By Olly MacNamee
Back for its sophomore year is the ever-expanding Birmingham Comics Festival, returning to the scene of the crime, Edgbaston Stadium, and teaming up with local creators and local exhibitors to offer a comic con the whole city can embrace and be a part of. For instance, the guys behind the uber-popular Drink and Draw nights, that have sprung up over the last few years across the city and expanded rapidly in popularity (with over 400 attending their last event), have moved Heaven and Earth to offer another night of sketching and necking of drinks the night before at Birmingham's impressive 19th Century built Art Museum. And, like last year, I hear tell that the Midlands Art Centre is scheduling the odd film or two to tie in with the festival as well. This is a festival as opposed to a Con because it aims to be inclusive not only of fans, but of the city itself, encouraging businesses big and small to get involved.
But, the big draw, of course, is the main event itself, the Comics Festival held on St. George's Day, April 23rd. With both established comic book creators such as Ian Kennedy (Commando), David Hine (Second Sight) Laura Howell (Regular Show) and Ian Edginton (2000AD) as well as up and coming young guns including Rachael Smith (Dr Who) and Jessica Martin (Elsie Harris: Picture Palace), the selection of creators in attendance offers a wide range of opportunities to stop and chat and even discover something new. Of course, to get the full list, click here now.
Oh, and there's plenty of comics to be had too, if last year is anything to go by. Time Bomb, for example, are choosing to launch Flintlock No.1 at the show after their successful, modest Kickstarter campaign going the extra mile and what was once a two story issue has now expanded to three stories in one. Other comics are also available on the day, of course. From the likes of Markosia, Geeky Comics, Level 8 Comics and others from far afield.
And, for those of you bringing your camera (everyone with a phone then, surely?) what could be better than a chance to have your picture taken alongside The Tumbler from Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, as well as an after party and a live band, expanding the day into the evening and a chance to continue the revelry. All this and the usual cosplayers, consumables and comic book panels throughout the day.
If you're into comics, or simply want to avoid the forced patriotism that is St George's Day, Birmingham's Comics Festival is for you.
Look out, also, at some exclusive interviews with some of these very same guests, ahead of the show and right here on Bleeding Cool.
Tickets are still available from their site here and I'd best start getting some questions together then really.
Olly MacNamee teaches English and Media, for his sins, in a school somewhere in Birmingham. Some days, even he doesn't know where it is. Follow him on twitter @ollymacnamee or read about his exploits at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or don't. You can also read his articles fairly frequently at www.bleedingcool.com too.