Sunday, 7 October 2018

Bristol Comic Convention 2018 October 20th & 21st

Monday, 10 September 2018

Upcoming things

Russell Payne giving a Jack Kirby talk at Bridlington Comiccon
Russell Payne at Bridlington Comiccon

I'm just back from the Bridlington Comicon, and need to spend some time catching up on things. Another great event organised by District 14, well done guys! There's some photos of the con here.

The beautiful Bridlington Spa

If you need to contact me, use the form on the right, if you'd like to book me as a guest for a comicon or litfest, use the form on the right, if you want to hire me for writing, art, a talk or anything creatively fulfilling, you guessed it, use the form on the right. If you'd like to complain about my overuse of the words "use the form on the right", just use the form on the right.

My next couple of events are-

September 22nd
ArtJam, Harris Museum, Preston

October 20th & 21st 2018
Bristol Comic Con

.... come and say hello!

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

London Film and ComicCon 2018 LFCC review

I've done The London Film & Comiccon (LFCC to it's friends) a few times over the years (2015, 2014) but this was the first time I really enjoyed some proper comic and art chat with people. Instead of being the poor second cousin to the TV and Moviestars, it felt like the CC part of LFCC got a proper share of the game for a change. This was probably due to Tony Lee trying a few new things with the Comic Zone, there was a full schedule of free talks very day as well as a "Comic Symposium" and a really decent mix of comic guests from across the board, pro, small-press, writers, artists and right at there start, at tables number one, two and three- Me promoting the Jack Kirby Museum and the lovely people from the London Cartoon Museum.

So, I drove up on Thursday, and stayed at my daughter Chloe's place on the Isle of Dogs, which is quite close to the Excel Exhibition Centre. Unfortunately LFCC was held at the London Olympia, just a convenient hour away on the modern, efficient and air conditioned London Underground. The Olympia is essentially one giant greenhouse, and Friday was one of the hottest days of the year, so by the time I'd set up my table, it was already hotter than the surface of the sun. A very dramatic thunderstorm cracked the sky and cooled the air later on though.

I was there primarily to promote the Jack Kirby Museum, so I'd printed off a large poster that said "If you don't know KIRBY, then you don't know JACK" which served it's purpose in making me visible from a distance and about one in every few hundred attendees made a beeline for the table because of it. I also had a few posters and a bunch of flyers made with a potted history of Jack Kirby and the URL of the museum-

My helper for Friday was Stewart, an old friend and a seriously massive Firefly fan, so his loyalty was divided between me and Jewel Staite. He managed to fit us both in though. (Thanks for the help Stew!) It helped that I didn't charge anything for my photo, so I was cheaper than Jewel, but she was in Firefly a lot more than I was, and possibly slightly prettier.

Russell Payne and Stewart at the London Film and Comic Convention 2018
Stewart, Captain America & Russell
Friday was quiet, but by no means deserted. In previous years LFCC has been mostly casual comic fans, people who like the movies, or wanted an autograph from a stormtrooper, but already I was having chats about Wally Wood, Alex Toth and of course Jack Kirby. It boded well. Friday morning 11am I had a panel with Tim Pilcher and Alison from the Cartoon Museum that the pun loving Tony Lee had called "Dark Knight at the Museum". Not many turned up, to be expected as it was the first panel of the weekend, but had a really enjoyable discussion with Alison and Tim about the role of comic museums. There were solid panels throughout the weekend, and all the comic ones were free.

Dark Knight at the Museum panel
Russell Payne, Alison Brown, Tim Pilcher

Saturday and Sunday were busy. Saturday more so, Saturday was astonishingly busy. Saturday was wall to wall nerds, but in a good way. The queue to walk up the stairs stretched hundreds of metres, so you can imagine how big the Peter Capaldi queue was, it formed in front of my table and was so big it had it's own gravitational field and crossed two timezones. There was a whiff of mass hysteria in the air, but also that nice camaraderie you get when so many people gather together that like the same stuff. I heard one girl scream "We're wearing the same t-shirt!!!" at some random guy wearing the same Avengers shirt as her, she did it with such delight and intensity, you'd think she'd just discovered a long lost brother, not just someone who also shopped at Primark.

The epic Peter Capaldi queue
Had a brief wander round downstairs on Saturday while my helpers for the weekend, Darrell and his daughter Liv, manned my table, and there was barely room to move in the main traders area. I saw two people bickering over a lego figurine, which pretty much sums it up. The Comic Zone was the place to be, busy but not packed, and much friendlier.

A few artists found time to wander over to my table. David Leach, who edited the awesome Jack Kirby Prisoner hardcover artist edition (Titan Books) spotted a couple of the Kirby Prisoner pages I had displayed and came over to talk. Simon Bisley thumbed through the Kamandi and took away a large Captain America Kirby print with a view to possibly painting it, and I had nice chats with Grant Perkins, Mike Collins and others. I said a quick hi to my London Supercon buddy Dan Slott, but he always has a crowd of adoring fans around him. It was a good comic guest lineup, a really good one, a nice mix, there was SO much to see at LFCC,  this year the Comic Zone managed to hold it's own as an area worth visiting, not just an afterthought.

Darrell and a Cyberman. Darrell is the one on the right.

One woman brought her own rug, rolled it out and fell asleep a few metres in front of my table, I admired her ability to kip under any circumstances. It was quiet when I took this photo, but she had a good few hours sleep, at some points people were stepping over her to put things in the bin. I did start to wonder if she was cosplaying as Wee Willie Winkie. I suppose it's entirely possible she had some sort of condition, but either way, her extreme napping was impressive, and the man sat guarding her, presumably her partner, who folded out a chair and sat there for hours calmly watching over her, was an oddly touching example of loyalty and patience.

Aside from Willie, cosplay plays a major part at most comicons now, and LFCC was no exception. People tried to talk to me through rubber masks, giant helmets and in one case, a large foam toothbrush, at least that's what it looked like, it was probably some Manga character. Honorable mentions go to the Monty Python Holy Grail cosplayers, coconut shells and all, Ned Flanders and the Dark Crystal ones, they were all great.

Despite my best efforts, I broke my rule and spent money at LFCC. One essential purchase was Lew Stringers "Pedantic Stan - The Comic Fan" booklet. Very funny and perfect for anyone who goes to Comic cons. I laughed a lot reading it, I wish all funnybooks were this funny.

My other purchase was a page of original Nemesis the Warlock art from David Roach. This was one of those weird, happy co-incidences. David came over to chat about Jack Kirby and offered to scan some original Kirby art and send it to the Museum. I've chatted to David before, but never mentioned to him how much I loved his 2000AD Nemesis work, so I did. He had just recently found a few pages and had them with him, so I went over to look and he slipped a page out of his folder that triggered an eighties flashback, it was the one that had a little Captain Beefheart reference on it, an album cover with "Torque Mask Replica". In 1988, when a teenage me saw this, and subsequently found out about Trout Mask Replica, it directly led to a lifelong obsession with Captain Beefheart. Finding this page now, and having the added bonus of buying it direct from the artist, I couldn't resist. Also, it's a lovely page, David draws Purity Brown like no-one else. It's my new favourite piece of original art. Thanks David. If you're ever at a comic convention, make sure you look through any original art that artists are selling, it's so much better to buy a piece from the creator than it is paying a premium buying it from a third party, where the art has changed hands several times in a speculative market. Live and direct, its always better. Also he signed it on the back "To Russ, David Roach, Fast and Bulbous", fantastic! Here's my new favourite thing-

So all in all, a really good con that far exceeded my expectations, exhausting but well organised, good guests, nice vibe and I got a Nemesis page. Thanks to Tony Lee and his team for doing such a great job, and thanks to Stewart, Liv & Darrell for the assistance and the photos. If regular readers are wondering where John Watson is, he'll be at the NICE convention in a few weeks, see here.

My next comic convention is Hull Comiccon on Saturday 18th August which is FREE this year, with activities, workshops, signings, panels, games & of course cosplay. If you live near near Hull, it's a great free day out for all the family! Come and say hello, or bring a rug and have a nap.

Other LFCC2018 reviews-

Lew Stringer's LFFC2018 review


MyPlusOne LFCC 2018 review/rant

Russell Payne LFCC 2018 London Film and Comic Con

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Russell Payne 2018 comic convention & literary festival appearances

London Supercon Jack Kirby Panel - Russell Payne, Dave Gibbons, Tim Seeley, Jonathan Ross
London Supercon Jack Kirby Panel - Russell Payne, Dave Gibbons, Tim Seeley, Jonathan Ross

Far too late, I am just starting to arrange my convention schedule for 2018, get in touch using the contact form on the right if you'd like me as a guest at your comiccon or literary festival. With very little coaxing, I will give a talk or panel on comics legend Jack Kirby. >>

For more details see-
Literary Festivals Profile
Starburst magazine article
Recent digital work
Colouring work examples

I'll be a guest at the following cons in the next few months.

Feb 24th 2018
Southport Comiccon

May 18th-20th 2018
Yorkshire Comicon Weekender
(*now cancelled)

July 27th to 29th 2018
I'll be plugging the Jack Kirby Museum at the
London Film and Comicon

August 18th 2018
Hull Comicon

September 8th 2018
Bridlington Comicon

September 22nd
ArtJam, Harris Museum, Preston

October 20th & 21st 2018
Bristol Comic Con

Russell Payne Comiccon

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

London Super Comiccon LSCC 2017 review

London Super Comiccon 2017 LSCC

I’m finally back from a long weekend in London at the LondonSuper Comiccon. I was there to do a “100 years of Jack Kirby” panel. Since this was the closet UK comiccon to what would have been Kirby’s 100th birthday (August 28th) it was a happy co-incidence that this is one of the few remaining comicon’s that focusses entirely on comics, with one of the year’s best line-ups of people from the very cream of the comic industry, and me.

London Transport carefully chose the most inconvenient weekend to close half the roads and train stations, so there were no trains running from Euston on Saturday or Sunday at all. This meant getting the train down Friday morning, and coming home Monday. Generally, I’d drive, but I had a heart attack a few weeks ago and this seemed like a bad idea. Actually, I thought it was a great idea, but my wife, mother, doctor and John Watson (who would have been my passenger) all thought it was a bad idea, and I acquiesced to their reasoning. This was my first con with John for over a year I think, so it was a real pleasure to spend so much time with John and listen to him endlessly complain about his infected eye. I suggested he wear a patch and tell everyone he was cosplaying as Nick Fury, he didn’t listen.

You can read John’s version of events here, they won’t bear much resemblance to mine, one of us has a tenuous grip on reality. It’s probably me. If you do read John’s blog, mentally delete the word “mild” whenever you see it.

We got the train early Friday morning. LSCC was a 3-day event, Friday to Sunday. It didn’t start until midday on Friday though, so we made it only a few minutes after it opened. It was a new venue for the con, previous years it’s been at the London Excel, this year it was at the rather lovely Business Design Centre in Islington. The main area looked like an enormous Victorian greenhouse, with a gorgeous curved roof, all girders and glass. When the sun shone, it did get pretty hot in there, but all the artists and writers were in a separate two level gallery, where it was mercifully cool.

John and I were at Table #116, in the upper gallery, in between Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and artist Chris Weston.

Dan had a constant flow of people queuing to talk to him and get comics signed. I was really impressed with Dan, what a nice guy. To his credit, he gave each and every one of his fans a friendly chat, telling them stories, showing them art and photos on his phone, giving them all a nice experience, and he kept it up for HOURS. The man has stamina. I said to him towards the end of the con how nice it was that he had so much time for people and he replied “Hey! It’s the least I can do, they buy my crap!” I liked Dan.

Chris Weston was great too, nice guy, very humble and unassuming. Seemingly unaware of just how awesome his art was, he was churning out some stunning sketches for people, wish I’d have asked him for one now, but it always feels weird asking other guests for sketches. He was using coloured paper to sketch on, which was unusual but really worked. He did a Nemesis the Warlock for someone that I would have happily framed and put on my wall.

Friday was busier then I’d expected, John did his usual sketches, despite his failing eye. They were pretty good. He also started on the Picard sketch that he was doing as a thank you for my daughter’s housemate letting us use his room. 

Half finished Picard sketch

I was unable to sketch due to my recent severe heart attack, I’m still struggling to grip a pen for long periods. John said something about this being nature’s way of stopping me drawing. Late finish Friday, it didn’t finish until 8pm, but fortunately there was a Wetherspoons (The Angel) just around the corner so we could bask in a familiar menu before finding our way to Chloe’s. For many years, neither of us has had a smartphone, but John has given in and got an iPhone, so we used that to find the nearest pub, we were there in minutes instead of the traditional hour of walking round hungry, having a smartphone takes all the fun out of getting lost.

My Kirby panel was Saturday with me, Dan Slott, Mark Buckingham and Mike Collins. Dan couldn’t make it, but it was still a great panel, many thanks to Mike and Mark for joining in. The panel room was full, and I saw several people filming it, if anyone has a video then get in touch. As it was Kirby’s 100th, I had a few vintage Kirby comics to give away and a load of prints. The lovely people at LimitedEditionComix kindly donated a stack of “True Believers” Kirby reprints to give away too. 

LSCC Kirby Panel 2017

Saturday actually seemed quieter than Friday, which no-one could understand. Possibly it was just that less people made it out of the main hall and found the upper gallery. Maybe it was my fault and people were so blown away by the Jack Kirby panel they just went straight home, or maybe word got around about John’s manky eye and people were worried about contagion.

Saturday night we bumped into fellow artists and buddies Gary Erskine and Mike Collins, so ended up eating out with them and having a drink. You’d think we’d talk about comics, but we strayed onto subjects like online dating and Brexit instead.

Sunday was a short day, ending at the very civilised time of half three. Maybe panels went on for longer. Everyone got kicked of the main hall an hour earlier at half two, so that caused a nice final push of people coming to see us and I sold a few extra prints. I’d done a Kirby collage to commemorate Kirby’s 100th, John pointed out that my placement of the Thing was potentially offensive. I like to imagine he’s about to give his creator a nice platonic hug.

Jack Kirby 100 collage sgt pepper

The organisers moved Dan Slott to the other side of the gallery so his queue didn’t block other tables, and Kei Zama replaced him. She was a Japanese artist who draws robots and very kindly gave me a couple of her sketchbooks. 

Sunday was an excuse to wander round and actually have a look around the con. I got myself 3D scanned by the Milestones3D people and am now looking forward to having a genuine Russell Payne action figure.

In a desperate attempt to bring my wife a gift back (I didn’t think the Russell Payne action figure would be a hit) I found a Lloyd Dobler vinyl figure, (the John Cusack character from one of our favourite movies) on the Forbidden Planet stand. 

As well as being a great convention for artists and writers, some of the merchandising was particularly good too, a decent selection of old comics at good prices and an absolutely spectacular selection of original comic art, they even had some Kirby’s in there. Way above my price range, but lovely to look through.

Bizarrely, on the 27th anniversary of meeting my wife, I bumped into Simon Roe, who had first introduced us 27 years ago and who I hadn’t seen for decades. He was at the comiccon with his partner and kids, his first ever comiccon. What are the chances? Also bizarrely, Simon knows John quite well too, independently of me, they used to play MERP together, but this was the first time the three of us had been in the same room! Great to catch up with Simon, I’m still not happy about not being invited to those MERP games.

John Watson Russell Payne
This is probably of no interest to anyone who doesn’t know me. Here are John, Simon and me. 

At the very end of the con, a large folder of art containing a few of John’s paintings and a ton of art belonging to Jeff Chahal went missing. This started a mild panic. I don’t have a good track record of losing folders. The folder was last seen propped up against the table next to John and no-one had noticed it being taken. I went searching for it. I went downstairs to where the merchandisers were packing up, after initially denying all knowledge for comedic purposes, it turned out Jeff had used his Ninja skills to whip the folder from under our noses. So a massive thanks to Jeff for stress testing out my new arteries! I tried to go back upstairs and pretend to John that no-one could find the folder, but he saw through my lying face in about 3 seconds.

We had a bit of free time Sunday after the con and met up with Chloe to go around the National Galleries. John’s boyish excitement at spotting a Holbein painting was a joy to behold. He bounded ahead of us, past a security guard and when I finally caught up with him, I had to admit, it was a pretty awesome painting. Also visited Ian McKellen’s pub, The Grapes, which I would recommend to anyone, lovely old pub with Gandalf’s staff behind the bar.

Good train journey home, a glimmer of hope that the book me and John have been working on together for the past 173 years might still see the light of day. I returned to find my car parked near the train station completely covered in purple bird poo. A relatively rare fail from an otherwise good weekend. Probably the best con I’ve attended in a while, mostly because it was a chance to catch up with so many friends, writers and artists that I hadn’t seen in a while and bore them with exaggerated tales of my heart attack.

Apologies for the rubbish photos, I take a camera and always forget to take any. Here's a photo of me and John that appeared on Rich Johnston's excellent BleedingNews though!

Thanks to Gary for inviting me to do a Jack Kirby panel, especially so near his centenary, and to Gary, John and Sherwin for organising yet another fantastic, proper, comic-focussed London Super Comiccon.

Dan Slott
Dan Slott's arm and Dr Octopus