The explosion of con culture on a worldwide scale is, to me, a beautiful thing. It’s a truly tribal celebration of the stuff and nonsense that lifts the spirit, ignites creativity and inspires intelligent debate (most of the time!), as well as providing an opportunity to give back to those people that produce such stuff and nonsense, face-to-face.
And comic cons are popping up everywhere, not just in the bigger cities and populated hubs, but also in smaller towns and villages. Chichester is a historical town on the South coast of England, a lovely picturesque part of the world in the pastoral landscape of the South Downs, the only city on West Sussex and one of those beautiful places in England that all Americans think we live in, with a Cathedral in the middle, a village green with a duck pond, a vicar who looks like Rowen Atkinson that pops round and has tea in the afternoon… thanks a ruddy bunch, Richard Curtis.
It’s classical, it’s cultured… and it’s possibly the last place anyone would think a brilliantly run, contemporary comic con would be held, attracting some truly stellar names in comics from not only the Capital some eighty-odd miles away but also from foreign climes as well. Then again, like I say, it is a very pretty part of the world so it’s a very easy sell: “Come down, take in the lovely views, talk about comics for a bit….”
MEANWHILE… COMIC CON is the brainchild of Simon Birks, a comics writer and self-published indie creator from the area, who has gathered some very impressive names for this, the debut year of the event. Chichester has only recently started to embrace comic culture with the opening of its own comic book shop this year and Simon was determined to bring the fun and excitement of events like Thought Bubble in Leeds and ICE in Birmingham to his own stomping ground.
“We’re hoping for something for everyone,” said Simon, when explaining is Meanwhile.. is all about. “It’s a big claim, but that’s our mission. We’ll be announcing some more great guests in the coming months, as well as competitions open for all. We want it to be a learning experience, too, with interactive lessons in all things convention!”
But, of course, the big draw for attendees is the names on the marquee, and Simon has pulled together all his resource to make sure there’s plenty to see at the show, inviting some big names from the comic scene. “We know how much people love to meet their heroes. We’re also making sure we bring in some up and coming names, too, as variety is very important.”
So, to: the Guest List. There’s established names from the legacy of British comics – 2000AD remains on the top of that pedestal so it’s fitting that legendary artists Mick McMahon and John Higgins are Special Guests – as well as new blood such as JESSICA JONES (CIVIL WAR II) / WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD’s Alison Sampson and TANK GIRL’s Warwick Johnson Cadwell. It’s an impressive lineup.
Based in Southsea, writer and co-creator of Image Comics horror hit NO PLACE LIKE HOME, and the forthcoming MANWOLFS and new horror title, MALEFICIUM, makes a much anticipated return to the world of comics at this year’s Meanwhile Comic Con.
Alison Sampson is a comic book artist and architect based in London, UK.
As well as having drawn GENESIS with Nathan Edmondson for Image Comics, she has worked with DC/Vertigo, Dark Horse, IDW, and Boom! Studios, amongst others.
Winner of the BCA Emerging Talent award in 2014, in part for her work on GENESIS, she created and runs the 200+-artist online collaborative design project Think of A City.
Currently, she is teaming up with Steve Niles to create WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD, published by Image Comics.
Sonia a multi-award winning Manga creator. Her best-sellers include MANGA SHAKESPEARE: ROMEO AND JULIET, DRAW MANGA: COMPLETE SKILLS and MANGA YOUR WORLD, sold worldwide and in numerous editions and languages.
She has worked for TokyoPop, Self-Made Hero, Image Comics, Hachettes, VIZ Media, Titan Comics, Walker Books, Search Press and many more across the comic book industry, children’s books, educational publishing, periodicals, television and advertising.
She is also the Company Secretary of Sweatdrop Studios, a comic collaborative and independent publisher of Manga and is currently working on her original illustrated fantasy novel series, THE CHRONICLES OF CIEL.
Sonia will be running a manga workshop at Meanwhile…, and will be a taking part on one of our panels!
Mick did the usual banging and crashing about until he became a regular contributor to 2000AD starting with Prog 2. He drew several characters for the comic, most notably Judge Dredd, Slaine, and the ABC Warriors. And Superbean, of course.
He sought pastures new in the mid-eighties. THE LAST AMERICAN, written with aplomb by John Wagner and Alan Grant, was probably his only work that troubled the scorers during his brief flirtations with Marvel Comics and DC Comics, though he did enjoy working on ALIEN LEGION and BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE, the latter being his only foray into writing (performed under the benevolent eye of Mister Gibbons).
His favourite out of all his comics work is the relatively obscure DECAP ATTACK in the British weekly SONIC THE COMICS, Nigel Kitching and Richard Piers Rayner scripting. He also has high hopes for Kestrels, an upcoming series of graphic novels in collaboration with Ben Dickson.
Along the way he has also dabbled in designing for films and video games, and for a few years he even had several ‘proper’ jobs working in computer game studios.
WARWICK JOHNSON CADWELL
Warwick Johnson Cadwell has been drawing stories as long as he can remember: through school, university and all the day jobs he has done.
He has illustrated books for Kane Miller Books, Walker Books, and magazines including NEW REPUBLIC, FORTEAN TIMES, and frequent appearances in The Guardian.
Having received enthusiastic encouragement from others through his blog, he began working in comics. Over the last couple of years, his work has appeared in BIRDSONG, NEW BRITISH COMICS, SOLIPSISTIC POP and WEST comic anthologies.
He produced the comic DEREK DANGER with his frequent collaborator Robert Ball, The 24 Hour comic TOM HAND, done at the 2014 Lakes Festival, and more recently he has been drawing TANK GIRL.
Alan Martin is writer of TANK GIRL, the iconic British comic strip, which first appeared in DEADLINE in 1988. Co-created with artist, Jamie Hewlett, it has become a trans-continental hit, and, after a 2007 revival, is still going strong today.
John Higgins’ career goes back over 40 years as a professional comic artist, he is probably best known for his colour work on WATCHMEN. He was also involved in BEFORE WATCHMEN, co-writing and illustrating CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR in 2012.
John has worked as an artist, and sometimes writer, on such diverse characters as Judge Dredd, Batman, John Constantine and Jonah Hex. He has worked with DC comics for over 25 years, the latest project being in 2016 illustrating ‘Jacked’ written by Eric Kripke. In 2016 and he also found time to illustrate a special set of Royal Mail stamps ready for the 350th Anniversary of the Great fire of London.
John spent the rest of 2016 writing and designing an autobiographical art book ‘Beyond Watchmen & Judge Dredd, the art of John Higgins’ published by Liverpool University Press to coincide with a major retrospective exhibition of his work at the Victoria Gallery and Museum in Liverpool, opened in March 2017 running until October 2017.
Some mad and crazy fool (hi, Shane Chebsey!) has nominated me to Simon to host the Panel Room at Meanwhile… Comic Con and so, I’m incredibly proud to announce that I’m going to the chap that’s going to chatting to the invited Special Guests throughout the day, as well as compere-ing the Cosplay Competition at the end. It’s going to be a cracking series of conversations, which I’m hoping I’ll be able to livestream to my Englishman In San Diego YouTube channel, fingers crossed.
- 11.15am-12.00pm: JUDGE DREDD PANEL – JOHN HIGGINS & MICK MCMAHON
- 12.15pm-1pm: ALISON SAMPSON Q&A
- 1.15pm-2pm: MANGA TALK/INTERVIEW with SONIA LEONG
- 2.15pm-3pm: ALAN MARTIN / WARWICK JOHNSON CADWELL – TANK GIRL PANEL / INTERVIEW
- 3.15pm-4pm: SMALL PRESS PANEL
- 4.15pm-CLOSE: COSPLAY COMPETITION
- LYNDON WHITE
- FUNKY SPACEPORT
- SHIMMY SHAMMY
- SUICIDAL TOYS
- VIC ‘IDDSTAR’ HILL
- NATHAN HILL
- JONATHAN SCOTT
- LIZARDBREATH and WILLOWDEBEEST
- MAD ROBOT COMICS
- BRIAN ‘CLANK’ BENNETT
- WILLIAM BOWEN
- MATT TAYLOR
- ACCENT UK
- BLUE FOX COMICS
- MAD ROBOT COMICS
- TIME BOMB COMICS
- MATILDA DAES & WHIXYR
- CHARLEY HALL AND BECKY GREEN
- ETHEMY ART
- CURIOUS TREATS
- MILLIE BURNAND
- RUSSEL MARK OLSON COMICS
- TALL TALES STUDIOS
- KENDAL JAMES
- SCREAMING RAT
- POSSIM CRAFTS
- GEEK LA CHIC
- PURPLE-GYPSY ACCESSORIES
- INVISIBLE COMICS
- THE CORTEX VAULT
- SUICIDAL TOYS
- ALFOT STUDIOS
- NICK PROLIX COMIX
- FUNKY SPACEPORT
- CREATIONS OF CURIOSITY
- MARC CASILLI
- JACK DEVERAUX
- THE VICTORIAN GEEK
- MICHAEL ROBERTSON
- JAMES FRANCIS
- RYAN STRATTON-BALDWIN
- J.J. SCOTT ILLUSTRATION
- VINTAGE BLING AND BAGS
- SLIPPERY PENGUIN COMICS & CRATES
- RETRO GAMING
- COMICS, GAMES AND COFFEE
- BELONG PORTSMOUTH
MEANWHILE… COMIC CON is held at Chichester College, Westgate Fields, Chichester, PO19 1SB, near the Westgate Leisure Centre, and runs from 9am for ‘Secret Heroes’ ticket holders and 10am for General Admission – tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/meanwhile-comic-con-tickets-31995641826. Fantastic news, kids under 4 can get in for free.
Follow all the latest updates leading up to the show on Meanwhile…’s website, Facebook and Twitter. And, of course, we’ll be posting all we can here on An Englishman In San Diego. Hope to see you there!