This weekend saw the return of Leamington Comic Con 2015 with a new venue, more activities and a stellar line up of guests headlined by Aces Weekly’s David Lloyd, but was this enough to make this small show into a big deal?
After a solid debut last year, Leamington Comic Con 2015 has moved from the Georgian splendour of the town’s Pump Rooms to a former theatre, turned gig venue, known as The Assembly. With more space, a dedicated panel room and a great vintage atmosphere, it’s a move we hope is permanent as it gives the whole show a really unique feel that you don’t get in an anonymous conference hall or exhibition centre.
The show is spread out across three floors with the main hall hosting the majority of exhibitors, an improved selection of retailers selling back issues and merchandise, as well as a huge stage for the Cosplay parade. The hall itself was impressively full when we arrived, thanks in part to the morning being dedicated to those aforementioned cosplayers, which meant it was packed full of Batmen, Harley Quinns, Stormtroopers and more, giving the place a great sense of geeky excitement for those who arrived as the doors opened.
With 3 rows of tables full of exhibitors filling the relatively small space, it was quite cramped for moving around at first, but soon calmed down when the cosplay events or panels started happening in the rest of the building, and it was definitely preferable to last year’s room where all the tables were pushed the edge leaving a huge gap in the middle.
The guests comprised a nice mix of established names like David Lloyd, Transformers legends Simon Furman and Andrew Wildman and Marvel artist Lee Bradley alongside indie stars like Red Mask from Mars’ Vince Hunt, Mike Garley and The Kill Screen team of Joshua Sherwell and Mike Stock, plus JP Kamath’s London Horror Comic and many more. With no obvious preferential treatment for the bigger names it meant the indie guys were not sidelined into a corner and so the whole thing felt like a very inclusive event that really seemed to put an emphasis on comic creators of all types.
With a great selection of panels, from cosplay to digital comics to indie small press, the dedicated panel room downstairs was a huge improvement on last year where the stage in the main hall was used and was barely audible. Things still weren’t quite perfect for this part of the show though, as it wasn’t very well sign-posted and so was difficult to find. This may have contributed to several of the panels being quite empty and with the panels running late before they even started, people missed the talks they wanted to see and the small press event at the very end of the day was going on when everyone was starting to pack up, which was a shame. Also because it was the dressing room for the cosplayers it meant there were quite a few interruptions as the storm troopers recharged their blasters and Darth Vader had a loo break.
Despite these minor grumbles, Leamington Comic Con 2015 was still a huge success and a major improvement on last year. Having fixed it’s venue problem, added to it’s activities and upgraded it’s guest list, it is now up there with Melksham and True Believers as one of the UK’s best small comic conventions. With a great atmosphere and a friendly attitude from all involved, we hope this strong showing enables it to go from strength to strength next year!
“With a great venue and a strong mix of guests Leamington Comic Con 2015 built on last year’s success to become a really great convention for all true comic fans!””