Like thousands of others, I had a great day out at Portsmouth Comic Con yesterday, which continues today, crammed with terrific comic creator guests, cosplayers, film and TV actors, a retro gaming area, Doctor Who monsters, a superb steampunk basement and much more.
The organisers of this new event on the south coast have made as much use as they can of the splendid Portsmouth Guildhall, with almost every aspect turned over to comics and associated media. The University of Portsmouth has joined in the fun, too, with an impressive immersive technology display well worth tracking down.
There was plenty for the 3000 attendees on the first day to enjoy right from the opening, and while it took time for people to find their way around the stunning building (despite best efforts at signage), they were treated to some splendid panels, featuring guests that included Walt and Louise Simonson, Frank Quitely, Andy Fanton, Simon Fraser, Cavan Scott, Rob Williams and more.
The dealers rooms – yes, rooms – were busy well into the day, with a great mix of stands and creators. It was wonderful to catch up with John Anderson (Soaring Penguin), author Jasper Bark, Mike Garley, Sean Phillips, Steve Tanner (Time Bomb Comics, publishers of the fantasy Flintlock), Dan Watters (currently writing Lucifer for DC), Dave West (AccentUK) and Robert Wells – and and met some people for the first time in the real world, too.
Matt Hardy from Mad Robot Comics rightly showed off their latest book, the paranormal detective drama Last Exit to Brighton (a glorious riff on Midsomer Murders!); and I met Alison Sampson (Hit Girl) for the first time, who has some terrific art on her table in Artists Alley; and super talented JAKe, too. Writer Kevin Gunstone is also at the event, sharing a table with ace colourist John Charles.
Honestly, the place is simply crammed with talent – there were so many people, like artists Gary Erskine and Simon Russell and editor and artist Steve White I only said hello to in passing and some, like birthday boy Peter Hogan who I missed catching up with completely (sorry, Peter!)
I also had time for a longer chat with much-in-demand artist and writer Russell Mark Olson, who is launching the fourth issue of his wonderful Gateway City at the Con, and congratulate him on the successful crowdfunding for his latest project, published by Cult Empire Comics. Written by George Lennox, Lady Hollywood is the tale of one woman’s fight to survive the tough realm of gangsters, corruption and the seedy world of Los Angeles – and it’s terrific.
Portsmouth Comic Con proved an extremely well organised, fun event with plenty to do and see, more than enough to buy in the way of comics, toys, games, film posters and more, and if you’re in the area today you really should check it out.
Steve Tanner reckons Portsmouth could easily rival some big London events in future years. I think the team behind this convention definitely have the ambition and ability to do just that. Congratulations to all involved and, in particular, Joel Meadows from Tripwire magazine for being instrumental in its success.
Looking forward to 2019 already!
• Portsmouth Comic Con Returns on 4th – 5th May 2019 for an even bigger and better Con. Stay tuned for more information
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. 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 “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.