Tony Lee, On Stepping Down From Showmasters' London Film And Comic Con

Over the weekend, Bleeding Cool reported on Tim Pilcher taking over from Tony Lee as the Comics Organiser for the London Film And Comic Con run by Showmasters from 2022 forward. And on Facebook, they both followed up. Tony Lee wrote;

Tony Lee, On Stepping Down From Showmasters' London Film And Comic Con

So, Bleeding Cool put the news up yesterday (I didn't realise until I found my inbox filled with a dozen creator emails this morning)… Before we get the inevitable 'were you pushed / fired / had a row / stormed out' replies, I wanted to state for the record that this was my own decision, and more importantly decided by external circumstances, rather than anything else.

He talked about his history with the show…

In July 2017, the LFCC Comic Zone under my curation was had a lot of growing pains, mainly because I'd taken on a role where the predecessor had left no paperwork or details. But, by the end I'd found my feet and, in 2018 brought in a solid team to assist me and in 2019 I honestly think, with over 100+ comic guests and 150+ artists alley tables, we had one of the biggest comic presences of any UK comic con. We'd brought in big US and European names. We'd celebrated anniversaries. We'd also created the LFCC Symposium, a 3-day series of masterclasses aimed only at the artist alley / small press exhibitors, giving them something extra for attending, and also helping the next generation of creators find their footing. We had plans for 2020 to create a bigger area, bigger guests and a Hall of Fame award, anything that helped us cement the legacy of the LFCC comic zone as one that was creator friendly, a mixture between 'autograph con' and 'comic festival'.

And that when the show closed for the lockdown and shutdown, he suddenly got a lot busier elsewhere.

With no film or TV happening, with school talks stopped and with comics on hold, I found I had time to kill and, looking for something to do, to keep creating, I started turning some of my TV pitches and scripts into books, writing a series of crime novels under the pseudonym 'Jack Gatland' for Hooded Man Media / Amazon, novels which proved to be incredibly well received, profitable and more importantly were incredibly fun to write. At this point, as I pen this, I have seven novels in print, and finished the eighth the morning of LFCC.

That's right, folks, Tony Lee wrote eight novels in eighteen months. And you didn't,

But, as the pandemic has lessened and real life has returned, so has my other work, and now, with film, TV, comics, books, school talks and LFCC event planning, of which there is a lot for an event with 100+ guests, I realised that I had to drop something before I burned out.
In September I was a comic guest of the Coventry Comic Con, 'Meanwhile…', my first that side of the table since 2016, and I remembered how much I loved it. And, knowing that in 2022 I have several new books announced, last week at Destination Star Trek, where I was a host for the main stage, I informed Jason and Showmasters that I would be stepping down after this LFCC, purely because I simply didn't have the time to give this show the attention it deserved—but that I wouldn't leave them in the lurch, finding my own replacement, someone I knew who wouldn't only take on the event I'd created with my incredible team, but one that would take the ball and run with it.

I only had one name on my list; Tim Pilcher. A man who has been in comics nearly all of his life, who was the first ever British DC/Vertigo editor in the 90s, who's multiple Eisner-nominated, has written comics, sold comics, edited comics, written about comics… the list goes on. A man with one of the best reputations in in the industry, I knew, from seeing him at previous LFCCs that he had the spirit needed. My team agreed and this weekend we 'sealed the deal' to get him to take on the role.

I don't know what Tim's LFCC will be like, but I believe it will be better than any I ever ran, and with SDCC on a different weekend and the pandemic slowly ending, I look forward to see who he'll bring along. He's the best choice. The only choice. And he's already been given 'Gary the Support Whale', the LFCC mascot.

All that was left for the many people to thank. And for Tim Pilcher to pop up in the comments.

Dear All, Firstly I'd like to thank Tony Lee for managing to drag a con that was in the mire and turn it around so quickly. I attended all 4 years that he ran the show and he was a consummate professional. And also a massive thank you for thinking of me as your replacement! Deeply humbled and honoured. Secondly, I don't want anyone to panic that I'm throwing everything out with the new regime! What Tony has established (with a fantastic team of Amy McGarry-Thickitt, Anthony McGarry-Thickett and Michael Mastakin – who I'm very lucky to retain) is brilliant and works, so there's not much to fix. What will change is the scale and ambition. I'm aiming for the show to be bigger and better than before. To bring in guests from abroad rarely seen at shows over here and to really make the first "C" in LFCC stand out and make the show a destination event for true comic fans. So keep 8-10 July 2022 free in your diary! Thirdly, I've got a hell of a lot to sort through over the next few days but don't worry I will get back to all your emails and you'll hear from me soon!

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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