Birmingham International Comics Show: new press releases

A Night With the Stars!
Birmingham Comic Book Convention Hosts Launch Party!
If the buzz going round about the UK’s Birmingham International Comics Show wasn’t enough to excite comic book fans, now there’s news that the whole thing kicks off in style with a launch party on Friday 12th October.
The launch party will take place at Bennetts, a stylish venue in the heart of the city, and a regular haunt of the West Midlands’ comic book creators during their monthly gatherings.
Special guests and attending professionals will be at the launch party, and exhibitors to the show have also been invited. What’s even better news for the show’s punters is that BICS‘ organisers are offering those who have booked tickets in advance a free invitation to the launch party as well!*
The night will be marked by a number of special events:
  • A complimentary buffet will be available courtesy of Markosia Enterprises.
  • The night will see the much-anticipated launch of Hope Falls, a new mini-series by writer Tony Lee and artist Dan Boultwood. Plus, as Boultwood’s other commitments prevent him attending the actual convention this will be the only chance to have him sign copies.
  • The Black Country Cats promise to get the party swinging with a rip-roaring set of rock, blues and country classics. Plugging in his guitar and singing with the band will be the celebrated cartoonist Hunt Emerson.
  • New York rockers Skelter will also be flying in to play a set. The full-on band features DC Comics editors Michael Wright and Nachie Castro among their line-up.
  • The evening also promises to have fun competitions and surprises, fine wines, good ale, and spirited conversations all night long!
*The Birmingham International Comics Show Launch Party will undoubtedly prove popular so make sure to get there early to avoid queues!

Hellboy Creator’s Exclusive UK Appearance!

Mike Mignola confirmed for BICS 2007

Confirmed to fly in from America for an exclusive UK weekend long appearance at the Birmingham International Comics Show (BICS 2007) on October 13-14th is Mike Mignola, the award-winning creator of the Hellboy comic book series and blockbuster film franchise!

With one live-action film in the bag and another due, two animation films currently out on DVD, plus a plethora of comic book releases featuring both Hellboy and its successful spin-off BPRD imminent over the coming twelve months this is a major high profile year for Mike Mignola.

That Mignola has chosen BICS 20007 to spend quality time with fans at, rather than elsewhere in Europe, demonstrates the hard work that the show’s organisers go to so that they can ensure value for money and a smile on the face of those attending. Prior commitments prevented the creator being one of the international guests at the debut show, but regular dialogue with BICS and the good word that last year’s guests took back to America made this a date Mignola did not want to miss.

“Mike Mignola is the first of our very special international guests that we can reveal to the public. We are proud, honoured and also pretty excited ourselves that he will be appearing exclusively at BICS 2007,” said the organisers.

The appearance of Mike Mignola at BICS 2007 will appeal to comic book fans, movie buffs, horror aficionados, and followers of fantasy. What is more, thanks to its silver screen success, Hellboy is well known to the mainstream public and so just as superbly accessible to the bloke on the street!

For Mignola to be taking time away from creative endeavours is a rare and precious thing. For him to be spending it in Birmingham ensures that England’s second city shopkeepers and hotels will be as pleased at the incoming trade due to the number of people who will arrive in Birmingham to see the Hellboy creator as his fans.

Background Information on Mike Mignola:

Michael Mignola began his career drawing adaptations of British sci-fi and fantasy author Michael Moorcock’s Prince Corum books for First Comics, subsequently working for the two major US companies, Marvel and DC Comics. Among the books he pencilled for Marvel were the Canadian superhero group series Alpha Flight and, for its Epic imprint, Fritz Leiber’s sword and sorcery novel favourites Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (a collection now back in print from Dark Horse). Work for DC included an eerie mini-series featuring The Phantom Stranger and Batman: Gotham by Gaslight the company’s debut Elseworlds Prestige book.

In 1993 things began to hot up for Mignola when he created Hellboy for Dark Horse’s creator-owned Legend imprint. A devil of a character, Hellboy has been described as the “world’s greatest paranormal investigator”. Enthusing B-movie aplomb, pulp pastiche and a dash of American comic book icon Jack Kirby’s visual dynamics to Mignola’s own unique stylised approach, together with the spirit of adventure he imbued in the series, proved to be a strong sales incentive and swiftly found favour with fans and critics alike. Mini-series have been collected into popular trade paperbacks, and a regular line of spin-off mini-series and their subsequent collections under the BPRD title heading come about, all before Hollywood came a calling wanting to turn Hellboy into movie magic.

Directed by Guillermo del Tora the 2004 Hellboy feature film proved a box office success and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army is expected to hit the silver screen in 2008. Keeping the franchise alive, animated films Sword of Storms and Blood and Iron are currently available on DVD.

Mike Mignola himself has also produced design, illustration and storyboard work for animation and live-action films. These include Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (subsequently drawing the comic series for Topps), an adaptation of his own comic The Amazing Screw-On Head for the Sci-Fi channel, Blade II, Batman: the Animated Series and Batman Beyond and is heavily involved himself with the production of the actual Hellboy movies.

The Hellboy related comic book series remain in constant demand by fans. John Byrne dialogued the very first Hellboy mini-series and with Mignola’s time at a premium these days he has branched out, allowing more co-creators to share in and empower his vision further.

This year Hellboy: Darkness Calls features a new regular artist in Britain’s own Duncan Fegredo. At least two BPRD spin-offs are intended (BPRD: Garden of Souls. co-written with John Arcudi with art by Guy Davis and the retro-fitted BPRD: 1946 co-written with Joshua Dysart and drawn by Paul Azaceta), plus solo books are intended for supporting characters like Abe Sapien and Lobster Johnson, alongside the regular collections that may include new material.

The Darkness Calls at BICS 2007

Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo returns to

Birmingham’s Devilishly Excellent October Event!

Following hot on the heels of news that Hellboy creator Mike Mignola will be making an exclusive UK weekend long appearance at The Birmingham International Comics Show (BICS 2007) comes confirmation that Duncan Fegredo, the artist on Hellboy: Darkness Calls, will also be attending the much anticipated event on October 13-14th.

Leicester born Fegredo recently commented on his delight at both illustrating Hellboy: Darkness Calls and his own return to Birmingham for BICS 2007.

“It’s a good time to be a Hellboy fan – Mike Mignola is shepherding an array of new Hellboy related titles onto comic book shelves across the land, including the long awaited Hellboy: Darkness Calls. The BICS is your only chance in the UK to meet both its creator and artist together!

“Okay, I appear at the UK cons regularly, but it has been many years since Mike has made an appearance on these shores. Who knows when he will do so again? Anyway, the last show was fun with a great variety of writers and artists both mainstream and independent, this year is shaping up to be even better… Do you want to miss out?”

If the advance interest fans are showing is any indication, then missing out is on no one’s agenda!

Fegredo also spoke enthusiastically of his creative relationship with Hellboy‘s creator.

“As both a fan of Mike’s work and a professional artist I couldn’t be happier. I hesitate to gush overly as it’d embarrass Mike! I get to play in Hellboy‘s rich and textured world and even to expand it to areas we haven’t visited yet, meet old friends and enemies, and make new ones too. As a fan that’s exciting, as a pro it’s enriching.

“Whilst Mike has a very definite idea of his creation and how he wishes the tale to be told he is open to anything I can bring to it, which is great. What is even better is that should Mike want something handling differently he only has to ask and I’ll do my utmost to achieve his vision. These aren’t abstract editorial changes that have no real bearing on events but actual meaningful changes that affect the emotion and atmosphere of the way the story is told.

“I really feel my work is evolving on Hellboy and that is incredibly satisfying. I think it’s down to the deceptively simple manifesto of ‘living up to Hellboy, I want Mike to be happy with the book. I figure if Mike is happy then the fans will be happy, and with the reaction to the first issue it seems that they are… And they haven’t seen anything yet!”

Fans of Duncan Fegredo can also purchase at least two more titles featuring the artist in time to have him sign them at BICS 2007 this October.

“Apart from Darkness Calls there is the imminent release of Intersections, my arty book with Sean Phillips. You can order it from Amazon. If that whets your whistle for more you could do worse than to check out my book Stuff, literally stuffed full of drawings culled from years of sketchbooks. You can see a sampling at my website, or if you are the impulsive sort buy, buy, buy!”

Amusingly, the artist has no need to go for the hard sell, as he happily let slip, and thus announced, his own plans for the foreseeable future.

“I can’t imagine I’ll be revealing new projects at the BICS as I aim to be working with Mike on Hellboy for three more series. I think that’ll keep me going for some time yet.”

Along with scheduled signings and hosted talk events BICS 2007 is looking into screening the Hellboy live-action and animation films. As always there will be quizzes and fancy dress competitions, prize give-aways and surprises galore.

Hellboy at BICS 2007 will appeal to comic book fans, movie buffs, horror aficionados, and followers of fantasy. What is more, thanks to its silver screen success, Hellboy is well known to the mainstream public and just as superbly accessible to the bloke on the street!

Background Information on Duncan Fegredo:

Duncan Fegredo was born in Leicester, in the East Midlands of England. After completing art studies and briefly contributing to the independent comic Blaam! he broke into British mainstream comics by becoming a regular contributor to Fleetway, initially within its Crisis anthology and then for 2000AD.

One of the original cache of artists chosen to represent the Vertigo imprint, with Enigma, for DC Comics in America, he has also worked for them on books such as Face, Kid Eternity, Shade, The Changing Man and as cover artist for Lucifer and Shade, The Changing Man.

Elsewhere, he has contributed interior work to Marvel books, included Spider-Man: Tangled Web, for Oni Press he illustrated film director Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob and Clerks, plus produced cover art on Star Wars and Grendel interiors for Dark Horse, who are the publishers for whom Fegredo is now illustrating Hellboy: Darkness Calls.

Technological Breakthroughs at BICS 2007

The first live-on-stage interview at a comic book convention in the UK, and quite possibly the world, that will subsequently be broadcast as a podcast around the world will take place at this year’s Birmingham International Comics Show (BICS) in the UK on October 13-14th in the rather fitting venue of the city’s new science museum, The Thinktank.

Hosts for this revolutionary new take on media-communications events will be The Geek Syndicate who were nominated in the Best Entertainment category for 2007 Podcast Awards 2007 this year. The Geek Syndicate who will be interviewing two former Eastern European-born artists who have been making a name for themselves on a global level, special guests Adi Granov and Essad Ribic.

The development and increasing international appeal of the iPod community over the past twelve months is a matter well documented. Following the impressive rise in popularity accorded one of its British practitioners, The Geek Syndicate, over the past twelve months, BICS invited the collective to develop a format that could take place and be viewed as an on-stage theatre event at the show then heard around the globe.

“The Birmingham International Comics Show is a great place to pop your comic convention cherry!” said David Monteith of The Geek Syndicate.

“Last year’s show in Birmingham was the first comic convention I had ever attended.” said Geek Syndicate partner Barry Nugent. “It was a completely different experience than I expected and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who loves comics and wants to hang out with like-minded people. I was also amazed by how accessible all the special guests were.”

Opening all barriers to help foster comics as both an important entertainment and educational medium, both historically and beyond into the future is one of BIC‘s mandates. To this end the idea of quite literally having two artists who originated in the former soviet nation of Yugoslavia express their views globally in a live context was deemed entirely appropriate.

Adi Granov was announced as one of Marvel Comics’ Young Guns in 2004. In the proceeding years he has worked as a comic book artist for that company, including not only a relaunch for the Iron Man comic but being involved in the visual design of the suit armour for the forthcoming 2008 Iron Man film.

Essad Ribic makes a welcome return to BICS, having proved an entertaining guest at last December’s debut show. From Loki to The Silver Surfer, his painted artwork has also found favour at Marvel America, and a buying public.

“I applaud the organisers of the Birmingham comic show for helping to raise the profile of UK podcasting”, said David Montheith.

The podcast interview is not the only exclusive new technology based events at BICS 2007. There will also be a two part Digital Colouring Master Class presented by returning American guest Matt Hollingsworth, and Comics & Technology hosted by Britain’s John Freeman as the future role of the internet, mobile phones and over new media are discussed.

The future looks bright at the BICS 2007 this October!

From Gallifrey to the West Midlands…

Dr Who Writer Paul Cornell in Exclusive Birmingham Appearance!

When Paul Cornell is not busy writing episodes of hit British television drama series and authoring popular novels he is quietly making a name for himself in the comic book world. That is why viewers who have thrilled to his work on programmes like Dr Who will be delighted that the acclaimed writer will be coming to England’s second city to appear at the Birmingham International Comics Show (BICS) in an all-day Saturday exclusive!

As well as Doctor Who, other television dramas that Cornell has written for include Robin Hood, Casualty, Holby City and Coronation Street. He has had two original novels published in addition to various Doctor Who related books, His comic related work includes strips for the UK’s Judge Dredd Megazine (subsequently collected in graphic novel format) and the Wisdom series for Marvel in America.

BICS 2007 takes place over the weekend October 13-14th at The Thinktank, Millennium Point, the home of Birmingham’s new science museum, a rather apt venue for the appearance of such a prodigious Dr Who creator.

Paul Cornell will be signing and revealing details of his forthcoming comic book work at BICS 2007. He is also scheduled to take part in a major Writer’s Panel event taking place on the Saturday. People are advised to book in advance to avoid disappointment, as mainstream interest for this year’s show is now increasingly daily!

Background Information:

After contributing to British fanzines, Paul Cornell entered and won a Young Writers‘ competition that saw his Kingdom Come screened on BBC2. He then focussed on children’s television, before branching out to contribute to the supernatural series Springhill and briefly contributed to the classic award-winning British soap opera series Coronation Street.

Cornell appears to have a predisposition for writing about doctors having established his early career on Children’s Ward and in recent years writing episodes for three BBC medical dramas: Casualty, Holby City and Doctors. However, the character his name has been most associated with is Doctor Who.

To date he has written six Doctor Who novels, three audio books and the animated internet adventure Scream of the Shalka, comic strips for Doctor Who Magazine, plus novels and audio books featuring Bernice Summerfield, a spin-off character from one of his Who books.

He was also involved in the overwhelmingly positive revival of Dr Who to the small screen, and was responsible for scripting Father’s Day; the episode being nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form in 2006, and reached third place.

The scriptwriter contributed to BBC1’s new Robin Hood series and has an episode in ITV’s science fiction series Primeval due for transmission in 2008. Aside from two mainstream science-fiction novels published so far, he has also written non-fiction books about television, and seen a career in comics slowly begin to bloom.

In the UK, aside from the aforementioned, and perhaps obligatory, Dr Who Magazine, Cornell has contributed stories to the Judge Dredd Megazine. While for America’s Marvel Comics he wrote the six issue Wisdom series, and is rumoured to be behind a revival for that company’s Excalibur title. He has also hinted of yet another comic book title on the horizon… At BICS 2007 Paul Cornell may reveal more!

Black Cats Don’t Moan!
Hunt Emerson Band Kicks BICS 2007 Launch Party into Gear!
As everyone knows The UK’s Birmingham International Comics Show takes place over the weekend of October 13-14th at The Thinktank, Millennium Point.
For those who have booked their BICS 2007 tickets in advance there is the added attraction of a free invite to the show’s launch party that will take place the night before at Bennetts.
Among the night’s various attractions will be The Black Country Cats, featuring internationally famous cartoonist Hunt Emerson on guitar and vocals, entertaining guests, press and those wise souls who have pre-registered.

Background on Hunt Emerson

A young student came down from Newcastle to study and the people of Birmingham, knowing a good thing when they saw it, refused to let him go back!
Hunt Emerson has been an ever-present face on the Midlands arts scene for several decades – old rockers can remember posters he produced for local bands and Midlands mods reminisce about his late seventies ska album covers. From his initial cartoons for now rare and obscure hip underground publications to posters for legendary local rock and blues bands his talent took him along way (without leaving Brum!) Since those heady days of his youth he has garnered deserved international fame as a cartoonist of great worth.
His works are collected, translated and available as books in countless languages. These include venerably funny adaptations and histories such as Casanova’s Last Stand, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Lady’s Chatterley’s Lover, many of these having been published in the UK by Knockabout. Phenomenomix in The Fortean Times and Firkin the Cat in Fiesta have been firm fixtures in those long running magazines, and that bastion of British anarchy The Beano has seen him become a firm kids’ favourite with his incomparable visual stylisations. He also works in the more established literary field of real books, from illustrating The Jeremy Brown children’s book series written by Simon Cheshire to working for Graphic Classics in America.
To state Leo Baxendale’s countless D.C. Thomson published creations and George Herriman’s Krazy Kat all filtered through The Goons radio show as a starting point to describe Emerson’s work may be redundant these days. From the more scratchy whirling dervish anthropomorphics of his early work, that can only be likened to a be-bopping busy bumble bee, through to the sturdier renderings of today where his black are sold and deep enough to swim in, his work is affirmed in its clarity. His panel sequences dance with the reassured understanding of a man who feels rhythm like a musician, and beyond it all, as everyone can see, he is a master at creating irresistibility funny work.
Aside from writing and drawing so many cartoon strips to entertain the unwashed public, he helped sew the fruits of the UK independent comics scene via his involvement with Ar-Zak, and later Knockabout, and has found time to teach his craft (including classes at The Custard Factory). He has hosted art exhibitions (such as The Art of Folly & Vice at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery) and was the recipient of his own exhibition at last year’s BICS 2006 debut event.
Hunt Emerson is a national icon within the British comics industry, and Birmingham is honoured to share him with the rest of the world who will be coming to see him again in his adopted hometown for BICS 2007… And for those pre-registering for the convention there will also be the chance to watch him prowl the stage guitar in hand with The Black Country Cats strap at the launch party!