Anyhoo, as you know I very kindly got an invite to Derry's 2D Festival a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say Niki and I had an AMAZING time!
I've never been looked after so well at a convention before--they literally did everything for us apart from bathe us! Come to think of it....WHY didn't they bathe us dammit?! Next year I demand to be bathed!
We flew in on the Friday, interrupting the wonderful comic workshops being held at the time, but wasn't needed until a panel discussion that night in the PUB, entitled "Everyone's a Critic", about blogging, podcasts, and social network sites. I was on that panel with shiny headed Gary Erskine, bearded Sunnyside Comics Aaron Abernethy, the also bearded Mark Cardwell from Bad Librarianship Now, and hosted by the lovely Emma Vieceli, who did not have a beard.
Never done a panel in a pub before--have to say it's a surprising great place to have them! The talks basically just turn into a big pissed up laughathon! This actual panel is going to be aired on a future episode of Sunnyside Comics, so I'll update with a link
Instead of baby sitting me for the day, Niki went on a WAGs day trip around Derry with our good friend Mhairi and friend. I usually worry about Niki having a good time at conventions, but it was nice to know she was getting having a great time with the girls, probably talking about boobs and stuff...
And so Saturday was when I got to work, with Vieceli as my neighbour (and I couldn't think of a better neighbour to have!)) What's great about 2D is that it's a FREE event and very family orientated as well. We spent the whole day sketching for anyone that asked, and I later joined artists Ilya and Mark Stafford for the "Monster Me" sketching session (and did my back in!) where we drew some lovely people as grotesque monsters, though a bit worried about the 6 year old who asked to be drawn as "Kick Ass"... Gutted I was stuck with a crappy disposable camera that was useless so I don't have any evidence of sketches I'm afraid. But it's a genuinely good feeling handing over a sketch to a kid that you know is going to cherish it...
Later on it was back to the pub for our 2000AD panel with big daddy Pat Mills, Colin Wilson, Glenn Fabry, my old nemesis PJ Holden and myself. I'll be the first to admit we had a ropey start as we didn't really know what we were doing, but after the first 5 minutes we definately pulled it together and created a thing of utter BEAUTY. We got some great anecdotes, and funny moments like the entire crowd chanting for Pat to hug me, myself having to deny accusations that I looked like Gok Wan after my photo kept on appearing on the slideshow behind us, and after I shared a comment from Pat about my "zombie hands looking too sad" the crowd started doing "Jazz hands"! Unbelievable. We had so many lovely compliments from folk after that... See? Who needs Al Ewing with his Tharg mask doing his Orville the Duck impersonations!!!
I met so many lovely people, but special shout outs to: Eclectic Micks' Nick Roche and Stephen Mooney with lovely wife Jacintha (who REALLY isn't helping my Gok Wan case). Also the rest of the Sunnyside Comics team , Scott Ferguson and Karen Quinn--the only person on this Earth who apparently has the power to put that utter nutjob PJ in his place (seriously, he was like a hamster on crack!)! Wez and Sean are a couple of talented film makers who interviewed a bunch of the guests and I look forward to seeing how good my hair looked on camera...
Speaking of Sunnyside, they did a funny as hell podcast on 2D that can be found here!
Titan Books editor Steve White sat at my table for a while sketching, and left behind a BEAUTIFUL dinosaur sketch that is now framed in my studio. (pic at the bottom of this post!)
Finally, I obviously have to say a huge thank you to organisers David Campbell, Garry Leach, Ciaran Flanagan and Bridin Crilly. Those guys were amazing and if you need me back next year I'll be there if you bathe me this time... with a loofah.
(Photos courtesy of Ciaran Flanagan and Bec Hill)
(Sketch by the awesome Steve White)