|Venue||British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall/Ramada Plaza Hotel (2005–2008)
Ramada City Inn/Mercure Holland House Hotel (2009–2011)
Passenger Shed of Brunel Old Station (2012–present)
|Organized by||Mike Allwood|
The Bristol International Comic & Small Press Expo, commonly known as Comic Expo or BCE, is an annual comic book convention held in the United Kingdom. The show is held once a year in Bristol in the spring. The organiser is Mike Allwood, formerly of Area 51, a comic shop based in Bristol.
The convention features 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 Comic Expo is the Orang Utan Comics film night, which has been a staple of the show since 2007. The charity event "Draw the World Together" is an annual part of the show. BCE includes a separate "Small Press Expo," an autograph area, as well as a so-called "Artists' Alley" where comics artists sign autographs and sell or offer free sketches.
From 2006–2008, Comic Expo was the host of the prestigious Eagle Awards.
The first Comic Expo was held in Bristol November 6–7, 2004, at the Ramada City Inn. (A so-called "Pro-Con" was held in the same space on November 5.) Guests included Simon Furman, Mike Carey, and Mike Collins. This was very much a trial run by all concerned. Although not very well attended, it established how future events in Bristol would work.
The next BCE, held in May 2005, was a success, with guests such as J. Michael Straczynski, Michael Avon Oeming, Gary Frank, Dave Gibbons, Alan Davis, Brian Bolland, Mike Ploog and Simon Bisley; as well as over 2,000 attendees. The November Brighton Comic Expo was held at the prestigious Metropole Hilton, the largest conference hotel in South England. Guests included Mark Millar, Gilbert Shelton, Dave Gibbons, Sydney Jordan, and Harry Harrison. This was again successful and, with the exception of a few minor criticisms, proved immensely popular with those attending.
The Great Recession hit the 2009 show hard, as only 650 punters attended. The 2012 show attracted only 300 attendees, with many exhibitors reporting losses; there was speculation the show might not survive. But attendance bounced back for the 2013 show, with more than 2,500 ticket buyers.
Locations and Dates
|This section is missing information about attendance and guests. (December 2013)|
|Nov. 6–7, 2004||Ramada City Inn||Simon Furman, Mike Carey, and Mike Collins|
|May 14–15, 2005||British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall/Ramada Plaza Hotel||2,000||J. Michael Straczynski, Michael Avon Oeming, Gary Frank, Dave Gibbons, Alan Davis, Brian Bolland, Mike Ploog and Simon Bisley|
|November 19–20, 2005||Metropole Hilton (Brighton)||2,000||Mark Millar, Gilbert Shelton, Dave Gibbons, Sydney Jordan, and Harry Harrison||Brighton show organized with Dez Skinn|
|May 13–14, 2006||British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall/Ramada Plaza Hotel||2,000||Roy Thomas (guest of honour); Geoff Johns, Howard Chaykin, David Lloyd, and Liam Sharp||Eagle Awards presented at CBE for the first time.|
|May 12–13, 2007||British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall/Ramada Plaza Hotel||Kurt Busiek, Brian K. Vaughan, Jeph Loeb, and Jean-Pierre Dionnet||Eagle Awards presentation, hosted by Norman Lovett|
|May 9–11, 2008||British Empire & Commonwealth Exhibition Hall/Ramada Plaza Hotel||4,000||Jim Shooter, Walt Simonson, Jim Starlin, and Dave Gibbons||Eagle Awards presentation, hosted by comedian Fraser Ayres|
|May 9–10, 2009||Ramada City Inn/Mercure Holland House Hotel||650||Dan DiDio and Bob Wayne|
|May 22–23, 2010||Ramada City Inn/Mercure Holland House Hotel||1,000||Richard Starkings, Kieron Gillen, Paul Grist, Charlie Adlard, and Ian Churchill|
|May 14–15, 2011||Ramada City Inn/Mercure Holland House Hotel||Martin Asbury, Paul Grist, Dave Gibbons, John Higgins, Rick Veitch, and Richard Starkings|
|May 12–13, 2012||Passenger Shed of Brunel Old Station||300||Dennis O'Neil (guest of honor; but unable to attend); Paul Cornell, Ian Churchill, and Mark Buckingham|
|May 11–12, 2013||Passenger Shed of Brunel Old Station||2,500||Ian Churchill, Ian Gibson, Boo Cook, Mark Buckingham, Ben Oliver, and Lee Garbett|
|May 10–11, 2014||Passenger Shed of Brunel Old Station||James O'Barr, Arthur Suydam, Michael Golden|
- Gordon, Joe. "For the Love of Comics: A Conversation with Mike Allwood," Forbidden Planet International (Aug. 14, 2009).
- "Heroes Swoop In To Comic Expo," Games Industry International (21 April 2005)
- "Comics Expo, Bristol — May 2005," DownTheTubes.net. Accessed Dec. 22, 2013.
- Hunt, James (May 12, 2008). "A Report from Bristol International Comics Expo". Comic Book Resources.
- Johnston, Rich. "Tim Pilcher Says Too Many Cons, Not Enough Pros," Bleeding Cool (May 14, 2012).
- Singh, Arune. "Bristol International Comic Expo 2006 — May Update," Comic Book Resources (May 4, 2006).
- Johnston, Rich. "Baking In Bristol – Comics Expo 2010," Bleeding Cool (May 23, 2010).
- Freeman, John. "In Review: The Bristol Comic Expo 2010," DownTheTubes.net (May 24, 2010).