Matt C: Has it really been a year?! Apparently so! 12 months after we waxed enthusiastic about last year's Melksham Comic Con - where the PCG managed to wangle a starring role - we're back for the freshest, friendliest comic con on the calendar, and yes, once again we've managed to get involved. So it's a sure bet that we'll be bigging this year's convention up!
Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted something strange about our decision to depart to Wiltshire over the Bank Holiday weekend, leaving our stomping ground of Bournemouth at the moment when the town gets its first ever comic convention, the Bournemouth Film and Comic Con. Well, we made enquires, we were met with indifference, and then we looked over the guest list to discover that the event was far more skewed towards film, TV and sports celebrities, with barely anyone from the realm of comics getting a look in. Another of those all-too-frequent cases where trading on the 'brand name' and public awareness of San Diego Comic Con is considered the best route to getting people through the door, regardless of whether or not there's any major comic book presence involved. And to be honest, we had our hearts set on the Melksham con anywhere, because if you're looking for a place with a lot of heart where comic fans can gather, this is it.
Last year, we debuted our 'highly original' (*cough*) quiz show, Comics In Just A Minute, to much success, with Manga artist Sonia Leong becoming the inaugural winner and the envy of every other creative type in attendance. Probably. She'll be back to defend her title this Saturday afternoon. Who will be challenging her? Oh, you'll just have to wait and see. Don't, as they say, miss it. And, for that matter, don't miss - for the second year running - the debate panel on Sunday morning fronted by our very own Andrew 'The Butcher' Butcher, author of the Spy High series of novels amongst other literary endeavours. Again, we won't reveal what the subject is... you'll just have to make sure you're there! So will we, as we have something special lined up on the Saturday that may leave us nursing hangovers. But that's being kept (excuse the pun) firmly under our hats for now...
James R: As always, my esteemed editor-in-chief has said it all very succinctly, but even though I'm on holiday, I'm putting in more effort than just saying 'Ditto!' Melksham has quickly become one of my annual highlights. It's been brilliant to watch the festival grow year-on-year, and it was both a privilege and so much fun to be involved with the panels last year. I'm hoping that we'll be able to raise the bar again this weekend! As a fanboy, one of my favourite things about the convention - and conventions in general - is that even in our perma-connected internet age, still nothing beats meeting fellow fans and making new friends in person. It's great to hear fresh perspectives and insights, and Melksham is incredibly welcoming and inclusive. On a personal note, I'm also excited because hey, who doesn't like a road trip with great friends?! If you are going, come and see us and say hi - we hope to see you all there, and if you can't make it this year, go next year, as Melksham is already the best con in the South, and it deserves to be bigger still!