In less than 3 short weeks this year's Birmingham International Comics Show takes place on the weekend of the 4th/5th October.
This is a show that's very dear to us at Time Bomb Comics and here's the reasons why. The very first BICS was held in a small intimate venue in December 2006, and was the first comics convention I'd been to since the UKCAC shows in London that ran through the 80's/90's.
The UKCAC was a highlight of my year, and something I attended religously - even flying back to the UK to attend it during the time I worked abroad. I even attended it when, to be honest, they weren't really that much fun anymore. I would go out of a sense of duty, in the same way you would visit an aging relative that you didn't really recognise as the person you once knew. So much so I missed the final two UKCAC's - and by all accounts I sadly didn't miss much.
Having moved to Leicester in 2005 the first BICS was practically on my doorstep being just an hour away on the train. The December date also seemed to be an ideal opportunity to snag some early Christmas presents! What I didn't expect was the wide range of small press and indie publisher's who had tables there, who far outnumbered the more traditional comic dealers. I spent the day chatting to these creators and buying their books, amazed to see ranges of titles that were as professional and enjoyable as anything you could find in the local comic shop. More importantly I came away with the realisation that this was a club I very much wanted to be a part of. If I hadn't attended the first BICS, then I doubt I would have caught the spark that led me to co-create Time Bomb Comics.
The second BICS was a far grander affair and now in the less Chritmassy but far more economically sensible month of October. Last year's BICS was huge - a massive gear change upwards from the previous year. This was now a comics convention for the big boys, held in the massive Thinktank conference centre in Birmingham city centre. Everything about it was bigger and better (if you were there I'll just mention "goody bag" - 'nuff said!) with more dealers, more creators, more attendees and more importantly a Time Bomb Comics exhibitor table. Our first title Ragamuffins:Stitches In Time made it's world premiere at BICS 2007 and it was great to be selling our comic alongside the same creators tables who had inspired me the year before.
Which brings us to BICS 2008. It seems this year the Birmingham Show will cement itself as the British comics convention of the year. That it's in a position to already eclipse the long-running Bristol Expo is astonishing but really a testament to the guys that have worked incredibly hard to grow such a mighty oak from such a small acorn. And the gossip seems to suggest that this year's show might be outclassing BICS 07 in much the same way last year's show outclassed BICS 06. Simply put, if you read comics you really should be planning to be in Birmingham in a couple of weeks.
One more thing: BICS 2008 will also be where Time Bomb Comics second title officially makes it's debut, and we can't wait to see what attendees and fellow creators make of Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead. Reason to attend alone, methinks!