Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Missing the live experience - Comicons and Edinburgh


A very interesting breakdown of this past weekend's virtual San Diego Comic Con that can be summed up as "you had to be there - and no-one was".

This is what we've all felt, when trying to emulate the experience of a gig, a party, or even a drink with friends. Nothing but nothing equates to the 'buzz' of real people together in a room.

Zoom is proving annoyingly inadequate in allowing more than one person to speak at the same time. Though I'm having great experiences with my Comic Art Masterclasses and am looking forward to my first Socks Zoom gig on Friday, frankly having to 'mute' your class and your audience all the time, and unmuting for questions and applause, is really not the most satisfying feeling.

Comedy and theatre, and indeed the Edinburgh Fringe that I would have begun performing in a week's time, really are demonstrating the big difference between live shows and watching stuff on a screen. When you're in a room with an act there is a constant back and forth between performer and audience, even those who are sitting silently. Yes, even in the case of my comedy show (Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre) where I can't even see the audience and can only hear them. You can still feel them, and their every response - or, importantly, lack of one - affects what you do next and how you feel about it.

Thinking of comic conventions, the first I ever attended being around this time of year (maybe later) in 1979, every memory I have of it is something that simply couldn't be recreated virtually. We stayed up late in the bar surrounded by comic professionals whose names we'd only ever heard before, including Dez Skinn in a Captain America costume; I got to speak face to face with the biggest names in comics, including Jim Steranko and Chris Claremont, and Frank Brunner signed my Howard The Duck comic (in fact a whole load of people signed a whole load of stuff); I bid a quid for a rubbish item in the charity auction, the star prize of which was a 10 foot high movie poster that someone ended up having to try and take home on a train; and me and my mate Steve got to have a coffee with the entire staff of 2000AD. And we spent a record-breaking amount on comics (over £17, yes I said £17! That was a lot, when your weekly Marvel comic still cost 10p).

Try emulating any of those experiences on Zoom. Exactly. Man, I miss live stuff.

Did I mention my Zoom Comic Art Masterclasses are on August 5th & 28th? Almost as good as real life, on sale now. 


My next Comic art Masterclasses on Zoom are on August 5th and 28th, 10am and 2pm. Two hour sessions at the end of which everyone goes away having produced a comic together, and with a caricature by me.

Tickets are here:

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