Cheltenham in the UK is famous for it’s festivals, from horse-racing to literature and more, but it’s about to get a new event which comics geeks like us are probably much more interested in! That’s right in February 2015 the True Believers Comic Festival is coming to this famous old spa city and so to find out more we talked to founder Stuart Mulrain as tickets go on sale for 2015’s first must-visit comics event.
What inspired you to setup the True Believers Comic Festival and why base it in Cheltenham?
SM: I wanted to put on an event that put the emphasis back onto the comic books and their creators. It always struck me as odd that, given the huge variety of festivals that are held in Cheltenham throughout the year, that there had never been a comic book event held here. The time and place seemed right for True Believers.
What events and guests have you got going on this year and what can fans look forward to?
SM: We have over 150 tables of traders, exhibitors and artists, with a mixture of new, independent and established artists who will be showcasing and selling their work. We will also be holding live Q&A panels throughout the day with most of our guests. There will also be a Geek Quiz and several cosplay events including workshops and a cosplay catwalk.
Our Guest List includes people like Dylan Teague, Mike Collins, Lee Townsend, Lee Garbett, Laurence Campbell, Kate Brown, Jackademus, Nich Angell, Emma Vieceli and Jon Lock. We’ve also got comic legend Neal Adams coming over for the day as well.
What makes your event different than other conventions around at the moment?
SM: You hear people who have been fans of comics for years, talking about how conventions were back in their early days, before they became over run with all the showbiz that seems to dominate them now and you marvel at the purity of what they were. That’s the vibe we’re going for with True Believers. A place where people who love comics can come and have a great time and meet new people on both sides of the tables and discover and buy new comics and maybe even track down a few of those back issues they need for their long boxes.
What are your goals and aims for this year and any plans to run next year or are you waiting and seeing?
SM: Our goal is to put on an event that celebrates comics and comic fandom by giving fans (both new and old) of all ages a day out that they will enjoy and remember. If folks come away from the event having had a good time then we’ve done what we set out to do and hopefully that’ll put us in a good position to start bringing to life our plans for 2016 (which is already in the early planning stages).
Finally, if you could have any guest or run any kind of event at your festival what would you choose and why?
SM: For a first time event we were really lucky and got a great guest list from both the established world of comics and a few folk who are starting to make waves on the independent circuit as well and we’re hugely grateful to all of them and I would love for them to be our guests again at future events.
There are a couple of folks we couldn’t get this year who we are hoping to be able to secure further down the line and there are a couple more that I’m hoping – if 2015 is popular enough – will be joining us in 2016. If we can get them, then there is a panel that I’m dying to put on, but to tell you anymore at the moment would spoil the potential surprise for 2016.