Monday, April 27, 2015

Wales Comic Con (Glyndŵr University, Wrexham)

It was a surreal Sunday. As the sun beat down on the campus at Wrexham's Glyndŵr University, I found myself surrounded by all manner of out-of-this-world creatures and characters. There were hordes of jawas, stormtroopers and Boba Fetts from Star Wars, superheroes like Spider-Man, Batman and Arrow, as well as the odd Middle-Earth wizard. There were even characters from Frozen walking around.

And that's the fun of an event like Wales Comic Con: fans of cult and genre TV, film and comic books are so passionate about their subject that they immerse themselves wholeheartedly in it. People dress up (or down, as in one eye-popping case where a young lady was trying to recreate Princess Leia's slave costume from Return of the Jedi) and emulate their fictional heroes with such obvious love and attention. The time and effort that must have gone into creating some of the cosplay outfits is phenomenal. There was even a Beast from X-Men, complete with blue hairy mane and white lab coat (surely a contender to win the cosplay masquerade trophy!).

The campus was crawling with eccentricity, and the atmosphere was fantastic too - you might think it would be full of geeks but there was fun for all the family, from the freshest of babes to the most
mature of fanatics. Little girls dressed as Disney princesses, boys dressed as Wolverine, while their mums and dads (and sometimes even grans and granddads) donned cowls and capes, or were drenched in face-altering make-up to enter into the spirit of celebrating all things fantastical.

Chewbacca was on
hand (or should that
be paw?) for photos
There were two event halls in which a number of Q&A sessions with stars of the small and silver screen took place: most popular shows were represented, as well as the usual cult favourites such as Red Dwarf, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even overlooked classic Firefly. Stars from Torchwood, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Supernatural, Atlantis, The Hobbit and Primeval were all in attendance, fielding questions and then making their way to the main hall for signings and photo sessions with fans. The excitement of being able to meet your hero, whether it be Star Trek's Harry Kim or Torchwood's Gwen Cooper, be photographed with them and ask them that one question you've always being dying to know the answer to is a heady prospect indeed.

The Game of Thrones
Q&A panel
Due to the stunning weather the campus was covered in attendees chilling out on the grass and taking the chance to have their photo taken with wookiee Chewbacca or Transformer Bumblebee or even a fearsome Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. There was also a rather intimidating Deadpool wandering around, and anybody familiar with Deadpool's X-Men: Origins appearance will know just how unsettling that can be close up!

As well as the signings and the Q&As and the photo opportunities and the merchandise and the exhibits and the cosplay, there was also a Dalek gliding around campus threatening to exterminate with its deadly water cannon, and the impressive work of wood sculptor Simon O'Rourke, whose lifesize rendition of Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy was a sight to behold.

But cosplay and Daleks aside, it is surely the star guests that get the bums on seats at events such as this, and to have people like David Prowse (Darth Vader), Mark Addy (Game of Thrones's late Robert Baratheon) and Wales's own Matt Ryan (currently playing Constantine on Netflix) is a real boon for North Wales. The sense of fun and wonder which enveloped this entire event was intoxicating: people were just happy, and happy to be themselves indulging in their passions with like-minded others.

And if you can do all that, in the sunshine, and get to meet the Stay Puft Marsh Mallow Man, what's not to love?

The stats
Wales Comic Con Part 1 at Glyndŵr University, Wrexham, April 26th, 2015.

Wales Comic Con website (retrieved Apr 27th, 2015)
More photos from Wales Comic Con can be found on Arts Scene in Wales (retrieved Apr 27th, 2015)

Who you gonna call...?

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Did you see the show too? I'd love to hear your feedback!