You must wake up at least once a year and first thing ask yourself, “how did I get here?” And no. I don’t mean after sleeping face down in a ditch post mad-crazy night before session.
I make a point of doing the above at least once a year. (The former AND the latter.) And when I woke up on Free Comic Book Day this year, it truly was a day of firsts.
First Comic Con on home soil – Enniskillen Comic Fest; First time on a panel – Breaking into Comics; And first time I truly engaged with the brilliance that is 2000AD.
I will happily be the first to admit that I am woefully ignorant on the subject of comics, having only stumbled into the arena in 2011 after a viewing of the movie Watchmen soon followed by a devouring of the Graphic Novel, and a suggestion by Matt Rooke that we join forces and create our own title.
We’re still figuring things out but, you know, Mega City wasn’t destroyed in a day.
Back to Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, and the castle nestled by the river in the town which played host to the day’s events. Paul Trimble and his team of eager volunteers outdid themselves. The Fest is only in its second year and a fledgling event, but the creative talent on the Emerald Isle is bursting at the seams so expect to see more.
Not only did Paul secure 2000AD’s blessing to make the day part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, he managed to bring together the badass creative team themselves – the men who dragged 2000AD kicking and screaming into the light. On the Friday night, Paul hosted a panel. Sitting on the panel were Alan Hebden, Alan Grant, John Wagner, Cam Kennedy, Steve McManus, Glenn Fabry and Carlos Ezquerra. It was a glorious ninety minute learning experience about the history and challenges of Judge Dredd and the various other comic associates born under the banner of 2000AD.
More than 1000 people trundled around the castle the following day in glorious weather, creators from far and wide – all there by invitation from Paul – nestled in every nook and cranny you could find amongst the big 2000AD names, including the next generation such as PJ Holden, Clint Langley and Michael Carroll to name but a few. It was like a Mega City treasure hunt for the die hard fan. And there were many of those throughout the day.
Andy Luke introduced me to the wonders of being on a panel of “experts” (if you ever meet me you’ll understand the need to put that word in quotation marks), shared with Colin Mathieson (Accent UK), Ciaran Marcantonio (Lightning Strikes) and Fenika Loffreda (Vampire Freestyle, Midnight Tea.)
Throughout the day, we shared space with Kevin and Jo McHugh and when you have company like that to bounce off, well, the day just goes far too quickly.
Yes. The creator-owned comic scene is on the rise in Ireland and thanks to the likes of Paul Trimble, whose passion for comics seems limitless, it will blaze a trail of new and original superheroes across blank pages just waiting to have their destiny realised.
So how did I get here? Well that conversation is to be had with a sensible adult, and you won’t find any here. But with any luck, I’ll be waking up again, same time next year, with the very same question on my lips.