SUDDENLY...! The other big event today: Comics Expo in the heart of Bristol. Well, maybe not quite the heart, down by Bristol Temple Meads. Perhaps more like the liver.
Got there early enough for freebies, and hooray, they certainly justify both the price of entry and getting out of bed at 7.30am on a Saturday. The freebie bag included a big wad of recyclable junk, two honest-to-goodness full graphic novels, two free comics, two plastic figurines and a whole bunch of other stuff too. One of the plastic figurines is Hellboy; I don't recognise Really Big Hair Flying Spear-Throwing Goat Man, but in the absence of any other evidence perhaps I should assume he's one of Hellboy's adversaries.
The two free comics are, naturally, one DC and one Marvel. The DC one reheats the origins of the Justice League of America, while the Marvel one is a prequel to the forthcoming Transformers film. So DC are falling back on their old laurels, while Marvel are confidently looking forward to the next big thing. (The psychology of free comics there, ladies and gentlemen.) As a DC Vertigo man, I don't know what (if anything) I should make of this.
Having earlier saved some money on pre-booked tickets to London for a stag do next month, I felt justified in indulging in a spot of Comic Book Mayhem in the dealers' room. Saw the mighty Brian Talbot selling and signing his new work, Alice in Sunderland, a book I'd forgotten about. An almost obligatory purchase, really. It's a chunky doorstop of a book, and the clue's in the title - it's a look at the fantastic side of Sunderland. Not that I'm suggesting regular, everyday Sunderland isn't fantastic, but... oh... thsssspp. Also bought three TPBs at discount prices:
Jack of Fables, vol 1. The Fables spin-off.
Albion. Does for old Beano, Whizzer & Chips, Beezer etc characters what 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' did for the protagonists of Victorian fiction. I'd looked at this, thought twice about it, but thought again when I saw it with a couple of quid knocked off.
Battle Pope, vol 1. Oh yes. Pure impulse buy. It'd just be wrong of me to walk past a comic called Battle Pope. Pittard, if you're reading this, you need to see this beauty. Image have already published at least three volumes of this; vol 3 has the best blurb: "Everyone knows there's only one thing Battle Pope enjoys more than beating up ornery demons, and that's making sweet love to the ladies". Thought I'd better take it from vol 1, though. I did toy with going back into the dealers' room to buy vols 2 and 3 as well, but by an extreme effort of will I went to the pub instead. Strength of character, folks, that's what I'm talking about.
Nice to see: Paul Cornell, who also sat on a panel that Sarah and I went to see, and who kindly invited us to join his posse for lunch; Mags Halliday and her beau Mark, plus several of their friends; Christina and Doug.
Sad to miss: One of the higher-up members of my department at AXA, who I believe was planning to pop down first thing and trawl for old issues of Starlord before heading off to attend to other things. If he went, he must have gone early.
Weird highlight of the day: When someone at the pub recognised the badge I was wearing - a small red card sign saying "I have an incorrect width", cannibalised from a shelf at the supermarket - because they'd done exactly the same thing. It's found art, that's my excuse.