British Comic Art Convention

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British Comic Art Convention
BCACbadge1968.jpg
1968 attendee badge. Art by Mike Higgs
Status Defunct
Genre Comic books
Venue Waverley Hotel, London (1969, 1971–1973)
Regent Centre Hotel, London (1974–1977)
Location(s) Birmingham (1968, 1979)
London (1969, 1971–1978, 1981)
Sheffield (1970)
Country United Kingdom
Inaugurated 1968
Most recent 1981
Organized by Rob Barrow (1973–1978)

The British Comic Art Convention (usually known by the moniker Comicon) was an annual British comic book convention which was held between 1968 and 1981, usually in London. The earliest British fan convention devoted entirely to comics, it was also the birthplace of the Eagle Awards.

Most editions of Comicon took place over two days, usually on a Saturday and Sunday. The convention featured floorspace for exhibitors, including comic book dealers and collectibles merchants. Along with panels, seminars, and workshops with comic book professionals, one of the highlights of Comicon was the Saturday all-night film show.

History[edit]

The first Comicon was organized by Phil Clarke and was held 30 August – 2 September 1968 in Birmingham, England. The first show attracted both professional and amateur creators of the time, including Alan Moore, Paul Neary, Jim Baikie, Steve Moore, and Nick Landau.[1] It also featured a "fancy dress" contest, in which contestants dressed up as characters from the comic books.[1]

Comicon '69, held in London, was organized by Bram Stokes, "Godfather of British fandom"[1] Frank Dobson, and Steve Moore. Comicon '70 was organized by Sam Plumb and held in Sheffield.[1] Comicon '71 returned to London (where it stayed, except for a one-year return to Birmingam in 1979), and was organized by retailer Bram Stokes and later-Marvel UK editor Dez Skinn.[1]

Comicon '72, the fifth annual show, was organized by Nick Landau, later to become publisher of Titan Books.[1] The Comicon '72 program booklet featured artwork by Robert Crumb, Kevin O'Neill, and Mike Higgs.

Comicon '73, planned and promoted by Bram Stokes and John Mansfield, was scheduled for the weekend of 21–22 July at London's Regent Centre Hotel, with special guests Frank Bellamy and Morris.[2] The show being abruptly canceled shortly before it was scheduled, however, the event was salvaged by Nick Landau and Rob Barrow, who by that time were promoters of the competing London Comic Mart shows. Landau and Barrow managed to put on a one-day show on 22 July at the usual location of the Waverley Hotel.[1] Barrow organized the convention for at least the next four years.

The Comicon '76 convention booklet featured artwork by Dave Gibbons, John Bolton, Kevin O'Neill, Paul Neary, Brian Bolland, Ron Embleton, John M. Burns, Brian Lewis, Martin Asbury, Frank Hampson, John Romita, Sr., Bryan Talbot, and Hunt Emerson.

The tenth anniversary show, Comicon '77, hosted the first presentation of the Eagle Awards, organized by Mike Conroy, Nick Landau, Colin Campbell, Phil Clarke, and Richard Burton.[3] The Comicon '77 program booklet featured interviews with Brian Bolland and Dave Gibbons; and artwork by Hunt Emerson, Leslie Stannage, Frank Frazetta, and John Byrne.

The Comicon '78 convention booklet featured a cover by Frank Bellamy; an appreciation of Don McGregor by Richard Burton; a Michael Kaluta interview by Chuck Dixon; and artwork by Jack Kirby, Frank Thornton, Fred Holmes, Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, Brian Lewis, Judith Hunt, Mike McMahon, Frank Humphries, Joe Staton, Trevor Goring, Keith Watson, Ron Embleton, Dicky Howett, Frank Hampson, John Bolton, Walt Simonson, and Hunt Emerson.

Comicon' 79, also known as British Comic Art Convention 11, took place in its original location of Birmingham; the show was officially renamed the U.K. Comic Art & Fantasy Convention.

Locations and dates[edit]

Dates Location Organizer Official guests Notes
30 August – 2 September 1968 Midland Hotel, Birmingham Phil Clarke Alan Moore, Paul Neary, Jim Baikie, Steve Moore, and Nick Landau and Frank Dobson (Godfather of comics)
1969 Waverley Hotel, London Bram Stokes, Frank Dobson, and Steve Moore Steve Parkhouse and Barry Smith
1970 Rutland Hotel, Sheffield Sam Plumb
27–28 February 1971 Waverley Hotel, London Bram Stokes and Dez Skinn Frank Bellamy (guest of honor); Frank Dickens, Mick Farren, and Edward Barker
5–6 August 1972 Waverley Hotel Nick Landau 5th annual show
22 July 1973 Waverley Hotel Nick Landau and Rob Barrow
(originally Bram Stokes and John Mansfield)
21–22 July 1974 Regent Centre Hotel, London Rob Barrow Denis Gifford subtitled "Comic Mart Summer Special 1974"[1]
2–3 August 1975 Regent Centre Hotel Rob Barrow Frank Hampson and Paul Neary
21–22 August 1976 Regent Centre Hotel Rob Barrow Paul Neary and Tony Weare
3–4 September 1977 Bloomsbury Centre Hotel, London Rob Barrow First annual presentation of the Eagle Awards
1978 Bloomsbury Centre Hotel Rob Barrow and Colin Campbell Don McGregor (guest of honor); George Pérez, Brian Bolland, John Bolton, and Dave Gibbons. 2nd annual presentation of the Eagle Awards
31 August – 2 September 1979 Hotel Metropole, National Exhibition Centre; Birmingham Colin Campbell Jim Steranko (guest of honor); Dez Skinn and Dave Gibbons Officially renamed U.K. Comic Art & Fantasy Convention
1980 Brian Bolland
1981 London Dez Skinn and Frank Dobson[4] Frank Miller, Alan Davis, Paul Neary, Bryan Talbot, Richard Burton, Bernie Jaye, Martin Asbury, Brian Bolland, John Bolton, John M. Burns, Ron Embleton, Dave Gibbons, Don Lawrence, and Mick Anglo

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Skinn, Dez. "Early days of UK comics conventions and marts," DezSkinn.com. Accessed Mar. 3, 2013.
  2. ^ Roberts, Peter (21 October 1972). "6th British Comicon". Checkpoint (25). Retrieved 2008-09-08.
  3. ^ Burton, Richard "'The Eagles' are launched!" in Burton (ed.) Comic Media News #30 (Mar-Apr 1977), p. 11
  4. ^ Johnston, Rich. "Lying in the Gutters," Comic Book Resources (Aug. 15, 2005).

External links[edit]