Time Bomb Comics' convention circuit is getting off to an early start this year with the Inverness Hi-Ex show on the weekend of 14th February. This is Hi-Ex's 2nd year and the first Hi-Ex gained instant notoriety not just because it was a great addition to the UK convention calender but also because it was snowed in following a very heavy Highland downfall! To be honest, the idea of being trapped in a convention centre for days with only 1000's of comics and their creators doesn't seem too bad a thing to me - but I'm not really sure how those variant covers would taste once the food ran out.
We had hoped to attend the first show but the logistics just didn't work out so we're delighted that we'll be there this time around. Our attendance involves a first for us - the first convention we've flown to, the 2 hour Birmingham/Inverness flight time much more attractive than the 9 and a half hours it would take by train. There's also been a great deal of thought given to how much we can bring with us, what with the luggage restrictions you get with flights, although I'm looking forward to travelling light with only 2 bags rather than the usual 5 that somehow are essential for those more Southern shows. We've also decided to leave our funky roll up banner behind - it was either that or no fresh clothes for four days.
Andy can't make it to Hi-Ex (it's much too far for him to travel without a carer) but both Suzanne and myself are getting very excited about it for a couple of reasons. Probably the main one is that it will be the first time most comic fans in Scotland will be able to sample our wares as I suspect not that many take the lengthy journey to Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds or anywhere else which has become the convention mainstays of recent years. So unlike the latter shows where we pitch up with one new one-shot as well as the previous releases, all three of our one-shots will be brand-new to a lot of the Hi-Ex crowd.
That's right - three one-shots - as we'll be using Hi-Ex to present some advance copies of The Sisterhood:Morningstar, fresh from the printer but hopefully not still wet. To be honest it was touch and go if we'd manage this, but Dan's finished the artwork and next weekend will be coming down to Time Bomb Central in Leicester to make sure that everything is set to print. The official launch won't be until May for this one - at the SPExpo in Bristol no less - but I'm really keen to be able to bring Hi-Ex a Time Bomb Comics mini-exclusive as well as getting some advance feedback about the book that we can hopefully use in our main launch.
To me, it's a key element to bring something new to each convention we appear at. Whether it's a new one-shot, merchandise or the brand in itself I'm a great believer in added value and when I'm taking in a convention as a comics fan - even if it's those quick 10 minutes away from the Time Bomb Comics table - I always get a big kick out of seeing what new stuff the other exhibitors have this time around. If it's the same old stuff as last year, then I'm disappointed.
The other thing I'm looking forward to at Hi-Ex is the fact that it's not as huge as the other shows just yet, so there's a chance I can meet some of the other exhibitors and guests that will be there. Sometimes the big shows can be overwhelming, the smaller events tend to have a tighter focus and usually everyone is slightly more relaxed about things. Two people who I'm suspecting won't be that relaxed are Richmond and Vicky, Hi-Ex's organisers, who will no doubt be displaying that manic stare and rictus grin over the two days that all con-runners seem to get due to putting anything like this together being no easy task.
But apart from them I'm expecting a pretty chilled vibe - and not just from the snow outside.