Every year Teesside University hold a week long animation festival called Animex. I’ve been going along for about 11 years and it just keeps getting better and better. It now has speakers and workshops covering games, comics, animation and VFX. In previous years I’ve helped out chairing events but this time I could relax and take it all in as a spectator. I particularly enjoyed the inaugural comics day, with talks from Doug Braithwaite, Bryan Talbot, Mary Talbot, Ethan Nicolle, Marv Wolfman and Jim Zubkavich.
The guests were on hand throughout the day to sign and chat, giving the event a relaxed and informal feel. Comic store, Travelling Man, had a set up shop selling related items and went down a storm, with many of the speaker’s book selling out. I bought Bryan Talbot’s Grandville which he signed and sketched in. He picked up on the unusual spelling of my name and said he’d come across about six spellings during various signings. I also brought along issue 50 of Tales of the Teen Titans (published in 1985!) for Marv Wolfman to sign.
Animex is know for its after hours events – some might say it’s notorious for them! They host a fun networking evening where you can get face to face with all the speakers, buy them a drink, swap cards, dance, whatever! And the speakers dinner on the last night is the perfect end to the week. I’m grateful to Festival Director Gabrielle Kent for inviting me this year – it’s great to see so many old friends, and to make a few new ones. You just have to be careful – they have very tight security who come down pretty hard on anyone misbehaving!
If you’re interested in comics or animation I think this has to be on your calendar for next year.