Portsmouth Comic Con – A “Super” success for the city.
My legs are still tired from walking around the Portsmouth Con for the last two days but more importantly, my cheeks are still sore from all the smiling.
I feel that the first major Con to be held in Portsmouth, my home town, was a huge success. I got to the event early on a bright and sunny Saturday morning. The queue had already been formed and cosplayers, fans and families were arriving. After speaking with a few people I discovered that some had travelled from France, Germany and Spain. Geeks will travel to see their favourite comic artists and writers and the Con had some big hitters!
I was there to see some Superman artists and writers and my autograph checklist was happily completed. Frank Quitely, Walter and Louise Simonson, Chris Weston and Dave Dorman all signed comics for me. They also signed Superman’s trunks, they were a fun ice-breaker! I never thought I would be able to meet these artists and to meet them all in one place, in my home town, was unbelievable and I made some memories that I will cherish for many years.
I have been to Cons before so I am used to fees and I was willing to part with my money. When I joined the busy queues in Artist Alley, which were managed very well, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the regular autographs, and some sketches, had no fee! I slowly picked my chin up off the floor and began to think where I else I could spend my money and I had plenty of choices! Lego, comics, toys, and the always popular Funko Pops! I was impressed with the amount of stalls which sold their own creations. Everything from coasters to jewellery. I am always amazed with the talent of others and this Con showed off some serious skills.
Talking of skills. Well done to all the cosplayers. I saw so many characters that I knew and so many that were new to me but grabbed my curiosity. There were lots of mini heroes and villains enjoying the festivities and it was nice to see families walking around in costume together. I am biased but there were lots of Supermen and Superkids at the Con and that made me happy.
And now, onto Superman! My boy had some of the spotlight and I couldn’t wait to see what the organisers had planned. Superman was actually the first thing I saw when I walked into the Portsmouth Guildhall. I was met by a life size model of Christopher Reeve and the whole wall behind him was made to look like his Fortress Of Solitude. I could have stayed there all day and I would have been happy! After taking a few selfies with Mr Reeve I walked down a long corridor on my way to the main hall and the walls were covered in comic cover art. Starting from 1938 and leading up to Frank Quitely’s “All Star Superman”, these were here to help celebrate my boy turning 80.
The next place on my checklist to visit was the Alex Ross and Stan Lee Exhibition. The art was being displayed by Bournemouth’s Westover Gallery and was available to buy. I made sure I left my credit card at home as there were three Superman items for sale and they were all glorious! I took great pleasure at just standing in front of them and getting as close as I possibly could! It was a very unique collection to have on display and that particular area was busy all weekend.
Now, my main reason to going to this Con was to see The Superman Exhibition, the Alex Ross art and to get some comics signed. I always intended to enjoy the whole Con but I just had no idea how much else was inside. Retro gaming, Robots, Ghostbuster and Gremlins props, cosplay contests, board game championships. For me, two days wasn’t enough. It could have easily gone on for three days. Who knows, maybe next year it might be extended.
I have been to Cons before and there always a few areas where it could be improved, and with this being the first major Con to happen in Portsmouth I believed there might be a few teething problems. The only issue I had was with some of the visitors. There was no signs saying that you could have a maximum of things that could be signed and some brought along actual suitcases filled with comics. This made the Artist Alley arena, and artists, very busy. It did not take long for the organisers to control the crowd and create a better ticketed system to make sure that everyone got to see who they wanted to see.
All the staff, organisers, and security did a fantastic job of promoting and hosting the event and made sure it was a safe and enjoyable family environment. To get so many big artists to a Con must not be easy and to get them come to a new Con was no small feat. For me, it really made the difference as it’s what caught my eye. Everything else at the event was a huge bonus and I will definitely be going back next year and hopefully the year after that.
After this fantastic weekend I am a very proud Portsmouthian Geek.