Sunday in the Tower Building saw a celebration of Starblazers at Dundee Comics Day; an annual event where some of the greatest comics creators discuss their work and show off their talent. This year focused on British creators of Science-Fiction comics, covering everything from Doctor Who and Star Wars to Transformers and Commando.
For us MLitters in Comics Studies, it was day of work and play. We were recruited into helping out with the day, helping events run smoothly – well, as smoothly as possible! Not only did we get to sit through the fascinating talks, but we got to mingle with the big names too!
The day promoted a mixture of ‘old’ and ‘new’ talent. Industry veteran Ian Kennedy gave a wonderful talk about his years working upon Commando comics and Dan Dare strips, speaking particularly fondly of his time drawing aeroplanes. Planes were also discussed with glee by Sydney Jordan as he spoke of his years working upon Jeff Hawke strips.
After a quick lunch break and signing session, discussion continued with Simon Furman and Andy Wildman who spoke about their work creating UK comics for the Transformer’s comics; Regeneration One, a series I would be keen to check out following their talk. It was interesting to hear their insight into the longevity of the Transformers franchise and how it has developed from a chain of toys to Hollywood blockbusters over the years.
Robbie Morrison and Simon Fraser were next to take the stage, discussing their series Nikolai Dante; another series which would be interesting to read. They had an interesting take on the science-fiction genre, following the adventures of Nikolai through the 27th Century aristocratic society.
Kev Hopgood also spoke us through his career, showing off his portfolio. Kev’s most notable achievement was the creation of War Machine in Marvel UK’s Iron Man comics – a character who became prominent enough to gain his own spin-off series and is now a major character in the Iron Man films! Kev Hopgood has also worked on creations such as Spider-Man, as well as illustrating children’s books.
Next up was Tanya Roberts, providing a walk through on her process of characterisation and panel creation, which – with audience participation – resulted in a story involving Batman finding a penguin tattooed on the bum of a male nurse (you probably had to be there…). Montynero followed, discussing his creator-owned journey concerning his comic Death Sentence. It was interesting to hear the journey he has embarked on in order to have his creation published.
After another short break, the speakers all came together as a panel to discuss major themes of the science-fiction genre in comics. It was great to hear how they each thought the genre may develop over the years, considering where the sci-fi genre may take us, and how digital comics may influence or effect the industry.
The event was rounded off by the launch of the comic Saltire, an independent creation linked closely with DJCAD, following the adventures of Scotland’s first superhero. The comic follows mythology in Scottish history, and really looks like it will be a fascinating read! Copies will be available in Waterstones and Forbidden Planet as of next week – so I’d recommend you all check it out and support local talent and folklore!
From British greats to American giants, we are rounding off our busy comic weekend tonight with a Thor double feature at Cineworld: it will be exciting to see how Thor has developed since his first adventure from Asgard to Earth – particularly following the events in New York during the Avengers! Here’s hoping the sequel will be just as mighty!