Comics Anonymous

March 26, 2012, 2:17 pm
Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , ,

Last month, the Comics Anon team left their cold and windy hometown of Glasgow and ventured down south to the much sunnier city of London for our first Comic Con of the year – London Super Comic Con. With this being its first year in existence we were a little apprehensive about how the weekend would be, but most of those doubts were put to rest by the end of it. With a big venue, a big crowd and a big guest, it was definitely an experience the gang won’t forget. (Apologies it’s a little late – we had a few technical difficulties!) Here’s what Craig and Gary thought about the weekend.

The weekend certainly focused on one man in particular – Stan ‘The Man’ Lee – and it’s no wonder. He hasn’t been on our shores in 40 years, so it was most of the attendees goal to see him in the flesh, and luckily there was plenty of opportunities for that. A three tier ticketing system meant you’d be guaranteed something between a signature and 15 minutes with the guy somewhere offsite in the evening. Added to that there was a chance to get photos taken with Stan, as well as a panel each day featuring him (look out for some of the highlights from this in an upcoming post!).

Let’s get a few of the negative points out the way first so we can talk about the good stuff, as it wasn’t enough to spoil the weekend, but just some things that could be done better for next year. We were fortunate enough to be given a couple of press passes for the weekend by the organisers, however it did mean that on entry our party of five had to split up. Where myself and Linsay were able to stroll right in at 10am and claim our press passes, the rest had a bit of a wait on their hands, as the queue extended practically the full length of the London ExCel centre (and for those who have been there before, you’ll know that’s not the shortest queue in the world). It wasn’t until between 11:30am and 12 before we saw them again. It’s understandable that there was a lot of people who were attending the Saturday, but I do feel that the organisation could have been a bit better to get people through the doors a little faster. This will have probably been down to the complex number of ticket variations available, with single day and weekend passes, mixed in with the three tiered Stan Lee packages.

The use of space was the other disappointing factor – there was plenty of space for the whole event, however it did feel like the vendors’ aisles were a little close together, especially considering there was a large open area with nothing in it in front of the panel ‘room’.  There was generally enough space for queuing, which was nice, and those in charge of wrangling the queues were usually pretty helpful (unlike certain other cons!).

There were plenty of other guests in attendance, including several high profile American guests that we don’t normally get over here in the UK – including George Perez, Phil Jimenez and Bernie Wrightson. Most of the guests had their own tables in the ‘Artist Alley’ section of the hall, so it was usually easy enough to get close for signatures or just to watch them in their element as they worked away at commissions for the weekend.

It was also nice to see a good number of small press in attendance at the con too. There were plenty to choose from and enough time over the weekend to wander from desk to desk and chat to creators about their books. As always, we picked up a nice selection of things that we’ll be reviewing for the blog over the course of the next few weeks, including Accent UK’s The Man of Glass (already reviewed here), Moon from Beyond Bunker and Tinpot Hobo from Kothkrom Studios (which we’ve also reviewed here).

Between meeting creators, scanning the small press sections and perusing the many vendor stalls, there were also a number of panels running throughout the weekend. Other than Stan Lee, the CA gang managed to make it along to the IDW panel, showcasing what’s in store for the publisher in the coming months, and the DC New 52 panel, looking at the success of the re-launch 6 months on. Although there might not have been much time to squeeze many more in, it was disappointing at the variety of panels that were available,  sticking to the usual ‘how to get into comics’ and ‘digital vs print’ topics. Hopefully we’ll have a bit more variety next year.

Cosplay was a very big feature of the weekend – I can honestly say I haven’t been to any other con that’s had as much cosplay on show as LSCC. It helped add to the enjoyment of the weekend too, since most of the costumes on display were excellently executed, which meant that for most cosplayers, they spent most of the weekend getting their photos taken with other attendees. It also made for an amusing  sight outside of the con hall, where comics fans clashed with the brightly coloured licra wearing attendees of a Zumba trainer convention.

Overall, I was happy to welcome the LSCC into our (already busy) comic con schedule and hope to see it again next year. The bar was set pretty high this year by having Stan Lee there, so let’s hope that they can achieve the same level next year and improve after learning lessons this year. Personally, I’d love to see the likes of Frank Miller, Jim Lee or Scott Snyder making the trip next year. See you there in 2013!

Craig @hastiecraig

The first con of 2012 for the Comics Anonymous team hit with the London Super Comic Con where another gathering of the comic industries big names and costumed fans descended on the Excel Centre.  A sunny weekend for all involved, with a fair share of indie comics on show and some interesting panels too.  Plus, the added bonus of Stan ‘the Man’ Lee making his 1st UK appearance in over 40 years… and if that wasn’t a big enough draw there was Kermit as well 😀  The CA Team managed to make their way to a fair few cons in 2011 with 2012 set to increase that further, and while LSCC could boast the likes of Stan Lee, George Perez and Howard Chaykin – it was initially a struggle for me to see what else I would fill my time with other than the usual mix of queuing and comic book hunting.

That being said, the atmosphere of the con was all a-buzz mainly due to the energy generated by Stan Lee himself, as he whisked from photo session, to signing and then to his panels… the 1st of which saw him discuss his days in comics from the 40’s to present day.  This for me was the highlight of the con, an 89 year-old with as much energy and drive to talk about comics as I imagine he’s always had.  Interesting anecdotes mixed with his funny one-liners. He pretty much had the entire hall in the palm of his hand.

We managed along to the IDW panel where Chief Creative Officer, Chris Ryall discussed the year ahead for the publisher – a strong 2011 was the biggest draw for me on this panel and with some of the titles coming our way they look to be building on that further.  In contrast to this, we had the DC panel where the 1st six months of the New52 was the focus and it fell a bit flat in comparison to the buzz of the others.  The wide range of indie titles on show helped me stock up on things to read/review for the blog.  Catching up with Accent UK again as well as a number of other new folks to keep a close eye on in the UK comic book industry.

While Stan was the biggest draw, I can’t see myself rushing back to LSCC next year. Although promise of a guest of similar size next year may well help persuade me by the time that comes around.  It may not be my favourite of the cons I’ve been to so far but there are memories of this with my good friends on the CA-Team that I’ll always have… there’s comics I will always read… and that can’t be all that bad. Sounds like I’m almost convinced for next year… but only if I can go with the same people 😀

G-Man @gjwatson85

All the photos used in this post come from the wonderfully talented Fiona Watson – available for all events! Check out her website here.


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