The Comics Show 2007 report

Last weekend, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola came to Birmingham for The Comics Show 2007. And Rob was there...

No new titbits on the next Hellboy film at Birmingham's Comic Show, sadly

Just a stone’s throw away from my office over at Millenium Point in Birmingham, comic and manga fans alike were treated to a weekend of indulgence as the second annual ‘Comics Show’ made its way to town.

Building on the success of last year, the show moved from its home in the Custard Factory and took residence in the display hall of one of Birmingham’s ‘biggest attractions, the Think-Tank. And while a little intimacy was lost due to the move to the much larger venue, the show was a huge success and with people queuing up from 9 in the morning (the show didn’t officially start until half 10). It showed that the comic buying public are eager for events like this, and who is to blame them when you saw who was guest staring at the show… none other than Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.

This huge coup from the organisers was a massive draw to the show and people came from miles around to have an opportunity to see Mignola in person (who amongst other things was the concept artist on one of Disney’s hidden gems , Atlantis). And while it seemed that Think-Tank were oblivious to the need to advertise the show, give people directions or promote the event in any way  it was left to local comic shops like Nostalgia and Comics (with a quick hello to Dave, Rich and Tara who helped pass the time with some great anecdotes about the Isle of Wight while we were queuing up) to spread the word.

And what a great job they did, as the show was packed – not so packed that you couldn’t get through or have a talk to various creators, but busy enough to give everything a great buzz and atmosphere. While not on the scale of the Bristol show, the event provided a superb opportunity for people to showcase their work . And whether they were an indy production company, working in the business full time or flat-out comic legends, everyone really enjoyed chatting, catching up and indulging in their passion.

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As well as numerous dealers in the display hall, the biggest room of the event was open for autographs, sketches and for companies, artists and writers to display their wares. There was something for everyone. Really. Fancy a sketch by Doug Braithwaite or Sean Phillips, or a chat to Mike Carey or Alan Davies, or the chance to grill Liam Sharp, Bryan Talbot, Phil Winslade, Mark Buckingham or Charlie Allard? Maybe even have a coffee with Duncan Fegredo, Hunt Emerson or John McCrea? Well here was your chance. Not only that, but there were stalls with offerings from Pulp Theatre, ImagineFX, Rebellion, Moonface press and far too many other fantastic companies to mention here.

However, one of the biggest draws of the event was the opportunity to try and grill top creators and gain some inside gossip or exclusives. Unfortunately though, that didn’t happen, as most of the creators who were on the assorted panels remained very tight lipped about what they were up to. And while panels that included Mike Carey (who writes Ultimate Fantastic 4 and X-men for Marvel) and Paul Cornell (from Dr Who fame) fostered talk about the creative process of writing, they didn’t give anything away.

This was the same with the guest star of the show – Mike Mignola – who gave a fantastic presentation to a jam-packed audience but didn’t drop any juicy titbits about the new Hellboy film, comics or his up-and-coming workload. I can only assume that there must be embargos on creators dictated to by publishers to not talk about work unless they are at a ‘major’ show like San Diego, Baltimore or New York. Still, if the show carries on in the way it is, hopefully in a few years the organisers will be able to play with the big boys.

As it was, there were fast paced sketches given away to eager audience members, raffles, auctions (especially of the cover art of the show that raised nearly a grand and a half), quizzes, portfilio reviews, specialist comic talks and the chance to sit and talk to artists and writers alike. Then it was on to premiere screenings of Bleach and a showing of the new Naruto animated movie.

This really was a fantastic weekend that was aimed at comic fans delivering fun, entertainment and a show that will be talked about in comic shops around the country for weeks to come. For details on upcoming events, the organisers’ webpage can be found here.