Live Event: Liverpool Comic Con, Exhibition Centre, March 6th – 8th, 2020
Before I start this review, I have to admit that I’m a bit of a ‘con-virgin’ so if this turns into more a review of my first con experience and documentation of my culture shock to certain aspects (negative or positive) please forgive me. I am sure that all of you con nerds will find a few good scoffs reading my possible lack of con etiquette and experience.
Also, a special shoutout to Monopoly Events for the press access and for putting on a spectacularly well run convention…and to Dave for being ill and asking if I could cover it this year. Hopefully he’s ill next year too.
Getting the passes I assumed would be an absolute pain but the staff were as attentive and helpful as I could have hoped. The con itself was also well run with general enjoyability and safety being of utmost importance. Great job guys.
At the risk of sounding like a tight-arse, I really want to point out one thing you should definitely know if you’re a con-virgin like myself:
Comic Cons can be FUCKING expensive.
This hit me just after I got into the event and headed straight to the Elijah Wood meet and greet. When I got to the front, LOTR boxset in hand, excited to collect the hobbit’s initials I was met with a sign:
- AUTOGRAPH £80
- PHOTOGRAPH £90
- BOTH £150
- CASH ONLY
Look, I get that these are expensive events to throw but I think I can be forgiven for being a little shocked. When considering the average con goer will be shilling out for travel, board, a weekend pass, a costume and all the meet and greets and merch you will probably want, these extremely high prices for the bigger main events can seem just a tad extortionate, especially when considering how elusive the knowledge of prices can be prior to even reaching certain booths. (All prices are available in advance on the Comic Con Website. Joel was thrown into this at the last minute and so of course had no prior knowledge of prices – Dave).
Not that I can really talk though, all I really spent money on was a bit of merch and a considerable amount trying to win a Winchester repeater signed by Nick Frost (Sadly not a winner but I did receive a single bar of mint aero in consolation).
Now for the con itself. I am happy to report that I had an absolute blast. There is this feeling that everyone there is absolutely free to do and be whoever they want. There is this real sense of community there that was just heart-warming to experience. Honestly, just walking around the place and taking pictures with enthusiastic nerds dressed as your favourite characters is a pure joy in itself and is definitely worth experiencing.
The meet and greets were actually quite cool though. Elijah was as adorable as you could imagine (Even I was a tad awkward about handing over a weeks rent for him to write on a DVD), Doug Cockle (Make sure to listen to our show with him – Dave) is head to head with David Arbour in the friendliest guy ever contest, and meeting Karyn Parsons made the 13 year old boy inside me scream and faint.
Special shoutout to John Callis, Phillip Pope, Sue Holderness for accepting Charity donations for simple selfies. Good stuff. Obviously I’m missing out tons and tons of great guests but I feel confident to say that everyone I got the chance to meet was an absolute treat.
The Q&As themselves were very enjoyable too. Brain Blessed and Peter Cullen, maybe unsurprisingly, proved to be by far the most entertaining, filled with loud, silly voices and were brilliant. I was pretty disappointed that Ray Wise and Mickey Rourke pulled out but obviously this is to the fault of no one and didn’t ruin my overall experience.
My absolute favourite thing about the con that shocked me however was actually the abundance of smaller stores. Conversations held with artisans, writers, hot sauce peddlers (here’s to you Dean of the Dead) were among my favourite experiences and were a complete surprise. Again, I’m very new to cons of any kind and didn’t really think there would be much in the way of space for these smaller stalls. The sense of community was absolutely astounding and every one of these stalls proved to house some of the absolute most charming and enthusiastic people. Happily spent my money supporting these brilliant up and coming artists and small businesses.
I had a tremendous time exploring the con. My only regret is that I didn’t come with more money and a lavish costume. I will be sure to amend this next time. And there definitely will be a next time. Hopefully on another press pass, Dave *wink* *wink*. (You really do want me to be in hospital again don’t you Joel! – Dave)
All in all, comic con is the only place I’ve seen Marlene and Boycie from Only Fools and Horses awkwardly pose for pictures with a diabetic Goku, a malnourished Doctor Who and two furries as the cast of the Never Ending Story looked on.
I couldn’t even imagine such a free place.
Review by Joel from press access kindly supplied by Monopoly Events.