ICE Cool! A chat with comics events organiser Shane Chebsey

Shane Chebsey

British comics creator, publisher, musician and International Comic Expo and Comics Salopia events organiser Shane Chebsey recently launched a new weekly podcast, ICE-Cast, adding another string to his bow.

Lots of British creators and publisher will be involved, reflecting the many contacts he’s built up over the years of running events such as the International Comics Expo and more.

Episode One, a chat with Knockabout publisher Tony Bennett, is available now, but rather than just plug it, I thought I’d turn tables on Shane and ask him a few questions, and get his experienced take on what’s in store for comic events post Coronavirus Pandemic…

Knockabout publisher Tony Bennett
Knockabout publisher Tony Bennett

Who do you have coming up the ICE-Cast – and what was the reason behind starting the Podcast?

Shane Chebsey: The reason I wanted to do this podcast was to give something to all of those people who are not getting ICE this year, due to the Pandemic. I know other shows are doing similar things and it seemed like a good fit for us to do a podcast as one of the great things about ICE since it started is our guest interviews.

It’s also a good way to offer some free publicity to our exhibitors, who have stuck with us through these hard times.

We have a really mixed bag of creators and publishers lined up for the ICE-CAST. I have guests planned right up to the end of the year. This coming weekend Im chatting with artist Mike Perkins, all the way from Florida, and the week after that’s it 2000AD artist and writer David Roach.

In the pipeline are some real legends, including artist Ron Frenz and cartoonist and writer Lew Stringer.

I’ll also be talking to Comics Laureate and comic creator Hannah Berry at some point about her work, and the results of her UK Comic Creators Survey.

Shane: I don’t want to give too many surprises away regarding guests we have lined up… All I will say is that there will be some big names. (Smiles)

How have you been holding up during the current crisis?

Shane: Personally, the Oandemic has not affected me as I am a key worker… so it’s just business as usual.

Being away from family and close friends was tough during the lockdown, but I count myself lucky as I’m introvert so enjoyed the solitude in the evenings after a hard day’s work.

However, the shows have lost thousands and all the hard work of the past six years to get us to break even point financially has been wiped out. But I try not to think about that.

We all love putting on ICE and we’ll be back next year.

Comics Salopia 2019
Comics Salopia 2019
Shane marshalling the massed ranks of brilliant cosplayers at Comics Salopia 2019

While 2020 is a wasteland in terms of comics events, there’s no doubting people are missing face to face get togethers. Have you missed them and what have you missed most?

Shane: I think like most people I have missed the hugs and the handshakes… the close contact with good friends and family. Zoom chats have been great for keeping in touch, but’s not the same. I’ve missed all of those wonderful interactions you get at conventions and the buzz of meeting writers and artists I’ve not met before.

The Cosmic Rays rehearsing back in February. Photo: Shane Chebsey
The Cosmic Rays rehearsing back in February. Photo: Shane Chebsey

Also, it’s meant we have not been able to rehearse in the band [the Cosmic Rays] face to face, so recording new music has been really challenging… and of course I’ve really missed gigs, both as a fan and as a singer.

Many fans don’t appreciate this, but obviously, events organiser have to plan some six to nine months in advance to get a successful event together – booking guests, venue, guest accommodation, travel, planning a publicity campaign. When are looking to start actively getting back in the saddle in terms of ICE etc, bearing in mind events organisers outside of comics have pushed events back to May and June of 2021?

Shane: Yeah, I like to have at least a year to plan an event, although I can turn one around in six months if I have to… That can be very stressful when also working full time and all the other stuff I do.

Arranging guests and then hotels and flights… You can’t leave that to the last minute or you lose a fortune.

Shane Chebsey with the legendary Chip Kidd at Comics Salopia last year – one of Shane’s favourite memories of the event

And yes, I like to start the marketing as quickly as possible too.

Selling tables, making sure the venue is OK to go ahead… With so much uncertainty around overseas travel and people still concerned about the Pandemic… I’m very much having to wait and see like everyone else.

The venue have been great though and have put a date aside for us next year, which I will announce as soon as possible.
I want to be 100% sure we can go ahead before announcing though.

Shane, thanks very much for your time and all the very best with all your endeavours in the months to come!

Check out I love The ICE CAST | The ICE-CAST – Episode 1 – Tony Bennett now

International Comic Expo Official Site

Comics Salopia

Cosmic Rays Logo

Check out the Cosmic Rays on Bandcamp

Cosmic Rays is a five piece original rock band from Shrewsbury, UK. On Guitar is Tim Cooke, on Bass is Adam Knight, on Drums is Charlie Adlard (yes, the same one who drew The Walking Dead), on guitar and keys is James Yule and on vocals is Shane Chebsey.

Formed in 2009, the band have played all over the UK and at the odd European festival. They have been on the BBC and on Team Rock Radio.

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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