Tag Archives: graphicnovel

That time I went to Comic Con and didn’t have to leave the country

This was my first time attending MCM Comic Con in Glasgow even though it isn’t exactly new here anymore, this just happened to be the first time I managed to book the day off work – and it was so worth it.

My usual partner in crime accompanied me (thank goodness for wee cousins – I slipped on the footbridge and would have gone down if not for her – she saved my life guys!!!) and we managed to see pretty much everything we wanted thanks to previous con experience. We’re pros at this now.

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On first impressions the event is much smaller than its London counterpart, which is understandable as it is still a new addition to the MCM lineup, but it is very well organised and the layout works very nicely with plenty of room to move between stalls even when it got really busy (once general admission crowds had gained entry). There were still plenty of areas in the exhibition centre left unused by the event so hopefully in the years to come we may see some expansion – perhaps a larger eSports or Vidfest UK area or a Pop Asia addition?

As always our first goal was the comic village. Pro tip: going here first allows you to peruse stalls without pushing through swarms of people, gives you a chance to have a conversation with the artists themselves without them feeling they are ignoring potential customers/fans, and also means that you may be the first sale for a new release which can be pretty special. I came prepared with a list of artists I knew I had to visit and managed to see all of them plus met some new artists who caught my attention with some really amazing work. There is something for everyone in the comic village so even if you don’t read comics or indies the huge variety of art styles and trinkets on offer might find a fan in you.

IMG_0001.JPG[I have a soft spot for zombie teddies – they need love too!]

I am particularly fond of buying mystery packs when I see them – not everyone has them on offer, but the artists that do usually pack a nice selection of goodies into a little bag for around £5-10 and they are always more than worth it. This year I bought 2. The first was from Katie White Art and had some super cute A5 prints, a sticker and a badge.

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The second was from AnythingComic (my go-to for mystery pack goodness) and as always it was cram-packed with 2 A3 prints, 2 A5 prints, a handful of mini prints and stickers and a lil bag of haribo. There’s a good reason I try to find this stall every con.

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While walking around the convention we noticed a lot of people carrying boxes – MyGeekboxes and Zboxes primarily. It took us a while to find the stall but when we did it seemed like everyone had cleaned them out already until the guys told us they were in the process of re-stocking. Some kind directions and a little patience later and we too were walking around carrying boxes. As I already recieve the MyGeekbox I opted for the Zbox, curated by Zavvi. These were really good value at £5 a box and although not filled with the same amount of goodies the monthly box would have they were a nice surprise.

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Now time for the panels. Sometimes at Comic Con there are lots of panels we want to go to that overlap and end up with us splitting up and meeting later, others there are no panels that tickle our fancy and we just wait for the masquerade. This was almost one of the latter occasions but one sounded interesting enough to give a try. We arrived a little early and caught the last half of the Reo Kurosu panel which was a nice insight into anime production and the difficulties of editing for different regions. The Building Better Dreams and Nightmares panel was an informative talk with 3 authors about where scifi and fantasy genres can go next. They had some great advice for budding writers on the pitfalls of self-publishing, also they agreed that technology is so far advanced now it’s quite easy to predict what might be possible in the next 20/30 years making it much easier for writers to create very realistic worlds. This panel probably wasn’t to everyones taste (someone behind me seemed bewildered why we were just listening to three people talking about writing books), but I did enjoy it and I now have a couple of books added to my to-read list.

It’s almost tradition now that we stay to watch the Cosplay Masquerade at the end of the day, we were already in our seats from the last panel and had a pretty good view. Glasgow has some very talented cosplayers and lots of them took to the stage – there were also far more performances and skits than we are used to at the London con, it was a real treat.

masqueradewinners.jpg[sorry for quality, took this one on my phone]

The nice thing about going to a con in your own city is that you can go home straight after, play with all the cool stuff you got and collapse into your own bed for a well earned rest (after you’ve tidied up all the stuff you got).

Here is my haul from this year, mostly comics and art again.

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If you want to check out some of these artists or comic books here’s where to find them:

Kelly Angel – AnythingComic

Katie White Art

Naniiebim

Lyndon White

Card Shark Comics

Tpub comics

Accent UK Comics

 

Best reads of 2015

I have read an awful lot of books this year. This is not unusual, in fact this year I’ve actually read less than I usually would have. I think I may have been having an ‘off ‘ year.

Nevertheless there were a few books that outshone the others – the ones that kept me up all night and into the wee hours unable to stop turning pages, desperate to know what happens next.

These are my best reads this year:

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is by far the best book I have read in an extremely long time. It’s set in a dystopian future where the only way to escape a harsh reality is to enter virtual reality. Your main character is a nobody, just some guy who happens to be really good with computers, and he takes on a mega-corporation in a battle to save virtual reality from their greedy hands. This story is easy to read, fast paced and packed with so many tasty tidbits of 80’s nostalgia it draws you further into its world until you realise it’s 4 am and you can’t put it down until you know how it ends. It doesn’t disappoint. This may be the opportune time to get your hands on a copy of this book as Cline has sealed a deal to have it adapted into a movie – I really can’t wait to see how it turns out. His second novel Armada has also had a pretty successful release and I’ll be looking forward to reading it as soon as I get down to the bookstore.

 

The Explorer + The Echo by James Smythe

I’ll start with The Explorer. Our main man is a reporter who has been chosen to join a team of scientists and astronauts on a journey into an uncharted region of space and to document everything to send back home. It all goes wrong from the beginning. This story has twists and turns and pretty gross descriptions of events. There is one section in particular which was very hard for me to read, I’m pretty squeamish and this added to the horror and feeling of dread that permeates every chapter. It left me wanting more.

Hop on over to the sequel, The Echo. Some time has passed and now another team of scientists and astronauts are ready to head out into space and investigate exactly what happened to the previous mission. There is a lot more sciencey stuff happening in this book, possibly because it’s main focus is on scientists and not a journalist. For some this may lead to a few problems – mainly being that some of the science isn’t quite factual. Don’t let this deter you from reading. There’s enough dread and suspense to make up for these little faults, and trust me, they are tiny. I read both these books in one very long night. It was worth it. And the good news is there should be two more additions to this series to wrap up the intricate storylines as these are part of Smythe’s Anomaly Quartet.

 

Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel

It’s so hard to try and describe this one, I’ve tried to three times now. Just read it . . .

. . .only kidding – but seriously you must read it. The paths of the main characters weave together in what I can only describe as perfect storytelling. The main thread is of a mysterious virus that kills quickly, those who are immune must go to the only safe haven which may or may not just be a rumour. The aftermath is seen from the viewpoints of several survivors all making their way to this place of safety. I really can’t say anything else, I can’t do justice to how wonderful this book is. The ending is like a revelation, bulbs start lighting up, everything falls together. It’s brilliant.

 

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Melanie is 10 years old. She is being studied by the military because she is infected. This is a nice little twist on your run-of-the-mill infection story. Melanie is the key to finding a cure for the infection, but it may not be what you would expect. It’s really lovely to see things from a child’s veiwpoint for once, there’s a lot more hope and less of the doom plus it’s still slightly chilling enough to whet your horror tastebuds.

 

And Then Emily Was Gone by John Lees and Iain Laurie

Here’s a wee change for the lineup, a graphic novel. Did anyone chance upon a prologue of this little beauty on Free Comic Book day? This is a creepy little comic about a private investigator who is asked to find out more about the disappearance of a young girl in the Orkney Islands. There’s a folk legend of Bonnie Shaw, a bogeyman who takes children in the night after their parents make a wish. Iain Laurie’s art style is perfect for the story and adds to the unsettling theme. Nothing is what it seems. If you live in the UK it might be a tad difficult getting your hands on a hard copy, I had to use the American Amazon site to get to the ComixTribe section – there’s very little choice left on the UK version. If you’re happy reading an ebook version check out the ComixTribe twitter – they recently had a link for their newsletter and for signing up they gave away 5 ebook versions of some of their popular graphic novel series – one of which was And Then Emily Was Gone.

 

Happy reading and Happy New Year! May 2016 bring you books you can’t put down ^_^

– Dee