Yesterday morning I embarked on a pleasant rail journey from Redhill to Bristol Temple Meads in order to attend the Comic Expo. I decided to go to this one as a punter rather than a puntee. Steve and his girlfriend Nikki met me there and together we three tackled the delights on offer across the two convention sites.
The Small Press part of the show was, as last year, hosted at the Mercure. I was pleased to see the visitor count seemed well up on last year. We made a beeline for the Futurequake & Zarjaz! stall where Steve was delighted to see lots of his work on display, including this by now pretty famous Rogue Trooper pinup:
Bolt-01 had brought along the inked version of his second Crusader story which Steve and I were extremely pleased with. The strip will be out next year in Massacre For Boys: Back In Action and promises to be something special. We also chatted with Richmond Clements about his upcoming work and also regarding the possibility of MFB making a debut at next year's Hi-Ex.
There was also time to swing by the Bearded Skull stand to see how our old table neighbours from last year have been getting on. Pretty well it seems judging by the two new issues of Dexter's Half Dozen, one of which I picked up to enjoy later.
Back at the Ramada for the mainstream stuff, my personal highlight was the Pat Mills panel session on Requiem: Vampire Knight:
Pat is a great speaker and I found his passionate enthusiasm for British comics in the European tradition to be highly persuasive. My own interest in working for Marvel or DC is zero, so I am totally on board for steering clear of the American market. It was especially great to see him as I'd missed his Unicon appearances, much to my own disappointment. I didn't know very much about Requiem before this event but I was sufficiently intrigued to buy the first two Panini volumes immediately afterwards, which Pat was kind enough to sign.
Curiously, despite all the SFX / Comic Heroes posters everywhere we didn't see hide nor hair of the magazines themselves... very odd and a shame as I am quite interested in the Alan Moore interview the are trailing for the new Comic Heroes. The poster for issue one did contain a thumbnail of the infamous Fridge Magnets, ensuring Steve was represented in both hotels:
Even more curiously, indy-kids Markosia proudly proclaimed themselves as "Britain's leading graphic novel publishers" which may have come as a surprise to Rebellion, three tables down.
On that bombshell it was time to give up and go home. Tremendous fun, will definitely be back next year, although as a punter or puntee I am not yet sure.