This weekend was the second Comic Con in Portsmouth, England. Last year’s con was a huge success and sold out, so it wasn’t a surprise that a second was announced. This year, however, the organisers made sure to make it bigger and better!
Of course I had always planned to attend the con – I went to the 2018 event and had a wonderful time – but happily I was gifted tickets to this year’s con for Christmas. My wife and I got to the con nice and early but there were already at least 600 people there. We didn’t have to wait long until the we were inside the con doors though, and the spending began!
Taking place in (and out) of the Portsmouth Guildhall, the con was a great size; not so small that it felt lacking but not so big you’d have to stop for lunch going from one end to the other. The crowds also were so big that it felt like you had to fight through a heap of people to see anything.
Apart from the usual convention fair of merch and cosplay, there was also a board game lounge, a Steampunk exhibition, retro gaming zone, original storyboards from Game of Thrones, art exhibition, a Stan Lee tribute wall, plenty of panels, guests, an area showing geeky films, and of course many guests. Of the guests, the most exciting for me were Roy Thomas and Steve Englehart, two legends of the comic field who both wrote for Doctor Strange, among other Marvel books.
Of course, the main reasons people go to cons is the merch or, more specifically for me, plugging holes in their collections. Sadly, most of the back issues at the con were from the early 2000’s forward whereas the issues I’m after are from the 1980’s back. Still, I did manage to fill three holes in collection with Marvel Comics Presents, Vol. 1 #108 and Ghost Rider, Vol. 2 #31 and #32. However, I did come away from the con with £30-odd left, so I’ll save for a little bit and grab a few more back issues online. 😉
The rest of my purchases were of newer releases. I picked up some small press books from local UK publishers, including Kia Wordsmith #1 and graphic novels Westernoir, Geek Girl and Boudicca (once I’ve read these I may posts some thoughts here). In regards to mainstream comics I picked up Year of the Villain #1 (or rather it was given to me free) which, if I enjoy, I’ll get the whole event in collected edition; Dark Nights Metal, Spider-Geddon, Doctor Strange: God of Magic, and Amazing Spider-Man: Origin of the Hobgoblin.
As for actual merch, I only picked up a few things as it was all about the comics for me this year. I was finally able to get my hands on one of the Sonic Pixel Pals and I also nabbed a Ghostbusters No-Ghost logo bottle opener and a Doctor Strange card wallet.
While my dream of picking up tones of back issues may not have come to fruition I had another brilliant time at Portsmouth Comic Con. I was still able to pick up some great stuff, meet some awesome people and really enjoy the day. Will certainly be going again in 2020, and I may even cosplay this time!