It’s nearly a week and a half since the second Cardiff International Comic and Animation Expo so it does feel a little odd posting about it now. But better late than never, right? Basically while the other half of the UK comic scene (and a considerable chunk of the US one) were rubbing shoulders with Stan Lee in London I stayed at here. When there’s a comic convention going on in the City you’ve decided to call home, expanded to a full weekend for its second year no less, it would be rude not to attend.
With zero travel time this was the first ever comic convention I could take my 5 year daughter to, and she absolutely loved it. She joined me and my old friends Simon Wyatt and Chris Lynch on the Markosia table, joined in with some sketching and helping keep track of sales all while dressed as Batgirl. (If she’d come back on Sunday I think she could have teamed up with Toddler Batman to put an end to crime in the principality once and for all).
The crowd, which was much younger and more cosplay focussed than at most other cons, reminded me of previous MCM Expos in London. Saturday was pretty steady and sales for The Interactives, Unbelievable and The Dark (complete with free live short story) were quite good. I also got to see lots of new and old friends, with most of the Cardiff Comics Creators in attendance. The day went past pretty quickly and before you knew it we were hitting the bar….
Waking up at home on a comic convention Sunday morning was a first. And there’s nothing like a small child waking you before 6.30 to shake out a hangover. The second day of the Expo was definitely a lot quieter than the first, but Colin Baker and the world’s most sarcastic Dalek certainly kept the crowds happy. I spent most of the morning psyching myself up for “Never mind the quality” a panel that I had been invited to host. This was the first panel I’d hosted since the Hero 9-5 launch at London MCM Expo in 2010 (I think) and I was pretty nervous beforehand. Being on a panel is me in my comfort zone, give me a room full of people and a platform and I’m as happy as a pig in the proverbial. But hosting is a little different, it requires more planning, more flexibility, more calmness and more general professionalism. The panel was all about quality in UK comics, especially the small press. Did the fact it was easier than ever to self-publish mean that the general quality of comic work had reduced? All things considered I think it went pretty well. Timebomb’s Steve Tanner, who had the original idea for the panel, Michael Carroll and two of my fellow Cardiff Comic Creators Jon Haward and Chris Lynch made for a lively debate. By half an hour in the audience were throwing questions at the panel unprompted, which I decided to take as a good sign. The biggest challenge I had was getting the guys to wrap it up so that the next panel could set up. Needless to say the main message was that the cream of the crop will always rise to the top, but everyone needs some kind of editor (or words to that effect).
I was back in the panel room at 3pm to make an appearance on the other side of the table, this was more of a graveyard shift especially as it ran right up to the Cardiff City’s appearance in the Carling Cup Final. Dan Marshall and Gavin Jones, from The Sidekickcast were our genial hosts and I was joined by Simon and Chris as we talked all things Markosia. We did start slightly late as the mighty Mike Ploog was over running, but we decided to let him off (just this once). Some technical difficulties (PC v Mac) meant we couldn’t show our presentation. This gave me the chance to use my Rain Man like skills to list off all the upcoming Markosia titles (I wish they’d bring back You Bet, I could clean up). We went behind the scenes discussing the process undertaken for our own graphic novels, from the initial idea generation to the books hitting the shelves.
In a flash the weekend was over and stalls were being packed up and people heading home. All in all a well run convention, with a positive vibe and a family atmosphere. My daughter and I are already thinking about CICAE 2013. Here’s hoping we’ll have the full Interactives team in cosplay then.