A Trip to Prince Edward Island for Island Comic Con 2017
I was in Canada’s smallest province this week for non Graphic Policy related reasons, when I found out that there was a small, single evening convention with a handful of local creators held at the Confederation library. Being the comics fan I am, and with rain and drizzle threatening all day, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and seek refuge from the weather within the small con whilst getting a brief glimpse into the local comics scene.
The third iteration of the convention was scheduled to last for about two and a half hours, although I did hear the doors opened a half hour early (possibly due to the rain, but I’m not sure). Once I’d made my way inside, I noticed there was a relatively small vendor presence, with the artists having tables for their wares and a local comic shop (Lightning Bolt Comics) selling a few trades and giving away free comics to help promote Free Comic Book Day. But, as with any con I get to, I still picked up a handful of comics from the artists dotted around the library, which I’m sure I’ll get around to talking about at some point soon.
The main draw of Island Comic Con was a panel with Brenda Hickey, Troy Little, Sandy Carruthers, Tyler Landry, and Ramon Sierra talking about their processes, how they got started in comics, and any advice for folks looking to make the jump. I enjoyed the panel quite a bit, with each of the artists giving some fascinating insight into the early stages of their careers. The difference in experience for longtime industry veteran Sandy Carruthers verses the relative newcomer Tyler Landry was interesting, especially with the advances in the digital age (specifically Tumblr and webcomics) that gave Landry an entirely different beginning than some of the other panelists.
Perhaps one of my favourite quotes of the night came from Carruthers when asked whether comics were important; “they’re not,” he said before laughing. “No, comics are so important,” he continued, pointing to Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics as an example of the unique way comics and graphic novels can be used to tell a story. Once the floor was opened to audience questions, a Clark Kent cosplayer did ask the panelists about the man currently flying around in Metropolis, which got almost as many laughs as the “isn’t he dead again?” reply.
Overall, it was a great panel to watch, and I wish that I’d had more time to scribble notes about what was said (or I’d thought to bring a recorder with me), but that’s neither here nor there now.
Once the panel had concluded, there was a cosplay contest with some pretty awesome entries – though I didn’t snap any pictures as there were minors who had entered and I didn’t get permission from every entrant, so other than the Clark Kent image to the left, there aren’t any pictures of the cosplayers.
Toward the end of the evening I found myself needing to brave the weather again to get some food, so after making one last round of the artists’ tables (I also grabbed a 24 Hour Comic from Troy Little that I’ll talk about at a later date), I pulled my hood up and went looking for a cup of tea.