Sharing a train with Skeletor, brushing past the Power Rangers for the loo and spying Darth Vader queuing for a burger. That’s right, convention season is here! All over the world the niche interests of the young and old come together to takeover halls and expo center, bringing together some of the most dedicated people on Earth.
The daddy of these conventions is without doubt the global phenomenon Comic Con. As the name suggests, comic books has always been the main focus but as decades have passed and with the advent of the internet and home entertainment, the biggest event name in the Kingdom of Geek is a representation of our all loves. Movies, TV shows, video games, you name it. If you love it, chances are you’ll find someone else who does too.
It may not be a name of the tip of everyone’s tongue like San Diego, New York or even London, but Belfast has rather quickly found itself to be a popular destination for Comic Con since its inaugural year in 2014. This was just my second trip to the newly renamed MCM Comic Con Northern Ireland, but I came away from it with plenty in my over-thinking head.
Typically, Belfast Comic Con was held – rather expectedly – in Belfast, with the King’s Hall a popular venue of choice by organisers. This year however the choice was made rather last minute to the move the event to the neighbouring town of Lisburn and their relatively new Ekion Exhibiton Centre.
This proved to make my trek to Comic Con slightly more arduous than before. In the past my journey would entail a hellish 2 and a half hour bus ride to Belfast before either a walk or short jump in a taxi to the convention centre. With no direct bus route from my town to Lisburn available, I had to once again venture to the city before catching a train. After the 10 minute rail ride, me and my fellow comic book fans were greeted at the station exit with a free shuttle to the Eikon Centre organised by Comic Con. This was a really welcomed and extremely useful feature, especially as I had no prior knowledge of where the actual centre was located (it was actually my first time in Lisburn at all too. I’m not very well traveled in my own neck of the woods).
As with most conventions of the modern age, comic con is known for its exhibits, stalls and interesting props. Belfast of course was no exception and was a haven of pop culture and geeky references. Down the entire centre of the hall huge posters hunt advertising some of latest upcoming films like They Come at Night, American Made and Despicable Me 3. Speaking of Gru and co., those entering the hall couldn’t miss the giant Minion greeting them that for sure raised many an eyebrow as they begun their comic con experience.
Other cool and unique props could be found all over the convention floor and proved to be very popular photo locations. Whether it was one of the Ninja Turtles from the recent Michael Bay movies or the badass Batman Tumbler, you were always sure of a mass of fans and cameras snapping by them.
One thing I was disappointed however was the lack of the Hulkbuster prop that was advertised to be appearing on their site. Perhaps it didn’t arrive on time, or was exclusive to Sunday, but it certainly would have been nice to have a cool photo of the Age of Ultron masterpiece.
I have always had an admiration to cosplayers. Through the dedication, detail and sheer love for their projects, I can’t help but give a big hand to them all. By no surprise, the cosplay game was stronger as always at Belfast Comic Con. My respect for cosplayers at the event only extends due to the heatwave we’ve been having in the UK the past week; the exhibit hall was by no means any cooler!
It would be unfair of me to say who my favourite cosplays that I saw were, mainly due to loving all of the work I saw throughout the way. As a huge Disney fan however, I can always have an invested interest in any work based around my favourite Mouse characters. On the Saturday I attended, I caught some awesome characters such as Mary Poppins and Bert, Merida, Cinderella, Flynn Ryder and even Moana and Maui.
Other cosplays which really captured my imagine were Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect), a group of Team Skull Grunts (Pokemon Sun/Moon) and Star Wars‘ very own Chewbacca. Chewie was particularly impressive as not only being the towering size you expect from the Wookiee, but also his iconic, deafening roar echoed around all nearby. I ended up getting a jump one or two times whilst unknowingly being behind the walking carpet.
Merch, glorious merch! One of the biggest draws to any convention, comic con is always the number one location for fantastic, unique and sometimes inexpensive merchandise of your favourite shows and movies. While I didn’t really have anything specific in mind when going to Belfast Comic Con, I ultimately burnt quite a hole into my wallet.
Growing my addictive collection of Pop Vinyls, I ended up coming home with 3 more as I now struggle from room space to display them on. I continued my Civil War set with the awesome Hawkeye and Spider-Man double set. My love of Mass Effect couldn’t stop me from picking up Jaal, my favourite new character of Andromeda.
Another purchase I made were two stunning A4 prints by an independent seller Geeky Ninja. While so many of their pieces were stunning I decided to do for their Mass Effect (of course) and Jurassic Park; finally owning some more merch of my favourite non-Disney movie. I can’t recommend enough to check out their website for some great minimalist artwork at very affordable prices.