Top and above: Portraits of comic legends R.Crumb and Harvey Pekar by Nye Wright (aka Aneurin Wright). For other great art, check out Nye's website: www.welsheldorado.com
Kapow! Comic Convention
April 9 and 10, 2011
Business Design Centre
52 Upper St., Islington, London, N1 0QH, UK
In April 2011, the Business Design Centre in London was host to the first Kapow! comic con, a two-day event organised by sisters Lucy and Sarah Unwin. The intention was to bring the US comic convention experience to the UK. I guess from the volume of people passing through the doors on Saturday morning, it was a runaway commercial success. A lot of major players were scheduled to attend - comic artists and writers and TV celebrities - and for those inclined to grab an autograph, the privilege was thankfully free (outside of standing in a long queue). There were many lesser known comic creators also in attendance, drawing and showing off their wares. This made the first Kapow! an aesthetically balanced affair for those misfits like myself, who think the medium died with Winsor McCay in 1934.
Several artists caught my eye, and after making small talk with a number of them, I found myself at the end of one aisle at the table of one Aneurin Wright. I picked up a pocketbook of modestly bound, pleasingly orchestrated pen and ink drawings, each drawing by contrast depicting a somewhat unlikeable face. Alongside the face was text that bore no relevance, as far as I could determine.
Behind the table, Aneurin Wright, the artist, spotted my puzzled countenance.
"This is a little zine called Never Eat with a Spoon that which can be Eaten with a Fork," he explained, "subtitled A Gansta's Guide to Good Housekeeping." Aneurin spoke with an accent. I'm not at liberty to say an American accent, because I do not know. But it sounded American. He continued: "It's a combination of pictures of mug shots I've drawn of people who've been banned from the shopping centre where I work, for doing unsavoury things like thieving"-
"Where is that?" I asked.
"That's down in Brighton. It's a lovely job. Interesting characters you meet. And so these are pictures drawn from mug shots, and that's juxtaposed with the introduction to the 1907 Woman's Favourite Cookbook by Annie E. Gregory, and its advice on how to set up a proper table and host your dinner party."
"That's Brighton in the UK?"
"Yes. The drawings I did from last October, until a little while ago; the mug shot photos are taken from the last six months or something."
Following this I retired to the mezzanine to watch the parade of people filter up and down through the hall. I could have stayed much longer, but left for coffee on what had become the first day of any notable sunshine of the year.