|From the Shropshire Star.|
There was a debate on the Comics UK Forum a while ago, with some members claiming "comic cons" were no longer about comics
I disagreed, because admittedly the larger shows such as those run by Showmasters are mainly focused on film and tv stars, there are still many events that are "All about the comics" to use the catchphrase of Enniskillen Comic Fest organiser Paul Trimble.
|With Joanne Alexander in Enniskillen.|
|Arriving in Northern Ireland.|
|With Emma Chinnery and Spidey at Macc-Pow!|
However, it's the comics-dedicated events where you're certain to find everyone is into comics. This year has seen numerous shows all over the UK that are purely comic cons. All of the ones I attended were good fun and 100% about comics, including ICE, Lancaster Comics Day, Birmingham Comics Fesitval, Macc-Pow!, Bristol Comics Expo, Shrewsbury International Comic Art Festival, and the aforementioned Enniskillen Comic Fest. There was also Stoke-Con-Trent, which, although it included actors as well, felt more like a comics con and was very enjoyable.
|With Nika Nartova and Nigel Parkinson in Cardiff.|
I can't express enough how much I enjoy attending comics conventions. I think I speak for many of us in this profession that as we work in solitude it's refreshing, uplifting, and healthy (as long as we don't stay in the bar too long) to get out and meet up with like-minded people, fan and pro alike. I've lost count of how many conventions I've attended over the years, first as a punter in 1979, then as a guest from about 1984 onwards. Back then we were lucky if there was one convention a year. These days there are several events practically every weekend throughout the year, so even the 11 that I was at this year was only scratching the surface.
|Lancaster Comics Day.|
For 2017, I'm booked for six conventions so far. Two of them are a return visit to the Enniskillen Comic Fest (https://lewstringer.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/news-of-enniskillen-comic-fest-2017.html) and the new ICE Brighton (http://lewstringercomics.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/new-convention-for-2017.html). I'll reveal what the other ones are when the organisers have made the announcements public, but it's going to be a busy summer!
|Macc-Pow! in Macclesfield.|
One of the changes I've noticed in conventions over the years are that there are now more women at events, both creators and fans. I'm sure that things like Manga, Vertigo comics, and other more diverse graphic novels must have played a part, and it's a welcome improvement on the days when 99% of attendees were men. There are also more families attending cons now, which, again, wasn't the case back in the 1980s. It's a positive sign that conventions are attracting a more mainstream audience and that can only be a good thing for creators wanting to reach a wider readership.
|Stoke Con Trent.|
|Rachael Stott, Robbie Morrison, Sarah Millman, some old bloke.|
If you're a regular attendee of comic cons, or if you've yet to take the plunge, I hope to see you at some of the shows next year. They're always good, informal events and worth coming along to. Support your local comic con and have a good day out!
|With Hunt Emerson and Laura Howell in Enniskillen.|