[ENGLISH] One more week and the UK’s biggest comics convention hits the British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall in Bristol on 10th and 11th May 2008, and this week we wrap up our look at what’s on at the Bristol Expo with the last set of all-new announcements and announce just who has agreed to cut the ribbon for the Comics Village Fete, the event for kids of all ages.

The Bristol International Comic Expo website www.comicexpo.net has the full details of all guests and panels over the weekend – Saturday’s line-up is here: http://www.comicexpo.net/08saturday.html – Sunday’s here: http://www.comicexpo.net/08sunday.html.Finally, the remaining sets of updates to the Virtual Bristol Anthology have taken place, meaning much can be previewed (or even advance ordered) from the VBA website: http://virtualbristol.monkeyswithmachineguns.com

MIKE McKONE (Exiles, Teen Titans, Fantastic Four) has just been added to the line-up for his 1st UK Con appearance. Upcoming and recent work includes Amazing Spider-Man #562 and #563 (out in June) and a Skrull alternative cover for Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1, covers for Wildstorm’s Number of the Beast #7 and #8 in July.

Panini UK Ltd, the UK’s official Marvel and Doctor Who publishers, will be attending the Bristol Expo and showing off an original, life-size Iron Man movie statue, as well as giving away free comics and magazines. Amongst other publications, Panini publish Astonishing Spider-Man, Marvel Legends, Ultimate Spider-Man & X-Men magazines on the newstands, plus the definitive Doctor Who periodical, the long-running Doctor Who Magazine (issue 400 will be released this year) as well as a range of UK graphic novels [their Doctor Who reprint range, especially the Fifth Doctor book, is particularly recommended – ed] including unique Marvel collections, of which Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Iron Man has just been released.

THIS NEWS JUST IN! The boys at Blink Twice are pleased to announce a late exclusive for the Bristol Expo. In a rare expansive move from the print medium, The Etherington Brothers will be launching their first official merchandise in the delectable form of a limited edition ‘Stunned Bunny’ T-shirt. Quite simply put, this is the perfect accompaniment to their 320-page Malcolm Magic comic book – visit the stand early to secure both gems, signatures and sketches!

Accent UK launch their latest graphic novel ROBOTS which continues their popular line of themed anthologies. At 204 pages it’s the biggest yet with a host of indie, emerging and established comics’ talent from around the globe providing a bumper collection of exclusive robotic themed strips. Available at a special expo price of just �£8 and the follow up to last year’s ZOMBIES smash. Limited stocks will also be available of a ROBOTS sketchbook and their new T- Shirt line. Many artists and contributors will also be dropping by their tables over the weekend to sign n sketch and the editors will happily meet prospective new creators and by special arrangement, copies of The Book Palace’s newly released collection of Frank Bellamy’s Complete ROBIN HOOD Adventures will also be available! (www.accentukcomics.com).

Ardden’s Flash Gordon #0 sold out of 3250 copies at the NYC con and copies have been selling for up to $15 on EBAY – they’ve reserved 150 copies of the UK edition and 100 of the NYC con edition for the Bristol show, priced at �£3.00 each. They’ve also printed 25 copies of a blank cover edition and for �£20 Paul Green (the Flash artist) will be sketching on these – however only 15 of these will be available on the day as 10 have been pre-bought by US fans.

Classical Comics will have Jon Haward at the Bristol Expo to sign copies of the wonderful Macbeth, as will Nigel Dobbyn. Kat and Jason will be up for signing Henry V – and the brand new, just off the press ELT version of Henry V will be on their stand. This is the ‘fourth’ version of the book, designed to teach English to students across the globe. The book has 2 audio CDs in the back too. It’s produced by Cengage Learning. Declan will be at the Bristol Expo to talk about Frankenstein, John M Burns has his own table, so if anyone wants to know more about the very beautiful Jane Eyre, he will be delighted to have a chat. Finally, Mike Collins has had some stunning postcards printed – Scrooge at his best! A Christmas Carol is going to be one stunning book!!

The latest edition of Paul Scott’s Omnivistascope book is rolling off the printers and will available at the Bristol Expo – issue 4 is an 80-page darkly futuristic comic book featuring some of the very best talent from the British underground. Produced annually, it sets new standards in independent comics. Come and keep the Omnivistascope crew entertained on their stall at Bristol this year, see the new comic and also partake of Ben Clark’s Magic Beans Comics, also sharing the stall. www.omnivistascope.com

The people from Murky Depths will not only be launching Murky Depths #4 at the reduced price of �£6 (it retails at �£6.99) but are also knocking an extra �£2 off the subscription price from now* until the end of the Expo, so for just �£22 you can receive the next four issues before anyone else. Also their first full-colour 28-page comic from their publishing imprint The House of Murky Depths, Death and The Maiden #4 by Richard Calder, will be on sale at the reduced price of �£3. For those into podcasts, Variant Frequencies is releasing a simultaneous podcast of Issue #4’s cover story “Saint Darwin’s Spirituals” by DK Thompson. The MD team believes this is the first time a print magazine and a podcast site have worked together for a launch of this kind.

*Currently only available via Warren Elli’s Whitechapel site at this thread: http://freakangels.com/whitechapel/comments.php?DiscussionID=1847&page=1#Item_1

Cosplay Competition + Masquerade: Those Awesome people over at Orang Utan Comics are running a blog containing the rules, entry forms and details of the star presenters and judges, hurry on over to http://www.myspace.com/bicefilmnight to enter. The closing date for entries is April 26th 2008 and places are strictly limited, first come, first served. VALERIE PEREZ, star of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Tears Of The Dragon will be attending the Bristol Expo, she will be flying over from America and will be presenting the Film Night, Cosplay Competition and Masquerade. She also co-writes the Official Prequel Comic which will be available in the Film Night goody bags.

CBBC – the Children’s BBC channel – will be at the Bristol Expo as part of their search for a superhero. They’re looking for children aged between 9 and 13 to turn themselves into unique, original, never-before-seen superheroes to take part in a new CBBC show, to be hosted by Sam and Mark. Have you always dreamed of being a superhero? What would your superhero name be? What would your costume look like? What superpowers would you have? Do you think you’ve got what it takes to go head to head with other Superhero wannabes?

Knockabout make a welcome return to the Bristol Expo – at their table Gilbert Shelton and Hunt Emerson will be signing their books, along with special guest David Shenton and his graphic novel Get Her. As well as signing over the whole weekend, David will also appear on the Gay Comics panel on Sunday.

Insomnia’s Layer Zero volumes one and two are combined for the first time and to celebrate the launch of Layer Zero TPB, Special Bristol 2008 limited edition copies of the book will be available along with regular stock. Only 10 copies will be available of the limited edition, which includes a free poster (worth �£4), unseen Cancertown signed concept art, and previews of Cages and Cancertown (priceless). To order your copy, costing �£20, send an email quoting “No Sleep” and your details to layerzero@insomniapublications.com. What’s more, if you order your copy now you’ll be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Cages, all the way from San Diego, signed by Xander Bennett, Melanie Cook, Jonathan Hickman, and Ben Templesmith. With over 30 creators involved; including some famous names in the industry including Simon “Cy” Dethan, Paul Green and Thomas Mauer (Starship Troopers) along with talents such as Paul Cartwright, Alasdair Duncan, Luke Hinchley, Mike Webster, Robert Robinson, Thommy Melanson and many more; and diverse creative styles on themes of Insomnia and Time, Layer Zero TPB is a book not to be missed. 120 pages full color.

In addition: Free copies of Daemon issue one will be available to the first 500 people on the Saturday morning in the Comic Expo’s goodie bag; Alasdair Duncan’s novel, The Kill Cell, will be on sale along with a selection of posters by Paul Cartwright and Paul Green; Cancertown will be available to preview over the weekend; a limited supply of Cages proofs will for sale and Portfolio reviews will also be taking place over the weekend. For more information on Insomnia Publications visit the new and improved website www.insomniapublications.com

In Podcast news, the Geek Syndicate is reformed this week as Dave rejoins the show with a small rant on Lost. Barry also discusses the pros and cons of working without a co-host for an episode. We also look forward to the Bristol Comic Expo with its organiser Mike Allwood: http://media.libsyn.com/media/geeksyndicate/GSepisode79.mp3

Also featuring: Mortal Kombat vs DC universe. Is it madness or genius? Primeval season three news. It’s a biggie people! The upcoming Blake’s 7 remake. Will it be UK’s answer to BSG ? Lost – is it actually going anywhere? The Spirit/Sin City 2 teaser trailer The Hancock trailer. Is going to be the Wild Wild West of comic book movies?

As the American and British Urban Rivals communities continue to experience rapid growth, Urban Rivals need a dedicated artist from each country to produce character cards that appeal to players from both countries and the wider English-speaking world. A freelance design contract is available for an artist in each country, and Urban Rivals will be looking closely at submissions at the Bristol Expo (although more details can be found here: http://www.urban-rivals.com/special/artstar/)

Artist Laura Howell will be flitting between the Beano stand, the MC2 stand and the Best New Manga stand all weekend for signing and sketching, showcasing how she’s one of the busiest artists around: from the pages of The Beano, to the Bizarre Adventures of Gilbert and Sullivan in Best New Manga v2 and v3; from Robin Hoodie coming in issue 116 of Toxic magazine, to Random House’s The DFC (press launch on 15th May).

Soaring Penguin is delighted that James Fletcher, Flint Hasbudak and John Maybury will be appearing at the Bristol Expo to sign copies of From The Tomb 24 (story by James Fletcher, artwork portfolio by Flint Hadbudak), Space Babe 113 (story and art by John Maybury) and The Mammoth Book of the 50 Best Horror Comics (story by James Fletcher). Come by the table for details of times.

Emma Simcock-Tooth’s oil paintings will be best known to comic fans through the Trace of Fragile Bliss stories in Mam Tor’s Event Horizon. In her “day job” as a portrait painter she’s recently secured Arts Council funding for new project “Concilium Plebis” – Caravaggio-esque portraits of “chavs” and “hoodies”. She has exhibited all over the UK and in Europe, from guerilla art spaces in derelict buildings to the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and at the Bristol Expo she’ll be in the Empire Room, off of the main Expo hall and next door to the Comics Village Fete.

Speaking of the Village Fete, it’s now been confirmed that at midday on Saturday the Fete will be opened by artist Mark Buckingham (Fables and so much more)….the line-up of events for kids and adults who are young are heart: Superhero/Villain Face Painting – Treasure Hunt with Exclusive Expo prizes – Stack O’Comics (guess the number of comics…win them all if you’re right) – Design-A-Character Competition (sponsored by Diamond UK), three age categories, three prizes per category – all these events are free to enter. For those looking for some cheap graphic novels, the Bric A Brac table will offer up manga for two pounds each, trades from four.

Final update is from the Black Bat Comics stand, who have just taken delivery of a great 1960s comic collection that will be up for grabs at the Bristol Expo. Marvel, lots of DC and a great British section, including Lion, very early Victor, Boys World and loads and loads of early Alan Class and similar. Ask for Steve at the stand, and get him to tell you about his favourite Silver Age comics…

The Bristol International Comic Expo 2008 will be held over the weekend of 10th and 11th May 2008 at the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum and the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Bristol, England, with an early bird film night on Friday 9th May. Full details are available on the official website, www.comicexpo.net – including ticket ordering details, just �£6 for adults for each day, accompanied children free, ages 12-16 just one pound.