10 May 2019

Portsmouth Comic Con 2019: The Voyage Home

Now we've had a chance to settle back into reality following our second visit to Portsmouth Comic Con, here are some thoughts on last weekend's events...
Jo S: For last year's Portsmouth Comic Con, the PCG crew arrived a little later, some of us having opted to hang out at Paradox Comics for at least part of FCBD, and so turning up this time to find a huge queue snaking around the Guildhall, down one side of the street and back up the other side, was a little daunting! The con has certainly grown from last year's maiden event but, once we'd made it to the front and got inside, it was evident that the team had clearly got it covered in terms of capacity - the whole event was lively and busy without feeling crammed. For me, much of Saturday was about cosplay - I've never done it before but crushing my anxieties and throwing myself into it with gusto rewarded me with a brilliant day, meeting lots of lovely, supportive, positive people. Portsmouth really seems to have got this balance spot on: the event has a great mixture of family fun (The tiny Thors! The little Supergirls!) alongside more intense comics experiences, with panels that had me rapt and ample vendor tables with rows of comic boxes to rummage.

My top finds of the weekend included the second volume of The Ultimates, David Mack's Daredevil: Vision Quest run and, to my delight, a long sought-after Marvel 'Tails' - the first appearance of Spider-Ham. My favourite image of the weekend is probably one taken from the gallery during Roy Thomas' panel; the PCG team, including Wonder Woman in full gear, all listening intently as a man with decades of influence on the comics world chuckles as he reminisces. Ah, comics!

Kenny J: There are many events in as many towns that make up the comic conventions calendar. In my experience, it is those that put not only comics but people at their centre that I look forward to attending year after year. Portsmouth Comic Con is just such an event. Of course, comicdom has expanded to incorporate everything from billion dollar movie franchises to obscure anime, but still industry stalwarts Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart were recounting tales about their colleagues Stan Lee and Jack Kirby on the main stage on Saturday morning. 

PCC is a place where people can come and celebrate their fandom whatever that might be. This is no more apparent than on Saturday afternoon's cosplay competition hosted by the impressively attired GoGeek. A colourful spectacle of dedication, skill and love; and probably my highlight - though listening to some of today's best creators talk about their comics and the opportunity Image Comics has given them has to be a very close second. For those more interested in bolstering their collections, this year saw more long boxes filled with back issues from the obscure and rare to the more recent and sought-after. With many stands also selling toys and figures, I managed to pick myself up the complete first volume of Wood & Cloonan's Demo as well as a 'Batgirl Of Burnside' Funko Pop!, both things I've been looking out for. From the little boy I saw dressed as Rocket Racoon as soon as I arrived to the guy stood next to me buying Journey Into Mystery, I am very grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the multifaceted phenomenon that is the comics world with thousands of like minded people. Cannot wait for May 2020.

Matt C: I loved Portsmouth Comic Con 2019. Listening to Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart chew the fat about the good ol' days was my absolute highlight, whether it was Thomas relating the difficulty in selling the concept of Conan the Barbarian to Stan Lee, who just didn't get it, or Englehart reminiscing about pitching the idea of Shang-Chi to Roy Thomas, who just didn't get it. I'll always be front of the queue when veteran creators get the opportunity to reflect on the past, and PCC delivered on that front. The additional retailer space this year meant I ended up purchasing more back issues than I bargained for, which is obviously a bonus (John Byrne's Namor for the win!), and those books now join my seemingly never-ending 'to read' pile! The cosplay competition was a delight, the varied mix of exhibitors highlighted how diverse a 'comic con' can be, and bumping into Stormtroopers while you idly wander from stall to stall will never get old (even the Zombie Stormtroopers). If you suffer the post-con blues following a weekend away, you know you've been to a good con, and PCC 2019 was a damn fine con. See you next year!

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