Thanks to an unusually deserted road network this morning, made it to Millennium Point in less than 20 minutes, meaning I reached the auditorium well before the "Adapting the Classics" panel I'd been asked to moderate. I was joined shortly afterwards by Clive Bryant and Jason Cobley (Classical Comics editor and writer, respectively), Ian Edginton (writer at Self Made Hero) and Paul Birch (yet another writer). The panel appeared to go well, and I managed to give everyone their moment in the spotlight before we wound up exactly on time. At the risk of sounding arrogant, it's one of my skills.
I'd decided to catch at least a section of all the subsequent programme items, so I hung around to watch Sarah McIntyre interview Michiru Morikawa (who could scarcely conceal her delight when it turned out the audience included Jeymes Samuel, the screenwriter/director behind her new commission Buskers.
Next up, assorted artists sketched their favourite periods from seven decades of Batman, overseen by DC editor Michael Wright. One rather nice touch was that everyone in the room was handed a raffle ticket, and the resultant artwork (which generally would fetch £5-£10 as a commission) was distributed accordingly at the item's close. Definitely something which should be stolen for an sf convention.
Taking a proper tour of the dealers' room, I had a brief chat with Bryan Talbot (who'd just sold out of Grandville, damnit, but I bought a copy of The Naked Artist) and picked up a small print from the guys behind Candleman (seeing as it came with a free sketch, an excellent bargain). On the way back to the theatre, I was hailed by Lew Stringer, whom I've not actually had a face-to-face with since the early 1980s.
By this point, assorted comics creators were discussing the interface between their work and movies (more two-way than you might expect), then Tim Pitcher led a lively and interesting panel involving various publishers, retailers and distributors (the final verdict being that the field is extremely lively, optimistic and is going to change in ways we probably won't be able to second-guess) before Garry Leach (assisted by Steve Pugh) gave a frantic demonstration of inking/colouring techniques.
The final item was a comics-oriented spin on Have I Got News For You, hosted by co-chair James Hodgkins. With all respect to James, as a compere, he makes a better inker. I'm possibly being cruel here, but the game was conspicuously under-rehearsed and its reliance on visual tech was always going to be a potential disaster area. Nice to chat with Mark Farmer again, though (hard to believe it's more than 25 years since Mike Taylor and I used to drop by the city centre pub where Mark worked prior to going pro).
And that, but for bumping into Howard Chaykin on the way out, was it. No closing ceremony, you'll note, one of several points I intend to pick up on in a subsequent post.