Following up on our coverage of the successful Birmingham Comic Festival last month at Edgbaston, which attracted some 2000 fans from across the UK, we thought we’d flashback to 1968 and give you a look at the some of the art used to promote the very first British Comics Convention, which was held in Birmingham and organised by Phil Clarke.
The first ever British “Comicon” was was held 30 August – 2 September 1968 and attracted both professional and amateur creators of the time, including writer Steve Moore, then working for Power Comics, and working artists Paul Neary, Mike Higgs and Jim Baikie, fan artists Rob Poole and Richard Burns, Ges Cleaver, Titan’s Nick Landau, Mike Lake, Barry Clements and Oracle newszine co-editor Haydn Paul.
(Despite what it currently says on Wikipedia, over on his excellent account of proceedings and other early British comic conventions, Dez Skinn notes that Alan Moore was only a “supporting member” and therefore not at the event).
It’s worth taking a look at the photograph Dez has published of the event’s “fancy dress” contest, in which contestants dressed up as comics characters – and Nick Landau won an artwork prize for his “Captain Cold” costume.
Published above, courtesy of Richard Sheaf, is the cover for the convention booklet that was issued at the event (and Dez has the whole booklet on his site). Giving Phil a last-minute headache, the stencils for the intended con booklet never made it through the post, so a substitute was put together and printed two hours before the event started.
Pictured below is the cover of the intended convention brochure that should have been there – and, just for fun, the cover of the 1986 con organised by Brimingham comic shop Nostalgia & Comics.
My thanks to Richard Sheaf for the art.
• Were you at the very first British Comic Con? Why not share you memories below?
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.