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HIT THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST PART ONE

It’s been a while since I went to a US show, partly because of the flat move last year. So when Wonder Con announced that they would be at Anaheim rather than San Francisco this year, I decided to try a new show. Emerald City Comic Con has been running for a decade and since I hadn’t really been to Seattle before (I spent an afternoon and an evening there about a decade ago while I was staying in Portland), I thought it was worth a proper visit. It has a reputation for rain and on a few of the days, this reputation was deserved. We did see some sunshine though including on the Monday after the show when myself and travelling companion Andy C walked to the Space Needle, which on a clear day does have some fantastic views. I did a number of interviews during the show with comic creators like Greg Rucka, Gail Simone, Chris Burnham, Barry Kitson, Darick Robertson and Georges Jeanty and took loads of photos (there’s a shock, eh?;). Andy C and myself also got to catch up with Andy Grossberg and Susie Lee, who we haven’t seen since San Francisco last year. We wandered down to Pike Place and the market, which made for a fun couple of afternoons and also checked out the Elliot Bay Bookstore, a great bookshop. I didn’t realise that it would be quite as hilly as it was but this did give it some interesting vistas. I felt that we had only scratched the surface of the city with our six-day stay there. So here’s a selection of my photos both at the show and in the city itself…

THRILL POWER IN HERTFORDSHIRE
Because I promised one of the organisers of the Unicom event up in Hertfordshire, here’s some info on what they’re doing:

Saturday 24th April, 6pm
ARCHITECTS OF THRILL-POWER! – THE LEGENDS OF 2000AD
Since its launch in 1977, 2000AD – “The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic” – has been at the forefront of British Comics and remains a shining light in an increasingly barren landscape. Arriving perfectly in time with the popular re-emergence of Science Fiction and bearing a punky, anti-authoritative tone, 2000AD thoroughly invigorated Boys comics, introducing a collection of classic characters. For a vast array of 2000AD’s artists and writers, the comic was vital springboard to international recognition and success. UniComics is proud to present a panel discussion with three of 2000AD’s most iconic and renowned creative stars from its formative years – founder, debut editor and writer PAT MILLS (Slaine, Charley’s War), artist DAVE GIBBONS (Rogue Trooper, Watchmen), and artist KEVIN O’NEILL (Nemesis The Warlock, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) – who discuss the early development of the title as well as their own specific and greatly-admired contributions. Hosted by Danny Graydon. Tickets are priced £10

Sunday 25th April, 6pm
WEEKLY BRITISH SPIRIT – SIXTY YEARS OF THE EAGLE & DAN DARE
On April 14th, 1950, a new Boys comic called The Eagle vigorously introduced some wonder in to the drudgery of post-war Britain, and, with its star strip Dan Dare: Pilot of The Future, showcased a profoundly alluring fantasy of a strong and vital Britain in then far-flung 1997 that boldly led the way in the exploration of outer space. One of the most successful comics in British history, at its height, The Eagle remarkably sold just under a million copies a week. In celebration of the 60th anniversary of both this landmark, much-beloved title and its highly-memorable flagship character, UniComics presents a panel discussion to explore what is considered to be one of the high watermarks of British Comics history. The panel includes PAT MILLS (Founder of 2000AD), NICK JONES (Founding editor of Titan Book’s Dan Dare library), DR.WILL BROOKER (Kingston University) and GARY ERSKINE (Artist, Virgin Comcs’ Dan Dare). Hosted by Danny Graydon. Tickets are priced £10

Saturday 24th April, 8pm.
SCREENING: WATCHMEN – THE DIRECTOR’S CUT
In an alternate 1985 where superheroes exist – and are outlawed – the world stands on the very brink of nuclear conflict. When a former colleague is murdered, an active vigilante named Rorschach begins a sprawling investigation which soon uncovers a threat that could completely change the course of history. Long deemed “unfilmable” – notably by WATCHMEN writer Alan Moore himself – 300 Director Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Moore’s and Dave Gibbon’s revolutionary and award-winning graphic novel won considerable acclaim for its thoroughly impressive loyalty to the source material. The director’s cut of the film adds a further twenty-three minutes to the story, bringing it ever closer to the graphic novel. For this special UniComics screening, the film will be introduced by WATCHMEN artist DAVE GIBBONS. (US, 2009, 186 Minutes)

BOOKING & INFORMATION:
Telephone: 01707 281127
E-mail: uharts@herts.ac.uk
Website: www.herts.ac.uk/artsandgalleries
Box Office Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 9.00 am – 4.00 pm

www.unicomics.co.uk

Sounds like an interesting run of talks and events…









MAGIC MOMENTS
On Tuesday night, I went to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century interview at the ICA, hosted by Christopher Frayling who interviewed Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. Part of Paul Gravett’s Comica series of events, cultural historian Frayling made an excellent interviewer as some talks and interviews I’ve seen with Moore have been overly fawning but he asked intelligent and balanced questions. Moore and O’Neill came across pretty well and they seem to have a good chemistry. The room was packed and we discovered certain things that I was unaware of, like the fact that Alan Moore is a big fan of the film Performance (a film that my cousin Stanley Meadows has a small but pivotal part in) and we discovered that he is doing new Bojeffries comics with Steve Parkhouse. There was a signing afterwards which was busy but the queue wasn’t as huge as it was at the Gosh signing Moore did back in April this year. There’s always something interesting in Comica’s raft of events and the series has become a valuable addition to the London comic-related calendar. I took quite a few photos at the event, so here’s a selection of the ones that worked…
http://www.comicafestival.com/


NO MORE SUPERHEROICS
I spent most of yesterday going through the pages of the TRIPWIRE Superhero Special with Andy Grossberg sending me corrections. I didn’t finish until 3.30am so I’m absolutely knackered today. But everything looks great and looking at the whole thing, you realise how packed it is: Heroes, Kick-Ass (including exclusive Mark Millar interview and John Romita Jr character sketches), Watchmen and loads more. I think it is the best issue we’ve done so far and I’ll be seeing the finished product next Friday. We’ll be selling copies of it at our table at Wonder Con in San Francisco from 27th Feb to March 1st, so if you’re at the show, feel free to pop by and say hello.

A NEW TRIP THROUGH THE WIRES
The latest Previews, Vol XVIII #12, on page 340 has TRIPWIRE Superhero Special, our 80 page special that looks at the world of superheroes at Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse. It will include an exclusive Kick Ass feature that looks at bringing Millar and Romita Jr’s comic to the big screen, Paul Cornell on Marvel’s Captain Britain, we look at Watchmen the movie and the comic with its co-creator Dave Gibbons and much more. It’s going to be a really cool package and at £4.95 UK/ $7.95 US, it’s also going to be pretty affordable. Diamond item number is DEC084396, so don’t forget to order it from your local comic shop…


















RANDOM PHOTO POST SAN DIEGO
Before I post about Saturday and Sunday properly, here’s a selection of other photos including the Embassy Suites (where we stayed), people playing giant chess, Doctor Who cosplayers with a copy of the TRIPWIRE Annual, Watchmen director Zach Snyder, the Hyatt at twilight, Malin Ackerman and Patrick Wilson from Watchmen, my friends Murphy and Steve Colgan who made it out to the show…












SAN DIEGO ROUNDUP 2008 PART TWO
Rather than bore everyone to tears with a report of each day, I’m going to try and move along a little quicker (especially since the show ended ten days ago!). So Thursday was a good day for us: we held a TRIPWIRE panel at 10.30 in the morning which was very badly attended but it was the first morning of the first day of the show so that wasn’t surprising. With 10 copies of Studio Space to last us until lunchtime Friday, interest in the Annual was pretty high. I didn’t do as much reporting and film stuff this year because I wanted to focus on the Annual and the book, so I spent most of Thursday at the table. I had a very productive meeting with James Killen, my rep at Barnes & Noble, and Doug White, my B & N rep at Diamond Books and so B&N are taking 1000 copies of this year’s Annual, which is great. It was the first day that I attempted to find my friend Mark Chiarello, who works at DC. In fact it became a running joke that Jeff Carlisle saw him quite a few times and in fact could locate him seemingly at the drop of a hat whereas I, who have known Mark for a number of years, introduced him to artist Robert McGinnis and always have lunch with him when I go to New York, never saw him once. We had great neighbours next to us at the Image booth: Andy Suriano, artist on Image’s Charlatan’s Ball, and his wife Carlyn were both lovely people and made the show a pleasure to set up at. Thursday night I had dinner with Andy and Susie, don’t remember where, but we had tickets for some party that we blew out because we couldn’t be arsed to go to. What people don’t realise is just how exhausting San Diego is, especially if you’re set up there. You get into the hall pretty early and three of the four days, it doesn’t close until 7pm. So once you pack up and walk back to the hotel, you’re not in much of a fit state to go carousing til the early hours at night. So Thursday ended better than Wednesday because I had resigned myself to the fact that we wouldn’t be getting books until Friday. Friday was a very good day if a bit of a blur: I did two film-related roundtables, one on Watchmen and one on Star Wars: Clone Wars. At first, they wouldn’t let us take photos at Watchmen but they relented so I have some nice shots of the cast and Zach Snyder, who I gave a copy of Studio Space to. Speaking of which, the books turned up halfway through Friday, which was a relief. We did our Studio Space panel on Friday morning with Tommy Lee Edwards, Bryan Talbot and Howard Chaykin, which was pretty well-attended (although I foolishly had forgotten what time that started so I rolled up halfway through it!). I got to meet Frank Darabont, director of The Mist, and showed him a copy of the book. Also, while I was away from the table, Gary and Jeff Carlisle gave copies of the Annual and Studio Space to Joss Whedon, who was passing by, and Gabriel Macht and another guy from The Spirit. Friday night, we went to the Weta/ Dark Horse/ Gentle Giant/Lucasfilm party, where I spent an hour with Jim Steranko, discussing film, which was rather cool. I’m going to leave Saturday and Sunday for another post but here is a selection of more random photos including the ice sculpture from the Weta party, Spider-man waiting for the trolley, the crowds around the convention on Friday afternoon, some shots from the Watchmen roundtable and more…