After this last weekend with two of the largest UK comics events, Thought Bubble in Leeds and MCM Scotland in Glasgow, next weekend 29-30 September 2018 one of the smallest UK comics events will be happening in Lochore in Fife. The British Comics Swap Meet and Mini-Mart is the new incarnation of the former Commando Comics Swap Meet, which has previously taken place much further south, and which focusses on old British comics. Indeed the chances are that there will be more old British comics for sale at the Swap Meet than were for sale at Thought Bubble and MCM Scotland put together making it a mecca for British comics fans and collectors that prefer to avoid American comics.
A friend once bemoaned to me the fact that, while there were old ‘comics conventions’, there were no ‘old comics’ conventions. What he meant by that was that there were no conventions that he could go to where he could both buy, talk and hear about the comics that he grew up with and those which predated them. Not the few monthly American superhero titles that erratically made their way to these shores, with their odd dotty colours and infestation of adverts for things that weren’t for sale in the UK, but the black and white British titles that sold millions of copies every week.
Yes he could go to 2000AD specific conventions or, if he was a member, to the Jeff Hawke Club and Eagle Society get-togethers, but despite the current proliferation of ‘Comic Cons’, be they proper comics conventions, media conventions labouring under a comics pretence, or comic marts with ideas above their station, all with their long boxes of US comics, there are few events where the boxes were smaller for Commando and the rest of the picture library size digests, or larger for the tall DC Thomson weeklies and the wider IPC titles.
In September 2017 Andy Yates decided in a small way to do something about that, as well as adding to his own collection, by running the first Commando Swap Meet in Stoke-On-Trent. It proved successful and a second was arranged in March 2018 which was attended by Commando aficionado and downthetubes contributor Colin Noble who offered to run the same thing in Scotland. With contacts amongst DC Thomson freelancers and former Commando staff, Colin has able to add some guests to the mix and, given that the sellers at the first two swap meets had more than just Commandos and the other combat picture libraries on sale, he has formally opened the event out for it to include all British comics, annuals and graphic novels.
The third British Comics Swap Meet will take place in Lochore Miners Welfare Social Club in Fife over the weekend of 29-30 September 2018. Tickets at £1 per day will be available on the door and guests include artists Ian Kennedy, who has contributed to Commando, 2000AD, Battle, and Warlord amongst many others, and Stephen White (also known as Stref) who has the unusual mixture of contributions to both Commando and Dandy. The format of the day will be sales and autograph tables combined with a social area for fans and collectors to sit and talk.
The village of Lochore in Fife, north of Edinburgh, is close to the M90 motorway and A92 dual carriageway and is served by buses from Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath railway stations. The Lochore Miners Welfare and Social Club has a car park and all on street parking in the village is free. The Club bar will be open on the day and there is a café and a bakery in the village as well as (perhaps surprisingly) two cash machines for those extra purchases.
There are more details at the British Comics Swap Meet And Mini-Mart Facebook page