To tell the awful truth I have never been to a proper comic book convention. I once went to a Dreddcon a few years ago when I lived in Oxford. I hid in a corner drinking gin and tonics, peeking round the corner at the people who seemed to know how to behave. I counted manifestations of beards and leather jackets and said hello to Colin MacNeil. Wild achievements to be sure.
I entertained vague hopes of going to the Birmingham International Comics Show , but lack of forward planning meant that financial and other issues prevent attendance. Frankly, I mainly wanted to go for a bit of a party and see Dave Gibbons presentation about Watchmen.
However, I just found the Thought Bubble convention in Leeds. Part of the 22nd Leeds International Film Festival, it looks much smaller and less established than the yearly leviathans of Bristol and Birmingham. It is this, combine with their utterly adorable website, which makes this convention look very appealing.I know that the comics scene is not as hegemonically masculine as it once might have been or is thought to be, but I think a little bit of untypical feminine shyness has been holding me back.
As a part-time tom boy, I got into comics through 2000ad and Judge Dredd. The more "female friendly" stuff followed only years later, discoveries of Daniel Clowes and Love and Rockets were important, but my roots are in the Megacity.
Outside of my personal experience, it seems more women are reading graphic novels/comics, either in the "novel" form or more targeted forms. Manga, supposidly child and female friendly, now has it's place in the western mainstream, as demonstrated in the recent Manga Show at Urbis. The graphic novel is now established too, which is great, and there are more women creators, such as Leah Moore , with her indisputable pedigree, and Hannah Berry. ( Who, incidentally, will be at Between the Panels , part of the Manchester Literature Festival, which I'll be blogging. )
Anyway, Thought Bubble is being positioned as a " four day annual event which celebrates sequential art in all its forms." Sounds just my cup of tea. Though Leeds is still a bit of a treck, hopefully there will be enough time for me to get my ducks in a row. Perhaps even, though this could be just be a complete fantasy, get a train ticket for which I won't have to sell a kidney for.
The convention is on the 15th of November, but there are other events running between the 13th and 16th. It is a little discouraging that they haven't announced any of them yet, but, as instructed, I shall 'watch this space.'