I had heard a few reports about this convention but the one that swung it for me in the end was when I bumped into Dan Abnett in town. He'd been to the 2018 one and had a wonderful time. The host was excellent, the location in town perfect and the fans engaging. What more do you want from a con, apart from a drink here and there!
That was it, hotel booked and flight sorted out, I was going! It was a bit of a killer for me, as I had Free Comic Book Day, with the 2000 AD Southern Contingent gathering the weekend before and the weekend after was Lawless in Bristol, but this would be another convention ticked off my bucket list.
By the way, I better mention that Enniskillen is in Northern Ireland and situated in some of the most beautiful countryside you can imagine!
The con weekend arrived fast and I flew to Belfast International Airport and was picked up along with Beano artist, Nigel Parkinson. Before long I was dropped off at my accommodation and then it was off down the town at around 20:30.
The drink flowed and many tales were told and I also had a preview of the Space Bastards book, which was having it's first showing at this event. There will be a video of this panel in the future being posted up by me, so I won't go into too much details about this, except....
The story is hilarious and well thought out by Eric Peterson and Joe Aubrey, with a universe to open up and the art is top of the game. Well, what would expect from the likes of Simon Bisley and Darick Robertson, with Boo Cook on the front and back covers.
After a few more drinks, Eric, Simon and myself popped into a Chinese restaurant at 23:30 and it was closing at midnight. Obviously we ordered quickly, with another drink to wash it all down with and then it was an end to the night, as we walked back to the hotels and Simon ended up sleeping in my spare room, which was more convenient for him for the day ahead.
The next day we helped Eric move his boxes of Space Bastards to the convention hall and then I had a good look 'round and managed to grab a few pictures of the 2000 AD creators without bothering any fans, as they were not in yet.
Before the event was open, we quickly had a breakfast at a lovely place called The Jolly Sandwich Bar, which had some delicious and filling food, even if we made it look like a scene from Withnail and I.
Once the doors opened and guess what folks, it's FREE ENTRY, I went on my signature hunt and I can happily report that everything that I brought in my hand luggage was signed. Prog covers by Bisley, Dorey and McMahon and five more names into my four large books full of signatures. They're now up to 126 signatures and counting!
Here are the obligatory pics. so open up the slideshow and enjoy! By the way, I won't name everyone, as you should know most of them, plus a few have signs saying who they are!
The Sector 13 table, which had all five of their wonderful 'Sector 13' fanzines on (I bought the set, even though I have a few, as I just wanted to be sure). They have other fanzines as well.
Nigel Parkinson, who was kept busy doing wonderful Beano images for everyone!
Ed Doyle and his 2000 AD 'Free' fanzine
The Mick McMahon sketch that I managed to grab and it was wonderful to watch it appear on the paper and I can keep watching that, as I filmed it!
A wonderful cosplay Judge finally caught up with me!
One of my favourite pictures, as a long time reader and fan met John and had a load of Dredd's signed. I never expected this!
Original Carlos artwork from the Hibernia team, from which I bought their Cosmic Comics Vol 1. All about Kevin O'Neill's work
Ryan finally turns up!
With the Biz
Ian Kennedy with his truly wonderful, Art of' book, which I will be buying rather soon. I just couldn't fit it in my hand luggage, sadly for me!
Obligatory shots with the creators, starting with Alan Hebden.
With Eoin Coveney
With Mike Dorey
Once my work was done, it was time to relax and watch art being produced, chat with creators, especially ones who I had never met. Mike Dorey was at his first con and it was a delight to chat to him about his work and I said that he needs to get out to more cons but proper comic cons, were fans will know his work and not the LFCC and MCM events.
I also managed to chat to Eoin Coveney about his style amongst other things. A quick chat with Nick Roche, who had only just became a droid for Tharg in that weeks actual Prog.
I grabbed a chat with Patrick Goddard and Maura McHugh about their future Judge Anderson tale, of which there was some pages of art for sale on the table.
The Space Bastards panel with Eric Peterson, Simon Bisley and Clint Langley was extremely entertaining and as said earlier, that panel will go online in the near future.
I also went to the Carlos Ezquerra panel which was hosted by the event organiser, Paul Trimble and it had John Wagner and Alan Hebden chatting about their work with Carlos. This is already online!
There was also an art display of Carlos' work, with some exceptional work on show, including the Al's Baby (Demi Moore) image.
After a lot more chatting throughout the day things were winding down for me and then at 17:00 Ryan Brown turned up and the last hour flew by, as he perched on the end of the Bisley, Peterson & Langley table.
Once the event was over, it was time to hit the pub for a quick one, on the way back to the hotel. This turned into half a dozen and then we dropped our bags off, grabbed a McDonald's and then went to pub again.
Lots of interesting and funny tales were told, which obviously, I won't be saying here! Remember, What happens at the Con, stays at the Con.
Once we finished there it was off to the hotel bar till about 04:45 before we finally went to our hotel, with Ryan in tow this time.
A couple of hours later, I woke up, Ryan caught his bus home and eventually I woke the Biz and we decamped to Eric's hotel, were Clint was and awaited our transport back to the airports.
All in all, I had an absolute blast, as this had the same feel as Hi-Ex! did in Inverness a few years back. Paul Trimble brought in a mixture of creators (obviously I was full on 2000 AD in this) which kept everyone happy and he put on a drokkin' awesome con and long may it continue! Mustn't forget all his staff, that helped him out as well, for without them, it just wouldn't happen.
P.S. I have probably missed loads out but the photos will make up for that!