Alexi Conman, occasional writer of comics and now accidental festival organiser.
What have you done / what are you doing?
What I've been doing recently is mainly sending a lot of emails and worrying extensively. You know who has been doing things? Literally everyone involved with the Canny Comic Con. If it was a positive experience (and it seems like it was - good vibes, people, good vibes) it was thanks to every single guest of every ilk who made the journey in (in some cases at great distance - from Preston! And Glasgow!), everyone who prepared and delivered the fantastic talks, panels and workshops (I was so pround of the events schedule), everyone who helped each other out, covering tables, all mucking in to make the day work. Plus of course everyone who came and enjoyed the event!
Also our hosts - first, the Tyneside Cinema put on an excellent launch shindig, somehow making a Howard the Duck screening a classy event. Then the Newcastle City Library - the CCC was lucky to have such a brilliant venue with brilliant staff. Massive credit is due to Judy and Jennifer who put so much work into preparing for the CCC; nothing was too much trouble, every wild demand I made for the event, they covered enthusiastically. As if anyone needed reminding: public libraries are mint.
And finally the people behind the scenes who inexplicably put the CCC ahead of their own lives to a really notable extent to Make It Happen. Paul 'Design Machine' Thompson! The Indefatigable Cuttlefish! Ian 'Floating SAS' Mayor! And gorgeous and wonderful Stacey 'The Whittle' Whittle! What an amazing bunch. All genuinely "without whom..." etc etc. The finest of people.
Thank you everyone.
What am I doing now? Looking forward to being able to think about something else for the first time in a couple of months.
I've thought a lot about this recently and still don't think I have a satisfactory answer. The musings given by the guests on their profiles are all more insightful and wise than I can manage, so I urge you to have a look at those. I'll have a go anyway though.
What is it that inspires such amazing enthusiasm? There was literally no money involved in the organisation of the CCC, everyone got involved for the love of comics - running workshops, giving talks and everything else just because it seemed like a good idea. Comics are an extraordinary medium: personal and immediate and with almost limitless potential in style and form, yet I think a special part of their appeal is how misunderstood and underrated they are. So for those of us that get it, we want to share it! We want to talk to each other about comics, and draw daft jam comics in pubs, and lend out our favourite graphic novels, and throw all our free time into writing and drawing, and self-publish comics that are lucky to break even, and aspire to work (or actually work) in an industry that's still often under-recognised and under-paid for the talent involved, and try to enthuse all our non-comicky friends and relations, having the same old "well actually comics are really diverse" conversations over and over, and... turn up to funny little comics festivals. Somehow it's almost impossible to give this up, but it makes for a community full of dedication and creativity and inclusivity, and I feel really lucky to be part of it.
I'm going to have a cup of tea now.