Showmasters Cardiff Film and Comic Con Roundup
Well this weekend saw in my second to last convention of 2013 and my first ever taste of Showmasters’ Conventions. This was the first Showmasters convention in Wales and definitely brought in the crowds. The queues went all the way around the Motorpoint Arena and also brought in a lot of people who I haven’t seen at cons in Cardiff in the past (including a lot of old college friends).
One of the nicest things about this con was it was a home town con, which are always nice and relaxing. I was lucky enough to know a lot of the people who came through the doors, but also knew some of the non-locals from cons around the country and of course the exhibitors themselves, so it was a very nice friendly atmosphere. The staff of Showmasters were very pleasant and even came round to my stall to see how things were going. And I was lucky enough to be seated next to a good friend of mine, Jamie Todd.
I think one of the nicest surprises, however, was being sat directly behind Gail Simone, a bit of an idol for me as a female creator. She was kind enough to chat to me for a while and was very encouraging of my work. I also got the chance to meet James O’Barr, whose prolific work The Crow was a big inspiration to me growing up.
The only thing to mar the experience somewhat was the news that Showmasters would be returning (not the bad news) on March 1st and 2nd of 2014. On one hand I was excited that Showmasters would be coming back. All in all this had been a very pleasant experience for me. But, sadly, this meant that they would be returning the exact same weekend that CICAE would be running its convention just down the road!
For those of you who don’t know, Cardiff International Comic and Animation Expo was my first ever convention. Mike Alwood, the awesome con organizer, was the first guy to give me a chance as a convention artist. My first ever con and he gave me a table right by the entrance! I had never sold my art ‘in person’ before (I had freelanced work online and obviously drawn SuBo’s Cat – but I’d never really worked face to face with potential buyers) so this con was extremely important to me as it gave me a lot of confidence and much needed experience in selling my own work. Without CICAE I probably wouldn’t be where I am in my career right now as far as getting my work out there to the right audience and meeting so many other artists and collaborators.
A bunch of us, The Pride, Stiffs and Jamie Todd included, all contacted Mike that day to show our support. I even went as far to say that should he choose to go ahead with CICAE, I would opt to get a table with him over CFCC. As lucrative as Showmasters was (and this isn’t an ‘us’ and them’ situation) and welcoming as they had been to me personally, Mike is my conventioneering family!
Sadly, he has decided not to go ahead with CICAE from now on, which I personally think is a huge loss to the convention community. As much as Showmasters and MCM do for the comic and ‘geek’ community, it is difficult for small press and independent creators such as myself to compete with the larger names and (quite frankly) bigger audience pullers that shows like that can attract. So, smaller, local cons are necessary for people like us to grow as artists and learn how best to approach the bigger cons when we’re ready.
Luckily, Mike and the team behind CICAE are still avid supporters of the small press and indie scene and are hoping to put on smaller, more niche shows in the New Year. I will keep you up to date with any shows that they have on offer – because you can be sure as hell I will be there supporting them every step of the way – just as they have done me.
Until then – with CICAE sadly taken off the cards for 2014, it looks like I will happily be set to reappear at Showmasters Cardiff Film and Comic Con on March 1st – 2nd 2014. I am sure it will live up to the hype that it has created in Cardiff this year and hopefully inspire new creators and artists to step up to the plate and exhibit for their very first time.
Cover photo is © Event Seeker