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London Day 4 – LSCC Day 2, Friends & Other Countrymen, & Getting the swing of things

After our adventure yesterday, we were up pretty late, and up early again this morning. Unfortunate how little sleep we got, but it’s the nature of conventions when you’re not staying right by the convention’s location. We got up pretty early, so we could shower and such, and get out the door with time to spare. We learned our lesson, though, and checked the tubes ahead of time to see what was running, what wasn’t etc… We took the 11 to Westminster and dealt with the devil we knew. We knew we’d have to take the stairs and just worked with it. Luckily, heading there, we didn’t have books on us, so the main “suffering” was Amanda’s. Not fun, but the alternative was a cab or trying to get someplace else via another bus or cab to get to the DLR. We made it down, hopped right on the tube, made it to Canning Town, right on that, and got to the ExCel with time to spare before the doors opened. Ah ha!

Today was the second and final day of London Super Comic Con! We were hoping the second day would be a bit busier than the first on sales, but that wasn’t the case. It was, however, still a positive experience and actually pretty productive. I had the chance to speak with some other creators, publishers, and retailers at the convention, which was great! We’re all in the same boat there, working to pay for our booths, pay for our expenses, etc… We can certainly all identify with each other on that level, plus many others related to the comic book “process”. Highlight of today was actually chatting with Harry from Markosia for a bit, and he introduced me to a potentially amazing contact… Sorry for being vague, but mum’s the word for now, I’m afraid.

I was really impressed with this convention for another reason, too… I think it was the first time I’ve worked with a group of creators who were all on the same wavelength. I trusted them with money, to sell books while I wasn’t there, and vice versa. Pretty darned cool and thanks to the team at LSCC, Amanda (of course!), Daniel, Jonas, and Crister… Daniel, Jonas, and Crister came over from Sweden, and it’s the first time we met in person (I’ve known Daniel for a couple of years now), but we all got along, had plenty to talk about, and they didn’t get annoyed by my inability to shut up for extended periods of time. Cheers for that, guys!

Other fun for the day was having a little time to chat with Yannis Roumboulias a bit and his fellow Greek Artists and their manager, I’d suppose you’d call him, but maybe protector, cat wrangler, etc… He keeps them busy and is an amazing guy. Doh, using a name… Andreas… there, I did it! All of the guys there are great people and although Amanda and I didn’t speak with all of them, they were all cool guys. Oh, by the way, if you’re looking at the picture on the left, I don’t do the duck lips normally… It’s my “metal” face. “Olaf, metal. Girls think sexy!” (Clerks)

After the fans left, we tore down and watched in amazement as the cleanup crew came in and tore everything down at a speed that would make it looks like everyone at SDCC was asleep… Crazy fast and efficient! We popped over to the Fox and had our first “real” experience trying to get help. I tried catching server’s eyes, tried gesturing, and tried waiting, but they never came over… Well, once to grab a couple of glasses on a table we were holding, just to grab it and walk away quickly before I could even consider ordering something. Wha? I guess this is common in the UK. People who work in service treat it like a j-o-b without much consideration to the people they’re serving. Crazy, really… I spoke with a friend about it (part of a group who were all meeting there) and he explained how things work and that, in this case, I needed to go to the bar and order, referencing a number marked on the table, and to get the server’s attention aside from that, wave, shout, or whatever you need to do to get their attention to do what you want. Not what I’m used to, but I suppose I’ll get used to that. Basically, though, the entire Greek contingent from the convention ended up at the Fox with us and we all chatted for a bit, mostly Yannis, Andreas, and I, although a friend’s son was there and he was pretty darned entertaining… SMART. Seriously smart… Someone’s doing something right. He also knows comics fairly well and dreams of going to San Diego Comic Con. DNA at work!

It was really a shame that we couldn’t just spend the whole night there, chatting, drinking, and eating until the wee hours of the morning, but really, Amanda and I were tired and Amanda was actually struggling to stay awake. Not exactly sure what route we were taking back, we said our goodbyes and we were off. I will admit, though, I felt like I met some amazing friends for the first time in person this weekend and it makes me somewhat sad to say I don’t know when I might see them again. No, I’m not getting soft… just good people you have a lot in common with, enjoy chatting with, spending time, etc… C’est la vie, though. I doubt this is the end!

Trip back was easier! Hopped on the DLR (1 minute wait), hopped on Jubilee Line (3 minute wait), had a bit of a rough patch trying to get Amanda, chair, and torn down display and extra books up multiple escalators, hopped on the Piccadilly to Earl’s Court, hopped on the 328, and it was almost door to door service. Close enough anyway.

So, summary for the day… Hmmm… Crap, I forgot the buy one, get two free sale at Midtown… Six graphic novels I need to fit in my luggage that weren’t planned, oops! That was my big expenditure so far. Just wait for my trip to Forbidden Planet! Aside from sampling some local books, I think Amanda will be dabbling in some local Doctor Who goodies. Summer… back to that… Tube and buses, easier today (not perfect). People, awesome. Loved talking with our neighbors, both talking “shop”, styles, projects, etc. Really loved the fans in London. They’re just cool people and seemed to appreciate that we were there, wanted to learn about books, etc. Also, I dropped off the grid for a little while and did an interview with Word of the Nerd! Looking forward to checking that out. Probably the best interview I’ve had… He had read one of my books in full and at least the free chapter from ComiXology on some others. I really appreciated (and was flattered!) by that. I don’t know, just a good day, I’d say, but combined with the two days previous to the convention, I got tired out!

I’ve come to a realization this weekend, too. Not an original one, I had help, but it’s good… I write indie comics. Indie comics have a decent following in the US, but indies are really embraced by the UK and European audiences. Problem is there’s somewhat of a stigma on “American” comics because of the history of superheroes and such. Do I like superheroes? Yes? Do I write them? Yes, I have some. BUT, there are a LOT LOT LOT LOT LOT of my books and indie books in general from the US that are NOT superhero and I think would fit really well in this part of the world! I’m hoping I may have been introduced to a solution to that. Two other things I learned… One, UK readers seem to dig books about Vegas and Westerns. Someone warned me ahead of time that Westerns were popular, so I made sure to take enough Champions of the Wild Weird West!

Tomorrow is our FIRST day of our vacation, I’d say. Aside from having to do some lettering tomorrow afternoon to finish FCBD The Steam Engines of Oz, we are going to go out, have fun, relax, and take pictures. Tomorrow, no wrenches!!!

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