Cardiff International Comic Expo 2011: A Preview – Part 2

So here we are with one day left until the brand new comic convention the Cardiff International Comic Expo will descend upon us all. As it’s the first major convention in Cardiff I thought it was only right to revive my ‘Con tips for the Con Newbie’ and then round up with some more things I’m looking forward to on the day.

So without any more ado here are a few tip if you’ve never been to a comic convention before. Apologies to those of you who have seen these tips before but I have amended a few of these for the Cardiff Con.

1. Have an idea what you want to do before you.

Before you head to the con it may be worth getting all the panels printed out to bring to have a look at. Chances are there will be a programme guide handed to you on the door but it’s worth having one anyway. You can then  compare them side by side tick those panels you really want to attend and make sure they don’t clash with other panels or signing times. Also as the guide is a pdf if you have a smartphone, itouch or ipad then you can just stick it on one of those bad boys to make things even easier

Cardiff Comic Con Programme Guide

You don’t have to get too anal and make a list of every single thing you want to see and do but just having an idea in your head of some of the things you want to check out can be useful.

2. Creators don’t bite…well most don’t

I know some folks who really want to go up to creators and have a chat with them but for some reason are scared to do so. A  lot of these guys have come in from other countries so this may be your one chance to have a chat and get some insight into your fave creator’s mind, maybe even have a drink with them in the bar later. I’m here to tell you to just go for it as all the creators I’ve gone up to at the cons have been friendly and more than happy to chat to (so long as you don’t go Bat Shit crazy on em) whoever so give it a try and chat to a creator today. A few guys to get you started who are very approachable Paul Cornell,Andi Ewington, Eddie Deighton, Charles Adlard, Rob Williams and Jes Bickham, to name a few. Of course if they punch you in the face don’t mention my name.

3. Don’t spend all your cash on the first con circuit.

The first con I did I made the  rookie mistake of spending pretty much all the cash I had on the first circuit  and then discovering some hidden gems I could no longer afford. Pick a few things up for sure (especially if they don’t have many copies) but it’s always worth hanging onto some cash for the second or third trip round.

Also watch out you don’t spend that beer money either (another classic mistake on my part) you’re going to need it.

4. Don’t be afraid to go Small Press

Whether your a hard core DC or Marvel fan and you’ve never tried a small press title make this your time to give one a try. I still love my Marvel and DC stuff but there is a bucket load of fantastic small press stuff out there waiting for your time and money. Check out some of my picks later on in this post.

5. Bring a small backpack if poss and allow for extra space for the trip home.

You may not be planing to buy a lot but let me tell you once you pick up a few trades, perhaps a model or two that sturdy plastic bag won’t seem quite so sturdy. Having a small backpack is a useful accessory to have. Also remember unless you’ve got a car you’ve got to carry what you’ve bought home so that eight foot cardboard cutout of Power Girl may not be a practical purchase after all.

6. Whiskey please my good fellow!

There’s a lot drinking that goes on at a comic con (not by me of course). No law saying you can’t have a bottle or two of the good stuff  in your hotel room for a few drinks before the evening kicks off (the hotel staff take a dim view of people topping up hip flasks at the bar so try not do it).  Oh and please eat something before hand not like me who seems to think that the Chips fairy is going to appear and drop some much need sustenance in his lap.

6. Bring a Sketch Book and pricing.

If you want sketches then bring a sketch book…nuff said really. Be aware that when asking for sketches some artists will charge and some won’t. The price on this can vary so be aware.

7. Bring reference material if you’re after a specific sketch.

Very useful piece of advice that I’ve fallen foul of. You may think that your fave creator will know exactly how to draw Indiana Jones and Doc Savage kicking Batman’s ass but chances are the conversation will end with he or she saying ‘Doc who?’ So if your desperate for that once in a lifetime sketch then bring along a pic of the character in question. If the creator doesn’t need it then great but is it really worth the risk?

8. You’re not chained to the con

If you’re like me, who can get a little clausterphobic with all the people and what not, a con can be a bit much sometimes. There’s a tendency to just go round and round and round getting more stressed about how busy it is. If you hit that point head to your hotel for a bit and chill out with a new comic, maybe hit the pub for a drink and a snack the con will still be there when you get back I promise and hopefully you’ll be a little less stressed.

9.  Cleanliness is next to godliness…or something like that

There’s a lot of bodies crammed into a typical comic con and it can get HOTTER than Satan’s armpit (hmm does Satan even have armpits I wonder?). Some of you folks thinking you can get away with natural musky scent and no deodorant I say think again people, come prepared to battle the forces of B.O. Also to combat aforementioned heat bring some water (chilled if poss)with you.

10. Post Con Blues

This is a dangerous one. Symptoms include, tiedness, sore legs and feet, dehydration, mood swings and the urge to have long skype/forum conversations which start with ‘Do you remember when this happened?” or “So funny when so and so said this…”. Usually comes on the first day back at work/home after a con. In extreme cases it can cause the victim to suddenly look at the norms in the office and feel the urge to scream’ YOU’RE ALL ASLEEP! WAKE UP AND JOIN ME IN THE WORLD OF COMICS BITCHES!!!’  this is followed by crying and drooling for about ten minutes* and more screaming. This is something you have to ride out and it will pass. If you’re lucky there’s another con around the corner which will help to ease P.C.B (hello Kapow and MCM Expo) but eventually it will catch up with you. There is no cure but be safe in the knowledge that others are suffering and it means congratulations you’ve just survived and hopefully enjoyed your first con!

* times vary depending, on height,weight and age.

Thanks to Dave, Stephen, Cheryl, Simon,Lee and Derek for helping me put this list together. Please feel free to add more tips in the comments section!

Con Pimps of the Day

Ok some more things to look out for from your truly.

Expo Launch Party – Now usually at the Bristol Comic Con, which like the Cardiff Comic Con is also held at a Mercure hotel, comic fans basically take over the hotel for the duration leaving the 5% of regular guests wondering what the hell’s going on (it’s a comic convention my dears didn’t you see the signs?). As a result you get an unoffical launch party for two nights on the trot at Bristol. It’s great time to socialise with friends and other creators. I’ve also heard of a few comic deals being done over a few beers. Anyway at the Cardiff Comic Con they are going one step further and having an official launch party (I know very swanky right?) which will be held in the Mercure hotel. Not only will there be a private bar for Expo ticket holders but also food and live music from Jam with Robina talk about getting a shed load of bang for your buck! As I’m also staying in the Mercure it means I don;t have to stagger too far when it’s time for bed at 4am.

Myebook - Dexter's Half Dozen Ashcan 2009 - click here to open my ebook

North Africa 1941, Sir Dexter Kilby; Churchill’s occult adviser, puts together a team to fight the growing supernatural threat of the Nazis.
Sergeant Freeman of the newly formed S.A.S is drafted in to lead the rag tag group of criminals and misfits of the British army.

The team’s mission is to rescue one of Britain’s top spies from the Nazis occult stronghold at Wewelsburg castle. An impenetrable mountain top fortress deep in the heart of Germany. Little do they know that the Nazis are in league with an ancient vampire of unimaginable power.

If you’re a fan of Indiana Jones and The Dirty Dozen then you should head over toe the Bearded Skull Comics team and pick up a few issues of Dexter’s Half Dozen. A great read with some good old fashioned pulp style action.

11.30am Matt Savage : Concepts to ScreenMatthew Savage is a concept/storyboard artist and director working in the film and television industry. Matthew concept artist credits included The Dark Knight, Prince of Persia, The Wolf Man, Kick-Ass and the forthcoming X-Men: First Class.Matthew has worked on many projects in Wales including the 2005 re-design of the Daleks for Doctor Who and has directed all his short films in and around Cardiff including Reign of Death starring Noel Clarke.

Matt sent me a copy of Reign of Death and it was a great slice of sci-fi noir. As you can see from the blurb above Matt’s had his fingers in a lot of pies so this should make for a really interesting panel.


1.00pm Cornell on Comics: Paul Cornell talk comics with Knight & Squire artist JimmyBroxton. Paul’s rise within the comics world has made him one of the hottest writers around having taken on the Fantastic Four, & Captain Britain at Marvel before taking over Action Comics @ DC and finding the time to tackle Batman!

A Paul Cornell panel is always a lot of fun and you’ll get a lot of insights into the world of Marvel & DC as well as the man himself. Well worth a look see if your a fan of Paul’s work.

Dalen Books – I’ve now idea that their comics are like but I love the idea behind them. The purpose behind Dalen Books, a small publisher based in West Wales, is to adapt some of the best European graphic novels into Welsh and English. Some of the titles they have for sale on their site include faves such as Tintin and Lucky Luke. Personally I liked the look of Druids and Arthur the Legend. I also really liked Ofnau Tywyll: Y Meirw Byw but it looks like at the moment it’s only available in Welsh I’ve developed a big love for European Comics over the years so I hope I get to swing by their table.

So that’s it from me I’m off to pack. If you get a chance swing by my table and pick up a copy of the first issue of the comic adapataion of my novel Fallen Heroes. I’ll also be on a panel with Fallen Heroes artist Steve Penfold at 1:45pm to chat about the adaptation with the Sidekickcast guys.

Plug over, see you at the con!

GS Reporter: Nuge

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