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What I brought home from Wonderlands [Jun. 2nd, 2015|06:50 pm]
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We spent Saturday at the Wonderlands Graphic Novels Expo in Sunderland. I had a great time, and durham_rambler enjoyed it too: having retained the option of leaving when he'd had enough, he stayed until the end, when they were closing the venue around us. There was a full - maybe even overfull! - programme of talks: I didn't want to miss any of them, but I did also want to visit all the exhibitors, and simply take a breather. I had some great conversations - as I'd suspected, wearing my very old Swamp Thing t-shirt was a good icebreaker (my excuse is that it was our first day home from holiday, and I'd barely started on the laundry, but yes, there may have been a touch of showing off, too).

I was very restrained about buying things, and came away with just three purchases: Bryan Talbot's Grandville Noël, which I had been waiting to buy where Bryan could sign it for me; Darryl Cunningham's Supercrash, because I asked durham_rambler which of the graphic novels recommended by Paul Gravett he would be most likely to read (thinking there was a good chance he'd choose something that I already had, and if I didn't have it, samarcand probably would) and this is what he chose, without hestitating; and an animal print by Jenn Begley just because.

I didn't take a notebook: I didn't expect to need one. Instead, I scribbled all over the back of the page on which I had printed out instructions for finding the event:
  • Paul Gravett, having trouble timing his talk: "Is someone going to stop me? I am the Ken Dodd of comics..."

  • and on the first graphic novel, Rodolphe Töpffer's Histoire de M. Vieux Bois published, as a book, in 1837 (meaning that the very first comic was actually a graphic novel): "We should celebrate Comics Day on his birthday" (it's January 31st). Goethe wrote him a fan letter, which makes him the first fanboy.

  • Dylan Horrocks: "Comics is always a collaboration, even when you're doing it by yourself."

  • SHE LIVES: Woodrow Phoenix and his impossible giant book.

  • Posy Simmonds on the joys of overheard dialogue: "I love queues - In fact, I often join queues..." (which reminds me of Ann Cleeves talking about what she overhears on trains).

  • on receiving letters pointing out errors: "I am never going to draw a train again."

  • and "What I like about comics is, they're so democratic."

  • Al Davison on an unexpected connection with Sally Heathcote Suffragette: "Emily Wilding Davison was my great-aunt."

  • on the meaning of the title Spiral Cage, a phrase he had used to describe the way society limits the disabled person with shifting restrictions: you overcome one aspect, and the cage changes, so that you are still trapped. But once Alan Moore pointed out, in his introduction, that DNA is a spiral cage, how could this not be the true meaning?

  • and on the difficulties of explainig to bookshops that although this was a comic, it was also an autobiography. Turning up to a signing in Waterstones, he found himself directed to the SF section.

  • The last event of the schedule, a panel of publishers discussing the current state of graphic novels - and the future! - was the most cheerful view of publishing I have seen in a long time. Then again, it didn't have too much to say about the future...

  • The best selling graphic novel in Japan which is not manga: Möbius and Jodorovsky's L'Incal.

Wonderlands was part of the 'Alice is 150' celebrations - but I hope they do it again next year, when Alice is 151!

ETA the final two points, discovered on a separate piece of paper!

[User Picture]From: la_marquise_de_
2015-06-03 10:38 am (UTC)
Posy Simmonds is, as ever, wise on that!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-06-03 11:57 am (UTC)
She's a very interesting and entertaining speaker: I made quite a lot of notes on some of the technical aspects of her recent books (why are they that shape? why that particular mixture of image and text?) but they didn't fit into this post...
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[User Picture]From: la_marquise_de_
2015-06-03 04:11 pm (UTC)
I'd be interested to hear about that, though. She's very clever in how she organises and presents her work on the page, as well as in her art and writing.
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[User Picture]From: helenraven
2015-06-03 01:25 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a great event. What a lineup!
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2015-06-03 04:25 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes, I'd been meaning to tell you that your name was mentioned - I was talking to Kate Charlesworth...
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