Monday, November 24, 2008

ICA: 23 November

Sunday got off to a cold start. As I mentioned (in a rush to post something yesterday), we had snow falling while I was putting together a last few bits and bobs for the ICA talk; this had turned to rain by the time I left the house, only to discover that the bus that was due according to the online timetable was, in fact, not due for another twenty minutes. So I trudged all the way down to the railway station, a couple of miles in the snow, to find that the trains weren't running all the way into London due to engineering works. By now I was cursing my luck. Later it turned out my travel woes were nothing compared to the delays and other problems some people had.

Given the lousy transport situation—typical of weekends—the various talks attracted a great crowd. I arrived in the Nash Room just in time to catch the end of an extra item on the menu, with Matt (D'Israeli) Brooker talking about Scarlet Traces which has, apparently, been the set book of a reading group. I managed to grab my camera and snap one pic. before Matt left the stage.

Matt Brooker (left). Proof that I'm no rival when it comes to taking photos

The next fifteen or so minutes was spent learning how to operate the laptop/projector so that our talk would be illustrated. As David Roach and I had both brought pictures, we ended up with two laptops (one PC, one Mac) linked with a button to switch between the two. It worked surprisingly well and hopefully I'll learn from my mistakes and try to put the images on the disc in chronological rather than alphabetical order as it's almost impossible to talk, keep yourself on the microphone and search for images at the same time—by the time you've found the right pic. you've moved onto something else. I didn't make the best use of the technology. David, on the other hand, had brought along some actual artwork which was a far smarter move.

British Comics Panel: David Leach, me, David Roach, Oliver Frey, Paul Gravett

Our panel also included David Leach, the editor behind the recent Roy of the Rovers books at Titan and the upcoming Jane volume, as well as a dozen or so others that have yet to be announced, who is another hugely enthusiastic fan of old British comics. And our fourth panelist was Oliver Frey, whose credits include "The Trigan Empire", "Dan Dare", "The Terminal Man" and others. This was the first time I'd met Oliver and his partner, Roger Kean. Oliver was responsible for the most fanboy thing I did all day: I got my copy of The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey signed! I'm not obsessive when it comes to getting stuff signed but there are times when you just have to. This was one of them.

The talk itself went fine and the fifty minutes flew by. At the end I thought we'd wandered around a little too much and mentioned a hundred and one things without the chance to go into any great detail. Thinking back on it, I'm quite proud that I managed to condense fifty years of comics' history into a four or five minute monologue. I might work on that as a party trick... next year I'll do 100 years in the same time!

Oliver Frey & Garry Leach

Having wandered downstairs to chat to various people I managed to miss the next panel featuring various members of the DFC and half the erotic comics' panel, although I did catch the latter half. Featured panelists were Oliver Frey (again), Garry Leach, host Tim Picher, Lynn Paul Meadows, Erich Von Gotha and Frederic Mullaly. Again, chatting to various people afterwards meant that I missed the beginning of the Jack Kirby panel and, given the problems with the trains I'd had on the way in, I thought I'd head for home. David Roach and I walked down Charing Cross Road talking about a couple of interesting projects that are upcoming so maybe there'll be something new to talk about if we're invited back next year.

(* The photo at the top I snapped on my way through Trafalgar Square to get to the ICA.)

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