Thu, 21 November 2013 Off again…

I haven’t even had time to write up about my time at World Fantasy Convention in Brighton (it was big, busy, and fun!), and I’m off again to Leeds this weekend for the Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival.

Thought Bubble 2013

Stephen Downey, the artist on Jennifer Wilde, the comic I write for Atomic Diner, will have a table at the convention, so make sure to drop along, say hello, and perhaps buy a comic! He’ll be at table 120 in New Dock Hall.

A funny thing happened en route to World Fantasy Convention – I was at the airport and got a phone call from the producer of RTÉ Radio 1’s art show, Arena, about coming in to review issue 1 of The Sandman: Overture. Readers might remember that I did a segment back in July for Arena when news about the comic was announced.

I mentioned I was busy all weekend in Brighton at WFC, and this piqued her interest. Next thing I know I’d agreed to do a broadcast from the BBC Brighton studio on Friday 1 November, to talk about World Fantasy Convention, what was going on, and who was attending. In a nice bit of coincidence Neil Gaiman was announced as Master of Ceremonies of WFC just that day.

On Thursday I discovered about an hour before my panel on comics that Neil was joining Mike Chinn, Mike Carey, Christopher Golden, Joe Hill, and me for the discussion. It was a good event, and luckily I went prepared with lots of names of comics and their creators to recommend. I’m not great at remembering names on the spot, so I was happy to have a list in front of me to jog my memory. A number of people approached me afterwards and said they’d really enjoyed the panel, and asked if I’d post my list of recommendations. I’ll try and do that next week when I get a chance.

BBC Brighton

That’s a photo of the small BBC studio I was in for the Brighton broadcast. It was fun to chat about WFC and the events going on, and I will admit there was a small thrill at going into a BBC studio. You can listen to the broadcast here. Thanks to Sarah Marks for her hospitality at the studio.

After I returned to Ireland – feeling a little shellshocked for several days after the whirl of events at WFC – I then went into the Galway RTÉ studio for another Arena show to review The Sandman: Overture issue one, written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by J.H. Williams III.

RTÉ Galway Studio

As you can see from the photo I had both the digital and physical edition of the comic for the review. I’d bought the digital edition of Overture at Shannon Airport after getting the phone call from the Arena producer, using Shannon’s free wifi connection. There is something wonderful and magical about being able to get something instantly where ever you are in the world. On the iPad the comic looked amazing – Williams’ artwork is especially impressive, as is the colouring by Dave Stewart.

While in Brighton I dropped into Dave’s Comics, and picked up the physical copy of issue 1 – and was lucky enough to get Neil to sign it during the convention. There’s an impressive four page pull out in issue one, so I wanted to have both editions to compare.

The Sandman: Overture - digital & physical

Overall it’s a sumptuous comic, and while the immediate attention of the issue is the fantastic art and layouts by Williams, Stewart’s rich colours, and Todd Klein’s usual wonderful lettering, I think Neil is setting up a number of storylines that will pay off in a satisfying way at the end. It’s pretty hard to say that for sure based on the first issue of a six issue series, but having spent a lot of time pondering the comic and what is being established, my guess is that people are going to enjoy the series once the whole plan is revealed.

You can hear me discuss it on the November 7 Arena show.

Now, I’ve to get ready to leave for Thought Bubble!

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