To Con or Not to Con?

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big bad bri
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by big bad bri »

have the westminster and kings cross/russel sq comic marts stopped? as they were always free to get into.I haven't been in about 10 years.
Last edited by big bad bri on 12 Aug 2016, 21:34, edited 1 time in total.

Lew Stringer
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by Lew Stringer »

paw broon wrote: I have to agree with koollectablz and abacus and don't believe what they right is nonsense. I've been to many cons and marts over the decades and slowly but surely, comics - the physical bits of paper that fans like me want to collect - and the dealers selling them, have been disappearing. The recent Glasgow 2 dayer, right in the city centre had far fewer comics and comic dealers compared to toys, gifts, guys punting their drawings of copyrighted characters and images, fairy cakes, jewellery. There were panels and cosplay things, neither of which interest me and never have - I think I've only ever been to 2 panels at cons in my career as I prefer the finished work rather than listening to how it came about, and I'm scunnered with anecdotes.
If you only look at a convention as a comic mart, and only want a narrow specification of comic, then, yes, you might be disappointed. By your own admission you're not interested in the guests, the panel discussions, original sketches, or new indie comics, but they're some of the main things that define comic cons.

It's like going to the cinema because you don't want to see the film but you're interested in what's on sale in the foyer. And they don't sell Film Review there anymore. :)

So what you really mean is that they don't appeal to you personally. That's fine, but it doesn't change the fact that there are many events about comics, as shown in the examples that John gave. (And there are others as well.)

By the way, for anyone interested, there's been a discussion going on for a few days about comic cons over on my blog. Here's the link...
http://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2016/ ... tions.html

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babington
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by babington »

Perhaps the thought is that some of the cons don't have much in the way of dealers in back issues, which I think is a fair observation. Even the London marts seems to be dwindling, and this is a shame. It would be no fun, of course, collecting comics if it was easy to get everything. But I do wish there were more old comics to buy at some of the cons - I don't think I've ever seen anyone dealing just in UK comics, for example. In the USA, the back issue business is still a big part of many cons, and there's a good balance with guest artists, new comic promotion, etc. Maybe the market just isn't big enough here. Even if that's true, it's still great fun meeting creators, getting sketches, and seeing what's up in comics today.

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dishes
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by dishes »

Every con I've ever been to (most recent: Thought Bubble in Leeds two years ago) has had lots of comics new AND old for sale.
Is it weird to have no interest in keeping or collecting free gifts?

My artwork: http://www.iancockburn.co.uk

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koollectablz
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by koollectablz »

i hadn't even set up the goalposts, let alone moved them! :D

The simple fact remains that this is a UK comics focused site, right?

Not cosplay, not bootleg DVDs, not film discussion panels, not cards, not swords, not toys...

I absolutely contend that if you go to a Comic Con in this country, actual comics will make up a minority of whats on offer.

Which is a change from what was on offer when I first started attending. Yeah there was always fancy dress and the like, but that was as an addition to the comics, nowadays the comics themselves are pretty much treated as a necessary evil to get all the cosplayers and tv/film guys/gals in.

I'm not saying its a good thing or a bad thing overall, obviously to me its a bad thing as I like comics. Hence using this site. I'm not looking for an argument about it, it is what it is, and I'll continue to attend a few here and there as its something to do and can be fun.

It would be far more accurate to advertise them as media conventions now though.

Oh, and as for trying to find back issues of UK comics? No chance.

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johnfreeman96
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by johnfreeman96 »

koollectablz wrote:I absolutely contend that if you go to a Comic Con in this country, actual comics will make up a minority of whats on offer.

Which is a change from what was on offer when I first started attending. Yeah there was always fancy dress and the like, but that was as an addition to the comics, nowadays the comics themselves are pretty much treated as a necessary evil to get all the cosplayers and tv/film guys/gals in.

I'm not saying its a good thing or a bad thing overall, obviously to me its a bad thing as I like comics. Hence using this site. I'm not looking for an argument about it, it is what it is, and I'll continue to attend a few here and there as its something to do and can be fun.

It would be far more accurate to advertise them as media conventions now though.

Oh, and as for trying to find back issues of UK comics? No chance.
I didn't contest that there are a number of events dedicated to mainstream tastes, I listed events in the thread above that are comics focused and aren't "Comic Cons" as MCM and London Film and Comic Con run them, the things you don't want. I agree that those big events are "Media" events, not "Comic" events. They probably wouldn't be happening if they weren't structured that way.

But I don't think I've ever been to a comic convention, even those I listed, where there was more than one dealer (if you're lucky!) that sells back issue British comics. And I'm going back some.

These days, Phil Clarke sells British comic art at some, (the Birmingham Comic Festival for example), but he's a rare exception. Chris Smillie used to sell British comics stuff at the Bristol events - that's how long it's been since I've seen someone selling the vintage comics. Not been to the London Marts but they do sell British comics at those, I'm told.

There was a pop up shop in Kendal during last year's Festival that sold back issue British comics and the nearby Oxfam also put out its comic stock. Mick McMahon's a guest at that event, as is Charlie Adlard (and I have it on good authority there will be some other UK comic artist there not on the guest list who will be making sneak appearances).
John Freeman
British Comics News Blog: http://www.downthetubes.net 

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colcool007
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by colcool007 »

johnfreeman96 wrote:...There was a pop up shop in Kendal during last year's Festival that sold back issue British comics and the nearby Oxfam also put out its comic stock. Mick McMahon's a guest at that event, as is Charlie Adlard (and I have it on good authority there will be some other UK comic artist there not on the guest list who will be making sneak appearances).
I really really want to be able to afford to go to the Lakes this year.
I started to say something sensible but my parents took over my brain!

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philcom55
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by philcom55 »

Most of the marts I've attended recently in Birmingham, Manchester and London have included a reasonable number of dealers selling British comics - even if American comic books are the main item. It's the big MCM-type events that leave me feeling as though they have nothing to interest my generation.

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Adam Eterno
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by Adam Eterno »

My only recent experience of a Comic con was in Southampton last year when there wasn't a single comic on sale, old/new/UK or US :(

I'll need to look further afield I think!

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ISPYSHHHGUY
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

The whole planet seems to becoming Americanized and sadly the American approach [entertainment is one of their biggest Industries] is what the vast majority of Earthlings seem to want, and comic-conventions are just one small part of this unfortunate Globalization of Uncle Sam-dom.

Just my two cents---sorry----two bobs' worth.

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johnfreeman96
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by johnfreeman96 »

Adam Eterno wrote:My only recent experience of a Comic con was in Southampton last year when there wasn't a single comic on sale, old/new/UK or US :(

I'll need to look further afield I think!
Yeah -- that's ridiculous, by any standards!
John Freeman
British Comics News Blog: http://www.downthetubes.net 

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johnfreeman96
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by johnfreeman96 »

philcom55 wrote:Most of the marts I've attended recently in Birmingham, Manchester and London have included a reasonable number of dealers selling British comics - even if American comic books are the main item. It's the big MCM-type events that leave me feeling as though they have nothing to interest my generation.
That's good to hear. I really need to reconnect with some of the organisers of those and add the dates to downthetubes. Cheers for the info.
John Freeman
British Comics News Blog: http://www.downthetubes.net 

Lew Stringer
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by Lew Stringer »

koollectablz wrote:i hadn't even set up the goalposts, let alone moved them! :D

The simple fact remains that this is a UK comics focused site, right?

Not cosplay, not bootleg DVDs, not film discussion panels, not cards, not swords, not toys...

I absolutely contend that if you go to a Comic Con in this country, actual comics will make up a minority of whats on offer.
The main attraction of a comics convention (as opposed to a comic mart) has always been the guests and panel discussions. If you (and others here) are going to conventions with the main purpose of finding back issues then I can appreciate that there are a dwindling number of back issue sellers at cons and you might be disappointed. When we say a comic con is "about comics" we mean the comics industry as a whole; guests, discussions, workshops, new comics, etc. Not just how many longboxes of vintage comics are on a dealer's table.

And yes, there are cons that are about comics, with no film or tv guests in sight, as John listed. As I said earlier, 7 out of the 11 cons I've been to this year are about comics, not other media.
koollectablz wrote: Oh, and as for trying to find back issues of UK comics? No chance.
That's your experience, but it isn't shared by all. I don't know which events you've attended but off the top of my head I can think of five cons I've attended this year that had old UK comics for sale. Not in huge quantities admittedly, but they were there.

Briefly....

London Film and Comic Con (February): Dealer selling quite a few old annuals.

Enninskillen Comic Festival: Pile of old 70s/80s UK comics (not in great shape admittedly).

Shrewsbury Comic Festival: Pile of 1990s Beanos and Dandys (perhaps others too).

Macc-Pow! : Box of various 1980s UK weeklies.

Bristol Comic Expo: Alan Class comics, and issues of Fantastic.

There were also dealers with lots of U.S. back issues at the cons I've been to. One in Manchester Film and Comic Con having some dating back to the 1940s. Great if you have a spare £495 for a late 40s Sub-Mariner, but he had stuff from all decades onwards too.

That's just the ones I can remember at present.

Of course, it depends what you want out of a convention. If you're only after back issues then the London Comic Marts at the Royal National might be better for you.
The blog of British comics: http://lewstringer.blogspot.com
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paw broon
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by paw broon »

As someone who was part of a small group organising cons and marts in Glasgow, I was involved with panels, signing sessions etc. but nowadays I just don't have the energy for all that meeting , greeting, eating, bevvying and general glad handing that goes on. I'm getting on a bit and many of us who were in at the start of fandom up here wont be around forever, so, I'll just stick to my requirements for a COMIC con - comics. But then, I am a grumpy old man. The clue is in the name - COMIC con. Let others get on with it, I'll attend some to chat , meet friends and fellow fans, drink coffee and perhaps buy some comics. It's a good day out, despite my despair at seeing all those 50p boxes when dealers I know have better stuff but don't bring it along. The curse of ebay?
Actually, I enjoyed meeting and chatting to all those big name comic creators, usually involving drinks and hot curries, but that was then, this is now and although I owe thanks to Mr. McMahon for introducing me to the delights of Italian comics and the language, that's just one of many nice memories.

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koollectablz
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Re: To Con or Not to Con?

Post by koollectablz »

Hmmmmm, true enough, and there's the rub.

I'm used to comic conventions being about comics. Stapled pages on cheap disposable paper.

Incidentally, for full disclosure I first went to one in 1977 and helped out at my dads stand. We sold every week at the London, Bham, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Bristol marts. I then stood myself at NEC memorabilia for the first few years and continued with the London mart and occasionally the London Film Fair.

My dad actually went to the very 'first' uk convention in Birmingham and actually contributed artwork to that and many subsequent programmes.

When I say I been around comics all my life, I'm not kidding.

I even remember quite a few people slagging off Lew's artwork when he first started out - saying he'll never make it into comics like the Beano/Dandy, well the last laugh is with Lew on that count... So kudos for that.

But yeah, conventions aren't about comics any more, they're about the character properties that the media bandwagons can make them into.

Hence my previous assertation. Let's not call them comic conventions anymore, because they are plainly not and haven't been since the late nineties, when the comic industry decided to eat itself.

I miss walking around a convention amd being gutted that I didn't have enough money to buy all the cool stuff I wanted. All the UK comic stuff I wanted.

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