It’s important to take time to lend some constructive, objective assessment to attended conventions. Every year, the bigger ones get bigger and the smaller regional ones become more common. We are spoilt for choice in the UK so have be selective. Even more so us little independent creators battling the dark forces of the Big Two to grab the attention of the information-saturated punter who might only glance at your table and leave you staring longingly after them, hoping that it was enough to make him/her take another pass and purchase your life-changing publication.
There was much to like about True Believers – the first ever True Believers held at Cheltenham Racecourse last weekend. The venue itself was excellent, albeit over a mile from the town centre, which made the lack of dining options a bit of an issue. (£4.90 for an on-site sandwich reminded me the value of a packed lunch. I won’t be making that faux again).
The camaraderie of the day and the many familiar faces mixed in with the newcomers made for a relaxed and laid back day. We went with no expectations so none could be met and at £20 for the table, it was a worthwhile risk. Sure, we didn’t set the Indy scene on fire that day (we’re saving that for next year) but I think the slow sales had more to do with the novelty value of the convention than any shortcomings of the exhibitors. It was a first for Jon Scrivens not to do at least a couple of Zombie portraits and the fact that Dean Beattie had time to wander to our table not once, not twice but thrice (mostly moaning about the delay on his Kickstarter reward, though it’s always nice to see him) told us something. On some level, the con-goers didn’t know what to make of it all. New world, new sound, new smells (mostly good smells I should add, despite the proximity of the stable block). It takes time for a human being to adapt to a new and unknown environment. That’s why we will return next year and give it another go and see if the evolution of the Cheltenham con-goer has begun.
Despite the absentees that were Brett Uren, Lee Killeen, Gibson Grey and Andy W Clift (at least Phil “Bill” Buckenham made it in the end), we soldiered on through, and hopefully gave the locals enough reason to give it another go next year themselves.
We imagine once word gets out of the awesomeness of *Mike Garley‘s panel exploits, they will be queuing around the racetrack to grab a fleeting glance.
PS All those lovely geek feasts mentioned above will be attending DemonCon this coming weekend. So if you find yourself in Kent on Sunday, head for the Stoned Maid and ask for the Dark Beadle. They’ll see you right and all your comic-tinted dreams will be fulfilled.