Last weekend was one of the highlights of the geek calendar; smack in the centre of Birmingham was the International Comics Expo (I.C.E), and in a time where ‘Comic-con’ usually means cosplay, TV, movies and the guy who played Stormtrooper number 3 signing photos of Stormtrooper number 3 to fans of Stormtrooper number 3, an event completely dedicated to comics is a rare treat.
Me and my collaborator and friend Jonny Pearson were there, representing our label ‘Damn Dirty Comics’ as we launched print copies of our mental health biopic horror comic ‘Damnation: Ultimate Edition’ and excitement was high, as despite being on book number 5, this was only my 2nd ever convention appearance (I’ve been very vocal in the past over how disappointing the 1st event was). What followed was a pleasant surprise, sales were high, visitors we’re chatty and engaging, and the organisers made sure the event ran like clockwork! Even indie project writer Olly MacNamee and High Priestess artist Shunaid Sawyers swung buy our table for an impromptu signing session.
The guest list was mightier than ever, with Judge Dredd creators John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra signing together, Andy Diggle (Green Arrow, The losers), Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead) Al Davison (The Spiral Cage, Hellblazer) and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, Kingsman) were among the seemingly endless list of industry legends who were signing throughout the day, all of whom as friendly and pleasant as they are talented. While I should’ve been manning the Damn Dirty Comics table I did sneak off at times to meet some of the stars!
Now the real highlight of the day was some of the great indie talent, the majority of them
were the nicest people I’d ever met, and as I’ve said in the past, it is always joyous for small press talent to stand side-by-side rather than see each other as competition. I had the pleasure of meeting a powerful array of talent including Sammy Borras (Giant Rhinos in Space, Misc-Fits) Dave McCluskey (Damaged Comics), Neil Sambrook (Fly Comics) Matthew Craig (Newstreet) The Post-Mortem team (check out their kickstarter if you’re a horror fan) the hilarious James McCulloch (Geeky Comics) with a t-shirt that really separates the men from the boys, . And also discovered Rich Carrington (Hardline Comics) who was launching the trade paperback of his comedic comic ‘The Guys’, apologies to anyone I forgot, and I’m gutted I didn’t have chance to visit All-Knights and Time-Bomb comics. But expect reesyreviews of a fistful of these titles in the future, they’ve all been a joy to read.
So overall it was a great day, as a comic book fan and comic book creator I could not have asked for more. Shane Chebsey was the man behind the event, and was a most gracious host, even coming around the tables so say hi to everyone. What a guy. But yeah, all I can say is, if you’re into comics, be sure to catch as many comics-focused events like this, and if you want a peek into the industry, the comics uncovered event the day after is prefect for you. The next one I’ll be at is the awesome Leamington comic con where I’ll be crossing a goal off my bucket list by being on a panel with small press legends Stu Perrins, Neil Sambrook and Matthew Craig! Come say hi, we’ll have comics!
P.S local artist the pXd gave me an incredible peiece of art! thank you so much for that, it was incredible (its also the cover to high priestess #3, go check it out readers!)