The Birmingham Comics Festival announce Ian Kennedy

In 1949, Ian Kennedy was taken on as a trainee illustrator in the art department of D. C. Thomson & Co; Scotland’s leading publisher of newspapers and periodicals for all-ages, where the former schoolboy’s first published work was inking the black squares on the crossword for The Sunday Post newspaper. He would also attend the Dundee College of Art part-time basis, and eventually, come 1953 begin freelancing for Amalgamated Press (later Fleetway/IPC) drawing for Knockout and the wild west pocket strip book Kit Carson, prior to specialising in illustrating war strips on titles such as Air Ace and Thriller Picture Library. Two years later he was also freelancing for D.C. Thomson, and in the coming decades his work would routinely be found in weekly comics like The Hotspur and the story paper Wizard. The artist having proved popular with readers and editors alike early in his career, with no let-up in sight.

By the 70s there was a science fiction boom on and Ian Kennedy swopped drawing the likes of Jeff Craig Detective in Buster for Ro-Busters and Time Quake in Starlord, and the M.A.C.H.1 and Invasion series, as well as Judge Dredd, for the early 2000AD. He would also illustrate a comic strip based on the TV programme Blake’s 7 for Marvel UK and contribute to Dan Dare annuals, prior to drawing the actual series for The Eagle in the 80s. The Victor, Wildcat, Buddy, Thunder, M.A.S.K and even the girls’ comic Bunty would feature his artwork but he was to solidify his position as a premier war comics artist drawing for IPC’s Battle Picture Weekly and D.C. Thomson’s Commando and Warlord, as well as gathering fans in Scandinavia where his work was published in Fantomen, otherwise known as The Phantom.

During the late 1980s, Kennedy began painting covers for the annual RAF Leuchars Air Show’s programme, such had become the national recognition of his talent in depicting aviation. Page upon page of artwork that has seen publication and subsequent reprint attests to the many years of service Ian Kennedy has given to the British comics industry and the medium as a whole, over the decades, but even now, in semi-retirement the great artist still produces around 20 covers a year for Commando.
Ian Kennedy will be making an incredibly rare visit south of the border to the heart of the Midlands at Edgbaston Cricket Stadium, as a very special guest for the city of Birmingham’s inaugural Comics Festival on Saturday April 18th 2015.

For more information on Commando, where Ian Kennedy’s work still appears visit: www.commandocomics.com

Why do you go to comic cons?

The last post asked more questions of con goers than gave answers so we thought we’d ask the question outright. Just why do you go to comic cons?

Why do you go to comic conventions?
Why do you go to a comic con? (choose the MOST relevant answer)

 

To keep the answers wieldy, we have asked that you register this time to have your say but rest assured, we have no devious usage of your details!   The poll ends on Christmas Day.

To register, follow this link: http://www.comicconventions.co.uk/wp-login.php?action=register

 

When will it stop?

Just to start at the very beginning COMICS 1st then FILMS. With the explosion of geekdom and films over the last few years we have seen a massive rise in conventions catered to this market. The 2014 tally is 37 and I can guarantee we have missed some, 2015 is shaping up to be the same, we hear about new conventions every month from Lands End to John O’Groats.

When will enough be enough? That is the million £ question. Is the convention scene being saturated with sub par conventions? If you look closely then I think you can say YES it is.

What do you call your new convention? I know lets call it “name of city” comic convention.

I have touched on this subject in the past when MCM Expo changed its name to MCM Comic Con, what a joke…. What comics do they have, they have what can be described as a token gesture to comics the “Comic Village”

If the answer is yes then Comic Village at the MCM London Comic Con is for you, offering the largest gathering of Comic Creators in the UK!

Really…

The ‘Comic Village’ area has a dedicated stage hosting panels from some of the top names in the Comic World

Ok really again….

LFCC tried its best but failed miserably with its comics aspect of the con. They tried to kick it off by having Stan Lee, which backfired. Having heard from customers who couldent get their signatures from him. Hearing comic guests joking about how much of shambles it is. My suggestion would be to rename LFCC to London Film and TV Con. At least it would reflect the convention correctly.

It’s also a chance to meet top writers and artists from around the world, to hear them talk about their careers or just get a favourite comic signed or buy a print or bespoke sketch.

Again slightly off from the truth.

With LFCC announcing its next venture in the seaside town of Bournemouth in August, they have missed a trick hosting it in August when the majority of students will be on summer holidays some 16,000 people. Are Showmasters spreading itself to thin. Should they concentrate on being better at the cons they already put on.

We then have LSCC who have recently branched out to cosplay but still hold to be a comic convention, yes they do have repeat guests but they do bring over names and are generally the 1st to do so. They brought you the like of Stan Lee, JSC, Neil Adams, Herb Trimpe and many others. Other conventions are trying to follow this example but fail miserably.

Now its your own assessment what constitutes a top name in the comic world, but year on year LSCC seem to deliver on that promise, they also have the largest collection of the top names from the UK and abroad FACT. So out the top 3 conventions only LSCC can with some honestly state that they have the top names in the comic industry and also the largest gathering.

Oh I forgot Thought Bubble, it used to be a great convention, but some fresh input is needed, the same guest regurgitated on a bi-yearly tri-yearly basis. Thats all I can bothered to say about that con.

There is a reason why I have mentioned these particular 4 conventions, and I need to name another that has absolutely nothing to do with comics, well you could at a push if LFCC and MCM do and thats EGX.

If you could take from those 5 conventions, the UK could and would have a convention to rival likes of San Diego and New York, and that would be

  • the crowds from MCM Comic Con
  • the comics from LSCC
  • the Film and TV Stars from LFCC
  • the games from EGX
  • and the atmosphere and after hours from Thought Bubble

With all those aspects you could have one massive convention at the Excel over 5 days. Let each particular convention have a hall or two, ticket price would be a combination of each convention with 5 day passes available. They would share costs, security and there would be something for everyone.

Even at a price of £100 to £150 per person for the 5 days for the amount that you could do it would be an amazing con. Is it likely to ever happen? I highly doubt it.

If you could get the organisers in one room and thrash out a solution to host such an event.

The likes of DC and Marvel would take note, we would get the Super Stars of TV and Film and it would be looked at in the same light as San Diego and New York are.

Now there are some great small conventions don’t get me wrong, the like of Melksham with a massive family feel to it, NICE and DICE, that are under appreciated but are solely comic related cons. I haven’t visited them all but the majority seem to the same as we have have already seen. And on that note I leave you with one final question

How many conventions do you think there will be in 2015?