Day One – Saturday 23 February
It is the second ever LSCC, once again held in the ExCel Centre in London, and Geek pride (Myself and our glorious leader Matt) are excited about our first comic convention in the big smoke! The doors opened at 10:00am with the early pass holders entering at 9.30am; we got there early.
Having arrived to collect our press passes we skipped the queues and entered with the first arrivals into the main exhibition hall, which sadly seemed a little underwhelming. The hall itself was of a medium size and only two thirds was taken up with exhibition stands, with the other third left for ticket processing and the Panel Room; leaving a lot of dead space.
Having a quick browse round the hall to see what was on offer to the attendees, it came quickly apparent that if you are simply a fan of comic books or an avid collector this is the place for you. With an entire third of the room dedicated to artists and producers and another third dedicated to selling everything comic book related, I thought to myself this was going to be a good weekend!
The day started off slowly as the staff busily worked away in letting the attendees enter in batches but this however gave me a chance to quickly meet Ron Marz (Artifacts and Witchblade) before it got busier….
Ron advised that although he has been to the United Kingdom before, it was his first time at LSCC for himself and Top Cow. Ron was a pleasant man who confirmed he likes it here but that doing conventions is not his first choice of pastime, preferring couch surfing like most other men. However, when doing conventions he definitely prefers traveling abroad than simply going from state to state.
… and back to the event. To begin with not all the artists were present, with the most notable absence being George Perez (though he did turn up later), the rest having flight issues. This didn’t seem to put people off though and before too long queues were forming at the various artists stalls, with the largest at this time being for the likes of David Mack (Daredevil and Kabuki) and the trio of Dan Slott (The Amazing-Spider-man), Adi Granov (Iron Man: Extremis) and Marco Turini (Squadron Supreme).
There was a large number of stands, most offering discounted merchandise and some publishers like; Top Cow, Avatar, Zenescope, AAM/Markosia and 2000 AD, offering limited edition LSCC variant covers. As the day wore on, stands like J. Scott Campbell and Rob Layton, to name a few, held a high presence in the hall.
If you are either looking to complete your comic book collection, for that special item or simply after a bargain, then LSCC seemed like the place to be; something a patron we met, Mike, could attest to….
Mike caught our attention as he had a hard back, collectors, 2000 AD book and was trying obtain all the artists signatures on it. Unfortunately, today he had a pen malfunction and a couple of signatures were a little worse for wear. Mike told us he hoped to have a complete collection of signatures within the next few years, he will then continue to read the book (rather than store it away in a box) before maybe, one day, passing it to his grandchildren….lucky buggers!
Events and Panels
The Panel Room opened at 12.00 noon with ‘Celebrating 50 years of Marvel‘s Greatest Characters’ (the golden age to present). and the panel talked about their favourite characters, stories, what it meant to them and the wider world of comics. They also lavished praise upon Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and commented on the turnout being of the size usually reserved for Stan himself. Throughout the presentation, we received insider views of how Marvel is run and controlled ( not always for the best it seems) and it was emphasized that for them to continue to lead they need to allow a greater creative ownership and control for the artists over their characters, as much of the talent are saving their best ideas to protect the ownership. All in all, the presentation felt a little poor and they came off slightly bitter at times but that was just me, a lot of the crowd were definitely left wanting more.
Next up was presentations on ‘Daredevil through the Ages’ and ‘Dredd and Beyond: the whole wide world of 2000AD‘ which although I did not attend, many of the attendees were suitably impressed.
The final panel of the day was ’20 Years of Top Cow‘ which for me was the event of the weekend I did not want to miss. On the panel was Matt Hawkins (President/COO of Top Cow, Think Tank & Aphrodite IX) Ron Marz and David Hine (The Darkness). The presentation was more free flowing with an open question and answer session throughout. The feel was a lot lighter than the Marvel panel and had a more pleasant atmosphere in general. Matt Hawkins appeared to be in fine form, labeling (in his opinion) what he thought was crap or not within the comic book world. With the emphasis on Top Cows consistently putting out only 3 to 4 comics per month of top quality compared to the likes of Marvel who put out 100, with only 5 being on par, 10 or so being good, 30 being ‘so, so’, and the rest being totally crap; however, he did acknowledge the fact that he has no doubts that the ‘Crap’ of Marvel and DC out sell the Top Cow releases, but as is life.
The writers talked about working with some of the top illustrators in the world and how the creative freedom (due to creative ownership and control) allows the artists to be the best they can. It was also good to see Ron and David talk about other projects that they are working on that are not Top Cow published. Matt did not have a problem with this and actively encouraged them to continue.
Matt was proud to announce that ‘Darkness’ the game was the most successful comic book computer game that was or had not been a movie. He advised that they have had a number of offers to make Darkness a film over the years but is expecting a script to be landing immanently that should hopefully be good enough. Matt also boasted about the fact that they have the highest rated TNT show to ever be cancelled (due to Yancy Butlers alcohol problem, her entering rehab during mid second season, before failing to return) in ‘Witchblade’. They had also been offered to make a number of Witchblade games, but these were going to be ‘plug and play’ developments and this was something Top Cow was not happy about doing. Finally Matt rubbed it into Marvel by announcing that they entered the Anime market years before them. All in all, the Top Cow boys were more than happy with their product and creativity, but knew their place within the market at this time.