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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Second Glasgow Comic Convention proves success

Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely at Glasgow Comic Con 2012. Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely at Glasgow Comic Con 2012. Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
David Robertson of Fred Egg Comics reports on a weekend offering a range of big name guests and upcoming comics revelations... Photos kindly provided by Craig Hastie at Comics Anonymous

The second Glasgow Comic Convention moved into two venues this year, giving more room, with small pressers, Waterstones and various signings happening right across the street from The Mackintosh Church at Queens Cross Hall. The event was still a bit tight at times. At one point there was a single line of people that split off to Jim Starlin sketching, a snack / coffee vendor and the toilet.

There were lots of events on, and as with all cons, you had to pick and choose. The first talk I attended was a panel with writers David Bishop, Alan Grant and John Wagner and Multiverse editor Mike Conroy asking the usual questions such as “Why do you think 2000AD has lasted so long?” David Bishop came up with a memorable line, describing the big superhero companies constant representing of their characters and stories as “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic”.

Next was a Cosmic comics talk with artists Rufus Dayglo and Jim Starlin and writer Eddie Deighton. Dayglo swore a lot, which was disconcerting as there were a fair amount of kids in the room. He also was the most politically vocal of all the guests over the weekend, stating his displeasure at Marvel Comics’ poor treatment of Jack Kirby’s estate.

Artist Jim Starlin. Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
Artist Jim Starlin. Photo: Craig Hastie 
of Comics Anonymous
Jim Starlin was asked what he thought of the movies that featured the characters he’d created to which he remarked that he had to pay to see (SPOILER WARNING) Avengers, in which Thanos pops up at the end for 30 seconds. He wryly commented that he could find no fault with it.

During Saturday, attendees were encouraged to vote in the SICBA Awards for small press comics. The books were available to read to help you make your choice, and the winners were announced on Saturday night.

There are always things going on at comics conventions that make you wonder what the connection is to comics. The ICW Wrestlers were in attendance, ostensibly to judge a cosplay competition, but really to stage one of their mock bouts onstage to publicise an event they were holding in Glasgow on Sunday night.

Changes to the schedule meant that after going across the road to see Jim Starlin signing as advertised I found he was actually in the church in the dealers’ hall. Also Mike Ploog and Colin MacNeill did not turn up at all, which was disappointing.

Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison appeared on stage to end Saturday. Maintaining his mystique, Morrison appeared only as he walked onstage. He seemed a bit nervous at first, which was perhaps understandable as he was appearing to his home crowd. Notable in his talk was his statement that in his upcoming revamp of the Charlton Comics characters, he plans to update the storytelling techniques of Watchmen. The example he gave was that instead of having a nine panel grid structure on each page, he would have eight panels. This talk was a lot shorter than advertised so they could move on to a signing session.

Cosplayers at the Con. Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
Cosplayers at the Con. 
Photo: Craig Hastie of 
Comics Anonymous
Sunday was a quieter day from the beginning. It started off with a quiz. Comedian Billy Kirkwood was shouting in order to get the crowd enthused, and asked a organiser if he was allowed to swear. The answer came in the affirmative and it wasn’t long before we’d heard more swearing onstage.

Then came Rufus Dayglo and Karrie Fransman. They were the first comics creators of the weekend to actually talk about making comics, which was great. Specifically, they talked about how they approach the blank page and decide what to put in their stories. Dayglo said he was sick of reading dark superhero stories all the time, and laughingly pointed out a Batman cosplayer off to one side of the stage – “I can see Batman over there giving me the evil eye; “I’ll pull you offstage. I’ll f*** you up”

During John Wagner’s talk he revealed that he can see himself retiring very soon. He said there is one more Judge Death story that he thinks looks really great. Wagner became very enthusiastic when talking about his hobby/small business of keeping chickens and selling eggs around his village.

I quickly ran off to catch up with Frank Quitely, whom I’d first met at Dundee Comics Day last year. He always makes time to encourage small pressers.

Although he wasn’t scheduled to do so, Jim Starlin spent all weekend signing and sketching. In the final talk of the weekend, he revealed that he made up his Warlock stories in the 1970s by sitting down, drawing and making it up as he went along. He also said that when he killed off Robin in Batman, it created lots of publicity, but there was masses of merchandise that featured Robin still in the stores and so Starlin’s name became mud and his DC work dried up in the space of two weeks.

Starlin stated that both his own mother and his mother-in-law are both very ill and this is inspiring him in a direction for a final Dreadstar story. Starlin’s talk was a really great way to end the weekend and when it was over he received an ovation that appeared to make him a bit embarrassed.

The weekend was very enjoyable, and I hope the rumours of a third next year turn out to be true.

Photo: Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous
Craig Hastie, Sha Nazir of Black Hearted Press, Frank Quitely and Jim Stewart 
on stage at Glasgow Comic Con 2012.
Photo courtesy of Craig Hastie of Comics Anonymous

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