Con Report – The London Film and Comicon 18/19 July 2010

Earls Court was bathed in sunshine as I walked out of West Brompton tube station on my way to visit the London Film & Comicon.

I had a little tingle of excitement as I walked towards the doors. You see, I love comic conventions, I love the gathering of fans, the comment and debate surrounding every publisher, every hero and every villain, I love the dressing up (no, i do not indulge, at least not anymore) or Cosplay as its now known as and to cap it all off, I love it that you get to meet, talk to and shake hands with your heroes, the guys and girls that bring you the books and the talented actors that you know and love.

I can’t help it.

I’m a geek.

The London Film and Comicon had some big guests this year, especially in the run-up to San Diego Comicon and Organizers Showmasters pulled out all of the stops to bring you famous faces from Twilight, Being Human, a reunion of sorts from The Empire Strikes Back, Ben Browder and Virginia Hey from Farscape, Dr Who was covered by the lovely Elisabeth Sladen, in fact every other major franchise was covered by one ‘star’ or another (and not depending on screen time either) even the fallen boxing great, “iron” Mike Tyson. How he fits in with a Film and Comicon is beyond me.

There were a number of Comic artists and writers flying the flag this year but the big name for me was the very entertaining Comic scribe and novelist Greg Rucka. It seemed that the Comicon part of this event wasn’t important this year. Either that or San Diego Comicon was too close to allow many artists and writers to miss it. I suspect (and hope) that it was the latter.

Anyway, I had my eye on two guests that I just had to meet, The beautiful Katee Sackoff from BSG and the legend that is William Shatner.

I had notes and questions prepared for any number of guests should I bump into them, I even had a sidekick with me for the day on hand with a camera.

I’d been to many conventions before. It made sense.

Armed with my trusty press pass I stepped into the Massive Earls Court 2 and that’s when it hit me, the sheer number of people that had turned up with me.

It was 10am on a Saturday morning and the hall was practically full! I’m guessing that there was nearly 2000 bodies milling around! And that was nothing! By lunchtime the place was packed tighter than the tube during rush-hour.

Sci-Fi and Horror fans were bustling about at a snails pace, milling from dealer table to dealer table. Money was changing hands like there was no tomorrow and seeing as most guests were charging between £15 and £75 for a signed photo coupled with the never ending lines of patient (and some not so patient) fans meant that the organizers had a very profitable start to their show.

But something was missing. There really wasn’t much to do or see unless you had plenty of money to spend. There were a few exceptions such as the Batmobile from Batman Begins and a DC Comics 75th anniversary Exhibition (complete with free DC Goodie bag with an Alex Ross Green lantern Print) and plenty of Video games Demos to try out, if you were prepared to wait an hour that is. Maybe it was me. Maybe I am getting old or feeling old or both.

I had done the rounds during the morning and I gotten the lay of the land. I had been told by the event’s Pit boss and other disgruntled Sci-Fi Press hounds that there was no chance of any interviews for today so I had no choice but to trawl the dealer tables and find a few bargains and items for my own collection. It was warm too.

Warm enough for people to start sweating anyway.

With my purchases made I stepped outside to catch some fresh air and make a call when I was faced with the hundreds of fans still waiting to get in. I couldn’t believe it. Everywhere there were people waiting in some kind of line or another and I think that it’s when it hit me. I spend much of my life with my head in a Comic book or watching movies and have had a lot of experience in both the Comics and Film industries. I have met many of my favorite Comic authors and artists and the same goes for my favorite film and TV stars. I work in media. It goes with the job.

What I failed to realize is that the average fanboy or fangirl DOESN’T have these perks. For many in attendance, this was their first convention and by the look on their faces it was a great experience……and no-one was stabbed in the eye. With a pen.

Why should my grumbling and evident impatience tarnish the credit that the organizers of The London Film and Comicon well deserve. They presented a safe and enjoyable environment where fans could come together and be themselves (or someone else if they so desired) and the many available Staff were absolutely fantastic. Well done Showmasters!

Following my little epiphany I decided to take the advice of a steward and escape to the pub and come back early on Sunday. It’s always quieter on a Sunday. Both Shatner and Sackoff would be there on Sunday.

I returned to Earls Court at 9am on Sunday Morning. The numbers of visitors easily rivalled that of the day before. The Pit boss’s were still resolute about interviews with the guests and the bloggers and news-hounds. It was a case of “Punters before Press”. I understood. There’s always a next time

I left earls Court at 3pm on Sunday afternoon clutching a signed photo in a special plastic holder and wearing the biggest grin on my face.

I had just met Katee Sackoff.

I had also been to a cracking Q & A with Greg Rucka who lifted the lid on some of the comings and goings at DC over the last couple of months. The guy was so comfortable with the mic and very very funny. Even when William Shatner made his appearance and the hall erupted with cheers and the room suddenly vacated, Greg took it in his stride, upped the ante and sounding like a reincarnated Bill Hicks, made it part of his ‘act’.

I’m sorry though Greg. You are a really nice bloke and still one of my favorite writers but it’s not you that I will remember when I gaze at the framed signed photo on my wall.

No sir.

I just met Starbuck.

and she was Great!

GS Reporter: Simon La Thangue

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