread throughout several buildings. It seemed a little quiet to start with but it soon picked up and we were very busy all day, meeting readers, drawing sketches, and selling our comics. I took a few snaps as we set up but didn't have time to hang around for long as people wanted sketches! This was one of the busiest events for me since last year.
The Heritage Centre at Enniskillen Castle.
Those crazy Beano people Nika and Nigel in the Heritage Centre.
My table before things got busy!
Inside the Visitor Centre as it started to get busy.
Dredd costumes on display.
After the show, Nigel, Nika, Alan Hebden, and I walked back to the hotel to stretch our legs, calling in Granny Smiths pub halfway for a quick drink, that has furniture fixed upside-down on the ceiling, similar to that great Steve Ditko cover to Amazing Spider-Man No.24! "Spider-Man Goes Mad!". No, it wasn't the drink. Here's the proof...

That evening, the Comic Fest laid on another meal for us and it was time to relax in another pub (Blakes) and mingle with the attendees and other guests. A great night in the company of Sue Grant, Katie O'Kane, Carlos Ezquerra, Cam Kennedy and his wife, and later a table hop to hang out with Phil Boyce, Ian Richardson and Yanick Paquette for more laughs. It was brilliant to finally meet Phil Boyce (blogmaster of The Oink! Blog). This was his first comics convention and he couldn't have chosen a better event!
With Phil Boyce, Ian Richardson, and Yanick Paquette.
Next morning it was time for everyone to check out of the hotel and head home. The weather had been gloriously sunny every day, making it feel more like an event in the South of France than the Emerald Isle. The Enniskillen Comic Fest had been a great experience and a successful weekend. My thanks again to all the organisers for putting on the show and for the invite.
Nigel Parkinson, Nika Nartova, Alan Hebden enjoying the sunshine.
For more info on the festival, visit:

Phil Boyce has posted a review of Comic Fest over on his Oink! Blog, complete with lots of photographs. Click on the link below:

Photo © Phil Boyce 2017.


Phil Boyce said...

I'll hopefully get my write-up completed tonight, it really was a superb day and Paul did a magnificent job with it! I really look forward to attending some more, though they'll have a tough job trying to follow this one, especially as this was "All About The Comics". Great to meet you too Lew and thanks very much for the kind words. That photo still feels rather surreal as I look at myself surrounded by you all, I still can't quite believe that happened, but what a brilliant laugh. I won't look at Captain America the same way ever again lol!

Oh and the pub with the furniture was Granny Annie's :)

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks, Phil! I'll update my post with that info.

Great event, wasn't it? Apparently some were in the pub until 4.30am!

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