This Saturday will see the 2nd annual Melksham Comic Con, but it marks the first time the PCG have been in attendence, and after helping fund the Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, Matt C and Stewart R share their thoughts on what to expect...
Matt C: Melksham? What's a Melksham?! At the beginning of the year I'm ashamed to say my knowledge of smallish Wiltshire towns was pretty poor. I knew the highlights - Warminster! Swindon! - but it seems that Melksham had passed me by - or rather, I'd passed it by - during my time on this planet. First time I became aware of Melksham and, by extension, it's comic convention was an article on Bleeding Cool I spotted when leaving the London Super Comic Con earlier this year. A Kickstarter campaign to enable the organisers to get the 2nd Melksham Comic Con off the ground sounded like a project worth investing in, especially as Melksham's only an hour or so away from the PCG's homebase (makes my lack of knowledge of the place even more embarrassing, right?). It was clear that the team behind it were serious, and as they'd booked the likes of Keiron Gillen and Si Spurrier (two of our favourite Brit writers, no less) it was doubly clear the PCG had to be involved in some capacity. We got together and ponied up some cash and were exceedingly pleased to see that we helped the Melksham Con become fully financed (and you can expect to see our logo popping up in various places as a result). A one day celebration of comics not too far from home... how could we resist?
Stewart R: And resisting was incredibly hard indeed in the face of Matt C's dedicated lobbying to the PCG during the early months of this year following our return from the London Super Comic Convention. He was clearly excited by the prospect of another young comic convention that could be considered 'up the road' from us down here in deepest Dorset and it's hats off to him for corralling us all and getting the enthusiasm engine spinning good and proper. And spinning it is indeed! I had the fortune to bump into Hayley, the boss at Komix in Melksham and founder of the Melksham Comic Con at this year's Bristol Comic Expo and her passion for the event that she has created was quite evident. When you have so much energy and buzz building for a comic convention from those involved and those planning to attend you surely have to get swept up in it all and I've been looking forward to this coming weekend for quite some time. They've managed to secure some top UK talent onto the guest list who have made it to the big leagues in recent years - Kieron Gillen, Si Spurrier, Rob Williams, Ben Oliver - or who have been there, done that already - Simon Furman, Andrew Wildman - as well as a whole host of exciting exhibitors who are sure to make the day colourful, interesting and entertaining.
Matt C: In addition to the creators making an appearance there's a healthy number of small press publishers looking to nab a wider audience for their creative efforts, some comics retailers ready to supply punters with back issues and the like, and even opportunities to buy sweets, cakes and locally-produced chilli sauce! It probably fair to say that, in most cases, the bigger the convention the more soulless it becomes (even if they offer more opportunities for cash-spending) so I'm anticipating a friendly atmosphere this Saturday with a lot of like-minded souls revelling in a chance to display unbridled enthusiasm for their hobby!
Stewart R: It's certainly going to be interesting to see how a smaller, younger comic convention compares to the larger events that I've been to in the past year and discovering what sort of atmosphere comes with it. Being a relatively new venture I'm expecting a palpable level of excitement along with some fresh ideas to set Melksham's Comic Convention apart from the competition. As Matt mentioned previously, there looks like there's going to be some different flourishes such as the food stuffs available for purchase - I picked up the Cajun chili sauce that was available in Bristol and no word of a lie, it's amazing and I'll be stocking up this weekend! - and I'd say that the 1000 or so attendees will find plenty to keep themselves fully entertained over the course of the day, be it comic hunting, talking to self-publishers, small press and the big time talent, checking out the panels on offer, meeting new friends sharing this great hobby or indulging in the culinary delights. I'm getting slight goosebumps in anticipation as I write this!