Tony Esmond reports on one of the most eagerly-anticipated comics events in Britain’s capital this year, focusing mainly on the independent titles and creators at the event…
It has just been London Super Comic Con for 2017. Yesterday, I got home after a hot train journey carrying far too many, rubbish 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 an 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!)
The London Design Centre in trendy Upper Street, Islington 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 fellow Awesome Comics Podcast team members Vince Hunt and Dan Butcher. 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 fourth member – and competition winner….)
Dan was launching Volume Two 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 Publishing 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!
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, reviewed here, 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.
Vince and I also got to sit down and discuss comics for the Pod with David Hine. Bulletproof Coffin: The 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 Shaky 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, most recently about his art for the 2000AD Christmas issue. He is a thousand per cent 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!
Susie and Chris Gander (now only to be referred to as ‘Sooz and the Beard’) appeared and Suzie gave me a preview copy of Perrywinkle, a semi-autobiographical comic about her cancer journey – so watch this space for a review!) I also got to chat up a storm about comics art, 1990s 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 Vince 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” like we had no idea who had done 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 “S*** 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 have 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! Outstanding!
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 was hotter than a jalapeno’s armpit all weekend and it closed at 2.00pm – so we got a little influx of customers for a while.
London Super Comic Con 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 it.
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. There was a rumour of a dealer asking for his money back but I was unable to confirm this with the organisers.
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 – and 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!
• London Super Comic Con is online at www.londonsupercomiccon.com
This item was first published on Tony’s blog Never Iron Anything and his views are his own