So many creative treats in one space!
Comic conventions are a great way to meet your favourite celebrities, and explore great examples of art and story-telling.
The Artist Alley at London Comic Con had around 50 artists of all kinds displaying and selling their work, and talking to fans about their projects. This year’s alley was about one-third larger than in 2016.
London Fuse talked to illustrators, writers, and artisans throughout the three-day event at the Western Fair District. Here are a couple of creative minds who shared their stories.
Independent comic publishing company Runciman Press is run by Heroes Comics’ Christopher Runciman. Runciman is also London Comic Con’s creative director.
“It was really important to me to maximize as much as we could for our artists,” Runciman said.
The company featured some of its published artists, including Nigel Garnaitis, who wrote A Breakup Story, which is inspired by his first romantic parting of ways.
“My first girlfriend truly broke my heart,” Garnatis said. “And it turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to me.”
He explained that Closure is about their meet-up years later, and having a conversation about their past relationship. It is published in volume nine of the New Apartments Anthology.
It was Garnaitis’ first time at London Comic Con, and he enjoyed it.
“I love the positive vibes around the art community,” he said. “Everyone is just super enthusiastic about supporting local artists and local media.”
Credible Threat Press
Michael Derrah and Luke Henderson, an artist and writer duo currently living in Toronto, founded Credible Threat Press in 2017. Their book, Our War, is a dystopian comic that Derrah describes as Walking Dead’ without the zombies.
“It’s basically like an HBO series in comic book form,” said Derrah, who has also worked on the 2017 IT remake, Game of Thrones, and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Henderson said writing a book illustrated by Derrah was meant to happen.
“We’ve been friends for over 15 years,” he said. “So it was a logical collaboration.”
Multi-instrumentalists Kurtis Rinas and Mike Herbert are behind the multi-media story Jovian Veil. Rinas’ inspiration came from choose your own adventure books and Stephen King’s The Gun Slinger. Each book in the Jovian Veil series is accompanied by music.
“We thought it would be a pretty cool concept to write a hard, alternative rock song for each part of the novella,” Rinas said.
“I’ve played in bands before,” Herbert added. “But never with a sci-fi novel series, which was a really neat project to be in.”
Marvel and DC artists were also featured at the convention.
Richard Comely, who co-created Marvel’s Captain Canuck in 1975, worked as a commercial artist before writing and illustrating Captain Canuck’s adventures.
Comely and his family recently moved to Ingersoll, Ontario. He’s excited to explore London and the rest of the region.
“I’m a big fan of the landscape around here. I love farmland, trees, rolling hills and all of that kind of stuff,” Comley said. “There’s lots of stuff in London that I guess I’m not aware of.”
Writer, illustrator, and television producer Arvell Jones proudly talked about his variety of work with Marvel and DC. In addition to working on X-Men and Justice League, Jones created Misty Knight for Marvel.
“Who doesn’t want to have a character in a comic book?” Jones said. “I was about maybe 21-22 years old, so I was bouncing off the walls.”
Jones said comic conventions are a reminder that his work has a wide reach, and that fans genuinely love his art.
“When I was originally drawing comics, I didn’t know how many people were reading them. I didn’t know if they had any impact,” Jones explained. “It’s a lot of fun for me to meet people that enjoyed the work that I did, as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it.”
The Artist Alley also featured items such as posters and clothing.
Robert Given creates a variety of artwork featuring a diverse range of characters. He said his business, RG Illustration, received plenty of artwork requests for sci-fi and Pokémon pieces, which he also enjoys.
The pieces of sheet music with related characters stood out, such as Jack Skellington featured on the This is Halloween score.
“I also have a huge interest in music,” he said. “So it kind of made sense to put two and two together. There’s an image and the iconic music that goes with it.”
He also gave his some of the artwork to London Comic Con Guests William Shatner and Lisa Loring, adding it’s awesome to make a living at something that he absolutely loves doing.
Toronto-based artist Miranda Viventi has been showcasing her work at comic conventions since 2009. Although she sometimes uses digital methods, Viventi mostly uses traditional painting methods such as acrylic and watercolour.
“Traditional art is something not commonly found, especially in Artist Alley,” she said. “This is one of the great places to meet other traditional artists.”
The friendly faces behind Popsquatch Designs are London Comic Con veterans, attending for three years in a row.
“Each year it seems to get a little bit busier, which is wonderful,” co-owner Julie Ewing said.
Popsquatch Designs started off by making jewelry, but now they make bleached dyed t-shirts. After her husband bought many “Star Wars” t-shirts, Ewing decided to make their own t-shirts.
Alex Saloomi and Akhil Khithani, owners of Hipster Lasers, create laser engravings on wood, glass, metal and acrylic. However, they originally used it for work in the music industry, doing custom drum pads and custom guitar and neck engraving.
Someone suggested Hipster Lasers sells their pieces at a comic convention, so they headed to their first – Toronto’s FanExpo. The experience led to attending more conventions.
“We’re trying to start the New Year running by doing as many shows across Ontario by the end of the year.”
There were even geeky accessories for your furry friends at London Comic Con.
Mitisha Smitges of MS Creations creates bandanas, bow ties and other accessories, including ones with elements of superhero, sci-fi, and everything in between. Smitges said she enjoys the atmosphere of comic conventions and all of their cosplay opportunities.
“You get to do what you want to do,” she said. “I can never pick just one costume. I end up with six or seven.”
Creative people are the crux of these conventions. If we didn’t have comics, TV shows, or films to enjoy, there wouldn’t be events like the London Comic Con.
Be sure to interact with the featured artists at your next convention. You never know what story you’ll hear next!