Saturday 27th June saw the triumphant return of the Cardiff Independent Comic Expo after going on hiatus for a year.
Held in the Masonic Hall in Cardiff City Centre, CICE boasted probably one of the healthiest populations of independent creators, artists, and designers to appear at any convention ever! As well as boutiques, merchandise, comic stockists and other media including short films, there was something for every geek.
I was also part of a collective of creators who put together a special anthology of short comics to be handed out in goodie bags for attendees. Seeing the book for the first time on the morning of the convention was a wonderful feeling! We’d been plotting online for months before the show and raising funds to print the short exclusive run. The anthology is a really beautifully produced work featuring some of my favourite creators (and now friends) from the indie comics scene such as Anastasia Catris, Vince Hunt and Dan Harris, among many more. If you got a copy, do let us know what you think!
The show itself was extremely well organised by convention expert Mike Allwood, supported by show favourite Iz McAuliffe! I have volunteered personally for Iz on a couple of shows and I’ll support any event she has a hand in. She’s one of the most passionate and understanding organisers I’ve ever met, truly promoting what she loves: comics.
We arrived to be greeted by the organisers and escorted to our tables after signing in. They’ve always got time for personal touches. I’ve been to many shows over the years and I’ll always love this intimacy, it’s the unique thing about independently run events.
During the course of the day I managed to catch up with the creators of my favourite books (Sarah Millman of The Heart Of Time, the Lou Scannon boys and Steve Penfold off’ve Moon!) as well as make new friends with table neighbour Godmachine. Wow, what an artist, what a gentleman, what a beard!
I also got introduced to the man behind the Geeks In Wales blog, Jamie Gibbs, who I accompanied to the premier screening of The Black Room, a short film produced by con regular, Terry Cooper! I loved the film, a mystery unfolds in a ‘superhero call centre,’ told through the eyes of a reporter out of her depth. Cooper also appears in the film as the shady figurehead of a cover up operation. The creators held a Q&A and briefed us on their plans to seek crowd funding for the proposed web-series! I can’t wait for more details. I’d love to support them. I left the screening awed and thankful that so many people are willing to share their creativity and contribute to cult entertainment. Or in my own words ‘I love people who get up off their arse and make things!’
The show felt very well attended and the vibe was buzzing! The Masonic Hall was a beautiful venue that sparked many a ‘cor!’ and conversation, complete with a bar (I had my first ever convention wine… which came with a free comic!)
I only wish I’d got chance to shop downstairs at the cute Japanese culture stall I saw! I never get to go shopping! *stamps foot*
I also loved the cosplay competition. Each exhibitor was given 4 tickets to hand out to their favourite cosplayer who could win a prize!
I would whole heartedly recommend it to everyone. A friend of mine asked me if I thought CICE would be a good convention for someone who knew nothing about comics and I couldn’t answer positively enough. He brought his young son along and they left with an armful of books. I think that sums up the day perfectly!
Keep your eyes peeled for news of (hopefully) CICE 2016!
GS Blogger: @bintykins