Well, that’s simple. I’m Robin. I’m a comic book geek who writes all sorts of things whenever his computer actually wants to work, and I have a SHIELD-themed t-shirt.
So why did I name a blog after a t-shirt? That’s the fun part. See, because I’m a job hunter at the moment, I don’t have much money, so my ability to attend a convention is severely limited by that, and obviously, I can’t exactly plan to go to any cons that are particularly long-distance or that take place over multiple days, much. I can’t afford the travel fees or the accommodation costs, and any interviews that I get in the run-up can banjax a very long and complicated plan like that and leave me severely out of pocket if I’m not careful.
I do, however, make one exception every year without fail, and that exception is the True Believers Comic Festival at the Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse every year. Why? Well, I’m going to write about it more in another post (because boy howdy do I have a lot to say about how great that con is), but the long story short is, it’s a one-day event, so no hotel costs, it’s a cheap, direct train ride away, and I have yet to meet an exhibitor there who wasn’t one of the nicest folks I’ve ever met.
I’ve been going to the TBCF since 2016, and as they’ve run a smaller Summer Event for the last two years, I’ve gone to those as well, and I’ve worn this shirt every time, because frankly it’s the geekiest shirt I own and I’ve never had the money or skills to put together a decent cosplay, but this year was the first year something very strange happened.
This year, I was recognised. And I don’t mean ‘I prodded and poked at traders to get them to remember me’, I mean ‘oh hey, I remember you from the Summer Event last year!’ said the Flintlock folks as I popped in for a chat at the start of the day. And then Sarah Millman said the same thing when I stopped by to pick up the NPC Tea issues I missed out on last year (to be fair, she was Flintlock’s neighbour last summer, so that may have been expected a bit). And then Jon Laight said he remembered me from the first Summer Event two years back when I went to his table for a chat and to pick up the issue of Brethren Born and Late Knights that I was missing. And then the Hellbound Media guys said the same thing when I grabbed the Mandy the Monster Slayer TPB I missed last year (I got some more stuff from them, but let’s just say the loot bag was very full this year, for now).
And I realised that, by accident, my SHIELD shirt had kind of become my convention… brand? My trademark? My signature at the very least. My Thing.
Which, for a shirt my brother got me for his wedding photos several years ago, is pretty good going, if I’m honest. I’ve been asked where he got it from, and as far as I know, there was a collection of the things from an eBay seller at the time, all sorts across Marvel and DC, and I chose the SHIELD one. Fairly simple, really. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s available anymore.
After this (and I should point out its two days post-TBCF2018 as I write this), I thought ‘I can’t be known as That Guy With the SHIELD Shirt, it’s silly! Plus, you know, I do actually have a name.’ And then, the more I thought about it, the more I thought ‘you know what? I can roll with that!’ I’ve been trying to write stuff regularly for years now, with limited success, it’s a memorable thing, clearly, and hey, I’ve got more than enough stuff to talk about, even before branching out into other areas. So why the hell don’t I take that moniker?
Look, I’m not saying I’m a unique writer – most of the stuff I write is based in genre urban fantasy horror or Dungeons and Dragons adventuring type stuff, but I’m all for helping folks, and that’s what I’m hoping to use this site for – helping small things become big things. That can be anything from comic book writers and artists to filmmakers to authors, podcasts and audio dramas and everything in between, so if there’s something it feels like only you know about, tell me, and I’ll take a look. I’m not saying I’ll like it, but I’m an optimist, so while it may not be my thing, it may be someone else’s.
I am looking to expand my convention attendance record this year; I know the Cardiff Comic-Con is on the weekend of the 12th of May, so I’m hoping to get to that if I’m free, and there’s Gloucester Comic-Con and this year’s TBCF Summer Event as well but it looks like the pipe dream of going to the London Geekfest (AKA Nineworlds) this year is going to stay that way for another year, sadly. If there’s any others you think I should go to, I’m all ears, and I’ll see what I can do. Maybe I should write a TGWTSS Bucket List type piece for that… *adds it to the ideas pile*