Wednesday 1 November 2023

My first convention panel!

I went to Comic Con last weekened and sat on a panel!

It wasn't my first convention - I've been to Bristolcon every year since 2012, save when the pandemic closed it. Though I've never sat on a panel and most of those years I've not actually been into the convention, just sat in the bar immediately outside the doors and chatted with folk.

And it wasn't the first time I've on panel-like things. The three Grim Gatherings were essentially a panel, but with a dedicated audience and nothing else on the agenda.

But it was my first convention panel!

Comic Con is very different from Bristolcon. The latter is a one day affair involving a couple of hundred people. The former a 3 day monster where tens of thousands come through the doors, a great many of them in spectacular costumes, and almost all of them there for the comics / comic-based shows.

But Forbidden Planet run a stall, and along with the comics and graphic novels the chain offers books. So I was invited down along with Ed McDonald, Justin Lee Anderson, and  Esmi Jikiemi-Pearson to debate "epic fantasy"!

I normally say no, but since Celyn turned 18 we've had steadily more care since she is now technically an independent adult. And Forbidden Planet have been hugely supportive - stocking lots of my books and having me in to sign a ton of that stock. (go get some signed copies from them!)

So along I went.

The audience, whilst a vanishingly small fraction of the attendees, was also much larger than I'd faced before as an author.

(you should be able to make out Esmi on stage at the extreme right - the rest of us are out of shot)

They had very comfortable seats and I unintentionally ended up slap bang in the middle.

And after the panel - which flashed by with very little contribution from me that I can remember... There was a signing. My queue never looked more than 3 or 4 people to me, but I was sitting down and this is what it actually looked like! 😮

And here's me saying hi to a couple of folk at the front.

So, it was fun. Afterwards I circulated. There are a billion stalls, but most of them are pretty niche, selling art etc for a particular comic / show. Others sell T-shirts, costumes, and the sort of wonderful stuff that I always wanted when I couldn't afford it and now seem able to resist: goblets, skulls, mugs, swords, dice, funkos ... just loads and loads of brilliant tat.

I did happen upon two rows of free 80s arcade games, so I got to have a couple of very rusty games of Defender.

It was a good day out. Would I do it again? Maybe, if a star or two align.

Many thanks to Laura Dodd of Forbidden Planet for arranging it all, to award-winning author, Alwyn Hamilton, for moderating the panel, and to grimdark legend, author Luke Scull, for driving me down!

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1 comment:

  1. Shame LFCC haven't invited you along also. They do author's too.. you'd enjoy that too. I'm not a fan of MCM just purely because of the venue size. Stresses me out a bit too.. so maybe at some point we will get you at LFCC as well. You look like you had a blast- great pictures too.