I have many fond memories of cons throughout the years. The con in Booterstown where Jim Lee and, personal favourite, Carlos Pacheco were there along side newcomers Declan Shalvey and Stephen Mooney. Dressing as Doctor Who for the always fun ArcadeCon. And then there’s ComicCity Fest.
First the bus journeys. My first discussion with Ciaran Marcantonio was on the bus home from one of the festivals. A conversation which had been instigated by the Italian Spider-man jumper I was wearing which I had purchased at the festival (I didn’t know who Italian Spider-man and Ciaran remedied this with a quick YouTube search). I think it was at the infamous and obligatory Monaghan Bus Station stop-off. If it was around in his time, it would surely have made it into a Patrick Kavanagh poem. Maybe not. I introduced my friend to Tommie Kelly’s The Holy Numbers on one trip and he still thinks it is the best book about Scientology even though it isn’t actually about Scientology.
I think that year was the one where we were staying at the same B&B as Paul Bolger and managed to get a lift to the con. This was pre-Hound and I didn’t actually know Paul at all then so it was just the case of someone being nice. The kind of camaraderie that is a hallmark of the festival. Where you can find time to chat to the likes of Herb Trimpe and Glenn Fabry and meet Irish creators like John McCrea, Declan Shalvey and Nate Stockman. There were lines but they were managed well so there always seemed to be time for a sketch or a chat.
I am also reminded of a couple of creative panels/workshops including a Jordie Bellaire Panel about colouring that changed the way I looked at movies. There was a Sarah Bowie and Debbie Jenkinson workshop that helped kids (and me and some mums) quickly create a comic by getting us to pick out various words. I’ll always remember a kids line about his “hispster hairdresser” who was “cutting hair before it was cool”. I think this also highlights how the festival tailors itself to kids. Just look at this year’s programme and you’ll see more of the same.
Then we get to the bar. The wonderful mess that was the geek quiz at Sandino’s where attendees and creators alike took part. I remember Maura McHugh getting a laugh out of the wrestling gimmick that was Isaac Yankem, the evil dentist, which came up as an answer. If you listen to the ComicCityCast, you’ll understand why this came up. Of course, Sandino’s is where the notorious panel happened where Robert Carey defended the indefensible Batman & Robin, I besmerched Preacher and there was a near punch-up over, of all things, lettering. It is all usually rounded off by some drinks, some chat and some dancing. You had to be there. This Saturday you have to be there. I might get my face painted…