Nuge’s guide to the British International Comic Show 2010 – Part 1

So far I have attended every BICS show from their humble beginnings over at the custard factory before their move to the swanky hi-tech Think Tank in Birmingham’s City Centre.

The first BICS I ever attended also doubled as my first or second (I always get it mixed up with Bristol) comic convention.  I didn’t know anywhere near the amount of people I know now but I had a fantastic time  and would heartily recommend folks check this con out if they’ve never been.

As someone who still remembers what it’s like to be a comic con newbie  I did a little countdown series in the run up to the Bristol convention. I figured I would do something similar with the British International Comics Show.

Now this first section has been pretty much lifted from the Bristol Comic Expo Countdown  I did earlier this year but it’s still just as timely if BICS is you’re first comic convention.

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.

BICS Events List

BICS Signing Schedule

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.  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 MCM Expo Comic Village and Thought Bubble) 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!

NUGE’s PICKS

Anyway enough with the con tips onto  things to look for as you head round the Hall. All the dealers I’ve mentioned below can be found in Hall 1. I’ve stuck the table numbers alongside their name to help you find them as their will probably be a floor plan in the show guide. If I get a chance I’ll do hall 2 tomorrow.

I’ve not included some of the big name celebs and dealers are chances are you’re bound to stop by them anyway. I’m just trying to steer you in the direction of some stuff and people that are pretty cool.

BEARDED SKULL COMICS –  Table 117

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

1941, Sir Dexter Kilby; Churchill’s occult adviser, puts together a team to fight the growing supernatural threat of the Nazis. The team are sent to europe to investigate a castle with a sinister reputation.

Think Dirty Dozen meets Indiana Jones and if that sounds up your street then definitely give this comic a look see. The first time I met these fellas they offered me a can of coke to try out their comic (that’s how committed these chaps are).

CANDLEMAN Table  No – 84

Now if this is the same Candleman then this is actually a novel as opposed to a comic but just because you’re at a comic convention shouldn’t stop you from passing this table by. Both Dave and I read and reviewed Candleman and loved it. It’s young adult fantasy with a modern steampunk vibe in the same vein of the Artemis Fowl and Harry Potter so it’s well worth your time.

COMIC HEROES  Table No 72

The new sister magazine to SFX with a focus on all things comics. Yes I know it’s 8.99 but I’ve read two issues now and I think it’s great magazine with a lot going for it.

If you’ve never checked Comic Heroes out before then stop by the table and flick through an issue and let the quality speak for itself.

DARE PRODUCTIONS Hall  Table 90-94, 102 – 105

Adam Hamdy (the writer of the awesome Hunter series) and his team will be there doing filming for the comic book inspired film ‘Pulp’. The guys will be  filming crowd scenes and interviews at BICS to go into the film.

You can find out more about that here and maybe get involved yourself. Also I’m sure the guys will be selling copies of the Hunter series and the recently released Leviathan graphic novel. Both are well worth picking up.

Fetishman – Table 70,71

I’ve never picked up a Fetishman comic (shame on me) though I know dave usually does. If you get the chance and are up for a laugh definitely stop by this stall as these guys are a great laugh and I’ve been told by dave the comic is funny as hell.

GOSH COMICS Tables 16, 17

This is Dave’s place to go for comics in London and whenever I’m in London I always hit these guys up before heading to any other comic shops mainly as they’re stock is genre order which I find works a lot better for me. Really friendly and always helpful so worth popping by to have a word.

Myebook - From the pages of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula': HARKER - click here to open my ebook

MARKOSIA Tables  24 – 25

Pretty much every con I’ve been too there’s usually been a presence from Markosia. I’m guessing either it’s founder Harry Markos either doesn’t sleep or has had himself cloned at some stage in the past. There’s usually something for every taste at their table but my personal fave out of their current stock is the Dracula sequel Harker which is a cool blend of pulp adventure and horror.

SCAR COMICS / DAVID HITCHCOCK Table 87 – 89

This table is usually manned by Shane Chesbey but as he’s one of the driving forces behind BICS I doubt you’ll see much of him there.

I had a long chat with artist David Hitchcock when I stopped by their table at the Bristol expo and was handed Madam Samurai to review and loved. I would sum it up with ‘Jack the Ripper’ meets ‘Mulan’ meets a whole host of old school martial art flicks and I can’t wait for the next volume.

CINEBOOK Tables 28 – 39

If you’ve never read a European comic and have always been interested then you must stop at the Cinebook table. Since I discovered them I’ve never their table without picking up some new comics. They have European comics which cover every genre and the guys on the table know them all. So just stop by tell them what you’re into and they’ll sort you out. My personal faves to look out for are Largo Winch aka ‘What Bruce Wayne would be doing if he wasn’t Batman’, Green Manor aka Tales of the Unexpected given a pulp makeover and The Scorpion ‘Indiana Jones meets the Three Musketeer’

SLEEPLESS PHOENIX COMICS – Table 106

The Sleepless Phoenix—a collective of up-and-coming comics talent from both the UK and the US—was born. While the Comic Book Alliance works to settle the conflict of our publishing contracts, we took the only content that still belongs to us—this anthology.

The book is 192 pages long, black and white, and features all-new content. Creators include Martin Conaghan (Burke & Hare), Ben Bates (Sonic the Hedgehog), Jim Boswell (KiCk!), Peter Forbes (Oz: Fall of the Scarecrow King), and more.

Everyone involved has put their heart and soul into making this anthology a reality and given the story behind who the project came about that is no mean feat. I’m luck enough to know a lot of the people involved and their a great bunch. Stop by and have a look.

Ok I don’t know about you but I’m shattered. I’ll try and do another post tomorrow but if not then I’ll you at BICS!!!

Oh and anyone who knows me who thinks there’s something that should be on this list drop me an email at [email protected] and I’ll see if I can add it on.

GS Reporter: Nuge

Source: BICS

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

3 comments

  1. Andrew @ Gosh /

    Olivier at Cinebook usually does some kind of deep discount deal, too, so always worth checking out.

    Thanks for the plug! I won’t make it to BICS this year: I’m selling comics to the Amazing Meeting crowd in London. But Nat and Josh will be there dispensing comic-y joy.

  2. Can’t make this year’s BICS and I was ok with that until I read this post. Just reading through Nuge’s top tips brought it all back for me, the excitement of meeting your favourite creators, the good times had with friends old and new at the hotel bar and the smell…good lord the smell, remember con crud is for life not just for conventions.

    I’m going to be most gutted about missing out on getting the latest Dexter’s Half-Dozen, great book that I’m really enjoying, guess I’ll just have to ask some nice person to pick one up for me…oh Nuge…

  3. Thanks for the mention! It was good to see you at the weekend and I hope you’re enjoying the books. See you in Leeds.

%d bloggers like this: