Comics And Genre Take Over Pompey
The inaugural Portsmouth Comic Con is just three months away and here its producers, Joel Meadows and Andrew Colman, answer questions about this eagerly-awaited new UK comic show…
Q: What was the genesis of the show?
JM/AC: We were approached a little over a year ago by the CEO of the Guildhall with a view to organise a professionally run American-style convention focusing on pop culture and comic art. Once we visited the venue and spoke to its highly experienced staff, we immediately realised that this was a great opportunity to create a show.
Q: How has your experience with 25 years of Tripwire helped you to shape and organise the show?
JM/AC: Two and a half decades of running the magazine and now the website has given us enormous insight and knowledge of the comic industry and pop culture in general. We have also been very lucky in cementing relationships with some of the most celebrated talent and movers and shakers in the business.
Q:Why do you think that the Portsmouth Guildhall approached you to put the show together?
JM/AC: We believe that, thanks to our decades of expertise, knowledge and contacts plus our understanding of what makes a good show, that we were the right people for the task.
Q: Why do you think the Guildhall is the perfect venue for this show?
JM/AC: The Guildhall is quite simply one of the best and most versatile venues in the country. It lends itself to many different sorts of live events and can cater to a cross-section of audiences. Also, the staff have vast experience in event planning and hosting, putting the venue firmly on the map.
Q: Why do you think Portsmouth needs a show of this kind?
JM/AC: The north of England is well-served by the likes of Thought Bubble and The Lakes, but the south of England lacks a definitive comics and genre show that is immersive, international and professional to the level of the shows we mentioned. Additionally, because of its proximity to major metropolitan areas, it has a tremendous catchment area. Portsmouth, and the Guildhall also have their place in pop culture.
Q: What is the general remit of the show?
JM/AC: The general remit is to provide a quality, interactive experience for dedicated aficionados and those with a passing interest. We hope to replicate the American style of convention with a more British twist.
Q: What do you feel is unique about this show?
JM/AC: The quality of the guests and the attention to detail means that this will have all the hallmarks of a classic show but with a more relaxed flavour. Also, the involvement of the university, which happens to be on our doorstep, will add another dimension to the event.
Q: What experience do you want to give every conventiongoer who attends the show?
JM/AC: We hope that the conventiongoer will get to experience all facets of the comics experience and will walk away having gained something from the show as well as being entertained.
Q: What else will be on offer at the show for visitors who have interests that intersect with comics?
JM/AC: We have secured the Gosport Steampunk Society, who will be hosting various events in the basement of the venue and there will also be a cosplay competition with prizes for the winner.
Q: Which guests are you most proud of attracting to this debut show?
JM/AC: We are proud of all of our guests but if we had to choose, we would pick Louise and Walter Simonson, as they haven’t crossed the water for a show in a decade. We have tried to reflect the diversity of the current comics industry in our line-up.
Q: How much do you see this as setting out your stall for future shows?
JM/AC: Obviously we are ambitious and plans are already afoot for a second show where we can expand on this initial outing. We are starting as we mean to go on and we intend this to be a regular fixture in the UK convention calendar.