There’s no doubt about it the world loves a comic con. In the not-so-distant past, you would have to wait a year for a UK comic con to come by. If you loved comics and creators, you got lucky mid-decade as another convention was added to the bill, giving you had the luxury of two a year. We saw some amazing guests visit the shores of the UK over the previous decades. Slowly but surely though we got more. Many more. In fact, according to our own calendar, the amount pretty much doubled from 2013 to 2014 alone and now stands at a staggering 70 events in year and counting.
There are many arguments as to what defines a ‘comic con’ and we’ve had tough conversations ourselves as to what is and isn’t listed. Do you need big name creators or a lot of small press to earn the tag? If there are stalls selling comics and related merchandise, is it fine to label the event a ‘comic con’? We have our own opinions of course.
This year though, things felt a little like they were on the up for genuine comic events. Sure, the pop culture behemoth rolls on (or off if Blackpool reports are to be believed) and the corporations will continue to make money spinning z-list actors from the 80s, but while there is a demand, why not? But where things were less certain were actual conventions that focussed on comics.
Events have sought to redress this balance though, from Thought Bubble to LSCC, The Lakes and NICE well established and now ICE and the Birmingham Comics Festival as recurring comics-focussed events. The excellent news this week that the Bristol Expo is set to return and the continued focus of the smaller but no less dedicated events such as Leamington, Melksham and Nottingham is good news indeed for genuine comic fans.