Friday, 22 June 2012



Now THIS is my kind of comics event - rarely have my eyes been greeted by so many large-format, supersaturated colours!

If only there was more space – we popped out to lunch about 2 o'clock and the queue to get back in looked about an hour long. So we decamped to the organisers' excellent Nobrow shop instead.

Hipsters and creators squeezed in to a room with zero fanboys and oodles of stalls selling more art-comix than I've ever seen in one place (including my groaning bookshelves) while an overflowing sideroom had talks, sketch-offs and Paul Gravett interviewing the excellent Blexbolex (something I was gutted to miss due to the queue).

I got to say hello to a number of friends behind their stalls (as well as congratulating the super-talented Joe Decie on his recent nuptials) and quite a few cartoonists I'd read without meeting previously. Without exception, every single creator or retailer I spoke to was engaged, passionate about their work and friendly - not something I can say about many of the non-comic festivals/conferences/conventions I've visited over the years.

Of course, I did my bit to spread the news about the Cartoon Museum here too. It's surprising how many cartoonists don't know of the museum and how many do come in after these casual mentions...

Naturally I spent more money than I would have liked (and a lot less than I wanted to!) here. 
If it wasn't for this durn recession the following picture would have been much busier 
and the list of links to recommended reads would take too long to type!

Left-to-right from the top, then:

There was more, but they aren't readily to hand.

Well done to Nobrow and all the creators who made this first ELCAF a much bigger event than I think anyone would have expected. Larger venue next time please!

And if you could put one on in Brighton....


Comics as a growing artform are looking exciting again and the increasing availability of cheap(ish) quality print options is really making a case for personal works taking centre stage as commercial properties move to digital distribution methods.



I was back promoting the Cartoon Museum again at Year 2 of the Mark Millar comic con.
Once again I was too busy getting the word out to see any of the scheduled events
(bar the slightly out-of-place, but entertaining  Lucha Britannia.
Next year maybe they can get the strolling acts of Circus of Horrors to mingle with the crown more effectively?)

The show seemed less busy than 2011, but sandwiched between a couple of other comicy events – London Super Comic Convention and Memorabilia and Memorabilia –  in London and on a grizzly day that may not be a surprise. 
Most visitors looked like they were enjoying themselves and there were a lot of cosplayers out, which is entertaining and unsettling (in more ways than one) at the same time.
Sadly, there were fewer young 'uns passing our table - I think it was less child-friendly than hoped last year and put families of return visits.

Highlights for me were:
  • passing out hard copies of my That's Not My Merkin book (see previous) to good reception
  • the many cosplayers in states of semi-dress and dishevelment as the day went on – I particularly liked the Spider-man costume sticking out of a guy's back pocket for some reason
  • the Punisher I chatted to last year having a Lady Punisher in tow this year (ah, bless..)
  • watching Mighty Mark Stafford drawing pages from his upcoming masterpiece with David Hine - The Man Who Laughs
  • snaffling two issues of Not Brand Echh for 50p each
  • the pub (of course!) - which I had to sadly leave early to get to Battersea where I (even more sadly) watched Chelsea win the Champions League final and deny Spurs a spot in the competition next year

I hope there's a Year 3 for Kapow! as it's filling a gap that was glaring until last year, but ticket prices are high and it falls a bit between two stalls trying to appeal to fanboys and real boys. Maybe it needs a spot of tuning...