Filed under: Events | Tags: A1 Comics, Alan Davis, Alan Grant, Andy Diggle, Black Hearted Press, Carlos Ezquerra, CCA, Forbidden Planet, Frank Quitely, Glasgow Comic Con, Gordon McLean, James Devlin, John Richard Farman, John Wagner, Mike Ploog, Moogs Kewel, Obscure Reference Comics, Plan B books, Rough Cut Comics, Sha Nazir, Simon Bisley, Team Girl Comic, Waterstones
Last weekend 13th & 14th July brought two of the sunniest days so far and with some venturing to T in the Park’s 20th year……some of us were more content to stay closer to home and take in Glasgow’s Annual Comic Con, now in its third year.
The Con has already grown in a short time as it stretched from a 1-day event but this year would see a more significant change with a brand new, shiny, venue. The CCA in Glasgow would open its doors to a sell out event which would see a record number of people in attendance and with a new layout with more floor space to play with – it was going to be interesting to see how the organizers would tackle it. With a couple of years experience behind them they were more than up to the task but the logistics of the event growing would surely test their Comic Con Organising powers.
The first thing about the venue was how open it felt and across each of the levels used we were able to work our way around retailer stalls much more freely than we did with the previous venue. OK there was some queuing here and there and shuffling around as the hunt for issues mixed with the quest for a signature/sketch but the improved surroundings helped take away that crammed in feel that had been there in previous years. That was an instant win for the organizers and again they maintained their typical mix of big name guests and local talent. Truth be told, it’s the indie/self-published issues that is one of the biggest pulls for me – the chance to get hold of comics I wouldn’t normally have access to through many of the mainstream comic stores in the town (although most are seeing sense and stocking local talent much more often). Black Hearted Press, Team Girl Comic, John Lees, Gordon McLean, Obscure Reference Comics, Rough Cut Comics, James Devlin and many other local talents help make the Con what it is and for me, it’s this group brings me back year after year as much as anything else.
A1 Comics, Forbidden Planet, Waterstones, Plan B books and more stocked their tables full of graphic novels, statues and other typical merchandise tied in with the classic comic releases and the movie tie-ins we’d expect, while we had some of the guests dotted throughout the venue to sign and sketch for the fans. Simon Bisley, Mike Ploog, Alan Davis, Carlos Esquerra & Andy Diggle were on-hand alongside more regular Glasgow Con guests like Frank Quitely, John Wagner & Alan Grant – plus many more artists/writers and the variety in guests was further recognition of just how much a success the Glasgow Con has become.
In fact, this year the whole weekend felt alot more chilled out – that might have been the mix of sunshine and beer but I’d prefer to think that it’s more to do with care and planning that goes into the event itself. The only noticeable part of the weekend that suffered from the change of venue was the panels – the same mix of topics was on offer but there was much less space for people to attend them. Around 70-odd seats with an attendance of around 700 on the Saturday and 500 on the Sunday made this the only less than perfect aspect. That being said, the addition of large TV screens at other locations in the CCA allowed more people to grab some of the panels if they missed out on a seat.
Cosplay competitions ran on both days as normal and it felt like these were much more significant part to the weekend – again that could be the beer/sun combo in effect there but the conviction people had in playing the characters they were dressed as, was infectious. There was also the chance to cast your votes in this year’s SICBA awards ahead of the award ceremony on Saturday night and with this year seeing a varied mix in the shortlisted entries – it seemed tougher to call this year. Two issues stood out for those who attended as Moogs Kewel’s Big In Japan claimed two awards – Best Cover and Best Comic or Graphic Novel. James Devlin continued his double wins in 2013 with Best Writer & Best Artist going his way for Dark Ascension. Worthy winners who joined in the celebrations as Cam Kennedy picked up his Award of Outstanding Contribution to Comics.
That’s a hell of a lot to fit into a weekend and the combination of Sunshine, Beer, Comics and chatting with the writers/artists in attendance made for one of the most enjoyable Comic Con’s I can remember being at – elevating this further up the list of favourite Con’s and while it may not be perfect yet – it WILL get there and having spoken with organizers Sha Nazir and John Richard Farman, they They helped fend off the disappointment of some last minute cancellations by guests (as often happens) and just kept the momentum rolling over the two days. the other members of the Comic Con team also contributed to keeping events on-time, the queues under control and moving as best they could.
Onwards and upwards seems to be the theme for Glasgow’s Comic Con….and long may it continue.
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