I was very honoured to be asked back to TitanCon this year, along with my colleagues Patrick Brown, PJ Holden and Irish writers Iain MacDonald, Peadar O’Guilin (peadarog), and select others. As I crossed Belfast for Culture Night it was the launch party at McHughs that brought me the most joy as Art Parkinson (young Rickon Stark) took some time out before his Saturday shoot to handle the crowds, and a bewildered Miltos Yeromelou (Syrio the sword tutor) stumbled on stage straight in from the airport. Chick tracts warning of the coming of Cthulu also circulated.
On the Saturday morning, I was ushered on stage with other far more recognised creatives, like the assembled Game of Thrones actors. Spence and David Crawford’s talk on screen-writing detailed the breaking of story into beats, a trick I used in my section on explaining how this translated to comix narrative snapshots. There were technical problems, and I spent a bit too much time on self-publishing and creator’s rights over the mechanics of creating comics at high-speeed. The small group of participant-creators involved in The Magnificent One Day Comic Book Factory was about eight, including Holden and Brown. Nevertheless, fun was had. The rules were bent to allow some extra time, and some more than a page, but it worked out so that I’d a finished print run of twelve page comics ready by 3pm.
I'll be posting comics by Dawn Lennox (Belfast) and Norma Thierfelder (in Germany) on IrishComicNews next week. In the meantime, you can also view Patrick Brown’s bit at his website and Paul J. Holden's contribution snapped for his Twitter feed.
I’d under-estimated not the workload, but my own mentalism in proposing such a task. It meant I spent much of the event alone, but could at times make out the panel discussions. There was a good one hosted by Peadar and involving storyboard artist Guest A (), Gues B (()m and storyboard artist Will Simpson (as himself). I took the twenty-five copies to the dealer’s room where the atmosphere was…church-like. The visitors were few and far between. Paddy Brown had one sale, and Holden had gone home.
Many conventions I’ve paid into (and attended for free) stick dealers in a room all by themselves. If dealers are bothering to pay –to-display in excess of an entrance charge, they’re financially supporting the event, so why bother cordoning them off? Noise during panels is often the answer given, but a vacancy of trade makes the experience for many an alone-in-a-crowd event. The simple answer would be to spread dealers out. Give them the choice of sitting in a room with panels and workshops – spell it out. Dealers can be part of an agreement that during panels and talks is quiet time, and dealers that want to express themselves more audibly are set up by bars and socialising areas. I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around con organisers who don’t adopt this policy. Socialist booksellers can manage this, so any-one can. And if there’s not enough room, combine, and work in shifts.
Ahem. Anyway when I got back from discovering Jesus I found Paddy had taken the comics around the very bored dealers, told them a sale would raise money for Action Cancer and gotten rid of most of them. Minus contributor freebies, 17 went out, raising £18 in twenty minutes and another £7 in the next twenty. If we do this at TitanCon next year, I’ll be negotiating with a copy-shop to achieve something with a print run of 100. (I hope to be running the Factory again at the University of Galway’s Comics West in February, and photocopiers are on hand)
The evening disco was my chance to get drunk, chat up a lady, and dance like a mentalist gentleman of grace and refinery. Unfortunately the DJ was at odds with the audience until the final half hour when it all clicked into place. Promethean Tarantino soundtracks sparkled us, side-splitting Wuthering Heights pirouettes sprang and total shamanic rituals became in our union.
The next day was the TitanCon Game of Thrones coach tour. Although only it’s second year, it now occupies a prestigious infamy. It reminded many of us that we should get out of the city more often, for we live in an incredibly beautiful place. Anyway, I took way too many photos and I’ve included a selection of them here so neither of us needs to spend more time than needs be on this. The day ended with a cracker bit of sword-fighting, which we were encouraged to gamble on to get first to the dinner table. Peadar was very smart, backing all four of the fighters, and I was even smarter because I let Peadar come up with the great idea, and copied him. Then we went and ate lots of meat and got our bellies full, drunk on wine and had some whores. Sorry, I meant Milky Ways. Thanks to Bruce, Ian, Phil, Doreen and everyone who showed up to make it a weekend to remember. I hope they’ll ask me back next year.
ps And while I'm on about Game of Thrones, The Simpsons did a take on it recently. I nearly peed.
I'm doing most of my blog posting on andy-luke.com nowadays, and there’s also my in-depth bit on Trinity’s Grant Morrison academic conference up on Irish Comic News.