Birmingham is a city that is fast becoming known for having great ties to the comic book creating world. Thanks to that, the conventions are coming back to the city and rightfully so.
On one hand, you have the MCM convention, which to me doesn't feel all that much like a comic book convention anymore, but you also have the ICE convention too.
This year, we had a new convention to add to the growing list called The Birmingham Comics Festival. Organised by Steve Tanner, from Time Bomb Comics, and Victor Wright, from Geeky Kid Comics, they sought to create a convention that would combine the big names to draw the punters in but to also do a good service to both the seasoned and new comers to the indie comic book scene too.
Overall, I think that they did a really good job of combining the two. You had some really well known names involved and a whole group of indie creators. This really helped to give the convention an excited vibe that not only came from the visitors but also from the exhibitors there as well.
You also had the cosplay element to proceedings as well. I know that to some creators, the cosplay side of things feels like it takes away from the convention because of the fact that it can sometimes go the route of having people too busy taking pictures of the costumes or having pictures taken with the characters. To some extent, I can sort of agree but at the same time, it adds a sense of colour and fun to the day, especially considering that more and more children have been starting to come to conventions.
As an exhibitor at the convention myself, the fact that it was quite busy was a good sign. It seemed at times that there were more people looking than buying at that is the nature of these sorts of things. I look at doing these conventions as a way of networking and if I can get some sales from it then that's a bonus.
Near the end of the convention, it did seem to empty pretty quickly but thanks to the wonders of having a quick google, that turned out to be because Mark Millar was doing a signing so that could have been a big part of the reason behind that.
All in all, it was a brilliant day, I made some great contacts for my own work and I had a hell of a lot of fun so I will definitely be attending next year. Plus if this year was anything to go by then next years will be even better.