Post BICS Interview with con organiser Shane Chebsey

With the awesome British International Comics Show 2009 behind us I took a moment to catch up with one of the organisers of the con, Shane Chebsey and get his thought on how this year’s con went.

So would you consider this year’s show a success?

Very much so. The feedback from all sectors has been overwhelmingly positive and for the first time since producing the show we have not lost any money. We are now in a very strong position to improve the show even more for 2010.

Was there anything you wish you had done differently in hindsight?

I could nit pick, but overall we are very happy with how things went. As I’ve already stated publicly, the launch party didn’t even resemble the event we actually booked and paid for, but the only way to deal with that is to learn from it and to make sure we book another venue next year. Overall though I don’t think a free event with free food that nobody had to pay for other than us (and our kind sponsors Diamond) is really a major issue. The actual show that folks have paid to attend was -as always-excellent value for money. Our guests all did so much to help us out, and our event hosts were all professional and entertaining (including yourselves). We will – as always be making changes next year. We never rest on our laurels and constantly try to improve the show. Many of these changes are in response to feedback from visitors and exhibitors etc but overall we are now very happy with the basic model we’ve adopted for the show.

What were your personal highpoints?

Meeting Howard Chaykin, who was a pure joy to speak to, and actually crying with laughter during the Cosplay competition. Irma Page did a great job hosting that and keeping Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood in line, who were their usual flamboyant and mischievous selves (and we wouldn’t want the any other way).
It was also great to meet Michiru Morikawa and Pasqual Ferry who were wonderful guests all weekend long.

There has been some criticism aimed at the Launch party what was your take on the event?

Answered above.

Maybe a bit early in the day but now that you have rebranded yourself The British International Comic Show can we expect the 2010 show to still be held at the Think Tank or is moving an option?

Thanks to the name change moving is always an option, but for the foreseeable future the main show will remain in the centre of the country where it’s easiest for folks to get to at our superb Think Tank venue.

Name one guest you wished you could have had for this year’s show?

We had a few near misses this year that we hope to get in 2010 or 2011 who I’d have loved to be there.
These included: Brian Wood, Steve Rude, Bryan Hitch, and Ed McGuiness.
All of these will be appearing at BICS in the future though once work commitments allow it as they’ve all want to come.

I’d really like to get John Romita Jr along at some point, and we’ll be working hard to make that happen in the future. The names we actually have down for next year are really major creators though and I think folks will be very excited when we announce them later this year.

Would you ever consider extending the show beyond the two days it currently runs for?

Yes we’d consider it if we felt there was a demand and that we could put on a good event for a longer period and still make it good value for money. Most people are working Monday to Friday, so if we did expand the show into the week it would not include a trade fair.

Again this may be too early in the day but other than continuing to make the show even bigger and better do you guys have any specific aims to achieve for next year’s show?

Yes, as always we aim to attract a wider demographic to the show and to comics in general. We have taken steps to make this happen next year. We also aim to do more outreach during the year into schools, colleges libraries etc, promoting both the show and the medium of comics to the general public.

My own involvement with BICS has always been about promoting comics to a wider audience and educating people about the potential of the medium and I’ll continue to push this aspect of the show for as long as I’m involved.

Cheers for your time Shane!
Thanks Barry

GS Reporter: Nuge

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  1. It was a great show, but can I be the first (but doubtless not the last) person to ask for a nominated semi-official social gathering for the Saturday night? It’s a shame to have everyone so scattered…

  2. We have actually done this every year so far (until 2009).

    In 2008 Diamond even sponsored an official party in the evening but only a half dozen people turned up. We hired the whole floor of a hotel and everything… a big waste of time and money. We soon realised that folks prefere to do their own thing on the saturday after the big friday party so decided to let them do just that from now on.
    There’s always the unofficial Brair Rose (on Bennet’s Hill) gathering that I think most folks go to on Saturday.

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