This year’s Melksham Comic Con was my second as a seller – last year’s single day was easily one of my favourite events of 2013. For 2014, the small indie con expanded into two days and although the Sunday was markedly slower the high levels of enthusiasm and interest persisted and the entire event was, from what I could gather from fellow exhibitors, another stunning success.
The level of interest within the local community was astounding – when walking around Melksham wearing the exhibitor pass I was stopped several times by locals who wanted to know how the show was going. This kind of awareness is hard-won and stands as an honest testament to the effort of the showrunners. Something also needs to be said about the ‘Brians’ – the huge team of attentive and indefatigable volunteers who helped man tables, fetched drinks, moved stock around and generally made every exhibitor feel like a special guest.
I find the best way to assess a con is through PURCHASE DISSECTION – below are my picks from the weekend:
Afterlife Inc. – Lifeblood & The Heavenly Chord II
I was very kindly given a copy of the latest Afterlife Inc. by author Jon Lock, who, amazingly, chose a quote of mine for the back of the book! Last year’s Melksham was unashamedly Locklicious and this year Mr Jon’s pal Nich Angell (artist of 7String and Heavenly Chord) was unfortunately but understandably absent. Leaving Mr Jon to perform his incredible comic-peddling abilities with a framed photograph of the legendary Angell. I hugely enjoy his creations the sequel to the brilliant Heavenly Chord debuted there so I SNAPPED IT UP.
Edited by Mike Garley – this thick zombie anthology was Kickstarted last year and features an eye-opening cast of stunning creators that makes it completely buyable. I love an anthology and this one looks deadlicious. Also present were Garley’s other books – The Kill Screen (reviewed on downthetubes here) and Eponymous which are also both gorgeous and eminently buyable (so much so I’ve already gottem).
Dean Beattie – Artbook Number 1 & Random Trials
I’ve seen Dean Beattie at most conventions I’ve been at and his weird cartoony style with beautiful physical colours always draws my eye and it was at Melksham this year I finally actually got chinwagging with him. Naturally, I immediately snapped up his portfolio book and comic – his style is utterly gorgeous and I want all of it in my face.
Descending Outlands & The Red Mask From Mars
I met Vincent Hunt and Shaun Dobie at Bristol earlier this year and their smartly-presented comics were an instant buy for me… and by instant I mean “when I caught up with them again at Melksham I sheepishly apologised at bought stuff off them”. Some very slick and interesting small press volumes that I’m looking forward to reading.
Sentient Zombie Space Pigs 2
The Disconnected Press duo of Conor & Lizzie Boyle launched their second zombie space pig epic at Melksham and if it’s anywhere near as disturbing as the first it’ll be a glorious read. I also heard secret and eye-opening noise of their upcoming project that’ll see light at Thought Bubble about which I’m actually buzzing with excitement.
Also hoots and shouts to fellow exhibitors and lovely people all Joseph J Morgan, Aaron Murphy, Dani Abram, Ian Matthews, Sam Webster, tableneighbour Marvel UK feller and guest Mr Lee Townsend, Chailey Illman, the folks at Hellbound Media and the JammyScribbler herself Rachel Dunn. Journal co-editor Geoffery Crescent would like especially to mention Melksham con’s resident balloon-artist(!) Dave Hickory who does a smashing Cyclops…
Further yowls and wails to the wonderful folk who bought The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel #4 which we launched on the weekend and the biggest noise to be reserved for Melksham head-honcho and Brian-bating busy-bodied baby-bearing ball of brilliance Hayley Spencer. Here’s to further Melkshams – one of the warmest and most wonderful cons on the calendar.
Owen Watts is a small press editor, artist and colourist. He currently co-edits The Psychedelic Journal of Time Travel – a twice-yearly small press anthology featuring over 15 different emerging creators every issue. He has recently helped colour Ben Dickson & Gavin Mitchell’s Santa Claus vs. The Nazis for Aces Weekly which is due out as a single volume with Borderline Press later in 2014. He also runs the 2000 AD forum art competition, reviews small press comics and becomes a hippo every second Thursday.