This past weekend, the hottest of the year so far, saw London Film and Comic Con return once again to Olympia, London, one of the largest cult media, Young Adult Literature and comic events in the UK.
It was an interesting experience and my first major media event, apart from the Lakes International Comic Art Festival last year, and I’d quite forgotten how frenetic these occasions can be. If a small comic con is like a wedding, where you get some chance to chat to at least some guests, then massive events like LFCC are more like a pilgrimage; and you need a plan to tackle each day, which we had on the B7 Media stand in the Comic Zone, but of course, things don’t always run to schedule, or expectation!
It’s clear from even a cursory follow of hashtags such as #LFCC and #LFCC2022 on social media platforms that the event, run by Showmasters, wasn’t entirely free from hassle and upset for some visitors, either, particularly those attending to meet their favourite actors and actresses from their favourite shows. But as one of the comic exhibitors, teasing B7 Media’s new Pilgrim2121 and Tony Hancock comic projects, the team running the Comic Zone were, in my experience, dedicated, hard-working and cheerful, despite all that was thrown at them.
Coming back to organising a huge event like this, after a long absence because of the Pandemic (which saw the loss of B7 Media’s Andrew Mark Sewell from our team, so he directed things from a secret lair, instead), it can’t have been the easiest of tasks, new challenges and getting back into the swing of previously well oiled routines exacerbated by unexpected problems caused by building work, and other unexpected and unwanted problems that hit the event’s logistics. (I’ve seen, and am aware of, a number of social media comments about problems for fans, and some guests, too).
I hope, that for the most, part, many issues were resolved over the weekend, and I also hope that the event organiser take on board some of the legitimate criticism being made by a number of independent publishers, particularly those who had paid for stands.
All that said – again, I’m sure there will be plenty of discussion about this elsewhere – from my point of view, the Comic Zone ran pretty smoothly, albeit creators both independent and mainstream finding attendees more cautious with their purses or wallets. Many, but by no means all, were also a little less keen to even check out unknown properties over those that drove visitor numbers, such as Stranger Things (evidenced by the number of cosplayers dressed as their favourite characters from the hit Netflix show), Doctor Who and Star Trek.
Co-ordinated by Tim Pilcher, supported by a great team, it was an honour to be one of the many Comic Zone guests, previously featured in detail here on downthetubes. The Comic Zone took up an entire run of the venue’s first floor, with events in the Gallery Room through the weekend, offering, I thought, a great range of panels… although as I was part of one, I’m probably a bit biased!
There were some behind the scenes hiccups, but what a great range of both mainstream and independent talent was on hand to talk about their work, artists ready and willing to sketch, new comics to discover. And there was the Young Adult Literature Convention taking place too over the weekend, which was clearly a veritable hit of an event with children and accompanying parents.
Despite the hot weather – walking out of the convention centre on Saturday night, away from new air conditioning, was easily equivalent to stepping off a plane on a Mediterranean island! – and, unfortunately, attending while still recovering from a health issue, I did really enjoy London Film and Comic Con, and, once again, felt the Comic Zone team did an great job, often in difficult circumstances, some beyond their control.
My only regret is that I didn’t spend more time socialising after the busy days ended, but it was still great to catch up with old friends. although not all of them, and make some new ones, too.
It’s been long and hard road getting back to large scale events like this after the terrible Pandemic, and I’m sure – I hope, anyway – that next time around, logistics problems this weekend will have been evaluated, lessons learned, constructive advice accepted for what it is; and for those at the next London Film and Comic Con, even more fun will be there to be had.
I had some fun drawing some cartoons during the event… with apologies to proper cartoonists, and all or you probably bemused by the “jokes”.
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.