By Andrew Luke
Titancon/Eurocon 2019 is happening in Belfast this Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th August at the city’s Hilton Hotel and Waterfront Studio. It boasts a number of prose guests from SF&F, including Guest of Honour George RR Martin, but Eurocon 2019 also has a Comics Guest of Honour in James Roberts.
His appearance is sponsored by Comic Book Guys in Great Victoria Street, Belfast, where James be signing on Thursday 22nd from 7.00pm.
A fan of the 1980s Marvel UK Transformers series, I thought the definitive work had been written by Simon Furman and his wonderful stable of artists. Ah, but no. James was doing something I’d never seen in any toy-licensed comic. He was crafting a narrative that I often compare to The Wire or Watchmen, mixing pop and politics into his narrative… Oh, oh, let me finish. There’s an undeniable literary quality to More Than Meets The Eye – stories transcend their ‘product’ roots focusing on political theory, LGBTQ issues and gender identities among a large cast of characters sharing a starship.
As they’re on a religious quest there’s religion and philosophy, and themes of post-conflict rehabilitation (the big robots war has ended), and redemption, of romance and loss. Mysteries and back-stories are seeded in a drip-feed style, some early issue pieces not revealed until eight years later at the works’ conclusion. James’ and the artists Alex Milne and Jack Lawrence (among others) have of course attracted a loyal and passionate following, critically recognised too by the BBC and in The Guardian.
So of course, Comic Book Guys and I were very keen to arrange James’ visit to Eurocon. In the dealer’s hall, he’ll be joined by friend-of-the-festivals Jenika Ioffreda (Vampire Free Style), the socially conscious comixer Roddy McCance and pro painter Donna A. Black (The Burning Memory, Tales of Fractured World, published by Fractured Press).
The 2000AD-inspired fanzine, Sector 13, will be there too and offering a weekend of portfolio reviews.
TITANCON/EUROCON 2019 COMICS TRACK
• James Roberts signing at Comic Book Guys
From 6.00pm, Thursday 22nd August 2019
• An Audience with James Roberts – Friday 10.00 – 11.00am – at the Waterfront Studio
Moderated by Andy Luke
Titancon’s Comics Guest of Honour turned Transformers into an SF version of The Wire. On Friday morning, hear from him on inclusivity in gender and sex, politics and pub jokes.
• The Rise of Irish Comics: Friday, 2.oo – 3.00pm
With Carol Connolly, Peter Duncan, Donna Anita Black, James Bacon, moderated by Andy Luke
Looking back over three decades of creative waves in to the US comics and the buzzing underground scene, with our collection of artists and commentators.
• Panel: Everything you don’t know about Comics, Saturday, 1.00 – 2.00pm
James Roberts, Roddy McCance, Laurence McKenna, Ryan Brown – moderated by Andy Luke
Get the inside scoop on the Comics industry, gossip and work techniques from our panel of professionals.
Panel: The Power Behind the Throne – Saturday 4.00 – 5.00pm
With Aaron Flanagan, Andy Luke, Carol Connolly, Kevin Andrew Murphy, moderated Mark McCann
With superhero stories making billions worldwide, and comics properties being big business, where does this leave the comics scene itself? Can cross-media IP work both ways?
Three day passes for Titancon are £65, for £30 for one day. There’s still time to get a dealer’s table at £65, and a special rate for artist’s alley from £40 (or £25 with full membership).
• Limited tickets can be bought at the door or certainly online here | To contact about dealer opportunities email firstname.lastname@example.org