Comic Con Retrospective

London Super Comic Con

London Super Comic Con

I visited a lot of Comic Cons last year, which I had planned to report on, sharing my experiences, but for various reasons I didn’t get a chance to at the time.

So, I thought I would take the opportunity to look back at the past year and a half.

If you live in the UK and are looking for Comic Cons to attend, you might want to take read of some of my personal experiences in deciding which ones to go to.

Dunfermline Comic Con 2017

My first Comic Con of the year. The Dunfermline Comic Con is a smaller convention, but it is great fun if you happen to be based in Scotland.

I had a lot of fun back in 2017, especially since it had been many, many months since I’d last attended a convention.

I had a nice chat with Gary Chudleigh from BHP Comics and picked up a copy of Plagued Vol. 1

Because of bad weather, there was no Dunfermline Comic Con in 2018, but it will be making a return in 2019.

Edinburgh Comic Con 2017/2018

I’m based in Edinburgh, and every year in April, the Edinburgh Comic Con is held. There is usually a mix of comic book, film and television events.

Since it is local, this is a fairly easy Comic Con for me to attend.

While there aren’t usually any industry events held at this Con, I do get the chance to meet up with fellow local creators who I haven’t seen in a while. It’s a nice opportunity to catch up with friends.

This year, the convention did manage to host some workshops for beginners, so if you’re looking to get a start in comics, you might want to consider going along to this.

Both years I had a lot of fun wandering around the stalls, before coming home, feeling inspired and ready to get back to writing.

Glasgow Comic Con 2017/2018

Held at the end of June/the beginning of July every year, the Glasgow Comic Con is the best convention that Scotland has to offer.

The Comic Con is now held over a single day, but it is preceded by a one day industry event called 9 Panels.

While I do enjoy the convention, it’s 9 Panels which is really useful to me, as someone who wants to write professionally.

The panels were really useful this year and last year, and for once I actually used the pitching sessions to meet people from various indie comic book companies.

Networking is an important part of the comic book industry and I feel I got some really useful advice.

I was hoping to meet some new artists this year as well, but alas, no collaborations have ever resulted from these networking events.

Still, I had a good time, and I was able to catch up with fellow writers and meet new editors, which should prove useful in the future.

London Super Comic Con 2017

Going down to London Super Comic Con was a big deal for me, in part, because it was held in the Business Design Centre which had been the home of the Kapow Comic Con which I had previously attended for the two years that it had run.

Kapow had really felt like an American-style Comic Con and I had heard much the same about the London Super Comic Con, and with the line up of guests they had in 2017, I just had to attend.

And you know what? It really did feel like something special. The Con took place over three days and the space was great. Lots of vendors and tables.

A couple of times, I wandered up to the upper gallery, and just sat down. I looked out over the convention, the bustle of fans and creators, and I took it all in.

At an event like this, it really feels like there is magic in the air.

Then, as I mentioned before, there were the guests. They had both Brian Michael Bendis and Dan Slott visiting from the States.

I took my copy of Words For Pictures up to be signed by Bendis, who like a total gent, decided to start the signings early when he saw a queue was building.

Now, I’m not really one for getting autographs, but it was an excuse to meet one of the most talented writers in the business, a man who actively encourages new talent. If you haven’t read his book Words For Pictures and you want to write comic books, then I recommend that you go pick it up.

I got to shake the man’s hand and he even remembered me from Twitter, which was beyond awesome.

Mister Bendis was also running a Masterclass for writing which I attended, that I think a lot of other people got a lot out of, but much of the advice he was giving wasn’t that useful to me. They were things that I did with my writing already, or techniques for things which I did in different ways.

Some of it I had of course picked up from reading Words For Pictures, but other stuff I had simply learned from years of actually writing.

Bottom line, the Masterclass probably wasn’t meant for me, but for people still developing their craft. And it was oddly reassuring to discover that maybe I’m doing this writing thing correctly. Maybe I actually do know what I’m doing.

Still, it was a terrific experience, getting to listen to a true pro discussing how he writes comic books.

I also brought down a writing portfolio to the Comic Con as the talented Erica Schultz and Kieron Gillen were doing Portfolio Reviews.

Erica Schultz actually gave me some excellent advice online about including completed work in my portfolio, because it’s really difficult for a reviewer to read through pages of script, so I included three comics that I had worked on, plus the scripts as extra reference material, for comparison.

It’s the reason you don’t see a lot of reviews for Writing Portfolios at Comic Cons. Most aspiring writers only have scripts, not published works, and it’s really is next to impossible for a reviewer to look through pages and pages of scripts.

The process is too time consuming.

The way it worked was that you submitted your portfolio and then you got a call later in the day telling you if you were going to get your portfolio reviewed.

I was actually the last person seen by Kieron Gillen.

He gave me the best compliment I think it’s possible to give a writer. Kieron had no writing advice to give me. We discussed my work and he said he might have approached things differently, but that was purely a matter of personal taste.

Kieron told me that I was the most advanced writer who he had reviewed over the course of the weekend.

He told me I was essentially doing everything right.

And to hear that from a writer I really respect, that was a big deal for me.

That helps give me faith that one day I might actually be able to do this writing thing as a career.

The only thing I lack, which is what he pointed out to me, are the connections with editors to actually get work.

He advised me to talk to a couple of editors at the Con and while I was unable to track one of them down (given that it was the last day of the Convention, people had begun to drift away), I did manage to start a conversation with one of them, which might result in future work.

Overall it was such an incredible weekend. And it really is a shame that the London Super Comic Con is not returning this year.

However, let us hope that it is held again, at some future date.

Thought Bubble 2017

Thought Bubble is an annual event that is held in Leeds every year. For the first time, I was able to head down with one of my best friends, who is also a comic book writer.

Now, if you are an aspiring writer, Thought Bubble is a big deal because 2000AD has an open pitching session for writers to earn a place writing a 2000AD Future Shock.

For those not in the know, a 2000AD Future Shock strip is a sci-fi short story, featuring a twist ending.

Now, the year before I had got there really early to queue up for the pitching session, as it was first come, first served, and I even ended up as first on stage.

This year, well, I still got there hours early, however there was already a queue, which was not a good thing.

My friend did really well pitching her story, although she didn’t win. I, on the other hand… I was just a mess. It was nearing the end of the pitching session and I was panicking in case I didn’t get to go up and pitch, so I just fell apart when I got up there.

Not that I think my pitch was good enough to win anyway, short strips with twist endings are tricky, I never know what someone is going to think is obvious or really clever. I’ve written a number in the small press that some editors have loved, and others they hated and those have never seen the light of day.

I did get to catch up with an artist who I hadn’t seen for years. Plus I saw a couple of fellow writers that I knew.

They had some great guests at the Con too. The biggest of Gerard Way talking about Young Animals. That was very cool.

So, I had fun, even if the Con was not as useful as I could have hoped.

Will I try pitching to 2000AD again this year? We’ll see. If I do, I’ll be sure to get there as early as I possibly can.


To Blog or Not to Blog?


A Tivian from the comic book ‘Conqueror’ by Paul Penna and Kean Kennedy

Hello all. As you may have noticed over the past few months, the updates to this blog have been a little haphazard.

I update the blog when I can, but I am often kept busy with my day job or actual writing. Although, should I come across any useful information for aspiring writers or artists, I do try to add it here.

While I will still be making those updates whenever I come across useful information that I can share, I’m also going to make the effort to release at least one new blog post at the start of each month.

This will not be on a specific subject, as per usual I’m going to relate useful information I find, share my own personal experiences of trying to break into the industry, discuss my own writing and write posts on comic book continuity (since I am a massive continuity geek).

It is my hope that this will encourage people to check in at the start of the month and become regular visitors to the blog.

Hopefully people will not only find the information I relate interesting, but it will ultimately help them with their own creative endeavors.

If I’m able to help even one person get a little closer to achieving their dreams, then that makes this all worth it.

9 Panels & Glasgow Comic Con 2018

9 Panels

9 Panels

Hello all. It’s been a while since I’ve done an update, as it has been a tough few months but I’m still here and I’m still writing.

This weekend is the second comic con that I’m going to this year; the excellent Glasgow Comic Con.

Here is the link to their website;

If you live in Scotland, I highly recommend going.

It starts off today with the 9 Panel industry event, which has a number of panels for aspiring writers and artists, and also presents the opportunity to pitch to Comichaus, Knight Errant Press, BHP Comics, Markosia/Orang Utan Comics and Zuiker Press.

Editor Dave Elliot of Atomeka will also be doing portfolio reviews.

Never underestimate the importance of meeting editors.

There will also be a chance to meet other writers and artists. Finding new collaborators is a great way to get new projects off the ground. You should always find ways to network at these events.

The comic con proper is held on Saturday, so if you’re a fan, that’s the day to head along.

Hopefully it’s going to be a fun and productive weekend.

Alterna Comics – It Came Out on a Wednesday

It Came Out on a Wednesday

It Came Out on a Wednesday

This week Alterna Comics announced the launch of a new comic book series called It Came Out on a Wednesday.

This series is going to be a bi-monthly anthology.

If you have a 12 page completed strip which is suitable for teens/young adults, then you can submit it to this new anthology on the Alterna Comics submissions page.

12 pages is the maximum, there is no minimum page requirement.

Color or black and white will be accepted.

That means that writers and artists need to team up if they want to submit something.

Alterna Comics are looking for Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy stories.

The work is unpaid, but creative teams will receive 100 complimentary copies for strips 6 pages and under, and 150 complimentary copies for strips which are 7 pages or more.

So, if you’re an upcoming creator looking to exhibit at a comic con, this is perfect for you.

A short story competition will also be running with the winner getting a $20 gift card.

Details can be found on the Alterna Comics website;

The Oral History of Image Comics

Image Comics

Image Comics

While I’m sure most people coming onto this blog will be aware of Image Comics and it’s history, some may not be, or at least, might not know the details.

If you want to be a comic book writer or an artist, then it’s important to know the history of the industry and the different companies that you might want to work for.

Syfy Wire recently did a short web documentary series on the foundation of Image Comics and it’s history.

It’s free to watch. You can find it here;

It’s a good series with a great set of interviews with those that were involved. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about Image Comics.

Aces Weekly – Projections

Aces Weekly

Aces Weekly

Aces Weekly is an ongoing online British anthology series created by David Lloyd, who is probably best known for illustrating V For Vendetta.

The website can be found here;

Aces Weekly is subscription based and costs just £1 a week.

Recently Ace Weekly has featured my strip “Projections” in a slightly altered form from when it was originally published in FutureQuake.

You can find “Projections” in Aces Weekly Volume 30, Week 7;

Alterna Comics – IF Anthology Horror

Alterna Comics

Alterna Comics

Submissions are now open for the Alterna Comics IF Anthology for 2018. This will be the fourth installment of the black and white anthology.

The theme for this year is HORROR.

The maximum page found is 16 pages and there is no minimum.

The early deadline will be on May 1st, 2018.

The final deadline is on June 1st, 2018.

The IF Anthology accepts only completed strips, so that means that writers need to team up with artists.

Further details can be found on the submissions page here;

We also know that the IF Anthology for 2019 will have the theme of HOPE. The information was included as part of a previous Kickstarter.

Here it is;

So, if you want to start thinking ahead, then you can. The submissions guidelines for 2019 should match up with the guidelines for 2018.

Cyber Force Rebirth: Artifacts, Vol. 3

Cyber Force Rebirth: Artifacts, Vol. 3

Cyber Force Rebirth: Artifacts, Vol. 3

To coincide with the relaunch of Cyber Force in March, Image Comics/Top Cow Productions are releasing the Cyber Force Rebirth: Artifacts, Vol. 3 trade paperback. This will be followed by Cyber Force Rebirth Vol. 4 later in the year.

Cyber Force Rebirth: Artifacts, Vol. 3 mainly collects the first half of the free Cyber Force: Artifacts series which was released on Line Webtoon (the second half to be released in Volume 4), but as a bonus they are also including the material from the Cyber Force: Artifacts #0 one shot which featured stories written by Kelly Bender, Camilla Zhang and, you guessed it, me.

My contribution was an eight page story titled “Weaponeer” which starred Aphrodite IV and was illustrated by Jim Towe.

To see my work reprinted in a trade paperback is really exciting news and more than I could’ve hoped for, as Talent Hunt stories usually haven’t been collected.

Here is the link to information about the trade paperback on the Image Comics website;

I did wonder when I was told that the one shot featuring my story would be titled ‘Cyber Force: Artifacts’ if some sort of link would be made to the Line Webtoon series.

Originally the three Talent Hunt stories were to be used as backup strips and when the plan was made to gather them together in a one shot, it was going to be called ‘Cyber Force: Cyberdata’.

This later changed to ‘Cyber Force: Artifacts’.

I was aware that there were plans for the web series to be collected together in print, at the time I hoped that might mean my strip might end up getting reprinted too, but I wrote it off as wishful thinking, not ever really expecting for it to happen.

So, I am truly beyond happy at the news.

Cyber Force Rebirth: Artifacts, Vol. 3 is released in March. I hope if you’re reading this, that you pick it up.

Cyber Force Rebirth Vol. 1 and Cyber Force Rebirth Vol. 2 are already available at comic book shops and online.

Zarjaz #29

Zarjaz #29

Zarjaz #29

Back in November, Zarjaz #29 was released by FutureQuake Press. It included a strip titled ‘Ghosts of Mega-City One’ by yours truly.

If you’re unfamiliar with Zarjaz, it’s a 2000AD fanzine put out by FutureQuake Press, featuring the characters from that magazine.

2000AD is a British based comic book known for such characters as Judge Dredd.

‘Ghosts of Mega-City One’ is a Tales of Mega-City One strip, which is to say, that it is a strip set in the world of Judge Dredd, which doesn’t feature Dredd himself.

Here is the page for Zarjaz #29 on the FutureQuake website (you can also purchase the issue from here too);

Here are some posts on the FutureQuake blog which relate to Zarjaz #29 as well;

Thought Bubble & 2000 AD

Thought Bubble 2017

Thought Bubble 2017

If you’re based in the UK, I’m sure that most of you are already aware that Thought Bubble Comic Con is on this weekend.

Saturday the 23rd and Sunday the 24th of September.

This is a couple of months earlier than the Con has previously been held and it’s moving to a new location in the center of Leeds.

The official website is here;

This is an important Comic Con, not just because it has amazing guests like Brian K. Vaughan, Gerard Way and Ron Marz , but because it features an excellent opportunity for upcoming writers and artists to break into the comic book industry.

British based publisher Rebellion who publish 2000 AD will be holding their annual Writing Competition and Art Challenge, as per usual. Full details can be found here;

Artists will have a chance to hand in samples on the Saturday and a winner will be selected and announced on the Sunday.

At a panel on at 11.30am to 12.20pm on Saturday, writers will have a chance to get up on stage and pitch a four page Future Shock strip (a sci-fi strip with a twist ending). They will have two minutes to make their pitch, the judges will give feedback, and at the conclusion of the panel, a winner will be announced.

The judges this year are Paul Cornell, Al Ewing, Andy Diggle and Matt Smith.

Last year it was first come, first served, so if you want to pitch I advise you get there early.

More information is available about this and other 2000 AD events on the 2000 AD website;

This is an opportunity to be published in an issue of 2000 AD and if you’re serious about  wanting to break into the comic book industry, as either an artist or a writer, you won’t want to miss this chance.

If you really want to prepare, someone was recording last year’s pitching session. You can find the recording on Youtube here;