Dublin Comic Con opened its doors on a sunny Saturday morning to the general public; those of us near the front of the line had some refuge from the blistering morning sun – we’re still suspicious of that, given the history of Irish weather – and waited a good two hours to get in.
And it was worth it.
DCC was filled to the brim, with attendees in plain dress and costume, vendors with all manner of geeky wares, and artists – writers and illustrators both – manning the tables in the Artists Alley.
Photos were posed for, money exchanged hands, people were heard screaming with delight – and occasionally telling a Jon Snow cosplayer that he knew nothing, or informing a Wally that he had been found – at the various items around the room, and marvelling at the cosplay outfits.
And me? I was making my rounds. Several times a day. I eyed up the tables, I ignored my shopping list altogether, and I earned the title I would later be given: the Patron Saint of Small Press. Below are my comic purchases from Day 1.
On Sunday, I also managed to pick up Girls Like You and issues 1-3 of High Fantasy from Hugo Boylan. He was quite convincing. (But not enough to make me get even more books, because I figured 43 comics was a decent cut-out point.) Over the weekend, my stock of prints also got bigger, with a couple of Seán Hogan (Rabbit and Paul), as well as a healthy dose of nerdy merchandise (including a Spider-Man slate coaster, a wooden box with the Flash emblem on it, and a Bulbasaur plushie, because starter Pokémon are important.
Sunday also provided an opportunity to learn more about the Small Press process, from a panel of experts.
The lessons learned were invaluable; from a writer’s perspective, the most important tip was to respect the artist, and do all of the other work for the comic so that they don’t have to.
Comics are such collaborative works – evident by the title pages of many of the con’s debuts – and the community in Ireland so close-knit, that this vital lesson is one worth remembering and repeating frequently. The atmosphere at DCC was all about the community that has formed around these little (and sometimes not so little) books, and encouragement is never far away.
Everyone who participated in the weekend’s affairs are likely experiencing the same double-edged side-effects of a major convention: excitement for comics, and exhaustion from a weekend of talking about them. Needless to say, there’ll be even more amazing work at next year’s event, and from more creators. A guided tour of the Artists Alley (from me – Paul Carroll) for a friend, Tracy Sayers, showed just how welcoming the community can be, and I know that we’ll each be exciting to join their ranks in the near future.