It was a long but laugh filled weekend.
“I’m still here.
I’m hiding under the stage.
It is dark and I really need the toilet…”
This year at the London Super Comic Con was an absolute blast. I’m going to hazard a guess and say that it was quieter than previous years (BBC’s Newsbeat estimated numbers expected at 30,000), but it really does seem that the event has now found its place in an increasingly convention-heavy year in the UK. It seems like it has settled into a comic and cosplay centric event.
LSCC sits comfortably as both a comics event that is full of back issues, small press, visiting professionals, with plenty of cosplay, too. The outside public area at London’s Excel that shared its space with a New Mums Show and a Classic Car Show made for some interesting interactions!
Seemingly, creator after creator lined the space in Artists Alley. I had a great chat with comics artist and writer Mike Collins (best known for his work on Doctor Who and Star Trek, perhaps) who put it right when he described the weekend as “…not about the last Stormtrooper on the right, but actually about comics and the love for comic”. I have to agree with him on that. It felt like an event on the scale of an MCM but, thankfully, without all the associated film and TV marketing.
My take on the weekend was slightly different this year, as I got to be an exhibitor this year, along with my buddies Dan Butcher and Vince Hunt of the Awesome Comic Podcast. Both days swept by in a flash but we managed to chat to some great creators for the podcast and get some really intriguing hints at future projects.
Dan also released the first volume of his magnus opus Vanguard on the world and pretty flipping good it looks too. Have a read of John’s preview of Vanguard here, and Dan’s account of the weekend here.
My first creator encounter of the weekend came as we were setting up – mighty Mike Zeck, best known for his work on titles such as The Punisher, Master of Kung-Fu, Captain America, Secret Wars and Batman. It was actually his first time in the UK and he confessed to the irony of this after drawing London in Master of Kung-Fu at Marvel for quite a few years.
Mike was a huge draw throughout the weekend and sold some great original artwork and prints. He always had a smile on his face and seemed to be loving his time here – and was always prepared to have his ear bent by enthusiastic fans. An absolute joy to chat to and hear about the Marvel Bronze Age, especially. He’ll be at many US conventions over the summer.
(Mike – if you are reading this, I apologise for my fanboy meltdown!)
It was great to catch up with Adam Cadwell and Rachael Smith, who were sharing a table in Artists Alley. Big things are happening for both creators, with the recent release of Blood Blokes Issue Five and the new projects coming from Rachael at the mighty Avery Hill. Rachael also whizzed past us on her way to a call back to a major publisher. Richly deserved and well past time for this excellent cartoonist. Watch this space for both these crazy kids.
Other US guests and a real personal favourite of mine included the ever engaging Howard Chaykin, who sat on a couple of panels and gave generously non-stop of his time at his table. Telling stories about all facets of the comics industry and beyond, you couldn’t help but be drawn into his charm and lively humour. He also spent a big chunk of time sketching and had a pile of Satellite Sam art and pages for sale and pretty darn reasonable prices. You could pretty much sit and listen to his stories all day!
At the adjoining table and someone I was pleasantly surprised to hear was a pal of Chaykin’s was the aforementioned Mike Collins. Mike really is “Mr Doctor Who” these days and spoke about his storyboarding, design and comics work for this particular intellectual property. Anyone can tell that he absolutely loves this new incarnation of the series and had loads of prints and comics for sale as well as doing some saucily great commissions for fans. He is always a gent to speak to and does so with a constant grin. If you are at a Convention in the future that Mike is attending you could do worse than seek him out.
I was lucky enough to have a table next to Jeremy Bastian, who was in the UK visiting from Michigan. Described in the convention booklet as an artist whose work is “insanely detailed’ I both laughed and shook my head vigorously at this hyperbolic description. Jeremy is a great talent and works almost completely traditionally. He can be found in comics such as Mouseguard and Cursed Pirate Girl and his table was pretty much mobbed both days. (You can check out some of his work for sale here).
Alex Saviuk had quite a few anecdotes about DC and Marvel Comics during the 1970s and 1980s. I bought a great King Features print from him and we chatted about the benefits of the underground systems in both New York and London as a readily available venue to bury dead bodies.
Have a look through the amazing variety of Alex’s work here. It’s great when a comics hero turns out to be a real gent.
Dean Beattie, the creator of the violently brilliant small press comic series Random Trials was over the moon when a reader turned up cosplaying as its hero. While there’s a lot of copslayers who go out of their way to find a character no-one else will be adapting, Kieron Cooper surely displayed committment above and beyond the usual body paint as this guy had even shaved his head.
You can read about Random Trials here. This is a classy series – just with a pile of blood and guts, some swearing and a lot of laughs.
The hardest working man in comics and a saint for putting up with both me and Dave Stokes was Marc Laming. Hotter than hot with recent Marvel projects like Planet Hulk and The Invaders, he was hinting at some really intriguing projects on the horizon. His prints and sketchbooks seemed to be in the hand of every passer-by and he was a joke telling constant in the bar at night (I don’t think he actually ever sleeps!)
After a brief conversation with him at the New York Comic Con last year, it was superb to have a proper chat with Mahmud Asrar. Splendidly down to earth about his rise and rise in comics, it was great to hear how he was enjoying both the LSCC and London itself after a recent move from Turkey to Vienna (these artists do like a bit of globe-trotting). I bought a beautiful print from him – you can see copies in the photo above – that as I type is still being retweeted over and over after I posted it on Saturday. Catch up with this talented guy while you still can!
London Super Comic 2016 did seem really well run and our particular area of tables got on famously with our convention helper (Paul needs a mention if ever anyone one did – bags of both patience and humour). The aisles were pretty wide and everyone seemed able to move about without the log jam of previous years.
On the down side there were quite a few rumblings about the price of table bookings in Artists Alley (a second extra chair coming for the princely sum of £25 for those lucky enough to bag a table seemed a little high). The Sunday was also pretty quiet inside the hall but outside, the communal hallway seemed a wash with cosplayers and photographers (make your own judgement there, dear reader). I was hearing quite a few exhibitors moaning about a huge drop-off in sales on the Sunday as well.
Overall, I would now put LSCC and Thought Bubble as the two main Comic Conventions on many fans already busy schedule.
I don’t need the toilet any more…
Many thanks for reading.
From The Trenches Reports – Creators Views of London Super Comic Con
Gingersnap has been into comics and superheros from a young age, mainly because her bigger brother is also a geek! “I always had a fascination with superheroes as I spent a lot of my childhood in hospital poorly sick with Crohn’s Disease,” she says, “so I guess I was in awe of these people who were not only well but super awesome too! (plus, the outfits are all epic).”
She’s been into making Cosplay for about seven years, starting out with bought costumes, then went to art college and began to make her own gear. She’s made dresses and jewellery for a few years and is now starting to build props! “I’m very into recycling and upcycling where possible and am always keen to learn new skills and meet new people.”
• Ash Cybershock
Ash Cybershock is at the Sittingbourne SciFi Event on 14th May 2016 (details here). If you’re interested in building Cybermen in a way that doesn’t involve femoving body parts and transplanting them into a cybernetic frame, then you may be interested in the Facebook Cybermaniacs and Builders Group
• Tabitaha Hastie
A British cosplayer and digital artist focusing on steampunk costumes and props. She’s also experimented with other areas such as photography and photo manipulation.
• Joshua Sole
Follow “Judge Castle” on Twitter @judgecastle
• World Breaker
Craig is a massive cosplay fan and loves all things geeky. He tries and go to as many conventions as he can and his Facebook page includes WIP imagery for his costumes, including his Beta Ray Bill outfit worn at this year’s LSCC.