Saturday, September 23, 2017

Preston Comic Con

A Day Out with Friends

Hi Everyone,

Well, a few weeks ago I was invited along to the Preston Comic Convention, as a guest by Darren Wildman one of the organisers – not an official guest as usual, but one just visiting. I had originally said I would try my best to get along to it.

However as the time got nearer I decided that although still lots to do on Worlds End Volume 2 – I needed a break. Conventions are not breaks or us comic creator folks on our jollies despite them being enormous fun; they are in actual fact also an enormous amount of work to get ready for and to take part in. This one, however saw me just visiting for a change.

Today took my back 30+ years to the heady days of UKCAC, which at the time was the only UK comic convention taking place annually in London and it also harked back to my final convention Bristol 1999, soon after, which I left comics behind for a while, until my return with my then new company, Wizards Keep.

I travelled the 15 or so miles to Preston from my home and met up first with Dave Windett. We had a great time chatting about the comics scene, conventions and arranging for a visit to the FAU course, as we sat drinking coca cola in the Yates Bar on Church Street.

Moving on I made my way to the Convention and once inside, the packed to the rafters show, met up with Michael Barrett, the writer and creator of Invincible Books and the writer of Preston North End: Rise of the Invincibles. He had a stall in the Guild Hall.

First up was Dave Taylor, and his wife and daughter whom I briefly chatted to, before who should I meet, but another mate and comic con organiser, Dennis Whittle and his wife Sarah. We chatted for an age and then as they dashed off I spoke to Martin Griffiths. Martin and I go way back to his first Marvel job in the Christmas Transformers Issue of December 2006 and we hadn’t seen each other for a good few years, although we occasionally speak here on the web.

Next up was, John Higgins, whom I hadn’t seen since Bristol 1999. My memory of that convention’s Saturday night was a skin-ful of drink and the breakfast the morning after at which John and I sat on opposite tables. I remember asking how he felt and he said fine – he returned the question and he got the same answer. The shared smile told the real story – my trusty bags of sugary sweets came to the rescue at that convention. We were joined by Darren and the usual banter ensued. John asked me if I was sticking around after con and I said I would do, yes.

Next up was Phil Winslade, again, whom I hadn’t seen in years, but is a regular with me on Facebook.  It was whilst chatting with Phil that Adrian Salmon another visiting comic creator like me came over to chat. He told me he was going along to speak with Lew Stringer and I said I would join him shortly. Like the previous guests I have mentioned Phil and I righted the world of comics and then I looked at the time and realised I had put in money at the car park at Avenham Park for four hours and I had just shy of 20 minutes, left.

So rushing to ask how long Lew and Adrian were staying off I dashed back to put another four hours’ worth in the meter. Upon my return I went and spent time chatting with Lew and Adrian and then as the convention began to unwind I flitted between all the aforementioned guests for more catch ups.

After everyone had left I spent a little time with the organisers chatting and told them how much fun I had had and thanked them for asking me along again. Farewells wished until Blackburn Comic Con I made my way back to the car.

It is only a stone’s throw to the Holiday Inn hotel from the car park, so I was soon in the company of John and his wife and Martin and his wife too.

The rest of the time was spent with these two fantastic comic creators and it was like no time had gone by since those Marvel UK days. I had a fantastic time and I am so glad I took a little time out for myself away from the pressures of deadlines. I have been saying several times this week how I am feeling tired at the moment with the current workload, so today was the best move I could have made. I still feel tired and in need of a recuperation period, but I also feel re-invigorated, especially after all the kind words I have I listened to about my work with them and especially my current work on Worlds End from my peers, which means the world to me.

What a terrific day out amongst friends and what a privilege to be able to say that too.

In fact, a day so good, I took not one photo.

Thanks everyone for your company today, I am taking a little time this evening to read the books from Martin, John, Adrian and Lew – tomorrow, as much painting as I can muster.

See you all again soon.

Until next time, have fun!

September 23rd 2017

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