What kind of fan are you?

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Lew Stringer
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What kind of fan are you?

Post by Lew Stringer »

It seems to me that most active members here don't attend comic conventions (although some do attend marts). I rarely see any Comics UK members talk about attending conventions and only know a few here who drop by my table at various events. Just of interest, how would you categorise yourself; as a collector only interested in back issues, a reader only interested in the stories not the creators, someone with specific interests who wouldn't consider it worthwhile attending a convention? Or something else?

I appreciate that distance can put people off as I know quite a few of you live in Scotland so it's not really worth a journey to some events if you're only looking for specific comics. (Although there are conventions in Scotland of course.)

I'm not criticising anyone if they're only looking to fill holes in their UK comic collections and don't feel big cons would cater for that. I'm just curious because I've been into all types of comics since I was a kid, and have attended cons for nearly 40 years, first as a fan then as a pro, so I'd be interested in hearing what deters others from attending the events, especially as there are shows up and down the country every weekend these days. It's impossible not to be aware of the events so are members here put off by practical reasons or preconceived ideas?
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koollectablz
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by koollectablz »

Well for my part, I started off as a reader, then went onto dealing in them (mainly as my dad was a dealer), which meant I attended literally hundreds of marts and conventions throughout the country from around '78-'02. Sometimes 2 different ones in a weekend.

Local ones first mainly around the Midlands, then onto much further afield. The best marts/conventions for me were the very first few memorabilia ones at the NEC - which drew a very wide dealer base from around the country. Though the B'ham ones at Central Hall were good too, also the Manchester ones at the Parker Hotel (I think it was called). also the big London mart was good - though tables were quite pricey.

I took a break during most of the decade after '02 and concentrated on selling off everything using the best thing ever invented for the dealing of printed collectables - the www and eBay.

Now I'm mainly interested in collecting original artwork, but I will pick up large runs of various titles to read and then to sell on.

I don't think I'll ever not 'like' comics, but conventions have changed enormously since I first started attending. Its rare that you'll find more then one dealer with even a smattering of UK comics. And the toy/cosplay scene has pretty much supplanted the traditional comic dealer for floor space.

I think the worst thing to happen to conventions/marts isnt the influx of media or cosplay or prop/toy dealers... it was the massive fad for cards in the late 90's. That really hoovered up a lot of disposable income for a lot of people and made attending conventions very boring for the most part with comic people having to just walk past table after table of brand new cards stacked to the ceiling.

Raven
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by Raven »

I quite like the idea of organic fandom and conventions as they used to be, hosting interesting talks and panels with interesting panelists and good discussion topics (do you still get many of these?). But in general I've tended to feel it's probably best to enjoy the work and mostly avoid "Fandom."

A lot about today's big corporate events puts me off, beyond the obvious costs and travel: the crowds, the exhibitionist cosplayers, lots of actors who once appeared in Doctor Who or a 1980s science fiction film charging £20-50 per autograph, tables of trading cards and action figures, etc. Just of no interest to me, so why would I want to pay up to £20 for it?

Perhaps you could say a few words about what is the appeal of today's big comic cons and maybe squash some preconceived ideas?

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starscape
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by starscape »

I would say "a reader only interested in the stories not the creators". Largely. I would be interested in something like Alan Moore (and many 'lesser' creators) talking though their ideas and such but just getting to shake hands with someone or an autograph isn't that appealing. I have met a few writers/artists. Some of whom are incredibly interesting (e.g. Pat Mills and Alan Moore), a number that are very nice (such as Dave Gibbons or Ian Gibson) and others that I really haven't liked (names classified but they do include some big 'uns) - either because they think it's desperately unusual to drink alcohol and I should be impressed, or they were just unfriendly.

I've not seen many good presentations in the Scottish ones. It tends to be just tables. The Lakes looks the best but it's getting the time (I don't get bank holidays). However, I do intend to go to more in the future.

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abacus
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by abacus »

I am a collector of mainly old comics nothing more nothing less.

Many people collect things ,I used to collect stamps and go trainspotting when school age and only in about my 40s/50s returned to comic collecting.

A year or so ago there was a comic con in a Leicester arcade that I was passing through at the time.
Out of curiosity I went in to look around with the misconception there would be lots of old comics for sale .
Some people were dressed as comic and movie characters and all seemed to be having a good time.
It was fun , interesting but all about the latest comic offerings .

For me as a collector not a must visit happening but as I say interesting.
Last edited by abacus on 25 May 2016, 13:05, edited 8 times in total.

Phoenix
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by Phoenix »

As far as I can recall, Lew, I have only ever attended one comic convention. It was in London some years ago, and it was the one where I met you. Overall I found the day interesting and instructive although I can't recall buying more than a couple of School Friend annuals, and I left without any desire to go to future conventions. I fall into the first two of your categories.

comixminx
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by comixminx »

I do attend / have attended conventions and other events though am currently constrained by having a young family (costs / childcare). Right now the thing I'm most interested in is UK girls comics and of course that doesn't feature in many comics events anyway. I'd go to marts if I was going to London more regularly but it's so much easier to buy girls comics via the internet than it is to rely on there being some issues in stock at a given mart. I'd give 30th Century Comics a go in terms of an in person visit of course, but then I'm trying not to spend too much on comics anyway right now!

The kinds of events I like are much more discussion / talk based rather than anything else. I went to Thought Bubble last year with my partner and it was just too much & too overwhelming - I didn't allow myself enough time to look at all the stalls properly which didn't help. We did go out for a meal afterwards with a small group and that was lovely, it's the chatting about comics and socialising that really does it for me. I think with a big con nowadays I'm likely to get too much Fear of Missing Out, both of the comics on sale and in terms of the people I'm not managing to catch up with!
jintycomic.wordpress.com/ Excellent and weird stories from the past - with amazing art to boot.

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Michael Anden
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by Michael Anden »

I haven't done cons for a long while, since so many guests at my last one were so unfriendly- I asked a couple of artists I'd been a fan of for a long time for a sketch- one of them, a well-known comics and collectible-card game artist, said he didn't have any paper (he did- it was right there in front of us). I told it was ok and just tried to engage him about what he thought of the current comics scene, but he didn't respond, just left the booth and made sure to not come back until I'd disappeared some five minutes later.

The other, a well-known veteran UK fantasy artist, glumly just said no and refused to engage in any further conversation, preferring to carry on talking with his wife (who, granted, was considerably easier on the eye than I am, but still...)

Made me wonder what the hell they were doing there, and then it hit me- they were there to sell their paintings, and that's all.

So I wandered to the signing booth of a well-known adventure movie series (everyone was well-known- maybe it was the green-eyed monster in me having a tough time with these demi-gods). Having already paid my £15 for her publicity photograph, I failed to engage her in light conversation about her career, finding her unwilling to make any kind of eye-contact or venture beyond monosyllabic one-word answers. I think at that point I just got out of there and never looked back.

Very different experience to a significantly earlier event, where I met Dave Gibbons, Bryan Talbot and Rich Johnston, who were the loveliest and engaging fellas you could ever meet. Maybe I need to give it another whirl.

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Adam Eterno
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by Adam Eterno »

It sounds as if I also fit into similar categories as the previous posters. I collect mainly old British comics and am more of a reader.

I can also have difficulties getting away on weekends due to personal responsibilities (hence the ability to spend so much time on Ebay!) and that limits my ability to get to conventions.

I've been to a few comicons and have always felt that the comic dealer was in a minority to the rest of the stalls. The last two cemented that feeling when at one, I had a chat with a nice chap selling comics (one of the only ones) and he really knew very little about British comics at all and the one that's really put me off attending for a while was one in Southampton last year where I'd made a special effort to get to and take my son who is in a wheelchair and there wasn't a single comic for sale! I'm just not interested in toys, T shirts and cards etc so was very disappointed.

I may try a big one in London this year as they're on Thursdays and Fridays but again, the publicity is more about GoT and Dr Who actors than comics which is my particular interest.

Now if there was a pure comic convention, say a Comics UK member inspired event, somewhere in the centre of the country annually or even every two years, now that's something I'd make an effort to get to.......................

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ISPYSHHHGUY
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

Hiya Lew



I myself would be interested in attending conventions but nowadays it's mostly the costs of transport that is holding me back. Yes there are fairly big conventions in Glasgow---about 100 miles away from me-----but a day return bus ticket [never mind the train] is a whopping 40 quid, which to me is daylight robbery.

You probably remember back in the 80s travelling was much more affordable--- I traveled much more then, I visited D C Thomson loads of times from Edinburgh to Dundee and back the same day and the ticket was only about 3 quid or something---laughable, today. Nowadays, it's all about booking in advance through a computer to avoid high travel costs-- which I do indulge in but I hate doing it---------it's all very off-putting and complicated.


Having said that, later this year I hope to travel as far South as Brighton to visit an old friend, so who knows......maybe us Scots members should organize a cheapo bus trip down to see you at Birmingham and the surrounding areas.


I am sure I would be interested in what conventions offer-----all that I really done here on this score was go along to the local Forbidden Planet to speak to a couple of the 2000 AD artists.


It's mostly the high costs of transport and the pain of over-complicated online booking to get cheap deals that is putting me off personally.

wilsia
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by wilsia »

A number of years ago I went to the ABC comic mart in at the National Hotel London loads of British comics for sale so it was great. Is it no longer running?
Not interested in Comic Cons selling plastic tat and overpriced merchandise.
I guess it is sign of the times that this is what young people want. Supply and demand and all that

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stevezodiac
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by stevezodiac »

I've never been to a comic con. I have seen them on tv and really don't feel comfortable beng asscociated with a load of geeks dressed as superheroes. Even though some look really good i just find it a bit sad, like grown men i see with skateboards. Dignity at all times is my credo. Yes I know its no fun but i suffer from social anxiety so any form of exhibitionism is anathema to me. (pronounced Anna Feema)

I've collected comics since 1965 but I have no idea why.It's just something I do. Who can explain a fascination with sequential art? If I could turn back the clock and not have collected comics I wonder what path my life would have taken? My wife left me because my comics collecting took precedence over her. If I could have my life again I might forgo the comics and have children instead. I always regret having no-one to call me daddy.

Phoenix
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by Phoenix »

stevezodiac wrote:My wife left me because my comics collecting took precedence over her.
I don't think mine was overly impressed either when I replaced her with piles and piles of story papers.

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tony ingram
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by tony ingram »

I used to attend conventions and the like, but that was when I lived in the London area and had a fairly sizeable disposable income. Nowadays, I don't, and I live in the wilds of Suffolk where, oddly enough, conventions tend not to be held. Since I couldn't really afford to attend most events even if I could afford the extortionate train fare to reach them, mostly I just stay at home and read my comics.

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tony ingram
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Re: What kind of fan are you?

Post by tony ingram »

stevezodiac wrote:My wife left me because my comics collecting took precedence over her.
You can have mine, for the right swap; she's a bit untidy, but she makes a nice steak & kidney pie. I don't suppose you've got any 1960s Avengers Annuals (John Steed, rather than Iron Man)?
I always regret having no-one to call me daddy.
I'm sure there are a number of enterprising young women out there who'd be willing to do so for a price...

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