Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Got back home Monday night from a few days away up amongst the lumpy, bumpy snowiness of Inverness for Hi-Ex. A fine time was had on several counts, not least of which was pretty much a full working day's journey each way staring out of a train window. Personal entertainment, laptops and mobile phones have made this simple pleasure a less common option for the modern rail traveller and that's a shame. The gigantic snow penis in a front garden just north of Newcastle was reward enough for me.

On the Sunday at the show I was a panel member on two occasions, first for "2008, The Year In Comics" and second for "How To Break Into Comics". Now if you were to argue that perhaps there are people better qualified than myself to speak on the latter subject (I consider myself not so much to have "broken in" as to be standing on the threshold amidst shards of broken glass, cursing myself for not having worn gloves and worrying about the burglar alarm) then I wouldn't really argue with you. But this was as nothing compared to my inadequacy on the former panel. We were meant to be discussing notable comic events of the past year. A list of suggested topics was provided - mostly the titles of superhero comics published in 2008. I had read none of them. Quite a few I hadn't even heard of. Happily, though, rather than being unnerved or embarrassed by this, I chose to just sit back and let the whole thing go on more or less without me and thus managed, mostly, to be pleasantly amused for the duration. I just treated my fellow panellists' talk as an educational experience during which I got a snapshot view of the world of the mainstream comic book and concluded that I really didn't appear to have missed much. I'm sure the (quite small) audience, and indeed my fellow panellists, must have wondered what the point was of me being there but I'm pretty sure if I'd tried to contribute then they would only have wondered the same thing all the more. Right at the end I was asked what, in comics, I might be looking forward to in the year ahead. I said "Roger Langridge drawing muppets". Four words in a row. This was by some distance the most I had said for the whole hour.

My apologies, then, to anyone who was there and felt short changed by the unknown baldy four-eyed chap who said bugger all. But, honestly, it was for the best.

And I did better, I think, on the second panel.

Or, at least, I said more. This may not be the same thing.

Anyway, for all this, Hi-Ex was still fun, as was Inverness as a whole. If you ever make it up there yourself then I recommend the ginger hedgehogs* at Leakey's bookshop café.

*this is a type of cake and not, as my splendid host Anni and I speculated, a mirkin for redheads.

what, you didn't mention the DFC??!

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