It has just been London Super Comic Con for 2017. Yesterday I got home after a hot train journey carrying a series of shite carrier bags on overly packed Sunday Service trains with drunk Notting Hill Carnival people. I was exhausted.
It was also the best fun I have had at a convention for a fucking age!
It is now Bank Holiday Monday morning and I'm desperately trying to remember all the great people I met and comics I bought. So if I missed you out I apologise, I still love you!)
Can I just say that this will not be one of those Convention Reports that is littered with photo after photo of cosplayers! Mostly I find them an annoyance who just got in the way of the table and completely failed to buy anything. I did however find one who tickled me. The more DIY and amateur the cooler it is theory applies here.
Situated at the London Design Centre in trendy Upper Street, Islington it is a great venue (previously used by the KAPOW Comics Convention a few years ago). It had the main exhibition area and the Artists Alley situated upstairs and to the right. I spoke to a few punters over the weekend who had been looking for our table for quite a while. Let's just say that signage both inside and outside the venue could have have done with significant improvement.
Here are some of the highlights.
I was tabling in Artists Alley with Vince Hunt and Dan Vanguard. We were there to promote the podcast, sell their comics, talk about our upcoming anthology and generally raise money for the printing of the first issue. Vince and Dan were constant hilarious companions throughout along with a multitude of pals and creators including The Gibbster (who is the unofficial 4th member - and competition winner....) Dan was launching Volume 2 of the print version of Vanguard. An absolute corker of a comic that you really need to find!
We were next to Ricky Miller and David White from Avery Hill and you couldn't have hoped for better neighbours. I picked up 'An Entity Observes All Things' by Box Brown from their table and can't wait to get stuck in to it!
One of our favourite people and best pals Sarah Harris proved that she has some kick ass artistic chops and did some amazing art for the upcoming Awesome Comics Podcast Anthology! Look at these beauties!
Nick popped up for a day and we put his excellent Red Action Figure on show for all to see. Here is a photo of him with Dan, Vince and the Mighty Jason Wilson (who is doing some brilliant acting 'oh look at that' in this shot!)
Friday from set up to train home was a joy. I got to meet up with all the comics and all the comics people. Gareth A. Hopkins ( his book 'Found Forest Floor' is amazing and needs picking up) was volunteering and looked Large in Charge with his earpiece. He also managed to split up a'misunderstanding' in the Lee Bermejo line - nicely done. Milmo and Sian Jefferson were present to hand out vigilante style beatings whenever required as well. I also got to talk with Martin Simpson about his recent Jessica Jones Marvel work and caught up with Mike Garley about 'Samurai Slasher: Late Fees'.
Myself and Vince got to sit down and discuss comics for the Pod with David Hine. '1000 Yard Stare' is one of my books of the year and it was great to hear about his creative process with his regular co conspirator Shakey Kane. Get yourselves a copy!
During the evening I grabbed a pizza with The Gibbster, Jason Wilson and Vince Hunt and we were joined by an artist I am a huge fan of. Chris Weston is someone that we have gushed over on the pod over his work recently in the 2000AD Christmas Issue. He is a thousand percent the Real Deal and has some amazing credits to his name! (he also told us a story about a 'stolen kettle' that I am not allowed to talk about due to the Statute of Limitations! We also got to hear some juicy details of Jason's new project (writing under the name Jason Gunn) watch this space - my lips are sealed!
Saturday was equally glorious!
Suzie and Chris Gander (now only to be referred to as 'Sooz and the Beard') appeared and Suzie gave me a preview copy of 'Perrywinkle' - so watch this space for a review!) I also got to chat up a storm about comics art, 90s Valiant Comics, Justice League and the new venture 'Ominous Comics' with Bart Sears. An absolute gent who was on his first trip to London. Just this conversation alone would have made my weekend!
In the same alley were some great people. Ash Pure with his self published series 'The Lion and the Unicorn' was opposite with Dan Harris from Attic Studios and Chris Jerkins and Chris Imber from Reckless Heroes within sight.
Speaking of which.......
Someone (me, with giggling encouragement from Mr V Hunt) left these notes for Dan and Mr Imber. The rest of the day was spent investigating and myself and Vince (with Guns Butcher in on the joke) trying our best to 'act' that we had no idea who had dome it! All was revealed in the bar later with Dan Harris telling me 'Oh, I feel a bit disappointed now!)
Also on Saturday was our regular 'Shit Comic for Under a £1' competition. The tension grew throughout the day as competitors secretly sloped off to go through the long boxes on the main convention floor. It was judged by past winner Matthew Harrower and this provided much debating and laughing. It was a close run thing (Dan Butcher 'I was robbed, look at this purple dong' he was heard to mention in the bar) but it was finally won by The Gibbster with 'One Fisted Tales'! For legal reasons I am not allowed to show any interiors but here is a photo of Dan Harris reading said article.
The drinking, laughing and comics talk ran in to the evening and there were a few sore heads and ashen faces rested on tables the following morning. We were cheered up by the appearance of Johnny Teasmaid. He dropped some coin on a Mark Buckingham 'Fables' OA page that we were all jealous of (an am still!)
Speaking of breathtaking art there were a couple of stalls on the main floor selling some absolute class items. Fitting as I am posting this on what would hve been the 100th birthday for Jack Kirby I got to hold and look at some amazing pages of his!!! Look at these beauties!
And some John Byrne from his Fantastic Four run! Fucking outstanding!
And one more page I got to see from Barry Windsor-Smith on Conan The Barbarian.
Sunday was a short day. I'll be honest and say that it was a bit slower and everyone wasn't really sure what was going on. The main floor (that was hotter than balls) all weekend and it closed at 2pm and we got a little influx of customers for a while.
It was a strange event. One that I and friends had been really looking forward to over the last few months. It is the big London comics centric mainstream event and should be treated as such. But you would be hard pressed to find anything in Upper Street or at the neighbouring tube stations telling you about the event. Cards on the table, we didn't sell as much as we would have liked and that could be for many a reason. However the footfall was poor and I heard at least ten stories telling the same tale. Theere was a rumour of a dealer asking for his money back but I was unable to confirm this with the organisers (see below).
I spoke to Gary, one of the organisers, and handed him my contact details. He agreed to pop by before close of play to chat on mic about the event but didn't appear and still has not contacted me. If you have a look you can find an awesome lot of complaining on Twitter, a number of these tweets seem to have some basis when talking about things I have mentioned here. But saying that, we are a positive bunch on the whole, I had a great time and there were good and bad points that can be taken away for next year. But I will be back. I can genuinely say that I haven't laughed so much or seen such a concentrated bunch of great comics creators with much love for our favourite medium.
Here is just a portion of the haul for the weekend!
Many thanks for reading a roll on next year!