February the 25th & 26th saw the London Excel centre play host to the very first London Super Comic Convention. Sporting a great lineup of guests from the world of comics such as, George Perez, Ebas, Brian Bolland, Mike Deodato Jr. and many more, LSCC was destined to be a great weekend for any comic fan or collector.
A few people have been openly skeptical about the event, asking “do we need another comic convention”, as back in April of 2011 Mark Millar launched Kapow! as the UK’s new comic con, a rival to MCMExpo the long running twice yearly convention, that for years has touted itself as “the” comic con. And, so began a 3 way fight for the crown of UK Comic Con.
Then, back in December LSCC pulled out the killer blow, that, for the moment at least has crowned LSCC the king of UK Comic Con’s.
How? Well, somehow they managed to secure the attendance of the one & only Stan “The Man” Lee. Not only would he be attending, he would be signing, have photos taken, taking panels and for a select few have a small meet and great where you actually get to talk him in. This was the first time Stan Lee had been in the UK for almost 40 years, an opportunity not to be missed.
Not surprisingly I snapped up my ticket for the convention as soon as they became available (sadly I couldn’t get a press pass as this website didn’t represent comics enough…). When Stan Lee’s attendance was announced additional tickets were required in order to get the opportunity for a signature or photo from the Man – some people aired their disappointment at this, as LSCC had always stated that ALL signatures from guests were to be free (which I am happy to report they were), – but really the pricing was very fair and the introduction of 3 VIP Tiers for Stan Lee made sure that the volume of people was realistic for the 2 days and nobody would be disappointed by queuing for hours only to be turned away (sadly something that seemed to happy often at Kapow!).
I purchased a Sunday VIP Tier 2 ticket, for an additional price of £35 on top of the entrance fee of £15 which effectively gave me early entry (9:30am) a single Signature from Stan Lee (you could purchase additional signatures), an exclusive Stan Lee Limited Edition print, drawn by J. Scott Campbell, featuring Stan and a host of Marvel characters surrounding him (RRP £15). Plus guaranteed seat at the Q&A panel at the end of the day. For £50 all in, I was sold.
I’d seen on Twitter that the Saturday had been very busy, but all seemed to have gone to plan. I decided to arrive early on Sunday, got there at 8:45am, was ushered to the appropriate line – lots of helpful staff, wearing bright yellow t-shirts on hand to answer questions – take note other conventions – received my lanyard, nice keepsake and waited.
Promptly at 10am we moved into the signing area and started to queue. Stan arrived a little late (10mins or so) and then proceeded to start signing. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect, it’s all very well planned out, like a military manoeuvre, you have your item out of any packaging, it’s handed to an assistant who then places it in front of Stan, who signs it and then it’s handed back, no time to chat or handshakes, this guy has hundreds of items to sign in a very limited time. Fortunately for me there were a few other items on the desk so I stood there for a good minute or so waiting and then it was my turn so I had the perfect opportunity to take a photo of him actually signing my comic (Amazing Spider-Man #300 if anyone is interested). And as quick as that it was over, the difference of course, I now have an amazing comic in my collection.
The rest of the day was spend wondering the numerous stands of comics, picking up a few missed issues to finish the odd mini series that I’d never gotten round to. And, more importantly, getting comics that I had brought with me from home, signed by some of the guest. Yes, I’d gone through my collection, compared it against the guest list and found a few things to sign. I wasn’t expecting to get everything signed – to be honest I was just happy about the Stan Lee signature, everyone else would be a bonus – however, I got about 90% done and a few I wasn’t expecting, like George Perez who signed a couple of New 52 Superman issue #1 for me. Sure there was some queuing involved but that was to be expected and the opportunities to meet some great guest, get sketches – if you were quick enough seems that the commission books got filled pretty quickly during the day – far outweighed the time it took.
Was London Super Comic Con successful? I would say very much so. I had a great day. It didn’t quite have the party the vibe of Kapow! but I put this down to the size of the venue, there was lots of open space, whereas Kapow! was in a much smaller venue and so much more packed, but that of course works both ways…. I think as a first outing it was very well organised, great staff and they pulled a coup with Stan, all it needs to do now is get bigger.
Is there room for another comic con? In my opinion definitely. As I see it MCMExpo targets Manga/Anime with a hearty splash of Cosplay, whereas Kapow! seems to straddle the Comic/Movie fence a little and LSCC is clearly focused on comics. I understand that in response to Stan Lee attending LSCC Mark Millar has pulled in Joe Quesada Marvel’s editor-in-chief as a guest along with many notable others. So the battle for the crown of UK Comic Con continues and that can only be a good thing for all us geeks!