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CONVENTION MADNESS

26 April 2008

Dames and gentleladies, Barry Burtons and male equestrians of all ages, you may open your eyes and let that wrinkle you call your lips form a beautiful smile once more! The tediousness of yesterweek has ended; there will be no more literary analyses for the coming odd single rant at least. Joice and Re:Joice!

Instead, may I present to you the fantastic weekend I had a few days back? It was convention weekend again, with no less than two big happenings in the country. On the one hand there was the Elf Fantasy Fair; a castle-set festival with a fantasy theme and an anything-goes approach to cosplaying. Indeed, there was no end to the creativity you witnessed as you never knew what to expect next. Was that the pope, suddenly emerging from a sea of elves and pirates? And what about those Stargate marines drifting through the vanity fair of gothic dresses further up? Indeed, the be-all end-all of fairs and my own cosplay for next year was immediately firmly decided upon then and there. Shall I spoil it? I shall not, sir.

I was present on Saturday for the first time on the Elf Fantasy Fair for two reasons, and two reasons exactly. The first was to sell at the Openminded stand (on the event's manga square) the lovely little fat book we have been drawing, writing and producing over the past half year. It's called Bedtime Stories and it features hundreds of pages worth of classic fairytales we have twisted and turned in a number of surprising fashions. My contribution? 11 Minutes from Das Rheingold; the first act of Wagner's magnum opus Der Ring des Nibelungen. Cruel, bald dwarfs, hoards of treasure and vain lords of gods. Great stuff. And the crowd thought so too, because Bedtime Stories sold like hotcakes. Everyone wanted their share of the feast.

The second reason I went there was to see a long-cherished dream of mine fulfilled. I participated in a medieval swordfighting workshop and it was everything I had hoped for. It was exciting and felt immediately comfortable to the point that I must've been a knight in some previous existence. Indeed, though I had never drawn a sword before, I noticed I had quite some control over the weapon and breezed through the training. The instructors were of the same opinion, as they approached me afterwards and told me I should seek out one of the schools in the country. Needless to say, I felt like a million Euros the whole rest of the weekend. It felt like I was the star in my own clichéd shounen series, where I'd battle my way to the top of the swordfighting league by sheer resilience and natural skill, making friends and foes along the way and gaining access to some insane ancient technique. Now, that's all probably going to happen, I'm sure, but I'll first just take my first class tomorrow. Dramatics aside, I'm extremely excited about this and hope I've really found my own little sport.

The other festivity, which devoured the Sunday side of the weekend coin, was a comic convention in my own precious city of Arnhem. This is a really, really small show, but very pleasant. For some reason, the entire line-up of comic artists from the Netherlands is present and this is reflected in the genuine feeling of love for the medium in all its outings. The quaint size of the thing actually improves its cosy atmosphere. I was there again selling for Openminded and generally taking care of the whole ordeal. Nwoppertje was there as well, but since we had such an insane amount of space, she took care of her own brought goods and I took the helm of what would be another great sales-day for Bedtime Stories. Here's a picture, which expresses how nicely quiet it was, especially in contrast to the thousands and thousands of people drifting around you on the Elf:



A few other comic artists and friends came along and we had muchos fun, having lots of time to talk to customers and with each other. As always, the days after such a socially excitable convention weekend have somewhat of an aftertaste since -despite the awesome tiredness- you miss having lots of cool people around you. But since I have an office to go to now, with equally great people sitting next to me... it was all pretty okay.

Now, onwards, to a swordfighting future! Once more into the fray, my friends!

Roderick.