One of my favourite conventions of the year has now been and gone – the Wales Comic Convention in Wrexham.
A Sunday event, held on April 28th 2013, the name is a bit of a misnomer – it’s every bit a TV and film convention too. Game Of Thrones, Star Wars, Buffy, Red Dwarf, Only Fools and Horses, WWE Wrestling… it’s a right mixed bag of people, and all the better for it!
My fellow Transformers colourista John-Paul Bove was gracious enough to taxi me up to Wrexham (as I did the driving duties in 2012), and a pleasant journey up to North Wales was punctuated with discussions about colouring giant robots, other projects, life in general, and how tricky it was to find an entrance to a Tesco’s in mid-Wales. After some disco interludes, we arrived at my hotel, where we stayed for dinner. After chomping down some delicious steak, and effectively convincing the hotel staff that we were a gay couple, we head over to JP’s hotel for drinks and a chat with other like-minded people. Bevy’s were had with Simon Furman, Andy Wildman and Lee Bradley, rounding out a healthy Transformers contingent, and I sat in star-struck awe at the other people in the bar. Over in the corner was Al Matthews – aka Sergeant Apone from Aliens. Over there was Gold Dust the wrestler, not quite as imposing without the make-up but still massive. Norman Lovett and Chris Barrie sat having some food. 24’s Carlos Bernard wandered briefly through, as did a somewhat jet-lagged Nicholas Brendan, resplendent in luminous green hoodie and flip-flops.
It was all very odd, but very good.
JP dropped me off at my hotel, and I headed to bed with the snooker on in the background, and my alarm set for stupid o’clock. As I reached over for the light, I glimpsed a MASSIVE SPIDER scuttling under the bed, and that was pretty much it for any decent sleep.
I headed into the shower at 7am, and headed quickly out of the shower at 7:02, on account of the water being absolutely god-damned freezing. As Mike Collins put it, his shower too had only two settings – ‘cold’ and ‘arctic surprise’. I met Mike for breakfast (for he was also at the hotel), and Voyager’s Robert Picardo sat behind us. I was too star-struck to say anything. I really am quite fantastically rubbish.
We got to the venue, and began setting up. I had my stack of Lou Scannon comics, and my Red Dwarf prints ready to go. Doors opened at 10am, and from that point on it just didn’t stop. I sketched like a crazy mo-fo all day, drawing Transformers, Turtles original characters, the Doctor, the Red Dwarf cast… it was BUSY. Couldn’t focus on selling the Scannon books, but managed to shift 14 of them, so not so bad.
5pm rolled around, and we all shut up shop. I was knackered, but had a brilliant time drawing all day. I didn’t get to meet the Red Dwarf cast to sign my print, but I did manage to chat to Norman Lovett, Hattie Hayridge and Danny John-Jules as they were leaving, and they were really pleased with the drawings I’d done of them, which was a great feeling!
To save JO an extra hour or so on the road, Mike gave me a lift back to Cardiff. We spent the journey chatting about stories, projects, Who and Trek, and tried valiantly not to get killed by overtaking oncoming cars.
Eight-year old me is still in a state of non-belief that the guy who wrote one of my fave G1 UK Transformers stories gave me a lift home. Utterly random.
I got home, utterly tired out, and had a takeaway. A good weekend. Utter kudos to the staff of the event for keeping everything running so smoothly, and a massive thanks to Jaime for the invitation – it was an absolute pleasure!