In Pictures and Review: Lawless 2024

James Bacon and Richard Sheaf follow up on Luke Williams coverage of this year’s amazing Lawless event with words and pictures, to confirm just how amazing it was…

Lawless 2024 - Signatures

Bristol has a strong history of comics conventions (thanks to artist Kev F Sutherland’s comic festivals, back in the early 2000’s) and as Lawless reaches the tenth anniversary event, coming through COVID and maintaining their top-notch guest list, it was, yet again, a very pleasant weekend.   

Su Hadrell leads a community of volunteers who work hard to make the convention work well, and for comic book fans, it’s a really incredible event, given the ratio of professionals to fans, the sheer quality of talent, and the accessibility of them. It was a pleasure to buy a beer for fan favourites and chat at the bar. Officially beginning on Saturday morning, I’d advise anyone who can to get there for future events to be there on Friday night. You may into the bar and can see, as I did, this year, Glenn FabryHenry Flint, John HigginsMick McMahonJohn Wagner, and many more.

There is so much to do that it’s hard to fit it all into a single day. Actually, it’s impossible to fit it all into a single day, and no review can tell you about all the things that were there. I’d have love to go to more panels than I did, but then you have to sacrifice something else to make that happen. It’s just so different from most other comic conventions, where typically the word ‘comic-con’ has been used to sell an event with very few comic folks present. Here, there are loads of folk and the queues are short. It’s a perfect combination.

There were panels, traders to see, a plethora of writers and artists to meet, cosplayers to admire, an amazing exhibition, 2000AD-themed ice cream to eat, a charity art auction, draw-offs, a gala dinner and awards ceremony to attend… and that’s before you’ve even caught up with fellow fans. 

If you can, then I’d advise going for both days. If you can only go for one day, then, as Luke Williams discovered, the Saturday is definitely the busier, and longer, of the days, as people start to head home at about 3.00pm on the Sunday.

Fat Adam's Lawless Ice Cream
Fat Adam’s Lawless Ice Cream!
Lawless 2024 - Punters!

Overall though, art, art, art and more stunning comic art was without doubt the theme of the weekend. I was absolutely stunned to be given the opportunity to pick up a Brian Bolland sketch. Brian was so modest and pleasant, and he had brought along a selection of sketches available to purchase, and this was a terrific opportunity for fans and they took it. 

  • Lawless 2024 - Mike Collins
  • Lawless 2024 - Simon Davis
  • Lawless 2024 - John Higgins
  • Lawless 2024 - PJ Holden
  • Lawless 2024 - Pye Parr
  • Lawless 2024 - The77
  • Lawless 2024 - David Broughton
  • Lawless 2024 - Andrew Sawyers

This was my fourth Lawless, and I’ve got to say that this was the best guest list yet – I don’t know how many other events Brian Bolland is doing this year, but it’s not many. Same for Mick McMahon. Ditto for Garth Ennis. Also Keith Burns. And those are just the most high profile names there were plenty of other creators that I’d not seen at Lawless before – Liam SharpJohn McCreaPJ HoldenPye ParrConor BoyleGreg StaplesSimon FraserMike Perkins… the list goes on and on! Truly, this was a special guest list that made this year’s Lawless the best yet. 

Good luck organising the guest list next year Su, I’ve no idea how you’re going to top this!

Nearly all the artists present had artwork available to purchase, and the prices were affordable, entry level pieces which had key characters started at about £35 and went up to £100-£200 for really good pieces. I myself picked up some unusual pieces and I was delighted by them. Of course, you could easily go into the hundreds very quickly, and there were pieces available that were in the thousands: indeed, I was very taken by a Keith Burns piece for £3000! It was stunning, even if it was very far beyond my means, and lovely to see and consider.  

Chris WestonKeith BurnsJohn McCrea and Mike Dorey all seemed in high demand, and then when one considers that all the artists were working on sketches, and had considerable lists, in between signing, chatting, it’s just phenomenal. They were working hard! Even the queues didn’t see too bad this year – a very sensible limit of three items was in place for the likes of Brian Bolland, Garth Ennis, Mick McMahon and John Wagner to sign. Other conventions take note! 

Conor Boyle did me an incredible vampire on a blank comic, and Chris Weston was in fantastic form. John Higgins did a stunning Judge Death piece… it was just a cornucopia of comic art.  

There were two dealers just selling art, and this extra variety really added to the mix, and with a wide variety of prices, a Carlos Ezquerra panel with Judge Dredd at £60, many ways to add to one’s wall!

Having said all that, artist and comic archivist David Roach stole the show with his exhibition! He laid on an absolutely incredible selection of vintage British comic art in a special exhibition and it was absolutely stunning to see covers, newspaper strips, single pages and double-page spreads from the likes of Frank BellamyRon EmbletonJohn M BurnsRon Smith and Mick McMahon – and so many more. 

David was also on one of the many panels that run across the whole weekend and regaled us with stories of buying vintage Mick McMahon double page spreads for £60 (for his, then, newer stuff in 2000AD) and sometime for as little as £15 (for his, then, older stuff in 2000AD that he wasn’t so keen on – this was his really early stuff in 2000AD – stuff that goes for serious money these days). Those truly were the days! 

Overall, the quality of the artwork was astounding, it’s breathtaking when you see the brightness, clarity and, on some occasions, just the size of original art, a Double page spread by Mick McMahon caught everyone’s attention, quite rightly.  

Stuart Steel and Edward Walker also contributed some pieces to the display and, delightfully, David also had a great selection of art available to purchase, from 2000AD to Star Wars and Warhammer 40k

As a one-off event this year, to celebrate this being the tenth anniversary show, there was even a ‘black tie’ do on the Saturday night that featured chat, awards and some fine singing from creator Sally Jane Hurst. For those of us not attending the VIP ‘do’, it gave a welcome chance to catch-up with friends old and new in the bar. A gang of us had a great time looking at some of the more obscure comics that the 1970s, 80s and 90s ever produced. Much fun! 

Lawless 2024 VIP Bash
Lawless 2024 VIP Bash

It’s great to see artists and fans happy, and a pleasure to cherish a piece of art and frame it, to appreciate it and it was a great opportunity to do so at Lawless.   

There was much chat amongst fans and professionals whose next convention was  in Enniskillen in Ireland, everyone looking forward to meeting again and enjoying the hospitality a beautiful small town in rural Ireland has to offer. 

My thanks to Su and her boundless enthusiasm, hard work and dedication to the cause that is Lawless – long may she organise the best British comics convention this side of the Irish Sea.  

For more anecdotes, photos and chat head over to the Lawless Facebook group and see for yourself what all the fuss is about

Looking back at Lawless 2024 by Luke Williams


Lawless Award Winners 2024. With event organiser Su Haddrell: 
Steve MacManus, Liam Sharp, Mike Perkins, Joanne Alexander, Mick McMahon and Brian Bolland. Photo: Steve Bull
Lawless Award Winners 2024. With event organiser Su Haddrell:
Steve MacManus, Liam Sharp, Mike Perkins, Joanne Alexander, Mick McMahon and Brian Bolland. Photo: Steve Bull

The First Lawless Awards were a reflection of the best in British talent and comics in 2024:

Best Writer Garth Ennis (collected by Steve MacManus)

Best Comic Book – StarHenge by Liam Sharp

Best Artist – Mike Perkins (with Lawless organiser Su Haddrell)

Best Cosplayer – Joanne Alexander

Inductees to The77/Lawless Hall of Fame – Mick McMahon and Brian Bolland

Congratulations to all the winners – much deserved!

Categories: British Comics, Comic Art, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Events, Features, Reviews

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