This year's 2D Comics Festival in the UK's 2013 City of Culture, Derry-Londonderry, was the largest comics event ever held in Northern Ireland. With talks and work shops in the days running up to the weekend, the weekend itself had a family friendly cosplay event and a free comics fair during the day at the city's Millennium Forum plus evening talks in Sandino's Bar.
Organised as it has been for each year since 2007 by the Verbal Arts Centre (above), it has outgrown the 19th century former school and so this was first year that 2D has moved from its spiritual home, and into the much larger Millennium Forum theatre and conference centre also just within the city's defensive walls. This year the Verbal Arts Centre building was retained for an exhibition of local artist Will Simpson's film and television work including that on the biggest TV series to be filmed in Northern Ireland, Game Of Thrones.
The Millennium Forum (below) is a much more modern building with considerably more room to move around and generally be able to breathe. Built to cope with the hilly section of the city where the old wall actually runs beneath a road, the building has multiple levels with the main doors being, disconcertingly, at the top.
The Ballad of Half Hanged McNaghten, while artist Kevin Logue (right) drew attendees as zombies.
There are more details of all Uproar Comics publications on their website.
There are more details of Tim Stampton's work on his website.
Also from the Republic of Ireland, yet a familiar face at UK conventions, was writer Maura McHugh. As well as books and plays, Maura writes two title's for Dublin's Atomic Diner comics, Roisin Dubh and Jennifer Wilde. The third and concluding issue of Jennifer Wilde was hot of the presses, as Maura shows above, while the third issue of Roisin Dubh is due imminently.
There are more details of all Maura's work on her website which includes her own thoughts on 2D 2013.
Back north of the border and Belfast artist Davy Francis who worked on IPC's Monster Fun and Oink as well as a wide variety of Northern Ireland small press zines. Like most of the artists at 2D Davy was providing quick sketches for free and here he provides one young fan with a image of Spiderman.
There are more details of Davy Francis' work on the Irish Comics Wiki.
Sitting beside Davy was Welsh artist Mike Collins perhaps best known these days for his Doctor Who work including the two Dalek graphic novels published by BBC Books. Here he is sketching an unusual mix of the eleventh Doctor and Dan Dare.
There are more details of Mike's work on his website.
Perfect Spiral name. One of Gary's latest titles is the fourth Doctor and Leela episode of IDW's Doctor Who: Prisoners Of Time, while his own project, Roller Grrrls, skates closer to publication.
There are more details of Gary's work on the Scotch Corner blog and the Perfect Spiral website.
However why ask him to sketch Hulk or Wolverine when he was also the first artist on Captain Britain in Marvel UK's Captain Britain Weekly in October 1976?
There are more details of Herb's work on the Marvel Comics Database.
Artists and writers Emma Vieceli (left) and Kate Brown (right) were also there promoting, amongst other things, Emma's work on The Avalon Chronicles and Kate's work on The Phoenix. They decided that as downthetubes is a serious blog that they should do a serious pose - and this was one serious pose...
There are more details of Emma's work on her website and Kate's work on her website.
(With thanks to both Emma and Kate for being good sports and agreeing to let us run these photos)
Yet these photos seem sum up the friendly and fun atmosphere of 2D for both the guests and the punters. That is the sort of atmosphere that organiser David Campbell and his team set out to achieve each year and, once again, in 2013 they have achieved it.
There is more information on 2D, the Northern Ireland Comics Festival, on the the 2D website and Facebook page.