Demoncon was one of those revelations that drops out of a clear, blue sky and drenches you in unexpected excellence. It was as if the universe had taken a look at my life and decided there was one box left unticked on my Awesome List, then proceeded to tick it.
Demoncon is a tightly focused one-day gig with a strong following and loads to offer. Organised by Maidstone's Grinning Demon comic shop, this third iteration raised the stakes with the aggressive flair of a seasoned grifter, literally doubling in size over previous events - with hints of doubling again later in the year already flying around Twitter.
Nic and I found ourselves sandwiched comfortably between Barry Nugent (with the iceberg-tip of his ever-expanding transmedia empire on display in the form of the Fallen Heroes novel, along with its associated adaptations and spin-offs) and the team of Dan Thompson and Steve Penfold (promoting their unrepentantly brilliant Moon comic). Considering the fact that all of us in that Usual Suspects-style line-up have worked together on books that were available right there at Barry's table, and contrasting this against the old-school system of dropping all the attending creators into a sack and allocating tables according to the order in which they drag themselves out, you start to see why Demoncon is punching so far above its weight class. I've heard similar praise for the organisation of Hi-Ex and CICAE, so if anything it looks like the mini-con environment is richer than ever.
Orang-Utan Comics was well represented, with Ian Sharman and David Wynne seemingly in demand non-stop. Before the doors opened, I got to chat with Conor Boyle about a project we have in the works - and it turned out to be a good thing I took the opportunity when I did, as he seemed to be swamped with sketch requests for the rest of the day. Other people have been reporting similar levels of interest, which is always great to hear.
Entertainment (technically, "sports entertainment") came in the form of NWA Hammerlock Wrestling, so I made a point of catching one of the matches. Gloriously over-the-top performances were given by Dean Champion and the absolutely, definitely, wouldn't-lie-to-you-for-the-world, genuine Mexican "Technico" in a ring that might as well have been carved out of granite for all the "give" it had in it (seriously, this shit is dangerous). Dodgy sight-lines and extreme tolerance from the referee meant that about 70% of Champion's offence was in some way groin-related, but truth and justice ultimately won out.
Back at the table, Nic and I signed copies of Cancertown, Slaughterman's Creed and The Indifference Engine (which is something I still haven't got used to doing and hope I never will). I dutifully jammed previews of White Knuckle and Cancertown 2 under every nose that approached within jamming distance, while the latter's art team of Graham Howard and Peter Mason finally got to meet face-to-face. Thankfully, they got on. Pete's a natural at conventions, effortlessly making friends and connections everywhere he goes. I suspect that's going to set him up nicely when Cancertown: Blasphemous Tumours drops in November at Thought Bubble 2012.
Basically, this was just a fantastic day for me, and enormous thanks must go out to the organiser, Graham Beadle. Demoncon has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of one-day conventions, so I'm looking to become a regular for as long as they'll let me.