This year’s London Super Comic Convention just hit the Con calendar and with the time of year, venue and number of days all changing there were a lot of moving parts for the 6th year of the event.
I’d be hard pushed to list a Convention that gets every elements right, as balancing them all out means that the organizers were unlikely to please everyone but LSCC seems to have been one of the best at keeping the comic element there while catering to the wider geek culture as well.
There’s a number of key areas that can become make or break though & while that’s the same with every con in every year – looking at LSCC the main focus has to be those changes.
The whole con season usually kicked off for me with LSCC in February but a move to August pushed it back into the midst of con season and that alone raised a few eyebrows on social media. Couple that with the fact it was moving to a bank holiday weekend meant it was really competing with a number of different events as FrightFest, Notting Hill Carnival & more were all hitting – this felt like the biggest gamble for the event as a whole and over the course of the three days it didn’t feel like the event generated the same LSCC-buzz that it has in previous years. This left it feeling like the first year of a new Convention rather than the sixth.
Other factors like travel disruptions on the trains/tube and a sunny weekend must have played their part too but that’s out with the control of the organizers.
The event switched from the ExCel to the Business Design Centre and this felt like the strongest improvement with a more spacious & suitable set of surroundings for what they were aiming to fit in – although the main area seemed to get particularly warm at times with artist alley being much cooler in comparison with its air-conned room. That being said the final floor plan could have been worked in better – I’d have preferred to see the Artist Alley in the main hall rather than tucked away in another room or even more of a mix between the two and with the space the BDC offers there’s definite scope for them to shuffle this around for next year.
The change to a 3-day event felt like the biggest misfire for me as London can be expensive at the best of times but coupled with the date change to a Bank Holiday it became even more of a minefield if you were staying for the duration. Friday was exceptionally quiet and with Saturday typically being the busiest day the place felt like it was struggling to get people in the door…..no queuing to get in and very little queuing for guests (minus a big name like Bendis) which isn’t so much of an issue for those that were there but a major issue for vendors & the small press/indie creators in particular. I also saw a GroupOn offer appear for LSCC which I don’t remember seeing in previous years (although I may have missed it) but it seemed like a bit more of an indication that ticket sales were down.
The other elements that make up LSCC were pretty much there as expected from an established Con – a solid set of guests (at least for me) that I didn’t mind queuing for occasionally, a wide selection of small press/indie comics which is a BIG focus for me anyway, some great stalls with probably the best selection of back issues I’ve seen at a Con in a while and the likes of Markosia & Valiant in attendance to promote their amazing selection of books. The panels I made it too were also a great mix of fun & informative with Bendis offering some great insights into converting comics for Movie/TV, diversity being discussed by Joe Glass, Erica Shultz & Maria Laura Sanapo with an open-minded audience who were pretty much already on-board with the idea of balanced representation and then there was Bendis & Slott talking all about Spider-man which was always going to be entertaining.
The amazing staff kept things moving as always and were their typically professional selves over the whole 3 days. The only quibble I would have is that they decide which approach they are going to take to the queuing for the bigger guests – if they’re going to use tickets then do that from the start and if a signing is cancelled over the course of the weekend announce that or post it on Facebook/Twitter for all to see – these small details can make a difference when trying to plan your day with signings & panels that are inevitably going to clash.
In the end, LSCC continues to be one of my favourite events and one of only two conventions that I’ve been to every year it’s been held – Edinburgh Comic Con being the other. It’s always been a well-balanced convention with it striving to retain the comic element at its core without pushing away the cosplay or other elements in the broader geeky realm. I get to meet comic legends, I get to see some new small press titles, I catch-up with creators & artist friends from all over the country and I get to immerse myself in a world where my hobby of comics is celebrated in all it’s forms.
I still managed to do that at LSCC , however it will need to adjust some things to get it back to being a great con rather than a good con and with the level of attendance that’s needed to make sure every creator who is promoting their work gets a good chance of getting a return for their hard work from pro to first-timer. The date HAS to change and hopefully we’ll see that happen for next year and that seems to be the biggest factor that will fix the majority of issues I had or have heard in the last few days….the minor quibbles will take care of themselves as the con settles into its new surroundings I’m sure.
I’ll be back LSCC……roll-on 2018!!