For some time now I have wanted to go to a Comic Con event. So much so that it was on my bucket list of things to do. When I added it to my bucket list the only events I knew of were the London and San Diego and this made it more difficult to achieve but still didn’t stop me putting it down. I also knew that tickets to these events were like gold dust but I didn’t want this to stop me either as the whole idea behind the bucket list is to aim big. Recently though the demand for these type of events has grown and grown and now there are lots of these events through the UK including Newcastle which is close to me. So on March 29th 2015 I attended my first Comic Con and here is my review of the event.
As per usual I was dithering whether to go to the event or not this year. I do this with a lot of things and usually talk myself out of them. I said last year I would go this year and then kept putting off buying advanced tickets until February this year when I realised time was running out. By this time the list go guests had been announced and there were a few I wanted to see particularly Gareth David Lloyd and Bonnie Langford. I only booked the Sunday as I didn’t want to commit the whole weekend to it and thought one day would have been enough, and both Gareth and Bonnie were on the same day. It turned out I had to commit most of the weekend anyway due to no early trains on the Sunday but this turned out to be good for me anyway.So I booked the ticket for the event and booked a photo shoot with Bonnie and also one with Gareth and I was now really excited for the event.
I was making a weekend of it as I was staying over in a hotel. This was quite luxury especially as it was so close to home but it was a nice treat and it meant I had some time for my self which I had been wanting for sometime. I set off on Sunday morning to the arena. It was about 9:30 and the streets of Newcastle were relatively quiet unlike the night before. I stopped off to get coffee and the barista said “you off to Comic Con?” I was little taken aback as I wondered how she knew this but then realised she could see my She-Ra t-shirt so that was a giveaway. I replied that I was and she mentioned her friend was going dressed as Harlequin and said she hopes I have a good time. I thanked her and got my coffee and headed off to the arena. When I arrived there were 2 queues one for pay on the day and another for the early bird tickets. I joined the latter and within minutes I was inside the arena.It was still quite early on at this point but there were some people dressed up already. I entered the arena hall and was blown away by the size of it and how many people were already here.
I started to walk around the stalls. I knew there would be lots of stalls but didn’t know exactly what there would be. The stalls were selling everything from badges to Pop Vinyls to secondhand action figures to costumes to real swords. If it was geek related it would be there. I could have spent a fortune on stuff but I was quite good.
At the end of the arena where the stage normally is was where all the guests were seated for autograph signings. I hadn’t planned on getting any signings but as I had an early bird ticket it was relatively quiet so I to Gareth David Lloyd’s first and then decided to get one from Ray Park. Gareth was lovely and it was nice to chat to him as well. That was the nice thing about the autograph signings is that you often have time to chat to the person and maybe get a photo as well. I said I had a photo shoot with him later so I would see him later on. This might have sounded a bit scary and stalkerish but I was just trying to think of something to say without sounding too excited. I then joined the queue for Ray Park (Darth Maul & Toad in X-Men). It was a slow queue but it was good just watching what was going on around me and trying to get sneaky pics of the other celebs during their signings. It was eventually my turn to get my autograph with Ray Park. He was a lot different to Gareth. Although he was lovely he definitely more manly and I wasn’t sure what to say to him and all I could think of was “You’re my favourite Star Wars Villain and I liked him in X-Men”, I am not sure if he looked scared or unsure what to say back to me. I then asked if I could have a picture with him and was more than happy for that. He posed for the picture and I then struggled with my phone. I was like Jar Jar Binks meeting Darth Maul . I managed to get one in the end and it isn’t too bad.
After the autographs I continued to look around the stalls. There were a lot of Pop Vinyls around which I love but they didn’t have any of the ones that I really wanted. I enjoyed looking at the old action figures. One of my biggest regrets is getting rid of my He-Man figures and it would have been nice to have got some here but there weren’t many decent ones around.
As the day went on it got busier and busier and there were more and more people arriving dressed up. This known as Cos Play and some people have costumes that are even better than the original costumes. I saw a number of Deadpool’s, a few Stormtroopers, He-Man, She-Ra, Ursula, Captain America, Thor, various Doctor Who’s and someone as Bonnie Langford. Some of the costumes were amazing but there were too many people wearing lycra who maybe shouldn’t have been. But that is what Comic con is all about it is a place where like-minded geeks can just be themselves.
After looking round at the stalls it was time for me to go for my photo shoots. As luck would have it the photo with Bonnie was straight after the photo with Gareth so I wouldn’t have to wait too long between them. I did’ realise how quick the photo shoot would be. The photo with Gareth went well and then I went and joined the queue for Bonnie. By this stage I was starting to get nervous/excited. It might sound silly but this was someone who I remember from my childhood, she was my first Dr Who assistant/companion and probably my first memory of musical theatre. She loved my t-shirt and I was so happy and wanted to talk but then they took the photo and it was over literally in a flash. I think I may have done little skip/jump in the air after. I got my photo and I really wished I could have had it taken against I wasn’t really prepared for the actual taking of the photo. Oh well I have a picture and I got to meet her which is brilliant. With hindsight I should have got her autograph earlier on and chatted to her then rather than try to do it at the photo shoot. The reason I didn’t was because a few years ago a friend got me some signed pictures from her as a birthday present so I didn’t get an autograph this time. Well if she is at a future comic con I may get one then. After the photo shoots I went and got a refreshment (which were not great and probably should have taken something myself).
As well the stalls, autographs, Cos Play, and photo shoots there are talks by some of the guests. I was only really planning on going to the Doctor Who talk later in the day but decided it would be good to try another talk and it was also a good excuse to sit for a while. The first talk I went to was a Star Trek talk. Now I am not a big Star Trek fan but have watched the occasional episode and seen a lot of the films. The talk was really a Q&A session with two actors from Star Trek. They were Garrett Wang and Max Grodenchick. I really enjoyed the talk and Garrett Wang was hilarious and just embraced the whole day. I also loved the fact he was mixing his interests as he had a Star Wars t-shirt on. Some fans were horrified about this but I loved it. He even attempted to try to talk with a Geordie accent which was funny and went down well with the audience.
The second talk that I went to later in the day was a Classic Dr Who Talk and was essentially another Q&A session but with Bonnie Langford, Louise Jameson and William Russell. It was a great talk and was a chance to see these actors be themselves. It was obvious they still love the show even though some such as Bonnie were part of the show during a difficult time for show. What I realised was that the show never leaves the actors as they go to conventions, do the audio stories with Big Finish and secretly hope they will be asked back. Like all Doctor Who companions/assistants they have a shelf life and the Doctor moves on but they still wait just as their characters do. It would be good to see more past companions in the new series of Dr Who. All three of them were great and afterwards I wanted to watch all the old episodes with all of them in and listen to their audio stories.
After the talk I had to head off home as I had to be somewhere on the evening. I was glad to be going though as I was all geeked out. I had a brilliant time and I would love to do it again. Now that I know what to expect I will be more prepared for the day/days. It was certainly a highlight for the year for me and I am pleased that it means I have crossed something else off my bucket list.
Bring on next year.