So after a few days recovery time and our first ever Comic Book Symposium with S.I.C.B.A., it’s time to write up about my experiences at London Super Comic-Con!
First off I should say that the organizers did an incredible job at creating an environment that felt like home, was easy to navigate and didn’t “clump” at any point so there was always room to move, but at the same time didn’t feel barren and lacking in things to do. After a 7am flight I eventually arrived at the ExCel just as the doors opened and we made a b-line up to the top corner to collect Craig’s absolutely gorgeous Swamp Thing sketch from the incredibly talented Yannick Paquette, which can be seen in the image dump. This was another thing that amazed me, everyone was just so nice! The have been times in the past where I’ve been let down meeting some of my heroes but I’m happy to report that every single person I met at the con was gracious and giving with there time, and made sure to make everyone that came to talk to them feel welcome, which was evident on the faces of the crowd as everyone seemed to be smiling and enjoying themselves.
The first port of call for myself was to meet a writer that I’ve admired for a long time, both with his work on Chew for Image Comics, and his work on Detective Comics for D.C; Mr John Layman. I was surprised to see that there wasn’t really a queue to meet him as I’ve always seen Chew as a bit of a cult phenomenon, with Chogs being created into Plushies and a t.v series in the making. After talking briefly we made our way round to see local boys Planet Jimbot, then Colin Bell and Samuel Read, Colin being responsible for Dungeon Fun (i’m still REALLY sorry!) and Sam with Exit Generation.
Something that has to be said in praise of the organizers again was the queuing system that was adopted. For many of the guests with bigger pulls than others, ticket numbers were assigned so you knew roughly where you were in the queue and could go away and do other things. This meant that what should have been a 4 hour line to meet Dan Slott, ended up being a collection of a ticket and we got to wander round the rest of the Con! However, when I DID eventually get to meet Mr. Slott, I did myself proud once again by basically standing in a stunned silence at meeting one of my heroes and someone that I’ve respected over the years as being extremely talented and hardworking. When I did eventually manage to speak, I apologized for gushing like a schoolgirl, which was misinterpreted as “squirrelgirl” and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live that down now! Slott was as gracious as I’d heard, making time to talk to everyone and taking pictures, proving once again why he has such a big pull at these things as he’s a genuinely nice guy who clearly still has a passion for what he does and is having a ball doing it. Meeting Dan was a definite highlight for me and something I’m probably never going to forget, he has a genuine respect for the fans and it comes through in his writing. Now if only he wasn’t stretched so thin and we could get him at more of these things!
Con award for person I bothered the most though, has to go to Lee Garbett, artist on Loki. I initially approached him with the aim of just having a wee chat and getting my Loki #1 signed, which turned into asking for a commission of the man himself, as I’m a massive fan of his and Jamie McKelvie’s portrayal of the God of Mischief. The way that this works at cons is also something I’ve never experienced before, when you approach an artist for a sketch, you’ve either booked it in advance like Craig’s Swamp Thing and you’re only going to collect it, or as is the case with many of the artists, you get your name put on a list and whoever it was you approached will spend the rest of the con getting through commissions. Again, this is to the benefit of the con attendee, as it means you can go and enjoy yourself and don’t have to spend the entire time stuck in a line, but it also takes a lot of the pressure off of the artist as to an extent they can now work at their own pace, and as was seen by lunch time on the Sunday, they can close their list fairly early so as to give more attention to the pieces they already have. Anyway, I was added to the list for my Loki, but as I had lost Craig, I ended up going back with him later and felt like a proper knob bothering Lee constantly, but as with every other person I met, he was a total gent and we had a wee chat about London, the Con itself and his involvement in the redesign of the Younger/Older Loki.
Someone else who was on my list that I had to pick their brain was Keiron Gillen, who’s work I’ve been a fan of for years, but recently has become one of my favourite creators through with work with Jamie McKelvie. We chatted briefly about Phonogram and music in general and again, it was such a pleasure to meet someone that was clearly so passionate about their work that shines through when you read their writing.
The sheer scope of Con attendees is always something that amazes me. There were people of every age group, families, I’d say an almost 50/50 split of male and female attendees, and newbs and veterans alike. The thing that took me aback the most though was the cosplay! you can see from the pictures that myself and others have posted, but the attention to detail that people put into emulating their favourite characters was nothing short of astounding! Cosplay is something that’s attracted more and more attention recently from people complaining that it’s taking over conventions, that their “stealing tickets from people more deserving” and from the other side, that cosplayers are getting treated like pieces of meat by con attendees and made to feel dejected. Personally, I don’t see any difference between what I do as a writer and reviewer and what they do as Cosplayers. At the end of the day, we’re all just finding our own way to show how much we love being a art of this culture, and the characters we adore, the only difference is I, along with many others, do it with words and they do it with gorgeously created costumes and makeup. It was also really nice to see cross gender cosplaying, from female Doctors, to a Male Ms. Marvel, people were able to, for one weekend, be themselves and feel welcomed into a society that is constantly expanding.
We only managed to attend a few of the panels over the course of the weekend, but the Jonathan Ross/Ian Churchill one was filmed by ourselves and we’ll be putting it up in the next few days. It was interesting to hear about his love for comics and involvement in the creation of his books such as America’s Got Powers and Turf. The Duo also spoke about the influences of their new book Revenge and their personal heroes in comics who have had an influence on what they do today. Easily my favourite question was from an attendee who asked Ross what he bought at the con, to which he replied nothing, because he already owns almost everything! The other panel we attended on the Saturday was the IDW panel in the evening. While it was somewhat marred by the sound coming form the Cosplay Competition, it was interesting to here the thought that goes into creating their artist editions of books, and how they try to even recreate the paper that the art was created on in the first place so to give a better feel for the reader when the are studying it. There was also an appearance from Dave Gibbons (of Watchmen Fame) to talk a bit about his new avenue with them which will be reprinting all of the original artwork from Watchmen in an over sized book.
After visiting Chris Weston to let him know I’d be collecting Craig’s Swamp Thing (yep, another one) i called it a day, and what happened that night is none of your business!
look out soon for my recap of the Sunday!