Behind The Table: Leamington Comic Con 2017

Leamington Comic Con Logo 2015For our second stint behind a convention table we were lucky enough to get a spot at Leamington Comic Con 2017. We’d been to the previous two as a punter and loved the passion that Dan and the team had put into the event, so we knew it would be another really enjoyable day with the emphasis on comics not all that other nonsense.

We seem to start every article about Leamington like this, however this is the last time we promise – after an 18 month hiatus Leamington Comic Con is back for 2017 and the new venue of the Royal Spa Centre was a perfect pick, which made the wait between shows well worth it. The event was spread out of over two floors and various rooms, with the comics area in one of the conference hall rooms downstairs and cosplay and vendors spread around the rest of the building.

As we were directed to our table we were pleased to see it was a small, fairly intimate venue, but one filled with a host of familiar faces. We were put on the corner just as you came in, with Brethren Born’s Jon Laight at the table next to us, and Neil from Tpub on the other side, so we knew we were in for a fun day. Opposite us was Time Bomb Comics’ Steve Tanner in a vibrant green jacket (we’d not met him before but knew Olly was a big fan of his Flintlock book) while also staring across the aisle at us were Emily Owen and Gav Mitchell, Matt and Paul from Dead Canary Comics and more.

We’ll be honest after the sprawling auditorium, at True Believers we were a little under whelmed at first at the scale of the whole thing. But as the day progressed we were proved wrong for doubting it, as the relatively small sized room made for a very intimate and personal environment that was really helped by having a group of dedicated comics creators in one place. So even when the flow of punters went quiet it meant we were able to catch up with each other, swap advice and generally put the world to rights. (A special mention here for Dan Harris from Attic Studios who extolled to us about the virtues of Patreon, Rudra Purkayastha  whose book Flirting with Death leapt to the top of our must-read pile thanks to his amiable nature, and Gav Mitchell for letting us know some exciting secrets about Trolltooth Wars!)

Having set up we took a chance to go and chat to a few of the folk on the other side of the room. First up was Rozi Hathaway and the Good Comics pair of Sam Williams and Paddy Johnston to talk to them about Cosmos, and our recent round up of their books on the site. These guys are definitely one to watch (we’re going to label them the new Avery Hill right now in fact!) and they gave us a sneak preview of their next release, Human Garbage from Glorious Wresting Alliance’s Josh Hicks – which looks incredible!

After that we popped by to catch up with Mike Garley and Andy Clift to talk Samurai Slasher and the Kill Screen, before popping over to see. King Legacy’s Liam and Jay Frettingham and David Jones, who were tucked in next to the Awesome Comics Podcast guys. At this point we noticed the one major downer for the day, as there was no Chris Wildgoose, who we later found out couldn’t make it due to work commitments, so I guess my copies of Porcelain will have to remained unsigned for another year!

As the doors opened a steady flow of punters began to enter the venue, but not before a 7 foot wookieee and a bunch of jedis strutted around the floor. Although there was plenty of cosplay going on and we got to see quite a few of the costumed character throughout the day (which added a nice splash of colour to the event) they were corralled off to their own area upstairs, which meant the aisles weren’t cluttering with kids in Manga outfits taking selfies which was a huge relief.

Sales were slow and steady in the morning, unlike the one man sales machine Jon next to us who had a steady flow of people to his table, drawn in by his patter and his dice game. One of the first visitors to our table was David Molofsky from A Place to Hang Your Cape. But don’t worry folks, there wasn’t a square off of rival indie comic sites, instead it was great to catch up with him, and chat comics and even talk about potential team ups in the future. Later in the day we also got a chance to meet Broken Frontier editor in chief Andy Oliver, as well as our roving reporter Olly MacNamee, so it was great to see that the con was so well represented amongst the indie press.

After a relatively quiet morning, I decided to take a bit of a walk around the venue and it was at this point that I really got to see what the lure of Leamington Comic Con was for those attending.  Upstairs in a sun kissed mezzanine were the traders, a bar, and a kids work shop hosted by Darrell Thorpe of Sub Diablo fame, who also popped by our table earlier in the day to talk about his recent review and generally bombard us with his relentless enthusiasm. You couldn’t have asked for a better creator to engage with the kids and the ones there watching him draw monsters and creatures were in total awe, which meant it must have made for a great day for those who brought their kids her (especially as under 13s got in for free.)

Just as it was at True Believers, in the afternoon sales began to pick up and it was really great to see so many people engage with the Pull List and check it out. This and True Believers were a bit of an experiment for us, to see whether there was a place for the Pull List in the U.K. Indie scene, and on reflection I definitely think there is. This desire to continue was helped by a very encouraging chat with Steve Tanner late in the afternoon, who along with Chris Baker from Dead Canary Comics at True Believers, have been so inspiring and motivational! – so a huge thank you to them and as a result, you will definitely be seeing us behind a table at a convention or two again in the future!

As the day drew to a close, the chat between creators became more common as the flow of punters slowly dried up. We all reflected on a really enjoyable and fun day, and although it may not have been stellar for sales for some, the atmosphere and general chilled out ambiance (especially compared to the previous weeks MCM in Birmingham), made for a throughly enjoyable day. As organisers Dan and Lisa wandered around the hall making sure we had all had a great day, we couldn’t tell them otherwise, and we hope they will have us back again next year as this was a really great convention to be behind a table.

Author: Alex Thomas

Alex Thomas is the Editor and founder of PIpedream Comics. He grew up reading comics in the 90s, so even though he loves all things indie and small press, he is easily distracted by a hologram cover.