I just got back from six days in the United Kingdom, where I visited the city of Bristol to see friends and attend the Bristol Comic Expo.  I love UK conventions for a number of reasons.  The most important reason, of course, is to visit the many, many friends I have over there.  While the Internet has allowed us all to keep in touch year-round, conventions are one of the few times we get to see each other in person – especially me, living 3,000 miles away – so when the opportunities come up I take them.  Not only did I get to see plenty of people I’ve hung out with before, but I also got to meet a lot of people I had, until then, only known online.  And on top of that, I even met some people I hadn’t known before online OR from the Internet. Is your mind blown? It should be.  I’d list them all, but I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, because I don’t want anyone to think seeing them isn’t totally awesome, which it sincerely is.

UK conventions are also a great time to find great small press comics.  I hear about all these great comics I want to try, but rarely do because of all the hassle in getting them over here.  Plus, it gives me a chance to see some great comics I might not have heard of before and would not see because their creators don’t come to America, so that’s always fun.  I picked up a ton of books from the Markosia table – including but not limited to the new releases White Knuckle and Bayou Arcana – the amazingly cool Rainbow Orchid, the first issue of Halcyon and Tenderfoot, and the graphic novel Unseen Shadows: Tales of the Fallen, a spinoff of author Barry Nugent’s novel Fallen Heroes.

I also want to give a shoutout to Dan, Jim, and Kris, the team behind the sci-fi comedy comic Lou Scannon.  We shared accommodations for a few nights, and they’re pretty funny guys who are cool to hang out with.  Until then I had never met anyone who loved Red Dwarf more than me, so the fact that there are three of them makes it even more momentous.  Seriously, though, check out Lou Scannon.  It’s good stuff.

Prior to the convention I spent a few days walking around the city itself.  Bristol is amazing.  From Clifton Downs to the City Centre to all the waterfront areas, it is just a beautiful city to view.  I covered so much of the city but barely hit a fraction of all there is to see.  I know because I’ve already started making a list of everything I want to check out the next time I go.  Seriously, if I could live anywhere in the UK, it would be Bristol.

Before I finish this up, I want to give a very special thank you to Dani Abram, my gracious host for the week.  Dani very generously opened her home to me for a week and went out of her way to make my stay as comfortable and fun as possible.  It’s a special kind of person who gets up at stupid o’clock on a work night to walk to the bus station to meet a guy just so he gets to his final destination without a hitch, and Dani’s that person.  I am very, very lucky to count her as one of my friends.  So do her and yourself a favor and check out her art blog.  She’s talented as all get out, and you won’t regret it.

So yeah, that was Bristol.  Or at least the surface of it.  Honestly, it was such a whirlwind of activity and energy that I don’t think I could cover it all if I spent all night writing.  But there could be more to come.  What could it possibly be about?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Ooh, mysterious.