Okay sometimes you just can’t improve on a headline and certainly qualifies as the Birmingham (UK) Mail spotlights this weekend’s very first Birmingham International Comics Show, bringing the world of comics to the Midlands for the first time

DO YOU know your Bruce Banners from your Bruce Waynes?

If so, then Birmingham will be the place to be this weekend when comic book fans from across the country swing into town.

The Custard Factory, in Digbeth, hosts the International Comics Show tomorrow and on Sunday from 10.30am.

The event will include every aspect of comic culture, from limited editions and graphic novels to Manga and memorabilia.

Brummie invasion aside, the show is notable for a couple of reasons — as stated, it’s the first show in England’s second largest city, which turns out to have a pretty sizable comics contingent, including the immortal Hunt Emerson, which makes it reason enough to go.

it’s also the VERY LAST convention of any size of the year…yes the marathon is over…for a few weeks.

Guests include Dave Gibbons, Alan Davis, Emerson, John McCrea, James Hodgkins, Andi Watson, Leah Moore, Matt Hollingsworth, frequent Beat correspondent Ben McCool, and more. There’s a fine programming schedule, as well, with some innovative events such as puppets and celebrity arm wrestling. Word on the street has it that cartoonists will be in the bar drinking later, as well.

You can read all about the show here. It runs tomorrow and Sunday and a two-day pass is £10.


  1. Sorry Heidi, but you’re wrong & so is the article in the Birmingham Mail.
    Birmingham hasn’t had a comics show for a long while, but this certainly isn’t the first.
    In fact, the UK’s very first comic convention was held in Birmingham a very long time ago (possibly 1968 from a quick google), organised by Phil Clarke, who used to be proprietor of the still excellent Nostalgia & Comics – Birmingham’s premier comic shop.

  2. Their website mentions the ’68 convention. My first British comics con was in Birmingham in ’79, so this one has to be at least the third. And it looks promising. Sorry I can’t make it…

  3. Coming to you live from Birmingham,
    I packed up my table and left the show floor about 5:00 today. That’s a little before the official 5:30 closing time, but it’s for a good reason: I sold out.

    The show was pretty good, I thought. It’s my first UK show since moving here earlier this year, so I was not sure what to expect. I’ve done enough shows in the US that I have a small audience, and our HellCar brand has some recognition. But nobody knows me here. Even so, I optimistically brought a sizeable stack of books plus some schwag from for self-publishers. Saturday was slow but steady. Today started out pretty dead, but about 2:00 it suddenly got all crazy and first thing I know I was out of books to sell. Only sold two tee shirts, but that’s down to the weather, I think.

    There was massive interest in Print-on-Demand and many calls for to expand to the UK, or for some equivalent service here. There’s quite a big small press community here and they want POD.

    I took a break and went to the Knockabout section to chat up Hunt Emerson. He’s a nice guy. I also met and talked with Gilbert Shelton, who talked about the upcoming Freak Bros. movie (stop-motion animation). The trailer is up on YouTube:
    We talked animation for a while.

    I also managed to stay entirely under budget, right up to the moment I
    spent £80 on a piece of Hunt Emerson original art. It’s a page from an early “Calculus Cat” story. Sue me.

    Feedback from other vendors was mixed. Most people seemed a bit disappointed in the weekend sales. It was the first-ever show for many people, too. Consensus is the weather is partly to blame for the bad sales and slow traffic–it was really horrendous today.

    The venue was a bit strange. The Custard Factory is a art center that turns into a club at night. The show was split between two medium-sized rooms: a dance studio (where I was, near the entrance) and another room way at the back of the facility. Knockabout had their own little enclave in a storefront between the two. To move from one to the other, you had to go outside in the freezing rain. The back room and Knockabout room also had no buffer zone (unlike the front room), so they stayed freezing cold. I’m serious–when I was talking to Hunt Emerson, I could see my breath. General consensus hope was for one large (heated) room next year. One guy in the back room told me his hands were so cold he was having trouble doing sketches for people.

    Downtown Birmingham is rich in bad, loud pubs and cheap Chinese takeaway, and I did my best to explore both. I learned once again that most invaluable first rule for international travelers: never drink with an Irishman.

    Had a great time, made some excellent contacts and new friends, got invited to a couple of anthologies and was urged to do the Mile End web-comics show in London in March and the Bristol show in May. I’m there! People seemed to like my books, and my exotic North Carolina accent delighted or at least baffled many. Can’t wait for next year.

    Hope this is helpful. I’m still pretty hung over, so let me know if I missed anything. Cheers,