Thinking back five years ago, we’d probably be boldly and excitedly announcing the third comic convention in a calender year. On Saturday 18th October 2014, we announced three on one day. These were the Lakes event, the LFCCW behemoth and a little newcomer to the calendar, the Leamington Comic Con.
The latter came to our attention last year, rumours rife that the royally affiliated town of Leamington Spa would be host to a comic convention. Since then, the main man behind the show, Dan Mallier, has played out a wondrous marketing campaign making what should by rights have been a small town ‘drop-in’ convention into an extremely well trod event that sold out in advance. One of the really striking things about the event was that a large proportion of visitors had never visited a convention in any shape before. Despite the hype surrounding comics at the moment (Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers etc.), there still seems to be a massive amount of people that haven’t experienced what these events are about. It was refreshing though and good to see new people on the convention scene and a bunch of different faces leafing through the comics on offer.
The venue was simple, well thought out and just about the right size, not to mention quite the convenient location at the Royal Pump Rooms. The mainstay of the convention was small press outlets selling their wares in amongst comic dealers, memorabilia stalls and a couple of niche additions, including a Mondo-style poster stall and a photo set-up to catch the cosplayers. All the exhibitors reported that the day was enormously successful and that the public were genuinely interested in what they were selling, in fact most reported sales well above those from the much larger behemoths like the Showmasters and MCM events yet at a fraction of the costs to them proving that the numbers don’t always stack up in favour of the big events.
During the day, there were some talks from the independent publishers including Neil Gibson of Twisted Dark and Mike Garley promoting his latest issue of The Kill Screen. These were small and non-disruptive to the focused attendee, even though they were in the main hall.
In short, the event was well run, well attended, well planned and well executed. It may not have had the big names that some events have had this year, but it really didn’t need them to achieve its goals. The people that came through the door were numerous and a breath of fresh air into what is becoming an extremely overcrowded convention market. I hope the organisers learn from the positives and feel proud of what they have achieved and we look forward to adding another date on the 2015 convention calendar list.