Monday, May 16, 2011

Bristol International Comic and Small Press Expo - Part 1

This past weekend was spent at the annual Bristol International Comic and Small Press Expo - as I've said previously it was the first time I'd attending both days and, for me, this years Expo was one of the most enjoyable I've attended.

The event, which is staged across two neighbouring hotels, had just about everything any comic book fan could look for: loads of writers and artists chatting, signing and sketching; numerous dealers with longbox after longbox of bargain back issues (I managed to fill a big whole in my Daredevil collection); table upon table of generously discounted collected editions; a full programme of panels and screenings; some fantastic and unique items of apparel (particularly from the lovely folks at Genki Gear); new title launches; Cosplay; Expo Exclusives and not forgetting, at the Ramada Hotel, the now legendary 'Expo lunch pack'.

['... Move along ... move along' - car parking couldn't have been easier at BICSPE 2011!]

This week I'm looking forward to posting a number of short features about my visit to the Expo - some of the people I met; details of some of the [indie] books I picked up and I'll post a couple of the fantastic sketches that I came away with.

I think maybe one of the reasons I enjoyed this years event so much was that, for the first time, I had a 'base' for the weekend - somewhere to leave my bags; take a rest when my legs were feeling like I'd walked for miles and watch the crowds go by ...

Back in February or March of this year I received a very generous invitation from friend of Escape from Tomorrow Simon Breeze to accompany him to the Bristol Expo where he was launching the first collected edition of his comic JessieKane.

As you'd expect I was delighted to accept Simon's invitation and I really enjoyed the book launch and chatting with public and comic-professionals alike. At one point, with Simon busy chatting with one of the independent-publishers in attendance, I even managed to sell a couple of limited-edition prints on Simon's behalf with the buyer mistaking me for the writer/artist - I'm still not sure what I'd have done had he asked me to sign them!

We were based for the weekend at the Small Press Expo which was held at the Mercure Holland House Hotel in Bristol, just a short 4 or 5 minute walk from the Ramada City Hotel which hosted the 'mainstream' Expo. From the moment the doors opened in the morning to pretty much the end of the day around 5pm there was a wave of people coming and going through the two venues and, I was pleased to see for all the exhibitors in attendance, people were doing more than just 'window shopping'.

Congratualtions and thanks for another hugely successful Bristol Expo have to go to Mike at Fantasy Events UK and his fantastic team - I'm already looking forward to next year!