Wednesday 28 March 2018

Your thoughts on comic cons

I've said it before, but I really enjoy attending comic cons. I enjoy travelling to places I might not otherwise visit, meeting the readers, and the cameraderie of fellow comics creators. I have ten events on my calendar for this year (including three still to be announced) and I'm looking forward to them all, particularly the summer ones.

I know some people think that "comic cons" should focus solely on comics and not film and TV. There's no question that a comics-only event will attract people who are comics fans, but I've found it can work to a comics guest's advantage to have actors on the bill at some shows. I've met a lot of people who wouldn't think of attending a comics-only show, but are attracted by the film/TV aspect and are then pleasantly surprised to find guests from the Beano and Marvel comics there too. The recent Bath Comic-Con for example only had four comics guests but we were very busy most of the day! Same for last year's London Film and Comic Con, which had 50 comics guests and maybe twice as many actors but was the busiest show I've ever done. Sometimes it doesn't work like that, and some film fans aren't interested in comics at all of course, but all shows are worth trying to find out. 

That's from my perspective as a guest anyway, but what of you, the readers? Are you happy with the conventions you've attended, or are there things you'd change or add to the day? Perhaps you haven't attended any cons for some reasons? Any constructive thoughts? Please post a comment below and let's see what happens...


Berbatov9 said...

Is it worth the effort ?

As an avid collector of original comic art, I will be in London at the same time as the MCM Comic con in May. Ah ha I thought, perfect time to persuade the wife to pop over for a couple of hours to see any original art for sale

So - I contacted the organizer who in turn forwarded it to someone from the dealers association. I had a relatively straight forward question as to whether or not any of the dealers/exhibitors sold original comic art especially the iconic 60s and 70s.

With an incredible amount of effort a Hazel responded "We don't know" (otherwise read don't care)

I wont be coming to the London event. There seems little interest in someone like me. My afternoon will be better spent at the Chris Beetles Gallery where at least they care.

So to answer my own question, they don't care, so I don't care so it isn't worth the effort

Lew Stringer said...

It's not that they don't care, but that the organisers wouldn't know what stock the dealers and artists are bringing along. Dealers and exhibitors book a table but they don't supply the con with a list of stock.

Some guest artists bring along their original art but if it's mainly 1960s and '70s art you're after you probably won't find those artists at cons. (Although Ian Kennedy does go to some shows, but he doesn't have any of his originals from that period. He creates new art to sell at cons though.)

From experience I don't think you'd find '60s/'70s original comic art at MCM unless Phil Clarke was exhibiting. (I don't think Phil does those big shows now.) His eBay page is here though, if you haven't already seen it:

Berbatov9 said...


Thank you, your explanation was very helpful and significantly longer than the "we don't know" that I had received

I did a Comic Con in Detroit, generally had a good time as my 10 year old Grandson enjoyed the atmosphere and I had some success with original images.

My London comments were really reflecting a lack of interest when I reached out

Alright, back to my never ending search for an "Alf Tupper" , DC Thomson cant control them all.......can they ? !

Lew Stringer said...

Pretty much! Until the advent of artists sending art via e-mail, Thomsons held onto their artwork very tightly and it's kept in an archive. I have seen a couple of old pages out in the wild though, but no Alf Tupper.

Kal said...

Though not locked in the archives, modern DCT artwork isn't the easiest thing to get hold of.

Anyway; up until two years ago, I'd never been to a con. Too far, too expensive, too crowded - I'm not really a people person.

I took the plunge and have been to the last two Nottingham Comic Cons and have enjoyed both. It ticks the distance and cost boxes, plus I can nip out and escape for a bit if the crowds get too much. It's not without challenges, as I'm a single dad whose little girl has autism and finding a minder is difficult, but I'm feeling brave enough to try and take her this year. My plan involves having backup and bribing with a Happy Meal.

What I've enjoyed is the opportunity to chat with some pretty good creators, throw money at them (figuratively) and come home with plenty of books, sketches and pages of original art.

Lew Stringer said...

I was invited to the Nottingham Con last year but it clashed with another event unfortunately. I'm free for this year's so far but haven't heard anything yet.

I hope your daughter will enjoy the con. I'm assuming noisy, crowded places could be difficult for someone with autism? Depends on the individual I guess, as I know some cope ok. Hope it works out.

Kal said...

Yes, noise and crowds can trigger meltdowns. Thankfully, now she's almost 7 and more verbal, they've lessened in frequency. There were times when she was younger that I not only had to deal with the meltdowm, but also intervening passersby who were convinced I was kidnapping her.

Her favourite tactic for expressing displeasure right now is to drop to the floor and refuse to move. That's when the bribing with a Happy Meal will come into play.