Convention Programmes

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philcom55
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Convention Programmes

Post by philcom55 » 03 Dec 2009, 21:58

Years ago one of the greatest joys of attending a comics convention was the official programme for which many artists would donate a page of artwork. 'Comics 101', held in March 1976, was one of the earliest such events and though I wasn't able to attend in person I did manage to acquire the booklet produced for it. To be honest I'd forgotten all about it but having just accidentally stumbled across it again I thought it'd be interesting to post some of the contributions here - especially as a worrying number of the artists represented are no longer with us. To begin with here's a lovely page by Charles Grigg, followed by an Alf Saporito illustration which seems to depict a number of then-current IPC staffers (I wonder if anybody can identify the faces? ).
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More to follow when I get the chance...

- Phil Rushton

Lew Stringer
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by Lew Stringer » 03 Dec 2009, 22:52

That's fantastic Phil! I'd heard about Comics 101 but it was just before my time as a convention attendee. (My first Con was in 1979.) Wish I'd gone to that Gifford con though as it was specifically about UK comics.

No idea who those IPC caricatured staffers are I'm afraid.

Looking forward to more of those scans.

Lew
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Jonny Whizz
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by Jonny Whizz » 03 Dec 2009, 23:30

The first thing I noticed with the Charlie Grigg picture was that he'd signed it. It looks a bit odd, because it's all DCT characters that's he drawn, and Thomsons didn't allow their artists to sign their work until the '90s, with the exceptions of Dudley Watkins and Allan Morley.

Could the IPC caricatures be the Fleetway version of the real-life equivalents of the 'Sparky People' or something? Unfortunately, I won't be able to recognise them.
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by Lew Stringer » 03 Dec 2009, 23:37

Jonny Whizz wrote:The first thing I noticed with the Charlie Grigg picture was that he'd signed it. It looks a bit odd, because it's all DCT characters that's he drawn, and Thomsons didn't allow their artists to sign their work until the '90s, with the exceptions of Dudley Watkins and Allan Morley.
True, but this was done for a publication outside of their control. Convention programmes would usually feature pages contributed by artists for free, and the original art was auctioned off for charity. (I don't know if that applied to Comics 101.)
Jonny Whizz wrote:Could the IPC caricatures be the Fleetway version of the real-life equivalents of the 'Sparky People' or something? Unfortunately, I won't be able to recognise them.
Yes I'd imagine so. Presumably some are art editors or assistants who would do paste ups, hence the paste gag. (Ah, the pre-computer days when logos and editorial copy were physically glued into place!)

Lew
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Digifiend
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by Digifiend » 03 Dec 2009, 23:54

Lew Stringer wrote:
Jonny Whizz wrote:The first thing I noticed with the Charlie Grigg picture was that he'd signed it. It looks a bit odd, because it's all DCT characters that's he drawn, and Thomsons didn't allow their artists to sign their work until the '90s, with the exceptions of Dudley Watkins and Allan Morley.
True, but this was done for a publication outside of their control. Convention programmes would usually feature pages contributed by artists for free, and the original art was auctioned off for charity. (I don't know if that applied to Comics 101.)

Lew
If it's out of their control, why was he allowed to use the Dandy and Topper characters? After all, DCT own them, not Charlie.

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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by Lew Stringer » 04 Dec 2009, 01:13

Digifiend wrote:If it's out of their control, why was he allowed to use the Dandy and Topper characters? After all, DCT own them, not Charlie.
As I said presumably it was a freebie done for charity. That was the point of Convention booklet illustrations. We'd draw the characters that the readers were familiar with. I'm sure publishers would only object if it was done for profit.

Bear in mind that Comics 101 and events that followed were not the mega-huge Earls Court things of today, just relatively small fan-organised events.

Lew
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Raven
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by Raven » 04 Dec 2009, 01:57

Jonny Whizz wrote:The first thing I noticed with the Charlie Grigg picture was that he'd signed it. It looks a bit odd, because it's all DCT characters that's he drawn, and Thomsons didn't allow their artists to sign their work until the '90s, with the exceptions of Dudley Watkins and Allan Morley.

Certainly gives you the impression he *wanted* to sign his work when given the opportunity, doesn't it?

What a great item. I especially like the Alf Saporito picture - what a great bunch of titles plastered on that elephant.

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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by NP » 04 Dec 2009, 10:27

The face at the 'top of the elephant' on the right with black hair looks like John Sanders, the man at the top of IPC Juveniles in the 1970s.
His office at Kings Reach Tower, where they were at the time, had a magnificent view of the Thames and London along one wall, and a magnificent view of red leather bound volumes of Odhams, Fleetway and IPC comics from the 50s on along another wall. A third wall had Hampson and Bellamy Dan Dare pages framed along it.
Of course, it may not be him.
At the left on top of the elephant, that looks like Bob Paynter, famous editor of Whizzer and Chips, etc, whose office was less grand. presumably the others are Jack Le Grande, Gil Page and Beverly Watts, amongst others, but now I'm basing that on a 1978 memory of meeting them.
Pretty sure about John and Bob, though.

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philcom55
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by philcom55 » 04 Dec 2009, 15:23

Frank Bellamy, Frank Hampson and Ron Embleton: British adventure comics' equivalent of the Three Tenors! I'd give a lot to have seen these gentlemen sharing the same platform - airily discussing techniques and influences, or maybe comparing notes on their hopes and fears for the future of the medium.
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Bellamy and Embleton were at the height of their powers, and even Hampson was beginning to regain some of his shaken confidence thanks to Denis Gifford's efforts on his behalf. Hard to believe that within four short months of Comics 101 Frank Bellamy would be dead, while both Hampson and Embleton would follow him before many more years had passed. It was a time of giants - but like giant stars they burned too bright and passed from us far too soon...! :(

- Phil Rushton

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philcom55
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by philcom55 » 05 Dec 2009, 21:27

A couple more greats from the 'funny' side of the street! :)

Firstly Mike Brown providing this lovely portrait of a comic artist surrounded by the outpourings of his own fevered brain (with apologies to Goya):
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...And secondly an inspired Mike Lacey demonstrating '101 Uses for a Giant Snake'!
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- Phil Rushton :D

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Peter Gray
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by Peter Gray » 06 Dec 2009, 00:51

Love seeing those..

Mike Browns...Badtime Bedtime stories take...seen in the Monster Fun Annuals..

its rare to see Mike Lacey's signature.other than Scared Stiff Sam sometimes and the Krazy comic cover..

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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by Raven » 06 Dec 2009, 01:25

The Mike Lacey one is just splendid - a style that instantly brings up associations with countless iconic IPC front covers and strips.

So is Mike Lacey still with us? Are his whereabouts known? Is he aware of the interest in his old work?

And should we assume then that this 1976 comic convention was attended by lots of fans who were actually into and appreciative of the British weekly comics rather than just imported American - mostly superhero - titles?

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philcom55
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by philcom55 » 06 Dec 2009, 18:03

As far as British comics were concerned the 1970s were in many ways the decade of the funny monster, so I suppose it's hardly surprising that Ian Knox and Rob Nixon should have both come up with the same joke for their pages:
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- Phil

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philcom55
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by philcom55 » 06 Dec 2009, 18:09

...And for good measure here are some more monsters from the ISPY guys:
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Image

Phil R.

Lew Stringer
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Re: Convention Programmes

Post by Lew Stringer » 06 Dec 2009, 18:26

Raven wrote: And should we assume then that this 1976 comic convention was attended by lots of fans who were actually into and appreciative of the British weekly comics rather than just imported American - mostly superhero - titles?
Yes, Comics 101 was, so I believe, dedicated to 101 years of British comics, as opposed to other UK conventions of the period which were pretty much 100% supporting US comics.

I've never, ever, understood this UK vs USA comics thing. Why fans can't appreciate the merits of both equally is beyond me.

Kev Sutherland had the right idea in the early 2000's by gearing the Bristol Expos towards British and American comics. It was great to see DC Thomson represented alongside Marvel Comics for example. Since then, UK cons have tended to give British comics more exposure than they did before 2000, but they're still leaning towards American comics somewhat. (Although with so many British creators working for US companies that's understandable.)

Lew
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