Comic Con for London? Nope, say SDCC organisers

Published On June 2, 2009 | By Joe Gordon | Comics, Conventions and events

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?

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About The Author

Joe Gordon
Joe Gordon is ForbiddenPlanet.co.uk's chief blogger, which he set up in 2005. Previously, he was professional bookseller for over 12 years as well as a lifelong reader and reviewer, especially of comics and science fiction works.

18 Responses to Comic Con for London? Nope, say SDCC organisers

  1. Sean azzopardi says:

    Well done for following up on this Joe.
    I was approached at MCM about the exhibition,
    and was interested. But the more I looked at it,
    the more dubious it seemed. Now this Dome hoax
    makes me kind of happy to not get involved.
    Fun story though, although not sure to what
    ends for the hoaxers.

  2. DD baillie says:

    They want our braaaaiiiins!

  3. Tijms says:

    The 2010 Comic-Con is apparently related to a festival that should be happening right now (don’t know if it actually is), and of which a promotional presentation can be found here:

    http://www.decomicshop.nl/Geek_Chic_Festival.ppt

    Either this is true, or it’s viral advertising. There’s a contact e-mail address in the presentation for the journalistically inclined.

  4. Liam Fisher says:

    DATE – 2nd June 2009

    OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

    It has been brought to my attention that a story has leaked through comicrelated.com in the USA regarding the plans for my company and the event planned for June and July, named The 5 By 5 Festival.

    Let me set the record straight

    1 – Starting from June 18th there will be a 6 week festival in East London as a celebration of films, music, art and fashion called The 5 By 5 Festival. The confirmed content will be announced to the public in due course.

    2 – I have plans to hold several major pop culture events across Europe and as soon as everything is finalised it will be announced

    3 – I have plans to use the O2 Arena for several events and when these are finalised they will be announced

    However, I really appreciate the level of interest, excitement, panic and hype already built around an incorrect news story.

    Please note that this is the first and only official press release issued about me, my company and our activities. Anything else you may have heard can be dismissed as hearsay and either laughed at and ridiculed, cursed or ignored depending on what mood you’re in.

    Keep your ears open and your eyes peeled as all will soon become clear. Trust me, when the time is right, my communication will be nothing less than 5 by 5.

    Liam Fisher
    Chief Executive Officer

    5 By 5 Media Ltd.

  5. Joe says:

    Liam, thanks for contacting us, although given how close it is to the start of these events and the nature of some of the guests it still seems rather odd for there not to be more about 5 by 5 on the web and the URL that came with your comment doesn’t seem to lead to a valid website at the moment

  6. Tijms says:

    Thanks for the update, Liam, and good luck with your plans 🙂

  7. Chebbo says:

    Liam…

    It may also be a courtesy to contact other events organisers to ensure we have not planned any shows that clash.

    We would -of course – not disclose any sensitive information, but it would seem sensible not to put one major show up against another don’t you think? 🙂

    Shane Chebsey
    International Comic Shows
    http://www.thecomicsshow.co.uk
    Producer

  8. Oliver says:

    They seem to be looking for artists for this event in June. I saw this on a link over on NewsArama

    http://www.newsarama.com/common/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7711

  9. Joe says:

    Oliver, I saw that too but it doesn’t give any more information, basically says exactly what the first article says, still doesn’t explain the guest list, lack of site or information, all very unusual for a con or festival

  10. Kenny says:

    Maybe unusual for a festival Joe, probably not that unusual for a CON.

  11. Liam Fisher says:

    Hi all, just a quick follow up

    We have specific media partners and publicity plans in place and we are purposely holding back a lot of information and announcing line-ups late due to the strictly limited tickets that will be available for each event. These tickets will be distributed by a national media partner.

    To help clarify, the festival will be made up of 15 different events offering a variety of movie screenings, art exhibitions (featuring up and coming young artists), Q&A’s, debates and after parties.

    With regards to guests and appearances, they will be announced on the opening day of the media campaign, again due to very limited tickets.

    Also to clarify, this is a festival of sorts but not a traditional festival and it’s never been and never will be a typical con. At 5 By 5 Media, we are trying to provide a different approach to experiential events and hopefully give the fans (as we all are) something to really take home with them.

    Unusual….. yes, annoying….. probably, worth it…… definitely!

    Until the launch, only take what you hear from the horses mouth as gospel….. and although my face is way too round to look like a horse, I’m the horse in question

    Thanks for your continued interest

    Liam

  12. Bryan says:

    Firstly, Comic Con is a generic name and NOT a name you can license of offer to anyone. San Diego Comic Con is nothing to do with Chicago Comic Con and in turn nothing to do with New York Comic Con or any of the many other events worldwide named Comic Con. So you cannot secure the rights for the words “Comic Con”

    I have read all the posts about the 5 by 5 Festival and the claims and find it strange that people say it would be good to get such an event.

    We have the London Movie Comic & Media Expo at Excel twice a year with over 30,000 people. The comic area is now very large and even Warren Ellis did a rare signing at the show last month.

    MCM Expo along with Bristol & Birmingham do seem to give the comic industry a solid platform, do we really need more?

    My 2 cents 🙂

  13. Oliver says:

    Yes! Bristol, Birmingham are a bloody trod to get to. MCM EXPO although very good, is a mission to get to with train cancellations and replacement bus services being annoying.
    This however, if it comes off would only take a train to Liverpool Street, 243 bus and a short walk. And the area is cool and laid back.
    Good Idea but Bad Timing.

  14. Liam Fisher says:

    Just to reiterate Bryan, we’re not trying to provide a platform for the comics industry, if anything we’re trying to show the mainstream movie fan the origins of some of the big comic book blockbusters and even then there’s much more to the festival than that. The comic/film connection goes on for about 3 or 4 days. Out events are much broader and more mainstream, not niche or clique specific, just a bit of free fun for the average film, music, art or fashion fan.

    As a film fan myself I think it would be pretty cool to go see an advance screening followed by a themed art exhibition then a live band with a couple of beers. Maybe I’m biased though. It’s not an expo or con that we’re providing, it’s a bunch of multi-angled events with an experiential feel about them. Something different for the average fan of pop culture.

    On the subject of the MCM Expo…. had a great time there this year, met some fantastic people and shook the hand of Tony Curtis. Pretty awesome Saturday in my book! Great expo

    If you’re one of the organisers of MCM Bryan, let’s hook up and see if we can work together next year. I’m sure there’s a great way to tie both together

    Thanks

    Liam

  15. Margaret Leat says:

    I believe my granddaughter was taken in by Liam along with many others she has put in many hours of work and not been paid. She gave up a part time job 2 be able to put more hours in over the coming weeks along with being out of pocket she as you can imagine is upset and disappointed. Maybe you believe in yourself Liam and if 5 x 5 does take off you will give my granddaughter a chance Margaret

  16. Anon says:

    I also know someone who has been involved with Liam and has not been paid with little explanation, just that there is no money to pay anyone.

    Steer clear of this timewaster at all costs.

  17. Dead Girl says:

    I also know and have dealt with Liam, my advice would be that everyone stay well clear… he is a con artist basically. He leaves behind a trail of people missing large sums of their own money. Did this ‘festival’ ever actually happen i wonder??

  18. Anon says:

    Me too. As far as I can see he planned (in his head) all these amazing things but nothing ever materialised and the money (if there was any to start with) has all dried up. He has great enthusiasm but is somewhat deluded. I hope most people saw through him and got out very quickly like I did before they lost too much of their time or money.