Monday, 21 March 2016

Liverpool MCM... another first time Con.

Accent UK are enjoying the MCM shows.
They are so full on, thousands of people in all sorts of costumes, stalls that range from T-shirts to Lego figures, from stars signing photos to comic books.
We've been to MCM events in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Belfast.
This weekend we were to add Liverpool to the list.
As we can drive from my house to Liverpool, Jemma and I left around 6am to pick up Colin, Scott and Steve Tanner (Timebomb) who was staying at Colin's, before heading off to the venue which was at the Exhibition Centre. Steve had set up his stall the night before, so finding the loading bay and table were easy and before long we were all set up and ready.
MCMs tend to draw large crowds and whilst this venue is smaller than the Manchester and London, meaning that there would be fewer people let in due to Health and Safety, it felt pretty busy for most of the day. Sure there were quiet spells, there always are, but it also got pretty busy.
Mike Garley was there with his Kill Screen and Samurai Slasher, and he showed me a sample copy of his oversized hard cover limited edition Kill Screen and it certainly got me thinking ... an oversized hard cover edition of WesterNoir would be cool.
All in all we had a pretty good first day. We spoke to a lot of new customers, some returning customers from the Manchester MCM (which was unexpected) and also just people who were enjoying the event and wanted to know what we were up to.
The day ended on a bit of a worrying note when we were informed that tomorrow a lot of the surrounding roads would be closed as the Liverpool Half Marathon was taking place.
Ah well, we thought, we'll arrive well before that starts.
There shouldn't be a problem.
Sunday morning then saw a convoy, well Steve's car following Colin's, heading from Manchester to Liverpool's Exhibition Centre. We got so close that we could see the venue, several times. Each time however we came across a barrier, with people and sometimes police, pointing us in a different direction to the one we wanted.
Our 'hour plus' contingency evaporated.
The following car evaporated. We lost Steve at a junction. We later found out a policeman had stopped him as he tried to follow us into the race.
Yep, for a hundred yards or so we were actually "driver's side wing mirror" to shoulder with the leading pack.
We decided that we'd better leave the race as soon as we could though, although I quite enjoyed waving to the crowds, and we ended up heading out of Liverpool in an attempt to approach the docks from a completely different direction.
Replacing TomTom with ColCol.
It took a while and a few U-turns.
But we did it.
Not only that but having parked the car and walked from there to the venue doors we saw that we'd actually beaten the winning runner.
Rather than try to claim our prize though, we decided it would be best to go and man our table, as we were already 30 minutes late.
As we entered the hall we discovered that the race had had no effect at all on the number of people who had turned up for day 2.
We also discovered that Steve Tanner had beaten us there, having abandoned (parked) his car somewhere and walked in.
Sunday was actually busier for us than Saturday had been.
We spoke to more people and sold more books.
My Lego adapted figures were a success, getting lots of interest, particularly Lillian and Gillian.
We sold our last copies of Who On Earth Was Thaddeus Mist ? and sold a good number of the other anthologies...
...yep, nothing daft about our Robots anthology.
All in all we had a great Con, enjoyed catching up with some of our fellow creators, ended up entering the Half Marathon and met some great people...
..including the Justice League, although I do hope the movie version of Wonder Woman looks better than this one.
We look forward to the next one.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Strange Times Book 2.

Well it's finally happened.
I've finished Book 2 of Strange Times.
Andy Bloor helped make give it the same feel as Book 1 and I'm really happy with how it came out.
I'll just have to see if anyone remembers it now :o)
Oh, and as is traditional, here's the adapted Lego figure to accompany the book.
Not as scary as the last one... I think.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Our first OxCon... well, THE first OxCon.

After the recent Bolton Con Colin and I were a little apprehensive about going to the our first Convention in Oxford.
Sure, the organizer Leonardo appeared to be doing a good job from email exchanges and the Facebook presence, but you just never know what these new Cons are going to look like until you get there.
We set off early, stopped off for breakfast at a motorway service station, got lost in Oxford, swapped Tom Tom for Google Maps, found the venue, offloaded where it looked like we shouldn't, parked the car (in an expensive car park) and were all set up in time for the start.
Oxford is a beautiful city and familiar in a Morse and Lewis way. It does feel like you are entering a different world somehow and conjures up those cities that you come across in many a Fantasy novel.
There were people milling around outside when we arrived but no real queue to talk of, despite all the tickets reportedly having been sold out, but that's normal in these types of Cons, where they are in the city centre and people tend to wander in and out all day.
So we weren't worried.
The interior of the venue was as impressive as the outside. Wood panels and paintings of famous people from as far back as George III (although his painting was mysteriously missing) or older (I didn't actually check all the dates though) and the table space was generous, as was the space between tables.
Yep, it all felt very relaxed.
There was even comic book themed music.
And it seemed that they'd even put up special signs for me.
The early pass ticket holders started to wander in and look around at the stalls.
Unlike Bolton the stalls were all much more closely linked to comic book and film, no Mr Fudge here then. We were next to our friends of TPUB with their great Twisted Dark books (look them up if you haven't already done so).
It was a slow start but around 12 the doors opened for the rest of the ticket holders and it got fairly busy.
We met some really interesting people and sold comics to Finance professors (thanks Dr. Noe), research post graduates and even...
At the end of Saturday we'd done pretty well. Not as well as at some of the more established shows but certainly very well for the first day of a brand new convention.
Sunday was pretty much the same really.
We didn't sell as much, which is typical for us at Conventions, but there were plenty of interested people and we really enjoyed the day.
My first ever photo-bomb... sorry Colin.
And as the day closed we agreed with all of the dealers we spoke to, that we'd had a really enjoyable convention and would certainly look to come back and repeat the experience next year.
Hats off then (especially if you hat is very big and very red) to all involved in organizing the event, it was a great little Con.