Ok ok, I know I said this would be done yesterday and that the second part would be up today, but oh boy did I underestimate just how much sorting out would be required when I got home. Comics bought needed bagging and boarding (there were a LOT), shelves and comic boxes needed reorganising to accomodate new books and figures and art/prints needed filing away in preparation for framing. But I tell you what, it was all worth it based on the phenomenal weekend I had.
I went there with my friend Matt, and we laerned our lesson from last years massive queues by getting early entry passes for the weekend. This got us into the convention centre at 9:30 instead of 10;00, meaning that we could get straight over to the people we wanted to see first. I’ll get back to that shortly though. Firstly, I want to discuss the venue a little bit.
The Excel Centre in London is a genuinely awesome venue, it’s huge to start with. There’s loads inside to sustain you throughout the day, a large variety of different food vendors and not one but two ever reliable Costa outlets. To be honest with you that was enough for me on both days, I just walked around all weekend totally wired on coffee. The convention itself was held in two halls, much like last year but the halls themselves were bigger than last year. It’s nice to see a UK convention steadily growing in size year on year, and it speaks volumes of not just the growing popularity of the comics medium but also the quality of organisation of the convention.
The queues for entry, guests and artists were all handled extremely well, with the staff (I called them yellow shirts, so we’ll go with that from now on) making sure that none of the queues came near to each other, therefore keeping it nice and clear who each queue was for. It was an impressive feat, especially considering that Dan Slott and Ethan van Sciver were pretty close to each other and both were very popular to go meet and get signings from. The halls were laid out really well, with the panel areas all over the far side and clearly labelled up and a large walkway between all of the guests, the artists down artist alley and all the seller tables. Not only was this really good for the number of attendees wandering around, it was good for those with large elaborate costumes and more imprtantly, it was good for those in wheelchairs too. The only thing I think they could have done in that respect is lowered the tables a little, I could have dealt with stooping a little to make it easier for them.
Now, guest wise there was a fair bit to shout about, but there were two real main guys I wanted to go and see. I wanted to go meet Dan Slott myself, I was also looking for a sketch on a blank variant cover from Gary Frank, being such a huge fan of his work on Action Comics. So, seeing as there would be a fresh queue on both mornings for Dan Slott, I opted to go straight down to see Gary Frank and get on his sketch list. I put my name down (12th on the list) and was told to head back in the afternoon to drop off the variant since he had a signing to go to later on. Fair enough, so I carried on with my morning.
I’d like to point out now that this was the only negative I took from the weekend, but was nonetheless both extremely disappointing and a little surprising. Twice throughout the first day I headed back over, leaving a fairly large chunk of time between each time and both times he blew me off, seeming to get quite irritated with me trying to give him money to do something I assumed he loved. But hey, that £75 for a single bloody headshot went to much better use. But that will be for tomorrow’s post. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t come away with an original piece from Frank, but with the way he was over me checking back with him and the snails pace he was working at, frankly (pun intended) I was put off completely.
Checking out artists alley was great though, the highlights being meeting Jamie Tyndall and grabbing a couple of prints which I’ll show tomorrow. He was such a nice guy, happy to chat about his work and even willing to take a blank variant to do at home and ship it out to me from the US. The only downside was it was £150, which I would have paid had I gone with more money. I love his artwork, and how nice he was totally sold me on it. As I said though, the money was the issue but I picked up the couple of prints for £30 instead. A little more affordable, but still a show of support.
Second to check out was the more indie artists, the ones that I knew would be more than happy to crack on with a good sketch for me. I ended up going with Federica Manfredi for one, Jack Lawrence (also known as Jackademus) for another and Andy Clift for the other. I saved Andy Clift for last since we ended up chatting with him for ages last year, so I thought it’d be nice to have a good catch up again. He’s very chatty, but usually has really good points to make about comic adaptations in film and TV, and is always an absolute pleasure to talk to. I bumped into him multiple times throughout the weekend and had a great time just standing around chatting to him. The blanks will all be up on here tomorrow, they have been tweeted already but I’ll put them here too.
On the second day, just after I met Dan Slott, we wandered over for his panel discussing his work on Spider-Man, his upcoming Silver Surfer series and influences. He chatted about where his interest in comics first came from, the first stuff he wrote as a pro writer and managed to talk about all his current work without spoiling anything. It’s impressive since he is as much of a geek as every one of us sat in on the panel, you can see how excited he is to be working on all this cool stuff. It’s good to see, I would find it hard to get excited about a book coming from a writer that doesn’t have the passion for what he or she is doing.
All in all, this was hands down the best comic convention I’ve been to, and one of the greatest weekends I’ve ever had. I had a great time chatting to new people, meeting some fantastically talented artists and talking to all the vendors. I didn’t come away with all the comics that were on my list, the main thing I missed out on was Action Comics #252 but that would most likely have been out of my budget for that particular weekend. I genuinely cannot wait for next year’s LSCC, and it’s been a great way to kick off the year of conventions for me. This time next year, I would thoroughly recommend anyone that can get to London that enjoys comics go check this out. No doubt next year will be bigger and better than this year, with even more impressive guests so go check it out.