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A Chat With The Producers of Portsmouth Comic Con

The best in comic book and pop culture entertainment comes to Portsmouth on Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th May 2018, in the largest event of its kind to hit the South Coast!

The International Festival of Comics will feature some of the most important comic writers and artists in the industry, with many creators appearing in the UK for the very first time. This year’s inaugural Comic Con will celebrate the 80th anniversary of the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics and the 40th birthday of the classic Christopher Reeve Superman movie and will also showcase exclusive behind the scenes art from HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Portsmouth Comic Con, International Festival of Comics will celebrate the art of comics and illustration plus the worlds of TV and Film, providing fun for aficionados, lifelong fans and families alike. Glimpse behind the camera of Doctor Who, with one of its leading prosthetic makeup artists, Gary Pollard, and cosplay will be strongly encouraged with prizes awarded for the best costumes on the day.

The event is the brainchild of Portsmouth Guildhall and Tripwire Magazine. Tripwire has been, for over 25 years, the pre-eminent comic and genre publication read by some of the biggest names in the film, TV and comic industry.

With Portsmouth Comic Con now just three months away, its producers, Joel Meadows and Andrew Colman answer questions about this eagerly awaited new UK comic show.

* * * * *

What was the genesis of the show?

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.

How has your experience with 25 years of Tripwire helped you to shape and organise the show?

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.

Why do you think that the Portsmouth Guildhall approached you to put the show together?

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.

Why do you think the Guildhall is the perfect venue for this show?

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.

Why do you think Portsmouth needs a show of this kind?

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.

What is the general remit of the show?

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.

What do you feel is unique about this show?

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.

What experience do you want to give every conventiongoer who attends the show?

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.

What else will be on offer at the show for visitors who have interests that intersect with comics?

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.

Which guests are you most proud of attracting to this debut show?

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. Other confirmed guests include Tommy Lee Edwards, Frank Quitely, Russell Walks, Rafael Albuquerque, Shawn Martinbrough, Tim Bradstreet, Chris Weston, Rob Williams, Dave Dorman, Declan Shalvey, John Paul Leon, Simon Fraser, Sean Phillips, Cully Hamner, Gene Ha, Shelly Bond, Dirk Wood, Eric Stephenson and more!

How much do you see this as setting out your stall for future shows?

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 in and we intend this to be a regular fixture in the UK convention calendar.


Tickets are available now from the show website


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