“Comic fans want a comic book convention, not sci-fi or celebrities!” Dan Mallier discusses the debut of the Leamington Comic Con this October
As well as the big global comic conventions like NYCC or SDCC there are also loads of great small conventions based in the UK which fans who can’t make a trip across the pond should really check out. Making it’s debut this year is the Leamington Comic Con on October 18th 2014 and to celebrate adding another event great comics date to our diary we caught up with it’s founder Dan Mallier to find out what makes his convention different from all the rest.
This is your first year running, so what inspired you to set up a Comic Convention and why base it in Leamington? Is that a hot bed of comic fandom?!
DM: I have attended a number of UK comic conventions over the years, from the big MCM events to independent and local cons such as Nottingham and Leicester Comic Con.
Being honest the thought of setting up my own con hadn’t previous crossed mind, but as I was driving to work on February the 19th 2014 (that is the exact date!) a light bulb went off and I thought about setting up the first Comic Con to be held in my home town.
My first step in this project was to set up the @LeamComicCon twitter account and gauge the interest and it has snow balled from there.
It is fair to say that Leamington isn’t known for its comic culture, however things have changed in the last 12 months as we now have two pop up comic shops, which pop up at various local events and an independent table top, comic and collectible shop has recently opened. There is also a huge student population in the area.
What Leamington and Warwickshire as a whole does have is a great history of hosting and supporting local events. This was demonstrated by the support I received during my indiegogo campaign, which has funded this event.
Who will be attending and what will make your con stand out from the others?
DM: I think it is fair to say that there are enough comic conventions out there that cover anime, gaming and celebrity signings etc. so I see no point in replicating this type of con.
However, we have a great line up of small press publishers, writers, illustrators, local talent as well as comic and memorabilia traders.
To give you feel of who is attending, we have Neil Gibson (T Publications), Borderline Press, Al Davison, London Horror Comic, Mike Garley, Victor Wright (Geeky Comics) with many more confirmed exhibitors attending.
From the off our project has always been about promoting small press and local talent, as we want to provide a platform to showcase the cool indie comics that are out there and what you can discover if you look past the big boys.
I also hope that we can grow our event alongside the great talent that will be on show at Leamington Comic Con.
Will the event be primarily comic based or will you be throwing some sci-fi elements as well? What events have you got running as part of the Con?
DM: Our event will have comics, comics and more comics! Leamington Comic Con will primarily focus on comics and I see that as a key attraction to our con, but we will also have illustration, Q & A panels, cosplay, magicians and the UK Garrison attending. We are also planning on raising money for local charities.
I find it strange when I go to some comic conventions, that comics actually make up such a small part of the event, so I plan to flip that on its head! The feedback on social media also suggests that comic fans want a comic book convention, not sci-fi or celebrities.
I guess what I am trying to say is that we are a comic con which focuses on comics, indie, small press and local talent!
If you could put together a dream line-up, who would you invite and why? (Is there anyone you wish you could have got for this one but didn’t?)
DM: If I could pick anyone to attend Leamington Comic Con, I would have to pick Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Peter Cullen and Neil Gibson!
I don’t think I need to say why I would want Alan Moore and Frank Miller, but I would love to have Peter Cullen as I am a Transformers nerd and Optimus Prime is a bit of a hero of mine!
I’m also a huge fan of the Twisted Dark comic series, so I was over the moon when Neil agreed to attend Leamington Comic Con, considering that this is the first event I have put on.
I did think about trying to see if Alan Moore would be interested as I had a possible avenue to make contact, plus he only lives down the road in Northampton. However, I had heard that Alan isn’t keen on attending cons, so I bottled it!
What are your hopes and goals for this year’s Con and any plans to run next year (or is it a wait and see approach?
DM: So far the signs are looking really good and I am confident that Leamington Comic Con will be a hit and I have set a target of 500 to 1000 people attending on the day.
Also, as this project has been funded through Indiegogo, I have promised to use profits generated to turn Leamington Comic Con into an annual event. In the future, I aim to put on a multi venue weekend comic festival, but let’s not run before I can walk.
However, if no-one turns up, you will see me sliding out of the venue fire escape. I will then look back and say at least I gave it a go and I will always be the one that set up Leamington’s first comic con!
The Leamington Comic Convention is being held on October 18th at The Royal Pump Rooms in Royal Leamingon Spa. For more information follow @LeamComicCon on Twitter, visit their Facebook page and to purchase tickets simply click here!