Back in one piece from the London Super Comic Convention. Yet again, it had a great guest list, it was well organised, busy, varied and seven kinds of delightful, many thanks to George and all the LSCC team for looking after me. I like LSCC, everyone seems to have a good time, it's more about the comics and artists instead of TV and Film guests, and the staff brought me free water. I'm easily pleased really, some other cons leave me to dehydrate, LSCC kept me watered and I got to chat to Neal Adams. I was happy.
I travelled up with John Watson, I'm sure his blog post about the event will include blatant exaggerations on the poor quality of my driving, but the fact remains we arrived there safe after only 8 short hours of solid driving. This was a great opportunity to chat about projects, which we actually did for a while before the task of navigating central London took over all our energy.
We'd booked into the Ibis hotel this year, which is right next to the west entrance of the Excel centre. Unfortunately the Excel centre is 5.3 miles long (That is a fact. Don't check it.) and LSCC was being held near the east end of the centre. so walking the entire length of it carrying heavy boxes of prints, art and brochures was life threateningly difficult. Fortunately due to a personal regime of diet and exercise I was able to make it. John struggled but I carried the heavier stuff and jogged ahead of him clearing a path.
After setting up the table Saturday morning, the legendary artist Neal Adams came over and introduced himself and had a quick, friendly chat. I nearly passed out with joy. Neal Adams is an all time great, just being in the same country as him is pretty exciting, so having him come over and chat basically made the entire convention worthwhile. This was within the first ten minutes of getting there. LSCC is great. I mumbled something to Neal about how awesome he was, John bailed us out by asking a coherent question about when Adams worked with Lou Fine at Johnstone and Cushing.
I was at LSCC this year in an attempt to sell a few prints and to host a Jack Kirby panel. The panel was on the first day, so I had the morning to sell prints while John sat sketching and selling art. I'd done a portrait of Jack Kirby in the style of Shephard Fairey's Obama HOPE poster that I thought might look nice framed on the wall of a Kirby fans home. On the Saturday John did marginally better than me for sales, for every one of my prints, he sold about 40 sketches. That is to say that in total on Saturday he sold about 40 sketches, you do the math. It's possible I need to work on my selling technique.
I did get distracted looking round, there was a particularly good selection of comic retailers selling cheap books and I find it very hard to resist buying old comics when they are cheap, despite the fact I already have a house full of them and a nasty habit of buying the same issue repeatedly.
The panel came round at 14:45, I'd called it "Return of the King" because Kirby was often called the "King of Comics" and I wanted to concentrate a bit on the recent upsurge in interest in Kirby due to the settlement between the Kirby Estate and Disney/Marvel and all the successful films being made that feature his characters. Also, I couldn't think of a better name than last year's "You Don't Know Jack" and a Lord of the Rings reference was the best I could manage. If you're not familiar with Jack Kirby, visit the Jack Kirby Museum website and you won't be sorry!
It was originally going to be just me in a smaller room, possibly one of the cupboards, but when Jonathan Ross, Tim Seeley and Dave Gibbons agreed to do it too we got bumped up to a large panel room and it was standing room only. It was actually a really great panel, a really good chat about the King of comics Jack Kirby by three very knowledgeable and articulate people and one overweight poet. I pretended everyone in the audience was there to see me though and so I had a great time. I expected Tim and Dave to know their stuff, and they did, but Jonathan Ross really held his own too, if you only think of him as a chat show host and general trouble causer, then you should know he has also written successful comicbooks and had some interesting opinions to contribute to the panel, it was a really, really good chat, I didn't really have to do a great deal, I just sat and enjoyed it, and I had a better seat than anyone else.
Dave Gibbons had a lovely story about why his “grail” Kirby piece is a story called Space Garbage, you'll have to find a video of the panel online to find out why.
For the rest of the con people were coming up to me to say how great it was, and they were right, it was great, massive thanks to Dave, Tim and Jonathan for providing the quality content. There's some nice photos of the panel by Van Norris photography posted here.
Saturday night was good fun, often the best part of comic convention is the evening, I ended up at the Aloft hotel bar chatting to people about Kirby and comics, one young man called Billy (not Danny as previously reported, sorry Billy!) had an enthusiasm for Kirby that very nearly restored my faith in the survival of future generations. Once we escaped the thumping music of the Aloft hotel bar, a few of us escaped to a quieter bar to play the “what sketch would you ask for?” from nominated artists, a game you can only play with people who really know their comic artists, and Mick, Rich, Biff, Nigel and Larry held their own despite some very obscure names being thrown in the pot.
After a sound night's sleep unhampered by anyone snoring, Sunday at LSCC was very enjoyable too, the last day is always better as retailers start to worry they might have to take all those heavy comic boxes home and begin to lower their prices. I stole a few minutes to pick up some gifts for my three daughters, it's always nice to take something home from a con, my only regret for this year at LSCC was that I didn't really get to chat to many other guests, but as I'm now a full time poet and artist, I have to take opportunities to make money where I can get them because I've chosen a career that is 400 years out of date and quite likely to lead to starvation.
Talking of starvation, all I had to eat on Sunday was half a polo mint and a Pain au chocolat from the Excel food court that cost £83 and was the size of a thimble, we did finally get a Subway at about 8pm when we picked up my daughter on the way home but by then I was nearly blind from hunger. I must take a packed lunch next time I do a comic convention.
So a great con, LSCC always manages to get just about everything spot on, looking forward to going next year. There's a blog post here by Andrew May about the panel, and there are some items online you can buy featuring the print I was selling at LSCC here. If anyone reading this spots an online video of the Kirby panel, can you send me a link? Thanks!