So, I don’t often get the opportunity to attend quite as many conventions as I like, such is life.  However, when the Birmingham convention hits the second city, I shall probably always be there.  That’s not because they are the most incredible experiences on Earth, more because I can leave my wife shopping and my little boy with either Grandparents as they live in the city…

Bizarrely, on arrival, there didn’t seem to be any clues or hints as to where the convention was.  Yes, the hotel was obvious.  For a start, it was next to Nostalgia and Comics, an institution that (despite being Forbidden Planet now) was nothing short of legendary amongst the Birmingham faithful and my goodself for 20 years.  But on entering the hotel, there was nothing actually telling you where the event was, just a standard hotel foyer.  Luckily, someone must’ve thought that we looked lost (or indeed, like a geek) and said it’s upstairs.

So, we walked into the room (again, after some deduction and the hope someone would point us in the right direction) and were remarkably underwhelemed by the size of the venue.  This was not an event to do shopping, this was reasonably obvious.  Moreover, it seemed an event that was almost entirely dedicated to creators and artists.  Not a bad thing though.

What wasn’t mentioned anywhere,  (anywhere at all come to think of it.  Not even a cheap 10p A4 photocopied sign crudely sellotaped to a wall somewhere), was the fact there was a room downstairs with Phil Winslade, Dylan Teague and Andrew Wildman all sketching.  Not that this was a bad thing, the toilets were downstairs and, as quickly as I stumbled across the room to the toilet, I ran just as quickly back to a sketch from Dylan.

The show though, despite its smaller size, was actually very interesting in as much as it focused on the important things and didn’t dwell on itself too much.  Sure, the absence of Mark Millar was a shame as I would very much have liked to have met him but even this didn’t dampen the day.  Being smaller it felt more friendly, more open and more enjoyable as a day out.  The guests were spot on, the atmosphere laid back and the vibe positive.

Larger cons take note…