LSCC 2015 serves more of the same

Now entering its fourth year, the London Super Comic Convention is, for many true comic fans, the ‘go-to’ convention on the calendar. Often pitched against the smaller but more indie-friendly Thought Bubble, LSCC has carved out a bit of a niche for attracting the international guests that smaller conventions can’t manage.  Events of a similar size still can’t get over the film and TV attractions that take precedent over the comic con aspect, often tagging comics on as a last minute thought, leaving LSCC as the main capital attraction for comic aficionados.

Romita Jr at LSCC

John Romita Jr at LSCC 2015

 

This year, LSCC expanded.  Perhaps it needed to to make up some middle ground of its competitors. There are after all, a finite amount of true comic fans to draw from, so the only real way to expand is to bring in some of the attractions that draw in the larger crowds of the MCM and Showmasters events. Something that was played at last year, was highlighted this year as a major attraction. The cosplay element was not merely tolerated, it was encouraged by naming cosplayers alongside comic creators as major attractions. You got John Romita Jr? I raise you Yaha Han. The cosplay was wide, varied and interesting and did brighten up the event.

There can be no questioning the quality of creators though. JR JR, Ed McGuiness, Brian Bolland, Lee Bermejo, Simone Bianchi, Mark Brooks…the list went on. A great list for comic fans for sure, particularly the fans of the big two powerhouses. The presence of Avatar was reinforced by the legendary Garth Ennis. Charlie Adlard was present again, although a frequent addition to the UK comic convention scene doesn’t seem to diminish his popularity any. Management of the signings and queues in general has improved hugely over the years too, you can tell real thought and planning has been put into every detail. It’s refreshing and something Thought Bubble could definitely learn something from.

Jonathon Ross and Ian Churchill at LSCC 2015

Jonathon Ross and Ian Churchill at LSCC 2015

The return of Neal Adams again was an odd choice. Starting out at £20 a signature and going upwards meant that many simply didn’t want to bother. The money invested in bringing his machine over would have been far more wisely spent on three or so more top creators in the line-up. Stan Lee will be ingrained the memory of many a punter, Adams just doesn’t have the same universal pull that Lee has.

Johnny Vegas at LSCC buying lots of comics!

Johnny Vegas at LSCC buying lots of comics!

Sketches are proving more and more controversial. What started out as tapping up some of the artists for freebies or a quick £20 head sketch has become anything up to a £600, one a day commission for some of the artists. Many punters are starting to not bother with something they have enjoyed chasing for years, either because they can’t afford them or simply cannot beat the ultra-committed to the front of the queue. One comment directly to myself from the event was “[we] just can’t compete with the guys wanting to pay the money, we’ve been priced out of something we’ve enjoyed for many years” which is a shame. Another comment highlighted the fact that these artists were so involved in commissions, that they simply had no time to stop and chat with the average punter, something again enjoyed for a long time by lots of regulars.

Lee Bermejo Punisher commission

Lee Bermejo Punisher commission

Exhibitors in general reported a drop in sales and some lean times during the two days. One suggested that a one-day event would be more than enough, something I was inclined to agree with but then you wouldn’t get the guests so it’s double-edged.

This event was, for sure, the ultimate comic fan event. You can argue Thought Bubble back at me, possibly the Lakes event, maybe even the ambitious NICE for punching well above its weight, but I do believe for sheer numbers, quality and diversity, the guest list for LSCC is very tough to beat. There were times when it felt really vibrant and exciting. There were times when it just died. There were more people less inclined to spend overall and more retailers wanting your cash.

It was a real mixture of some real highs and lows this year and I think that LSCC 2016, should it happen, will be prove to be their difficult second album.

DEMONCON 9

Demoncon is a Comics event which has been growing steadily from its small base a couple of years ago to the point where, for the first time this year, an international comics guest, Kurtis Wiebe was invited to attend the event. Roc Upchurch, his co-creator on Rat Queens, was also invited but recent and well documented circumstances meant that the invitation was withdrawn. Curtis and Dan Abnett were sufficient draws for me to make the long trek down from the North to attend my first event of the year.

The Demoncon event takes over the whole of a shopping arcade. There’s plenty of room for all the stands which take over the pathways between the shops and there’s the added bonus of a number of the shops opening for the day which means plenty of good food and drink available throughout the event.

There is enough variation in the offerings on the stands to interest every type of Con-goer. Cosplay is very high on the agenda and all the artists were busy sketching away for the many customers for their work. There were also plenty of comics for sale on several stands, all of which looked to be doing great business.

Kurtis was present for the whole event signing and chatting to the many customers who went to see him. Dan was his usual self, attracting a seemingly permanent semi-circle of people around his table and regaling everyone with his stories of his visits to the Guardians of the Galaxy film-set.

The atmosphere at the event was very laid back and friendly. Plenty of kids wandering round with their parents, I saw lots of wide-eyed little faces staring at the Star Wars cosplayers and eager to have their photos taken with their heroes. Everyone seemed to be having fun which is of course the name of the game.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Demoncon 9 and expect the event to continue to grow in stature. I absolutely recommend the event to everyone and dependant on guests for the next event later in 2015, I’ll be making the trek down south again.

Peter Brewer & Riven Alyx Buckley

DICE: Gone for 2015 but hopefully not for good!

Dice, the excellent weekend convention held in Dublin courtesy of the Big Bang Shop has been dropped for 2015. The statement giving this news states:

“DICE is an event that is an extension of our store Big Bang Comics.
Unfortunately, we have so many cool things happening this year at the store that we just don’t have enough time to run DICE to the standards that we love.

And forced between deciding to have a DICE that isn’t the best it can be, or have A LOT OF COOL SIGNINGS at the store throughout the year, we chose to put DICE on hold for a while to make our store events the very best (even better than before, which we know is quite hard!)

We had Mark Millar over a couple weeks ago, we’re having Chip Zdarsky in on the 9th of April, we’re organising a comic expo in Cork for Irish comics talent, we’re in the process of finalizing half a dozen signings that will make people very, VERY happy, (seriously) we have our own store exclusive covers, new books launching and special deals happening here and there…
In short, we just have too much stuff on our plate right now.

We want to say thanks to all the fans that have supported us these last few years and we promise you, we’re working hard to make sure that there’s a cool event/signing in store nearly every month with an unprecedented list of talent.”

Having attended the excellent DICE event in 2013, I was really looking forward to attending again not just for the event but for the surroundings and extras (draught Guinness anyone?). I really do hope along with, I’m sure, many others that this is not the last we will see of DICE. It is too important an event in the conventions calender to lose

Peter Brewer