Monday, 1 November 2010

Identity Theft in the Valley of the Ninjas

Comics creator Neill Cameron, seen here looking uncharacteristically cheerful.

Hey wait, that's not me! That is Sarah McIntyre stealing my identity - or "cosplaying" as she would have you believe - at London's MCM Expo this weekend just gone. I had a fabulous time, and managed to TOTALLY SELL OUT of Mo-Bot High! Again! Lots of books sold to lots of lovely people, many of whom were dressed as ninjas and / or zombies. Look, here are some satisfied customers!

(World's youngest Ramona Flowers cosplayer? Photos stolen from Sarah's excellent multi-part write-up of the event, but that's okay because stealing photos is not as bad as stealing someone's identity)

I was drawing personalised custom mo-bots in each book I sold, as a fun thing. Off the top of my head I remember drawing: a ninja-bot, a spider-man-bot, a zombie-bot, SEVERAL pirate-bots, a steampunk-bot, a chimp-bot, a monkey-bot, a panda-bot, a big buzzing bee-bot, a giant-jar-of-peanut-butter-bot, a skinny-jeans-wearing-hipster-bot, a cheese-bot, a cosplayer-bot, two bunny-bots, a cross-dressing-bot, and a one-of-those-blue-dudes-with-the-spears-from-Avatar-bot.

Wow, that list sounds like the text for a children's book I would totally read to Logan.

I fully intend to continue this schtick at future events, because it was a lot of fun and gave me all sorts of things to draw that I have never drawn before, which is always nice, so if you're coming to Thought Bubble in two weeks get thinking now about what kind of giant robot you might want!

It was really nice to spend the weekend hanging out with my DFC Library compadres, with Sarah on one side with Vern & Lettuce, and the marvelous Bob & Lorenzo Etherington on the other with Monkey Nuts. We even did a stage show, where we all wittered on a bit about comics being awesome and stuff and then delved into the main business of the day - a rematch bout of the live drawing battle extravaganza that is SHEEP VS ROBOT!!!

Challenge ON.

The whole thing was a lot of fun, with Bob MC-ing up a storm and bounding around with his mic taking suggestions for Sheep and Robot weapons and accessories from the crowd like an awesome indy comics version of Jerry Springer. There weren't many people in the audience when we started, so I was just happily drawing away and when I looked up the whole place was packed. People are drawn to Sheep fighting Robots! Based on the Cheer-o-Meter Combat System (tm, patent pending) I think it's safe to say Vern totally trounced my angel-winged monkey-tailed long-haired mo-bot in the resulting battle. That makes it a thrilling 1-1 draw in this season's SHEEP VS ROBOT league table so far! Surely some kind of a tiebreaker is required to settle this brutal vendetta once and for all.

Just across the way from my table was the marvelous Garen Ewing, and just next to Sarah was her Fleece Station studiomate Gary Northfield, both of them wonderful comics creators and thoroughly marvelous guys to spend time with, so it was a really nice weekend - felt like our little corner of the comics village.

I tried not to buy much stuff, as frankly I didn't want to carry anything home after the hellish experience of trying to get 30 hardback books across London on the tube on the way in, but I managed to come home with a few choice items, to wit:

A signed, freshly-minted copy of the simply gorgeous Signal by Eagle-Award-Winning Comics Artist Paul Duffield! Who is lovely.

The fantastic new newspaper-format comic collection Bad Dog by the aforementioned (lovely) Gary Northfield.

A gorgeous Kani print by Warwick Johnson Cadwell, an artist whose work I'm rapidly falling hopelessly in love with after picking up his Kani minicomic at BICS. And who, again, is lovely.

An original sketch of Captain Britain (yay!) by Gary Erskine, an artist I've been a huge fan of since I was about 13 and who was kind enough to draw this for my brother James after hearing what big fans we both were of his fantastic Marvel UK series Knights of Pendragon in our youth. And who, it turns out, you'll never guess what, is totally lovely.

I realise how monstrously I overuse the word 'lovely' when talking about comics creators, but I can't help it. A funnier, smarter, kinder, more passionate and generally delightful group of people you couldn't hope to meet.

I mean, the ones I know, anyway. I don't know about the rest of 'em. You hear some funny stories.

Thanks to everyone who bought a book, everyone who was lovely, and especially to Emma Vieceli and her fellow Expo organisers for making it such an enjoyable, successful and smoothly-run event. And while I'm at it, to the Expo helper volunteers like the marvelous Rory, who pitched in and looked after my table while I had to go draw fighting monkey robots and stuff. Thanks, Rory!

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