Nottingham Comic Con

We’d been waiting for Nottingham Comic Con for ages to come around. Originally we were going as punters and helping Kev. We were going to take the video camera and do some interviews but things sort of spiralled out of control.

About two months before comic con we were preparing for the first radio show and asked Kev if he wanted to do an interview about organising comic con. He agreed to do this and as it got nearer to record the radio show we asked him if he’d like to join the Geek Force and be part of the discussion on Back to the Future which he was more than happy to do.

After recording the show it transpired that a PA was needed for the panels and musicians
playing at comic con. Kev also wanted to know any local musicians who we’d recommend (myself, Gary and Andy are also in a band so have a few contacts that proved useful). We told Kev he could use our PA that would be fine.

Contacting NG Digital

Kev had contacted NG Digital about them interviewing people at the convention. They IMG_0260were interested to do this but for various reasons didn’t get back to Kev again. At some point we decided that we’d do the interviews. Andy has all the equipment to record so it seemed the best thing to do as this meant we could record a Geek Force Hour of Power Nottingham Comic Con Special. Kev said we could have a table. Andy agreed he would sort all the sound levels out for the panel and the musicians.

I didn’t know how the interviews were going to work but what I did know is that I had to do research on the artists attending. So I went through the flyer and made myself aware of all the guests which were appearing. I hadn’t known this much about comic book artists and writers since I was at school.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Myself, Gary and Phil have and still do buy comic books. When Gary and I were children we used to get a lot of different British comics. The usual Beano and Dandy but also 2000AD, Eagle and Scream. For some bizarre reason we still have a lot of these comics and we will share them with you on the website in the future. We also have a lot of American comics between us so Comic Con is always interesting for us to see what comics are being sold and what artists from our childhood will be there.

The first year we went to Nottingham Comic Con we met Lee Sullivan who had been someone who we loved the artwork of in the Transformers comic when we were children; especially Gary for whom it was like meeting a childhood hero. We also met Marc Laming that first year, and the 2nd year at Comic Con we got to look after his stall and sell a few prints of his while he was talking at a panel.

An Eclectic Mix

So it was going to be interesting to see who we might meet this year. I read through everyone who was attending and a few people stood out. There was Jeff Anderson, who had been another Transformers comic artist and also been involved with the Spiderman and Zoids comic, also The Etherington Brothers who have done a wide range of children’s comics and Christopher Wildgoose (I was interested in purchasing the graphic novel Porcelain which he’d created).

By the Monday before the comic con Kev sent me a list of the panels so we knew who was talking at them. Because we were recording the panels I thought I’d be selective with the interviews. The Etherington Brothers were talking at a panel so I decided not to follow them up because of time restraints. I did contact Chris Wildgoose and he said he would do an interview, but did say he was appearing at a panel. I also contacted Andy Fairhurst, an artist who I had met at the comic con the year before. His poster designs at amazing. I thought it would be good to interview him. They both agreed to do the interviews.

Creating My Costume

Before we actually get to the comic con I should tell you that for about the last three IMG_0259months I’d been putting together a Marty Mcfly costume attend the event in. This was the 1985 Marty from Back to the Future, with the denium jacket and “life preserver”. I thought it would be good as this would tie in with the 21st October 2015 Back to the Future date a few days before. Gary was going as David Tennant’s Doctor Who. We also got T-Shirts made for everyone with the Geek Force logo on it (which are available to buy – shameless plug!).

The Big Day Arrives!

Saturday 24th October 2015 finally came around. Phil and Andy got to Nottingham Trent Conference Centre at 7.30am to set up. As usual Gary and I were late and didn’t get there until 8.30am. Andy had set up all the PA the night before. Unfortunately Kev had taken the mics home and forgotten to bring them back. Luckily I had brought two of mine with me, I always say never be without two mics on you and today that paid off!

Gary sorted out his mic being brought from home so we had enough with the one Andy had bought. So we were all good in the hood for recording the panels.

Phil had bought his Nintendo and Sega console with him so people could play retro games there. We also bought a Rubik’s cube for people to try the Rubik’s cube challenge.

We had a quick look around before it opened. I spoke to Andy Fairhurst and Chris IMG_0268Wildgoose about the interviews and they were up for them. I also purchased Porcelain off Chris and he signed it for me and drew an amazing picture for me. I also got Marc Lamings 5th Sketchbook which he signed.

First up for us to record was Holly Smith. A very bubbly girl who sang her own songs and threw in a cover of Teenage Dirt Bag. She was very entertaining.

The First Panel

Next up was Panel One, which consisted of Piers Baker, Roger Langridge and Robin Etherington. Before the panel began myself and Phil started talking to Robin. He’d got into Nottingham the day before and said he was had been to Game City in Hockley of Nottingham. He’d been playing all the old games. Robin said that Nottingham had got such a variety of activities going on. He was living in Bristol and there was nothing like the amount of premises playing music like Rock City. We then got into a conversation about Portsmouth which was a club he’d supported in the early noughties when he’d lived there, IMG_0283just at the time Harry Rednap took them to the Premiership. He then got dragged away to do the Panel.

I won’t say too much about the panels but they are entertaining and you will be able to view them on our website at some point. Just a brief summary of the panel it consisted of: Piers Baker who creates Ollie and Quentin, Roger Langridge who is best known for Fred the Clown, and Robin from the Etherington Brothers who writes and illustrates Long Gone Don and many others.

We then had the next panel which was Jeff Anderson, Adrian Salmon and Vincent Hunt. I’ve already mentioned Jeff Anderson earlier but Adrian Salmon as done everything from 2000AD to Dr Who Magazine and even Big Finish audio CD covers. Vincent created The Red Mask from Mars.

A Musical Interlude

Next up was another musician, this time Jamie Beau who had been recommended to Kev by Andy. Jamie was outstanding and if he’s playing near you or you can find him on YouTube or Soundcloud he is well worth a listen.

We quickly set up for Panel 3 for ILYA, Robert Deas and WJC. I only heard the start of this and then had went to do some vox pops with Gary so I will look forward to watching this panel when we edit it for the website.

The vox pop interviews which Gary did were with the guys from Madius Comics. This wasIMG_0271 very entertaining. If you haven’t read any Madius Comics then you should. I was a novice to their output but this is because they only set up in February this year. They have a range of comics which they are producing. There titles they produce are Average Joe, Ramlock Investigates and Papercuts and Inkstains. It is well worth checking their website out and buying some of their comics.

Next we interviewed members of the public, the Hellfire Harlots – The Nottingham Roller Derby Girls, Paige and Holly -  and Jodie Baker from Treat Kitchen – the Nottingham sweet shop on Wheeler Gate – which I bought sours from, these are sweets which are coated with a sour flavour that blows your head off, once you have sandpapered your tongue and got through the layer of sour it becomes a nice tasting sweet, for anyone who likes to play tricks on friends these sweets are for you. These interviews will be able to listen to on our Hour of Power Show.

Speaking To Andy Fairhurst

After the third panel I went to speak to Andy Fairhurst to interview him about his art work. If you have not seen Andy’s pieces then you must check out his website. I think he’s amazing. I met him at last year’s Nottingham Comic Con, which had been his first ever comic con. He’d come back again for more. You can hear more from Andy on the interview we did, but I will put on record that I am a huge fan of his alternate movie posters art and have quite a few.

The final panel was Duncan Fegredo, Marc Laming and Chris Wildgoose. Duncan Fegredo is best known for drawing Hell Boy. He is a big draw to be at Nottingham Comic Con (no pun intended). It’s like having Paul McCartney at V Festival. Marc Laming has worked on everything! I have mentioned him earlier in the blog, he’s very funny and full of stories, and with Chris Wildgoose making up the trio it was a very entertaining panel which was over all too quickly.

After the last panel the final musician took to the stage. This was Emma Bladen-Jones who myself and Gary have seen many times before and had recommended. She is very talented with a great voice.

The comic con was almost over now and guests were packing up. I had spoken to Robin and Lorenzo earlier about an interview and they were happy to do this. I thought they would be great as they are both entertaining and intelligent people. Lorenzo was going to carry on packing away while Robin did the interview. The full interview will be available soon. I can tell you though that it was a pleasure to talk to Robin. He loves what he’s doing and it’s nice to meet someone who is enthusiastic about his work and working with his brother. I heartily advise you to track them down online at their blog and purchase their books. They are brilliant.

Ending a Wonderful Day

The day went quickly. We didn’t get much time to look around. We recorded the panels onIMG_0298 video and audio and also the musicians. Unfortunately we didn’t get much time to interview people which I would have liked to have done. Especially Chris Wildgoose, Jeff Anderson, Marc Lamming and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell.

We did have about 3 hours of recorded interviews by the end of the day so it’s going to take a while to listen to and edit it down for an Hour of Power show. Well it will take Andy awhile to do anyway! Over to you Andy….

In summing up it was an excellent day and what I love about Nottingham Comic Con is the family atmosphere. There is no hostility at this event and it is open to all. This is the third year Kev has organised it and it just keeps getting bigger and better. So thanks to Kev and Kelly for organising this monster and for letting the Geek Force participate in it in a small way.

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