Showmasters unveils new team and changes for July 2023 LFCC Comic Zone
After a year of returning shows following the COVID pandemic, Showmasters today unveiled their plans moving on with the comic zone area of the London Film & Comic Con, starting in July 2023.
For twenty years, LFCC has been one of the biggest comic cons in London, and the comic zone has been organised by several industry experts over that time, including Mike Conroy, Tony Lee and most recently Tim Pilcher in 2022, each bringing their individual flair to the role. However, after reviewing 2022 – the first full year back since the pandemic – Showmasters have decided to take the comic zone to the next level. A new working group has been created to maximise show potential, drawing from both Showmasters organisers and old comic zone faces, including Amy McGarry-Thickitt and Antony McGarry-Thickitt (Birds of Geek, Geek Syndicate), Michael Mastakin, Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston and returning comic zone organiser, comic creator and author Tony Lee.
As part of this, from July 2023, the comic zone guests, artists alley exhibitors, and small press authors will now be combined under one umbrella with the working group being focussed on delivering this. There will be more exposure, panels and launches from the exhibitors planned, and signage and promotional material will also be increased.
“When I stepped down in 2021, I never expected to be back,” Tony said. “I couldn’t give the time the zone required after the pandemic, as it needed someone working full time for several months on it. However, when Jason and the Showmasters guys showed me their plans for a working group in the style of Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) a couple of weeks back, I saw the workload was shared a lot more, and my previous team, a team I knew could do way more than they were previously given, were getting a chance to shine.”
The working group isn’t the only addition to the Summer show, either. In conjunction with Tony and his publishing company Hooded Man Media, LFCC will be helping present the winner off the 2023 Caliburn Prize, a £2,500 grant for unpublished UK comic creators (to be launched at the March event), provided by Hooded Man Media, as well as restarting the LFCC Symposium, a series of industry-veteran-led mini-lectures, given exclusively (and for free) to Artists Alley exhibitors, while launching the LFCC Comics Hall of Fame Awards, new for 2023.
“When I agreed to come back, I wanted to make sure the next generation of creators gained something more from the convention than just a table and chair,” Tony explained. “We started the Symposium a few years back, and Antony (McGarry-Thickitt) is taking it on for this summer and making it his own, while Amy will be taking on far more management duties over the weekend, and Michael is already working on Hall of Fame candidates for the varying awards we’re looking to give.”
With new guests ready to be announced and a new website being created to showcase artist alley exhibitors, the 2023 team really does want to bring something new to the zone, with free audience panels, editor portfolio reviews, and children-friendly art classes over the weekend.
“It’s the same old comic zone you’ve had for years, but with the working group having more people involved with the autonomy to make decisions on the fly, many of the issues we had brought to us in 2022 will be removed,” a Showmasters spokesperson said. “We’re excited about unveiling this and reminding people that the “C” in LFCC stands for comics, and we won’t be forgetting that any time soon.”