Last weekend saw the second Glasgow Comic Con take place in the Rennie Macintosh Church, in Scotland’s second city.
Unlike last year, this was a two-day event. And I’m sorry to say that unlike last year it was rather underwhelming.
The guests were on form, of course, and at least this year they had a decent sound system for the main stage. The problem arose when questions were posed from audience members who couldn’t be heard over the background chatter.
It seems obvious to any regular con-goer, that a simple roving mic could have sorted this and made the panels a much more enjoyable experience.
That aside, highlights for me included the Glasgow Boys panel, which featured one of my all time favourite artists, Frank Quitely, and the fantastic Jim Devlin who would go on to win 2 SICBA awards later that night for his work on School of the Damned.
My personal highlight (not including the very cute Black Cat cosplayer – oh, my!) was John Wagner’s sessions where he talked about his love affair with Megacity One and his optimism around the upcoming movie.
John famously walked away from the Stallone movie after a few months, so I was delighted to hear him say that the new film is “pure grit” and that “there’s nothing about this film that isn’t pure Dredd”.
He reckons that if Dredd does well the sequel will feature Judge Death and the Dark Judges!
I bumped into John outside and we chatted for a while. He told me he was very pleased with the choice of Karl Urban as the lead. Apparently there’s a point in the film where Urban twists his features and it made John think “my God, you ARE Joe Dredd.” I’ll be looking out for that bit.
The big winners of the weekend had to be the Glasgow League of Writers. GC’s own Gordon Robertson founded GLoW off the back of his involvement with the comics side of this site, so everyone on GC is immensely proud of what the members of GLoW have achieved.
GLoW members John Lees and Gordon Maclean walked away with SICBA awards, and the very first GLoW anthology almost sold out before the end of day one, with only 5 copies left to sell the next day.
The anthology had a limited print run of only 100, only 5 were given away before the con (one to Grant Morrison) and the GLoW members even gave up their own copies, such was the demand.
The second print run should see copies in Waterstones and Forbidden Planet, but if you fancy getting your hands on a signed copy from the first run we have 2 to give away to GC readers! Watch our Facebook page for details, coming shortly!
Saturday’s main event was legendary writer Grant Morrison. Much as we love Morrison’s work – I’m a particular fan of his Batman – we decided not to stay for his panel and left just as the crowds began to gather. We have it on good authority, however, that he did not disappoint and was very generous with his time, taking time to chat to his fans and pose for pictures for almost 2 hours. Legend!
I stopped on the way out to chat with Ed Murphy of RoughCut comics and pick up Rose Black: Demon Seed, but then we headed off for the day.
Day 2 began late for us as I fell victtim to Sunday service public transport, but as we arrived we got with the great news about Jim, John and Gordon’s SICBA victories. We did some leisurely strolling around the dealers’ rooms in both venues and just as GLoW1 sold out we sat down to enjoy the cosplaying competition hosted by Billy Kirkwood.
Next up was the John Wagner panel. Ok, so I’d seen him the day before and even chatted one on one, but the guy invented Judge Dredd for drokk’s sake! He was worth a second sitting.
I had wanted to head to the writer’s workshop, but when we got there it had started early, Jim wasn’t mic’d up and, despite being only a few feet away, I couldn’t hear a word. So I headed home, stopping only to pick up Villainous 1&2 and The Standard before taking my leave.
In my write up of last year’s con my biggest gripe was that the venue is entirely unsuitable – the same opinion stands. It’s a beautiful old building, but it’s not made for the amount of foot traffic that GCC brought to it.
It’s one of the reasons we didn’t stay for Grant Morrison. Queuing for anything in that venue is an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience.
Exhibitors were squashed against the back wall of the hall again, meaning that if only a couple of people stop to chat with them it caused a bottleneck, sometimes even a queue, just to get out of the main hall.
The dealers’ room was in the same place, but as soon as the central tables were put out for the sketch and sign sessions it too became unpleasant to navigate.
The organisers did extend the event into the Queen’s Cross Hall across the road, which helped a lot even though it was still quite cramped. It was a move which benefited from the agreeable weather. Had the rain shown up I suspect many would have stayed in the main venue, opting not to venture across the road.
To summarise Glasgow ComicCon 2012 – it was alright. Not fantastic.
It was a one-day event stretched across two days, with large gaps between events which rarely ran on time. It was held in an entirely inappropriate and cramped venue which is difficult to get to by public transport and not conveniently located for any amenities.
The guests needed to be better moderated too. An event like this should be family friendly, and whilst I’m no prude I felt that some of the language used by Rufus Dayglo and Billy Kirkwood, funny as they may be, was inexcusable.
It’s one thing to have your public persona, it’s quite another to say “cunt” in front of a six year old dressed as Wonder Woman.
I may grump, but I enjoyed the weekend, and as I think back I try to remind myself that GCC is only on year 2 and there’s bound to be teething problems.
But I just can’t get past the terrible venue.
If they hold it there again next year, I don’t think I’ll be there.