On March 15 and 16, I’ll be attending London Super Comic Con (LSCC) as press for Women Write About Comics. Although LSCC only started in 2012, the first convention featured Stan Lee and George Perez as special guests, and its general guest lists have featured other big names, such as Bill Sienkiewicz, Kieron Gillen, and John Wagner.
In advance of this year’s convention, I asked the organizers about how LSCC got started, its development from 2012 to now, and what this year’s convention will look like:
How did London Super Comic Con come about?
The organizers are, first and foremost, comic fans. We have been reading and collecting comics for over thirty years, and some of us have been attending US comic conventions for over twenty years. We were in a pub discussing our next US convention trip when one of us asked why there isn’t a US-style convention in the United Kingdom.We discussed what form the convention should take, based on our experiences at US conventions, and we slowly realized that we had the resources and contacts to make it happen.
These contacts allowed us to meet creators and discuss our plans with them. We had to bridge the initial skepticism regarding a first-time event in the United Kingdom, but our enthusiasm and resources convinced them that we could make it happen.
How has LSCC changed (if it has) since that first convention?
It’s a lot bigger. We have increased the scope of LSCC so that whether you are a new attendee or a convention veteran there is something new for you to see.
In the first year, we had approximately twenty mainstream creators, one US publisher and a solid representation of UK and US comic dealers. This year our attendees have the opportunity to:
A) Meet creators including Arthur Adams, Max Brooks, Frank Cho, Jonathan Ross, Charlie Adlard, Katie Cook, Alan Davis, Gary Frank, Dave Gibbons, Mike Grell, John Layman, Dan Slott, and Ethan Van Sciver.
B)Check out sample comics in a publisher area with four US publishers (Avatar, BOOM! Studios, IDW Publishing, and Zenescope Entertainment) as well as the best publishers in the UnitedKingdom.
C) Visit an exhibitor area featuring the best US, UK, and European exhibitors, with a quality and quantity that has not been surpassed by any other UK convention.
What kind of panels can attendees expect to see this year?
We have expanded the panel program this year. We are running two panel rooms this year rather than one, which we did in past years. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend special guest, specific topic, and publisher panels.
Highlights include but are not limited to:
– A panel with Max Brooks, author of World War Z
-The science of superpowers panel
– Advice on creating your own comics with Howard Chaykin, John Layman, and Billy Tucci
-IDW and BOOM! Studios publisher panels
-The return of Marvelman [Miracleman in the United States] panel,featuring all three artists who worked on the character
– A creativity in comics panel, featuring Peter David, Robin Furth, and Peter Milligan
– A Dan Slott spotlight
– The final of the London Super Costume Championship.
Do you have any plans to partner with London comic shops (such as Gosh! or Orbital) in the future?
We have very strong relationships with most UK comic shops and dealers, as can be evidenced by the presence of A Place in Space, Comicana Direct, Forbidden Planet, Gosh!, and Orbital on the exhibition floor, to name just a few. We have arranged with Diamond for there to be a retailer day at this year’s convention. We are always open to suggestions and have a two-way feedback process with our exhibitors,which has been useful for both the comic shops and us.
What would you say sets LSCC apart from other UK conventions—particularly the MCM ones, which are also in London?
Our primary focus is comics rather than film or anime. This means that we focus our resources on bringing the best US, UK, and European comic creators, publishers, and exhibitors to the convention.
We focus on providing our attendees with the opportunity to always sample something new. As such, we are always reinventing ourselves. We believe it is important for LSCC to continue its evolution with feedback from our attendees, exhibitors, creators, and publishers.
Overall, it sounds like an intriguing lineup. As a huge fan of Chew, I’m looking forward to seeing John Layman, who is also my next interviewee. I’m also excited about hearing from the artists who helped bring the iconic Marvelman/Miraclemanto life and finding out what IDW and BOOM! Studios are up to.
The only distinct source of concern so far is the prominent presence of Zenescope, whose male-gaze art—which often sexually objectifiesfemale characters from classic narratives that shaped my childhood to a truly dispiriting degree—takes me back to the bad old days when trying to find comics that weren’t thoroughly insulting to girls everywhere entailed having to dig through racks (pun intended) of Lady Death’s boobs. It’s a step backward and isn’t exactly welcoming to female attendees.
The presence of BOOM! Studios, however, provides a level of reassurance; their track record of all-ages, gender-inclusive titles suggests some awareness on LSCC’s part that comics audiences are changing and expanding.
Whatever happens, I’m sure I’ll have a lot to write about this coming weekend.