Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A Day at the N.I.C.E Convention.

This Saturday just gone was a great day for me and my daughter as we followed a routine that we have done a couple of times before when my son lost interest in the conventions I went to and she took his place quite happily. We got up at 6am on Saturday morning and went into our local town center to grab a cooked breakfast before we caught a bus to Bedford, my hometown, and a place where my heart will truly be. When we arrived outside of the convention venue, we couldn't believe our luck when we realized we were second in line. Whoever the group was that got there first, I dread to think what time they got up at but fair play to them all the same.

The N.I.C.E convention is where primarily British writers and artists gather to sign comics, draw sketches and meet their fans once a year and inside and as usual, Jeff the organiser had done a great job with the guest lineup he had assembled and credit to him for doing so and pulling off a wonderful event. To go through the list would take some time (you can find the list here) I have to say the highlight of the show for me was meeting Andrew Wildman. He was an artist on the Transformers comic when it was being written by one of my favourite writers, Simon Furman, and the series was a good one until it was cancelled but then revived many years later and even continued with its original issue numbering. I will always be one of those Transformers fans that will always prefer the Generation One version of the characters and was so thrilled to have him draw me two sketches of my two favourite characters.

Sketches like these are the very best thing or things that you can take away from events like this as they are truly one of a kind and can never be repeated. Wildman has a Patreon and usually I would not promote these things because of the way some people use them, a way to make a cheap buck off of gullible idiots (Yes Wu and Harper, I am looking at you) but I shall provide the link and let you judge for yourself.

Another highlight was meeting Matt Hollingsworth, a colourist who had worked on such great titles as Wytches and Tokyo Ghost. After a brief conversation with him in which he informed me Wytches series two was on the way, I brought this wonderful piece of artwork from him.

It shows how the colouring for an issue works from stage to stage, left to right, start to finish and was number four out of five made and he even signed it at the bottom. I also came away from the event with a ton of loot, my daughter too but there was one comic I purchased right at the end that is my prize from the convention. For those who don't know, I was a massive fan of Michael Turner's artwork and Fathom in particular but I sold them and the rest of my comics when the children started to roll in almost 14 years ago. Turner sadly died from bone cancer back in 2008 and the industry lost one of its best talents and anything that he had signed went up in value, there is an issue of Black Panther which he did the art for that at the time of writing this, is going for £149.95 on eBay. This all happened whilst I was out of the game but after I got back into it and learned about it, I said to myself that I would get something of his signed, preferably something that had been given the CGC treatment.

A dealer had the above comic, a Swimsuit Special of the main character from Fathom that Turner had signed in 2007, one year before his death. He originally wanted £80 for it but informed me he would take £60. I told him I would come back to him at the end of my day and see what I had left and he agreed. I came back to him with my last £45 and asked if he would accept it and my head nearly popped when he did and handed it to me. On a personal level, I feel I gained a wonderful part to my collection from a man who's work I loved, on another level I cannot believe I managed to get it at such a good price.
Its times like these I love comics.

All in all, it was a grand day and I cannot wait for the next one, N.I.C.E is one of the few conventions that I happily return to each year as not only is it an affordable one but it feels like a very personal one to me in more than one instance. I really can't wait.

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