There are aspects of London Super Comic Convention (LSCC) which are different to any other UK con and which position it closer to the larger US cons. Some of these things are good but one thing is bad and hopefully not a sign of things to come.
The first of the good things is organisation (take note Thoughtbubble who I will use as the comparator for this article as the closest to LSCC in size and guests). The guests were all at their tables when they should have been (or as close to time as to not make a difference) and LSCC staff were on hand to make sure guests and customers were both looked after.
The second is space. Virtually all cons I go to in the UK struggle badly for space so that where a large queue forms, chaos ensues. Thoughtbubble try to deal with this by capping queues but all this does is clog up alleyways with people hanging around to get into the next queue. Others try to manage by directing a long queue in a particular position but this invariably leads to Exhibitors being blocked off from potential customers. There is absolutely none of this at LSCC where there is tons of space for everything and everybody and most of the guests are in an “Artists alley” well away from exhibitors.
The third is the free signing sessions. LSCC is the only con which organises these sessions for the major guests and Thoughtbubble definitely need to get on board with this idea. Major guests at LSCC are now charging for signatures on their stands (more on this later) but the free signing sessions gives everybody a chance to get some free signatures and absolutely reduces the strain for all parties of queuing and signing on their own stands. A brilliant idea copied from the US cons but which works so well for everybody in a con of this size.
The fourth is the high quality of the guests. Only Thoughtbubble comes close to the LSCC guest list but LSCC wins in this area every year with top American and European guests in abundance. This trend will not stop if a plan I heard about for next year comes off and LSCC 2017 therefore will be a sell-out.
Moving on to the bad thing about LSCC is the charging for signatures. Everyone knows that Stan Lee and Neal Adams charge but recent trends, at particularly New York Comic con, mean that many artists and writers have started charging for signatures and as the closest con to their US brethren, this trend hit LSCC this year. To be fair, a number of the main guests did allow a certain amount of free signatures and the signing area did cover the likes of Humberto Ramos who was charging as much as £10 per signature on his stand. Some like Frank Cho, Ryan Stegman and Dave Finch (bless them all!) signed without charging, but Mike Zeck charged for all signatures and did not participate in the free signing area. A waste of a guest space in my opinion as was Neal Adams the previous year.
Thankfully only LSCC is falling into the pit of the US led charging for signatures as Thoughtbubble, Nice, Edinburgh, Ice, the Lakes con and all the other UK major cons are keeping well away from this. As per the title of this article however, the times ARE changing and I wonder how many more days of the free comic book signings there are.
I do tend to look at cons from a signing point of view as that is the main reason I go to them. I’m sure the people after sketches had a great and productive time as did the cosplayers who seem to grow in numbers at this event every year. Apart from the gripe above, I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s LSCC and much kudos should be given to the organisers. Please do look at the negative above for next year’s con and make sure all major guests have a slot in the free signing area.