1968 : THE FIRST UK COMIC CONVENTION
The first Comics Convention in the UK happened in 1968 as an offshoot of the growing fanzine scene that had begun with Tony Roche’s “Merry Marvel Fanzine” and “Heroes Unlimited” and a few other small press publications such as “Kapow”. I should have been there but I was too cash-strapped and a year or two too young, at fifteen or sixteen, to fly or boat/train it alone to Birmingham and join all the other enthusiasts, most of whom, except for Tony Roche, lived in England and who mostly corresponded erractically by means of the postal service.There was no internet then, after all, and only primitive technology to help publicise and promote.The phonebox was at the end of the street. It was a different world then.This was the first mention of the coming event in Power Comics.
Like most of the old fanzines of almost fifty years ago, not much evidence of the event still remains but I’ve managed to gather a few pieces to give some flavour of the event. The Convention booklet recently appeared for sale on Ebay, so I was able to get some photos there. Although incomplete it contains a letter of Greetings and Goodwill from Mr Marvel Comics himself, Mr Stan Lee. Stan was a legendary figure, even then. Tony Roche made a full report on the event in his” Heroes Unlimited” #6 fanzine while it was still fresh in his mind and is the only reportage I am aware of from that time. This is included below for anyone who has not already read the HU series elsewhere on my site.
More recently ,the very high – quality, but sadly now defunct glossy “Crikey” comics’ magazine ran a fortieth anniversary two-page spread which featured revelatory colour photographs of the fancy-dress section of the event. The only photo I had seen prior to this was a blurred black and white, printed in HU #6. This puts faces to some of my teenage correspondents from those times, such as Bob Poole , who aided and abetted by one Ges Cleaver, kept my postbox abrim with countless garishly coloured puzzles, games and assorted comics related material throughout part of the 1960s .
I’ve included this piece in its entirety for completion. If any other material exists I would love to see it and will include it if made available.If anyone’s copyright has been infringed, please accept this fan’s apologies. I have no intention monetary or otherwise, other than to record these events for enthusiasts. Anything of offence will be removed by request.
Further detailed information from those times can be seen in both my earlier site postings here :
or in Mr UK Marvel, Dez Skinn’s fine site here :