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Caption - Oxford, August 2004

(Alternative Comics Convention)

Here are eight sketches I made during the 'Caption' weekend, this time at a new location, Wolfson College (end of Linton Rd). This is no longer in the center, but one can walk there and see a bit of beautiful Oxford. (If you come by bus, get off at High Street and walk up Catte St, Parks Rd, through the Parks, Fyfield Rd, Chalbury Rd. and then turn right. It's less easy to find than before, but Caption isn't meant for normal punters to stroll in anyway. It's a convention for comic-artists or those who like to think of themselves as such, or upcoming talent, or hardcore 'handmade-comics'-fans. - There were a few mainstream talks as well, for instance Pat Mill's about his anti-war series 'Charlie's War', which was so interesting that I forgot to do a drawing. He's in the background on picture six, the sixth head from the left. I missed his interview on Sunday, having to psyche myself up (or down) for my own talk about Early Comics.
Being able to project computer scans onto a huge screen was an enormous advantage at the new venue, which will probably encourage more html-slide-shows in future. There could even be a presentation of flash-animations, such as the cute Porno-cartoon from the Belgrade comics festival .

No picture of the dealer's tables, sorry, must remember to do that next time. Nor the bar. Nor the workshop rooms upstairs.

Tony Keen showing comics with Greeks and Romans in them. In German the equivalent films, such as Ben Hur, Quo Vadis etc, are called 'Sandalen-filme', because everyone is wearing sandals. So this was about sandal-comics.

Les Coleman and Paul Gravett chatting about mini-comics. And showing off what a cool collection they have. By the way, mini is a somewhat vague expression in this context. Larger than normal format can also be mini. Very complicated. Oh, and please buy more than a handful of my own minicomic 'Flickermouse' next time, eh? It's just 70p, like the Beano. (Even sharing a contributor). Minimal sales seem to also be a feature of mini-comics, but one needn't overdo it (or should that be 'underdo'?)

Pizza-pause outside. The building really is that ugly, but the landscape is lovely. (See last picture for the view from those steps leading down to the grass, which one wasn't supposed to step on). Not only ugly, but one could harldy find the bar, or the way back, even in comparatively sober condition. On the plus side, the conference rooms are not bad at all.

Auction of donated artworks. I forget what that bosomy sketch on the sceen was, but there were also some really great drawings to be had. I was determined not to buy anything, but when they were about to flog off a whole fantastic sketchbook by Paul 'Mooncat' Schroeder for twelve quid I got that for 13. Fools! This will be turned into one or two Dachshund minizines now...

The National Theatre of Earth Prime performs 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen'. The chap in the wooly wig is the infamous 'composite-character-of-former-caption-organizers' or somesuch.

Lee Kennedy and foreign guest artist Aleksandar Zograf reporting from a comics festival called 'Grrr' in Belgrade (October 2003). Apparently they make a big fuss there about us artists, which is nice. They can't afford to invite us though (meaning paying for plane and hotel), so you have to show a bit of initiative if you want to broaden your comicultural horizons.
Second from the left is Mardou, sketching (a lot prettier in natura), 3: Jenni Scott, 5: Andy Roberts, 6: Pat Mills, and sitting at the front, Pete Ashton, who incidentally made a really good point during my own talk, concerning the definition of comics.

Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, Mardou, Andy Roberts (as the chairman, not doing a lot of autobio, or any, comics himself lately) (Maybe this will goad him into action) , Alexsander Zograf and Al Davison discussing autobiographical comics. At one point even artistic influences on one's comicish output were counted as part of the biography, effectively turning all comics into autobio-comics.

When nearly everyone else had beetled off I made this quick sketch of the adjoining nature. Trees, bushes, river, rivulets, boats, islands and whatnot. Typically, hardly any of the assembled cartoonists could be coaxed from the dingy bar and pursuaded to relax by the water. But for me the river more than made up for the loss of the romantic garden of the former venue. Maybe we should have an impromtu exhibtion down there, as an incentive, a sort of 'Water-caption'. For instance, short versions of Treasure Island, on the island, or of Wind in the Willows, exhibited on a boat?

I didn't have a camera then, but here are some photos of me drawing, taken by Pete Ashton.
On the first one I'm giving a talk about the history of comics. I forgot to bring a pointer thing, so used a metal pole that was lying about.
The drawing of the trees at the end I made when everyone else had gone. The chap sitting behind me was actually my designated driver (reading one of the comics I had bought).

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