Time Bomb Comics had a blast at BICS. Dick Turpin and the Restless Dead was unleashed on a mostly unsuspecting public and they seemed to enjoy it! We had a steady stream of people stopping by the Time Bomb Comics table over the two days and it was great to meet so many people who'd picked up Ragamuffins last year - enjoyed it - and came back for more. There were also a fair few newbies who were oblivious to Time Bomb until we encouraged them to part with their cash and sample our wares, but on the whole they didn't seem to mind too much!
This year the show was split between two rooms simply due to the number of exhibitors there. We were in the Main Hall but there was a much smaller Exhibition Suite adjacent to the main entrance. All well and good but this definitely gave the show a different vibe this year, the Hall so empty to the Suite at some points during the Saturday that some of us were wondering if the fact there was two rooms was lost on some of the attendees and they'd came and went before discovering the much bigger Hall existed. Not such a wild flight of fancy given the two rooms were seperated by a large permanent exhibition and there was initially no signage directing the unititiated to the other part of the show.
The Saturday was much quieter than the previous year - at times on the afternoon there were definitely more exhibitors in the Main Hall than visitors - but the unexpected flip-side was that the Sunday was much busier than 2007. This was no doubt in part due to some canny panel scheduling, with the keynote Dave Gibbons Watchmen talk being allocated the early Sunday afternoon slot - thus ensuring the second day was not the usual graveyard shift!
It was great to meet up with some fellow exhibitors, and to see how the British comics industry continues to thrive - albeit with smaller Indie publishers like ourselves. There were two new arrivals on the scene in the form of Reaper Comics and Ariel Press, and both these publishers had some great looking comics on display, but it was also enjoyable to catch up with some of the longer established publishers like Insomnia, Accent UK and Murky Depths. The latter is one of publishing's best kept secrets - a unique magazine that blends comics with short stories that really should be much bigger than it actually is.
Despite some grumblings from some of the exhibitors and attendees (proving you really can't please all of the people all of the time) BICS 2008 once again proved itself to be one of the key players of the UK convention circuit. There are plans to cap exhibitors next year - suggesting the two room format wasn't as successful as expected - but it really is a well put together event and already pencilled in our events diary for 2009.