Comic Con for London? Nope, say SDCC organisers
Following an article on the Comic Related website announcing that the San Diego Comic Con was going to have a London show at the O2 Arena in 2010 a flurry of discussions among British comics folks ensued, notably on Dez Skinn’s forums for comics biz professionals. Which is understandable – an SDCC sized event in London could have a fair old impact on existing UK comics festivals and conventions, from major ones like the British International Comics Show to more indy oriented gatherings like Caption, from perhaps having to move normal dates to allow sufficient ‘buffer time’ between such events to the possibility that both fans and professional attendees alike simply wouldn’t have the time and money to attend all of them in one year and would have to pick one or two, with serious effects on the other shows. So you can understand on the forums the discussion went on at some length about the possibility and the consequences.
Except it seems that the entire story may well be bogus. Shane Chebsey, co-organiser of the Birmingham show, has been in touch with the Comic Con folks as have others and they have said that they have not authorised or sold any license to an exhibitor here to organise a London Comic Con show. According to the Comic Related article it was to be organised by a man called Liam Fisher, who was described as the organiser of the first annual 5 by 5 Festival in East London, which is a mixed cultural event according to the article, taking in music, art, fashion and comics which will be “Hosting exclusive advance screenings of some of the biggest summer blockbusters such as Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen and G.I. Joe, a variety of themed art exhibitions, live music, fashion shows, and celebrity signings and Q&As from the likes of Stan Lee, Alan Moore, the cast of Transformers, Kevin Smith, Christopher Nolan, Jamie Hewlett (Gorillaz), and many more, it’s all free to the public.”
Strangely for an event with such a guest list I’m struggling to find a website for it it (as were most on the forum discussion), which seems odd as according to the article it starts on June 18th and runs through to the end of July. And I haven’t heard mention elsewhere about the 5 by 5 event, much less confirmation of venues or the impressive sounding guest list (and a whole range of comics pros on Dez’s forums, from publishers to artists to store owners knew nothing about it either), which is a bit odd this close to the start of it – if Stan Lee is coming surely he’s be all over the comics blogosphere about it? I mean Stan isn’t backwards about coming forwards about projects and events he’s involved with (I mean that in a nice way, its not a dig, we wouldn’t change him). And Alan Moore is not given to doing conventions and festivals like this normally so it would be out of character. Do any of our readers know of this festival or are even taking part in it? If so drop us a line, we’d love to hear more about it and if there is an actual site with details on it that people can check out with solid information about the events, guests, venues and dates.
But given the serious lack of mentions about the 5 by 5 online and its claims of such an impressive roster of guests this close to its supposed start date and the fact the SDCC folks have now twice stated that they have not been in touch with any UK promoter to stage a London show, I think we may have to treat the claim that the 5 by 5 organiser does not, in fact, have an officially approved San Diego style Comic Con lined up for the UK for next year (Shane tells us that the SDCC folks are looking into how this story started as a matter of some urgency following his enquiry to them about it). The question now is, why would someone pass off a story about two major comics related events that look like they aren’t actually happening to a comics news site?