Great buzz, great event

A week after attending the marvellous NICE con in Bedford, I made the trek down from Manchester to Birmingham for my first taste of ICE which promised to be another comic con in the UK’s premier league. I used to attend the old BICS cons of a few years ago which were always top quality events so I had high expectations of these events which are a direct offspring from the same creator, Shane Chebsey.

The first thing worthwhile reporting is that this event was nearly cancelled a few weeks ago when it lost much of its Arts Council funding. The comic book grading company CBCS stepped in to save the day and the con therefore went ahead. CBCS seemed to be doing brisk business all the way through the day so it is hoped that they felt that their investment was worthwhile.

The Con is held in a venue called the Studio in the centre of Birmingham, close to both rail and car parks. The event takes place on 3 floors of the building with a great bar available on the ground floor. Each floor is spacious and allows for plenty of room to move about amongst the many attractions available. Aside from the many artists and writers available on the day, there were many representatives from the small press and independent publishing.  There was a great buzz on each floor with visitors and guests all obviously enjoying the occasion together.

During the day there were lots of different panels on offer with plenty to interest every type of comic fan. Seemingly inescapable, a couple of the main guests pulled out before the event with perhaps the cancellation of Christos Gage being the most noticeable. However, there were so many other interesting guests that a comic enthusiast could not fail to be fully engaged throughout the whole day (and there was always the bar if there was a lull).

All the guests were friendly and happy to sign and sketch (although one or two did disappear for lengthy periods…probably to the aforementioned bar). Charlie Adlard was his usual affable self and was around for most of the day. Others like Declan Shalvey and Rob Williams who were, for obvious reasons, very popular and in demand remained cheerful and accommodating throughout the day. Joe Pruett, Carl Potts and Marguerite Bennett, the USA guests, were all engaging and interesting. I think my highpoint of the day was meeting Steve Parkhouse. He is a UK comic legend and does not do cons (I think he said his last one was about 10 years ago) so well done to Shane for getting him to come to ICE!

I filled my day completely from the moment I first arrived to the minute of closing and really thoroughly enjoyed myself. This is another show which centres nearly exclusively on comics and like NICE, is something which absolutely must be supported by anyone who loves comics. My thanks to Shane for a great event. There absolutely MUST be an ICE 2017 and attendance on that day is mandatory for every comic enthusiast. You won’t regret it!

Shane did share with me what he is hoping for at the next event and I do hope his plans come off as the show will definitely sell out! Keep an eye open for the ICE 2017 website.

By Peter Brewer and Riven Alyx Buckley