On the 19th August I traveled to the City of Oxford to attend my first ever CAPTION small press comic show. I had been invited to join two panels to talk about a variety of comic subjects - a pastime I thoroughly enjoy.
Under a beautiful clear blue sky I arrived for the first session with mere moments to spare - having hopelessly mistimed my walk from the station (whoops!). Undeterred I leaped into action and so began a most enjoyable hour and a half discussing the highs and lows, differences and similarities between working on creator-owned projects and licensed characters.
From left to right I was lucky enough to share this chitchat with Al Davison (Dr Who), Richy Chandler (Wallace and Gromit), Charles Cutting and (via the magic of a video interview) David Baillie (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
It was a thoroughly enlightening session with as many professional insights and anecdotes as there were laughs. Which is always an important balance to strike, especially on a hot day.
Phew, and hot it was! As the first talk ended, the audience were allowed outside for a quick breather - during which I sprinted off for a quicker drink - then it was back and all systems go as the second afternoon session got underway. And this was a rather special one as my fellow Phoenix Comic compatriots had arrived in force to discuss the uniqueness of our weekly children's story comic.
From right to left this time (I like to mix things up), Neil Cameron (one half of the talented duo behind Pirates of Pangaea - Daniel Hartwell was also on the panel but had disappeared when this shot was taken) Adam Murphy (creator of Corpse Talk) and Patrice Aggs (Blimpville and Zara's Crown) took to the stage to share their cartooning know how.
These folks are all true professionals, but even I wasn't prepared for the level of technical discussion that evolved during the panel, as we debated the worth, the importance, the lasting value and the responsibility of strip comics for younger readers. We dissected our own work and each others, casting light on our different artistic approaches and goals. I can only hope the audience had as much fun as we did!
Many thanks to Alex Fitch and all the festival organisers for inviting me along to be a part of such an engaging and entertaining day.