On Saturday 1 July 2017 the seventh annual Glasgow Comic Con took place at the prestigious Royal Concert Hall in the city centre. The event itself was made up of a series of talks, panels, author events and exhibitors. The venue was transformed into a festival of comics with creators from all over the globe attending. Emphasis was also given to Scottish based creators with the excellent Metaphrog, Team Girl Comic and Black Hearted Press all in attendance.
The panels on the day included a look at LGBT comics with Glasgow based creator MJ Wallace talking about her latest memoir Bi The Way. The comic itself is a slice of life tale about the turmoils of coming out as bi-sexual and how this can affect your personal life and mental health. The talk focussed on LGBTQ+ representation and how comics are a great medium to tell stories with diverse and interesting characters. Bi The Way is a fantastic example of bi representation and tackles the theme of acceptance with heart, courage and poignancy. MJ Wallace talked eloquently about her work and presented one of the standout comic books available to purchase at the event.
Other talks at the Glasgow Comic Con included a focus on The Wicked and The Divine with creators Jamie McKelvie, Kieran Gillen and two panels focussing on the British Sci-Fi comic 2000AD. Original Editor Pat Mills spoke at great length about his struggles in trying to get new artists published in the comic and how he continues to enjoy writing for 2000AD after 40 years.
The day prior to the Glasgow Comic Con saw the CCA play host to the Nine Panels Comic Book conference where attention was given on the various ways creators can break into the industry. Speakers from Cannongate Books, 404 Ink and Comic Haus gave a run through on the various opportunities creators have. Emphasis was given on crowdfunding and Kickstarter campaigns. The talks during this event were concluded by a master-class from Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner who underlined the influence of the 2000AD and stressed its importance in the home grown comic book scene in the UK.
In previous years Glasgow Comic Con was a two day event and this year the festival felt very fleeting. With so many artists and writers under one roof and with so much to see and do, another day would have been welcomed. With the SICBA (Scottish Independent Comic Book Alliance) Awards happening on the Saturday evening, it also would have been nice to have had the opportunity to hear from the winners of the awards at the Comic Con itself. Never the less, Glasgow Comic Con was a fantastic event and very much now part of the ever increasing number of book festivals in Scotland and it offers something unique and different to the festival circuit.