Words by Olly MacNamee
Simon Myers and Nigel Hopkins’ doodliscious Drink and Draw returns to the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) on Friday 22nd April – in conjunction with the wider Birmingham Comics Festival, which runs throughout April.
And, as such, it will be taking on a superhero theme that asks attendants (nearly 500 pencil-wielding patrons last time) to imagine they’re superheroes and to depict how they received their powers. A great idea with the potential for both serious and stoopid secret origin stories to spill forth onto the page.
Oh, and as always, it’s free.
Pencils and paper are provided in large amounts – at an event that encourages all and everyone, no matter how limited an artist you may be, to get involved, get merry and get sketching.
I attended the last one (somewhat more squiffy than initially planned) and couldn’t help noticing a wide section of Birmingham’s art communities were in attendance, from comic book artists to graffiti greats.
Indeed, both Drink and Draw organisers are artists in their own rights, with Simon Myers having recently created some great album cover parodies for several Dr Who comics. Some of Myers’ work is still available from Nostalgia & Comics and Birmingham’s own branch of Forbidden Planet.
Drink and Draw starts at 6.30pm and runs through to 10pm, with snacks and drinks available from the Edwardian Tea Room – the part of BMAG where the event is being hosted. And judging from last time, I’d get there early to find a seat.
And if you’re still stuck for an idea, following the event’s superhero theme, soak in Birmingham Review’s handy guide to secret origin stories:
Step One: Have your hero lose a loved one (or two)
The loss of a loved one is a solid backstory for many a superhero. Spidey lost Uncle Ben to an ungrateful thief, the Hulk’s mother was killed by his father, whilst Superman was even more unlucky – losing both his Kryptonian parents and his adoptive parents, the Kents. And yet, Supes never went all mean and moody. Unlike Bruce Wayne, who only lost one set of parents but was scarred for life. If only he’d had the child therapy he so clearly needed.
Step Two: The costume
The costume should reflect your character’s powers. Whether it’s the wings on Flash’s mask, reminiscent of the winged helmet of Hermes – the messenger of the gods, or the funky webbing of Spider-man’s outfit; let the bad guys know what they’re up against.
Step Three: The arch-enemy
The arch-enemy is usually, in some ways, the dual opposite of the hero, as best summed up in the weird, twisted relationship Batman and The Joker have always had. Two mad men in suits, with at least one of them recognising their madness. But then, as a billionaire, who would dare tell Batman that he’s, well, bat-shit crazy.
Step Four: Anything is possible
Let your imagination (and a few beers) take the driving seat and have fun with your ideas. The history of comics has shown us that even the daftest of ideas can be long lasting. Look at superhero names such as Bouncing Boy (who can inflate his body up to beach ball proportions), Matter Eating Lad (who can eat all matter) and Sun Boy – all members of the goofiest super team I’ve even had the privilege of reading, The Legion of Super-Heroes.
Drink and Draw takes place at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (Edwardian Tea Rooms) on 22nd April, between 6.30pm-10pm. Entry to the event is free.
For direct information, visit http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/edwardian-tea-rooms-late-drink-and-draw
For more from Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, visit http://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag