So London Super Comic Convention has come and gone, once again cementing itself as one of the undeniable highlights of the UK convention circuit, with a style and a ‘vibe’ all of its own.
With a stunning guest list of both international and home-grown comic talent including the likes of Neal Adams, John Romita Jr, Garth Ennis, Bill Sienkiewicz, Klaus Janson and Charlie Adlard, it’s hard to argue with the sheer diversity of appeal that LSCC offers. Whether you’re a fan of classic Marvel and DC, current Independent publishers like Valiant, Avatar and others, or some of the dizzying array of self-published small press talent on the scene right now, there’s bound to be at least somebody on the LSCC guest list for you to get excited about.
[Esad Ribic, Klaus Janson and Simone Bianchi doing their thing]
For me personally, my convention experience is always going to be defined by the artists. An avid sketch collector, conventions become a strict resource management battle as I try to stretch my budget as far as possible in order to commission as many sketches as I can. In that respect, LSCC actually may have done a little too good a job, as I found myself struggling to hit up all the artists I was hoping to approach throughout the weekend. However, with the likes of Iron Man Artist Bob Layton, Joker and Suiciders artist Lee Bermejo and the incomparable Ben Oliver (whose Spider Gwen wowed pretty much everyone who laid eyes on it), along with convention staples like Adlard, Mark Buckingham and Gary Frank, it was always going to be something of a struggle to tick every box.
[Ben Oliver’s Spider-Gwen WIP. Just… wow. Photo courtesy of Ben’s Facebook page.]
As always, everyone was friendly and approachable, and more than happy to chat about their work, their process, and their upcoming projects. Sometimes in the bigger scale cons it can all start to feel like a bit of an assembly line, but at LSCC, the surprisingly chilled atmosphere ensured that all the guests were in a great mood and more than willing to take some time to talk to the fans.
[Swamp Things! L – R: Marco Santucci, JK Woodward, Dave Wachter]
I managed to add a few impressive Swamp Things from Dave Wachter, Marco Santucci and JK Woodward to my growing collection, and made sure to hit up my ‘under the radar’ regulars like Phil Buckenham (Robot Zombie Comics), Jack Lawrence (Jackademus) and Dave Stokes (um… Dave Stokes?) for some of their always-impressive commissions. I also managed to catch up with some of the local Scottish talent who had made the trip to London, including the Planet Jimbot/Rough Cut Comics double-act of Jim Alexander and Ed Murphy, as well Dungeon Fun/Doctor Who writer Colin Bell.
One thing that’s also worth mentioning about LSCC is the efficiency of their queuing system. Members of staff are always highly visible and ready to provide assistance – and lines are capped smoothly to prevent people from standing around and wasting their time unnecessarily. While some other conventions can become a stressful, frantic experience with cramped queues and agitated punters, LSCC always seems to deliver a more relaxed vibe, with even the mood in the longer queues for guests like John Romita Jr remaining upbeat and jovial.
[All smiles from Romita Jr. and Sienkiewicz]
There were a nice mix of panels throughout the weekend, and while I may have missed some of the ones I was most looking forward to (the Klaus Janson, David Mack and Bill Sienkiewicz Daredevil panel in particular), I still managed to attend my fair share, including the Happy 75th Birthday: Joker panel (the highlight of which was neither Lee Bermejo, Brian Bolland or Paul Levitz being familiar with Scott Snyder’s Endgame storyline), the Jack Kirby: Return of the King panel (the highlight of which was Jonathan Ross rising above the technical difficulties to deliver one impassioned Kirby monologue after another, eagerly displaying his knowledge and enthusiasm for comic book history) and both of the utterly hilarious Max Brooks zombie-themed panels (which were pretty much all highlights, to be honest).
[“Wossy” about to deliver another Kirby ‘mic drop’, while Dave Gibbons and Tim Seeley nod their approval]
While some other conventions have a tendency to treat Cosplay as almost a ‘necessary evil’, often hastily throwing together a half-assed masquerade with some lacklustre prizes, LSCC fully embraces the Cosplay community with an impressive guest list of international Cosplay celebrities and all manner of cool stuff for the costumed attendees to sink their teeth into. This year, the Cosplay Shoots team had a stunning looking Dagobah Swamp set for attendees to be photographed in (complete with superimposed special effects), and the SyFy Fan Cam providing an amazing Matrix “Bullet Time” 360 view of the Cosplayers doing their thing. The sheer inventiveness of the costumes on display was impressive too, even for a Cosplay novice like myself, and for every dime-a-dozen Harley Quinn or Poison Ivy there was a Lego Movie group, a family of Transformers or a jaw-dropping Balloon Iron Man to keep things fresh.
[The Cosplay Shoots Dagobah Swamp in all its glory]
The Cosplay competition itself was off the chart in terms of creativity – both from the costumes themselves and the ‘skits’ the Cosplayers performed. From some impassioned, note-perfect monologuing from a thoroughly convincing Oberyn Martell, a humorous Frozen parody of “Do You Want To Kill The Batman?” from Joker and Penduin, and the three winners – a Cheeky Girls/Edge of Tomorrow mash-up, a Poison Ivy routine set to Alice Cooper’s Poison, and the winner – a impressively creative ode to The Little Mermaid’s Ursula that earned an all expenses paid trip to Dragon Con – everyone in attendance were clearly blown away by what they saw.
[The Cosplay winners. Photos courtesy of LSCC’s Facebook page]
Overall, I spoke to a lot of people throughout the weekend – exhibitors, guests and punters – who all expressed their enjoyment of this ‘comic-focused’ convention, and to be honest, I couldn’t agree more. A large-scale convention with A-List guests that still somehow manages to feel relaxed, friendly and not at all ‘corporate’, LSCC looks poised to be a highlight of the UK convention calendar for a long time to come.