Sunday, May 03, 2015

1980 London convention

I've lost count of the number of comic conventions I've attended over the years but the second one I went to was the Marvel Comics Film and Fantasy Convention 1980. I think it took place in September of that year, and I forget the venue but it was somewhere in London. This was several years before I'd be invited to any as a guest of course.

Unlike previous UK cons which had been organized by various fans, the 1980 one was produced by Marvel UK. Although it did feature some comic-related events it also featured a healthy amount of film and TV related panels. In that respect it was a pioneer of the sort of shows that take place today, albeit on a much smaller scale. 

Here are a few pages from the A5 convention booklet. Above is the front cover by Paul Neary, using artwork that would also appear on the cover of that year's British Spider-Man Annual

As you can see from the list of staff, Colin Campbell was one of the event co-ordinators. Colin had run the previous year's convention in Birmingham.

The guest list included a good selection of people from comics and film/TV...


As it was a Marvel-financed show the booklet naturally used a couple of pages to promote its latest UK reprint comics...

Comic conventions back then usually had a venue with a cinema in order to show various SF movies. This event being no exception...

Here's the list of events over the two days...

Winners of the Starburst Awards received one of these trophies based on Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still...

I took a few photographs over that weekend but I only had a cheap camera back then with a poor flash so my apologies for the low quality of these shots. I've tried to improve them in Photoshop as best I can but they're still substandard... 

Cosplay wasn't the big thing it is today but a few people turned up in fancy dress such as this guy as Captain America. (Possibly a Marvel UK staff member?)

Blake's Seven actor Jaqueline Pearce with her Starburst Award (and also collecting one on behalf of someone else I believe)...

Actors Caroline Munro and Paul Darrow...

Me when I was 21! 

As it was 35 years ago I've forgotten most of what happened at the show. The main thing I recall is going for a lunchtime drink in a pub on the Portobello Road and meeting Lemmy from Motorhead, as one of my mates knew him. Sadly that pal died a few years ago, and I've long lost touch with some other friends from that time. I remember the convention didn't quite have the spark it deserved, mainly due to the venue, but we didn't care. We were young and we had a laugh, which in the end is what it's all about.

7 comments:

paddykool said...

Great to see all the old photos Lew....yes remember a time when photos were rare enough items ..unlike today where everything is photographed and filmed. That was the year I was getting married...man it seems so long ago!!!

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, it's a cliche to say something like 'It feels like only yesterday' but to me it feels like the 35 years it is. A long, long time ago.

Tony Howson said...

Another great post Lew - and practically a piece of living history. A different world and a different way of life.

I remember the ads for this but, from my home in the industrial North East, London seemed as distant as New York so no way I would have been able to attend.

Still Northern based but now regularly commute to London for work and don't give it a second thought. World seems a lot smaller and accessible these days.

Of course now there's no need to go anywhere because you can get your fill of coverage on the web, FaceBook and Twitter and download the comics that you would have hunted for in the dealer's room.

Colin Jones said...

So do you wear contact lenses now, Lew ? Or do you no longer need glasses ?

Lew Stringer said...

I mainly need them for long distance Colin so I either wear glasses or contact lenses depending on how I feel.

Tony, I know the feeling. When I was 9 and reading about the first UK con in Pow! comic I felt that Birmingham was too far to travel for the event and I only lived about 30 miles away. From the age of 20, when I started traveling to Brum and London regularly for comic marts I never gave it a second thought.

SLOW ROBOT said...

Hi Lew

Another amazing post... thank you.

I wasn't there (The Royal Horticultural Society New Hall, SW1) but I have posted some of MARVEL UK's pre-publicity and post-event coverage on STARLOGGED.

PRE-EVENT:

http://starlogged.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/1980-marvel-uk-comics-film-fantasy.html

COVERAGE:

http://starlogged.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/1980-marvel-uk-comics-film-fantasy.html

Lew Stringer said...

Ah, so that was the venue. Thanks for the reminder!

Thanks also for the links. It's been many years since I threw out my copies of Starburst so I'd forgotten about that photo feature.

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