Having taken a year off in 2016, Leamington Comic Con is back with a new date, a new venue, and a line-up featuring some of the best of small press, as well as Big Two superstars Chris Wildgoose and Marc Laming. We catch up with organisers Dan Mallier and Lisa-Marie Nelson to find out what we can look forward to on March 25th!
Leamington Comic Con returns on March 25th, tell us a bit about what we can look forward to at this year’s event? What guests have you got and is it in the same venue etc.?
Lisa Marie Nelson: Not only have we more big name guests and talented independent writers, artists and creators than you can shake a stick at, we’ve moved on up to an even bigger and better venue. This year Leam Comic Con is taking place at the Royal Spa Centre.
You’ll be able to meet Marc Laming whose artwork has appeared in Marvel’s Star Wars: Force Awakens; Montynero co-creator of Death Sentence; John-Paul Bove best known for his work on Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Judge Dredd; and Mike Garley from the critically acclaimed The Kill Screen.
What did you learn from the last event which you’ll be putting into practise at this years show?
Dan Mallier: We learn heaps every time we run an event, no two are ever the same. Our last convention was at a multi-level venue which always makes things harder from a management perspective. The Royal Spa Centre, with its main stage auditorium and a Studio which also operates as a cinema, means we’ll have the perfect space to host our guests, exhibitors, Q&A panels, Kid’s Zone and a Cosplay Catwalk.
Have you picked up any tricks from other cons?
LNM: Not tricks as such, but we’re always in awe of how well organised True Believers Comic Con is. They have a great venue and always plenty of helpers on hand. This year we’ve got even more helpers too so hoping the event is a slicker production.
You had a year off last year and are coming back in a new time slot, was that a calculated move (a good one considering the shifts in the convention season for 2017 with Thought Bubble and London Super Comic Con moving) and are you happy with your new slot?
DM: We took a slightly longer break to launch Spa Town Comics our pop-up comic book shop, oh we’re also getting married in October this year, so that had something to do with it too! As things worked out it seems a good move so far.
Is it tough staying competitive in this growing market of cons?
LNM: There are a lot of comic conventions popping up, which is great for introducing more people to the fantastic medium of comics. So why should people come to our comic convention instead of or as well as some of the rest? Because we’re a comic book convention about comic books!
Joking aside some may be disappointed about this, but we know comic book fans will rejoice – you’ll find no TV and Film guests at our event, just solid comic book artists, writers and creators from the mainstream to start-ups. That’s not to say we wouldn’t do something in the TV and film arena, but not at Leam Comic Con.
You’ll be showcasing the winners of the small press factor competition at the event, can you tell us a bit about how the competition went and how you chose the winners?
DM: We’re committed to supporting industry creativity whether that be via Leam Comic Con or Spa Town Comics. We strive to promote literacy and creativity through our events, providing a platform for talented artists, writers and creators to showcase and sell their work and that’s what the Small Press Factor aimed to achieve.
The judges considered story, originality, artwork and lettering. We received some amazing quality comics, like the King Legacy Comic, which went on to win the competition and we can’t wait to meet them in person at Leam Comic Con 2017 and stock their title at Spa Town Comics.
LNM: We’ve heard a lot of noise in the industry about the new breed of comic book conventions focusing more on TV and film than comics, although this year’s Small Press Factor competition had a lower than expected number of entrants, we’re committed to supporting small press and hope to see this competition grow.
A few were put off by having to submit a video, but this was an important element for us. The competition was not only there to showcase great talent, but to make us (and our followers) want to buy their comic book. There’s lots of great indie comics out there that rival the big three, but if you can’t sell yourself on camera or in person, there’s little a convention can do to help.
You’ve also been running a pop up comic shop in Leamington, and have plans for more events in the Town, is that a big part of growing the audience for the show?
DM: Yes the shop is an integral part in helping us achieve what we want to in Leamington. We strive to be a community hub by sharing our knowledge and putting on events for people to celebrate and share their hobbies and interests and make new friends. We believe we’ve got a big role to play in supporting Leamington’s ‘geek’ culture and making it a better place to be.
And finally what events do you recommend people should check out in the day? Are there any panels or guests you are particularly excited about as a fan?
DM: We’ve got a great line up of panels including one on Comic Book Formats by Mike Garley, Visual Storytelling by TPub’s Neil Gibson, a live comic book reading by the Death by Heroism duo, a session with the Awesome Comics Podcast and a Cosplay Panel and presentation hosted by the International Charity Cosplayers.
We’re super excited to welcome Sonia Leong, a multi-award winning Manga creator who has worked for TokyoPop, Self-Made Hero, Image Comics, Hachettes, VIZ Media and Titan Comics to name a few, to this year’s convention.
LNM: Plus, we’re chuffed that Darrell Thorpe will be launching his second comic book Sub Diablo: Great Titans. His first comic Sub Diablo was runner-up in our Small Press Factor competition. Darrell is a top bloke full of energy and enthusiasm and his artwork is truly unique.
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.