Colin O'Mahoney writes for Bleeding Cool;
After a four year hiatus, Ireland once again has a comic convention. Dublin International Comics Expo took place over the weekend in a pavilion erected in Dundrum town centre, just opposite The Big Bang store, which runs the show.
D.I.C.E being on a much smaller scale than most U.K and U.S. cons, it was a completely different experience. Attended by hundreds, and not thousands of fans, queuing time was brief or non-existent. Fans could freely chat to creators on the con floor, some of whom were even happy to spend time sketching at no cost (Venom and Conan artist Declan Shalvey, take a bow). Guests were obviously enjoying this different pace as well, with many seeing a trip to Dublin as a holiday as much as professional appearance. This was a con where everyone was having fun (except for those few who had too much fun the night before in the bar). The panels were no different. NYCC being less than a month away, there were no big announcements made, instead talks being typically more of a casual Q 'n A style affair, with a lot of focus on aspiring creators, and how to go about breaking into comics.
In fact, something heard time and time again over the weekend, from fans and guests alike, was that this was the best con they had seen for those looking to break into comics. The informal atmosphere and small scale meant that Marvel and DC editors were free to do portfolio reviews on the con floor. Passing the tables of editors, it was obvious they were putting serious time into the portfolios they were seeing on the day. Organiser John Hendricks reckons that at every convention he has done to date there have been people who have ended up getting work in comics, and this weekend was no exception. Panels also catered to this, with talks both days focusing on both breaking into comics, and staying in once you're there. Keep an eye on Bleeding Cool later this week for an article collating the best of this advice from writers, creators and editors.
Although the guest list drew on talent from the U.S, UK and Ireland (headlined by Marvel architect Matt Fraction) it was great to see what a strong showing the Irish talent made. Declan Shalvey, whose star is definitely on the rise, has pencilled for Venom and Thunderbolts, Will Sliney's credits include Star Wars books and Image's Pigs. It was gratifying to see what a mark Irish creators are having on comics right now.
The best news to come out of the weekend was The Big Bang's proprietor John Hendricks confirming that D.I.C.E. will be happening again next year, but on a much bigger scale. With the response to the expo being 'overwhelmingly positive' he intends to make it an annual event.
Other things learned at panels over the weekend:
The character most affected by the events of AVX was Marvel editor Tom Breevort.
Ben Grimm once wore a Beatles wig (it's true).
As it's not currently under the 'Marvel Now' banner, Matt Fraction wanted his Hawkeye book to be labelled 'Marvel Then'.
An editor's perspective on 'Before Watchmen': They called us into a meeting, closed the door … and later on … 'the internet had a heart attack'.
CB Cebulski's reckons the best Punisher movie so far has been Denzel Washington's 'Man on Fire'.
Avengers Arena will resolve some cliff-hangers from Runaways, but there are no current plans for another ongoing with the characters.
Despite being reshuffled to accommodate AVX, the Ultron War story is still happening, probably Spring/Summer 2013.
Audience suggestion of the con: That Marvel produce an app for fans to track Wolverine, allowing them to see exactly where, and with what team Wolverine is at all times.
Honourable mention to The Big Bang store, who are donating 100 copies of the Tommy Lee Edwards con variant of ' Amazing Spider-Men' #5 to the HERO initiative. At a print run of just 3000, expect to see some eBay activity on this one…