A year since we premiered The Black Room at CICE 2015 we were back for CICE 2016, but this time on the other side of the table.
It’s been a long time since I wrote a “Con Report”, but this is first time I’ve actually gone to a convention as a “punter” – and it was a great experience. Cardiff Independent Comic Expo was a great, family friendly expo, well organized and great fun to attend. For those of you who haven’t heard about it, Cardiff Independent Comic Expo (or “CICE”) is held annually in Cardiff’s Masonic Hall and is one of those increasingly rare comic expos that is actually about… comics.
I’ll just wait a moment for anyone who fell over, dropped their mobile phone down the toilet, or was otherwise shocked to their very core as they read that.
Back? OK. Good.
Yes, among the seemingly endless stream of events that call themselves comic conventions but are really celebrity autograph festivals or merchandise markets, CICE stands as one of the few conventions where you can still find that the majority of stands are about comics, being run by people who make comics, and who want to talk to you about comics. Did I mention comics enough yet? Good.
This was also my first time to a convention with my boys, twin five-year-olds who’ve fallen as deeply in love with superheroes and comics as their nerdy old man. CICE made them very, very welcome indeed and they’re keen to find out when they can go another convention!
So, the highlights:Well, the con is run by convention veterans, so it’s not news that the layout was spot on – plenty of room to move and no obvious dead zones. There was a good mix in each room of indies, professionals, and merchandise that helped to keep things fresh and gave you a reason to explore every part of the convention. Our “swag bag” was certainly bulging by the time that we left!
The bar was open and very reasonably priced, populated by a mix of cosplayers and “normals” and with the same convivial atmosphere that pervaded the whole convention.
A new particular favorite of mine was the art table though – the first time I’ve seen somewhere specifically for kids to sit and draw, very welcome indeed and testament to this being an event that would cater to families and casual comic fans as well as the hard-core con-goer.
All in all, a great event for the organisers – Mike Alwood and Iz McAuliffe and hopefully just a preview of what the future will bring for this show.
Finally some special mentions, I’m spoiled for choice but it was great to see Steve Tanner, PJ Montgomery, Sy Wyatt, Mike Collins, Jamie Lambert, Dylan Teague, and Simon Williams who all made time to chat on the day. I’m sure I missed others, something I can rectify at the next convention (even that ends up being CICE 2017!)