Thursday, 9 October 2008

The World's Greatest Graphic Novel Panel report

Not only is Frank Miller happy to stomp all over other people’s creative genius (see The Spirit movie) he’s also “Bat Shit Crazy”—at least according to comic writer and self-publicist extraordinaire, Tony Lee. That was his opening gambit when he valiantly stepped in at the last moment to argue the case for Batman: Year One as the World’s Greatest Graphic Novel on the panel at the Birmingham International Comic Show on Saturday 3 October. Tony—along with Lee "Budgie" Barnett— not only argued their chosen books, but also filled-in for Andy (Hellblazer) Diggle, who was kidnapped by Simon (beer monster) Bisley and forced to drink until 7am, thus sabotaging his appearance.

Tony was joined by Dez (Warrior/Comics International) Skinn, Budgie, Roger (Fred the Clown) Langridge, Alex Summersby, Peter (2000 AD) Doherty and myself hosting the panel. The whole event went down a storm (better than I could have hoped for) with everyone giving great 1-minute long arguments for their chosen favourite titles. The full breakdown was thus:

Dez Skinn
V for Vendetta
Marvelman Book One

Lee “Budgie” Barnett
From Hell
  Dark Knight Returns

Cerebus: High Society

Alex Summersby
Alice in Sunderland

Peter Doherty
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth
The Fank Book

Tony Lee
Batman: Year One

Tim Pilcher
The Tale of One Bad Rat

The shake-up made for a bit of schizo-confusion when Budgie ended up having to arguing against himself with Dark Knight Returns vs. From Hell! Unsurprisingly, Watchmen won—with Budgie’s succinct “It’s Alan Moore, It’s Dave Gibbons. It’s Watchmen.” But there were some surprises along the way, including Akira making it to the #2 spot, thanks to the persuasive power of Alex Summersby.

The panel had an impressive 100-120 people attending and all of them got to vote for their favourite titles or whoever had the best argument. We had fantastic lighting effects and a digital voting system that gave the percentage scores, which ramped up the tension as the votes got tighter and tighter. Budgie wrote a great piece here about it. The Birmingham Mail reported on it as well.

The panel seemed to be one of the highlights of the show for many, and was such a success that plans are already afoot for a similar debate panel for next year’s BICS with Tony Lee, Budgie and myself. Watch this space…

BTW-If anyone has any pics or video of the event please let me know and I’ll post them up here. Cheers!

(apologies for the god-awful layout of this entry! Still battling with the blog!)

"Wake up" - Rage Against the Machine

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