There’s nothing like waking up and going to the train station to see people wearing insane wigs and extravagant armour. This isn’t a fantasy, it is a reality and that reality is the arrival of Comic Con! Last weekend, was London’s annual Film and Comic Con which is run by Showmasters who are one of the many groups of organizers that host events for all types of geek culture ranging from sci-fi, anime, superheroes, comics and gaming. What makes this Comic Con so special I hear you non-con-goers ask? Well, having around 170 special guests in one arena is pretty spectacular. Add in the growing mainstream popularity of geek culture so it’s no surprise that this event was sold out.
Comic Con is an event for like-minded geeks to meet and make friends, while having the chance to talk to their favourite comic authors, TV, film, cartoon, gaming and wrestling stars. It can be a great networking chance for those who have an interest in geek culture and wish to work in the industry (if you play your cards right that is!). Chatting to fellow attendees shows who the dedicated geeks are and who is simply following the mainstream crowd. Some sci-fi shows and films that have dominated ratings or the box office attract the attention of mass audiences, not to mention the increasing interest in the gaming world, but being around those who know the lore behind these fantasy worlds is a feeling worth waiting in a queue to experience.
Seeing all of the merchandise and memorabilia is one of the main draws of conventions because you never know what you may come across- you may even be lucky enough to stumble across some costume props from Stargate, like yours truly, then get to talk about it with Richard Dean Anderson himself. Other props can be bought to enhance cosplays. Cosplaying is for those who have a strong interest in a character and they dress up as that character to “become” them for the day. There are competitions and photo opportunities for cosplayers as well as panels to discuss how you can improve your own cosplay making skills. Guests appreciate seeing how dedicated fans are to the characters that they bring to life; plus it’s always a bonus to hear a guest praise your efforts!
Comic Con has several special events each year and this year celebrated the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future. The majority of the cast were reunited for autograph signings, photo opportunities and a cast panel. The iconic DeLorean made an appearance and Marty McFly himself, Michael J Fox, shared with fans his experiences of driving the car on set which turns out can be quite dangerous (even when not being driven at 88 miles per hour!). With many films from the 80s getting a modern touch-up, it has been confirmed that Back to the Future will not be one of those films any time soon. We’ll all just have to live in the nostalgia that the trilogy provides which, evidently, thousands of people done so as Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd’s photoshoots sold out almost instantly!
The biggest guest of the event was none other than sci-fi film goddess Sigourney Weaver. It’s no surprise that her photoshoot and talk sold out and she had an autograph queue that seemed never-ending. The actress has starred in hit sci-fi films with her most famous roles being Ellen Ripley in the Aliens saga and Dana Barrett in Ghostbusters. However, it was a joy to see fans bringing in posters and DVD covers of some of her smaller roles in films like Galaxy Quest, Avatar and Paul. Sigourney Weaver had her own room as she was expected to be attracting the most attention from fans at the event, which she did. She powered through all of her signings to keep fans pleased and she even tried to squeeze in conversations where possible.
Other guests who had booths around the edges of the arena space were able to chat with fans while signing for them which makes the experience all the more real for fans. Chatting with The Walking Dead star, Steve Coulter, is a great way to hear what a true fan of the show felt when he got to be on the show last season. He explained the gory mechanics of the season five finale which is something best explained from the actor who had to experience it. Reading a similar story in an interview or hearing about it from the props department doesn’t quite have the same impact as it does speaking with the actor face-to-face.
To sum up the experience of Comic Con, as busy as this year’s London event was, would take up far too much time and it cannot be truly understood unless you experience it for yourself. While this has been a brief summary of my personal highlights, all I can suggest that you do is go! Go to Comic Con, or any convention, and then will you get to feel that buzz and excitement at full capacity. Every convention experience is a unique one but for dedicated fans, it will always be an unforgettable experience.
It’s not just the fans who enjoy the atmosphere of conventions either, the stars do too as Michael J Fox said at his panel: “I’ve met people with their heart on their sleeves, and they love what they are, they love being together and doing the things they enjoy. And if that’s a nerd, then that’s what Marty is.”
Did you attend the London Film and Comic Con event last weekend? What did you think?
Comment with your thoughts.