Yesterday, the Comic Expo brand hosted their 1st ever convention in Wales, at Cardiff’s Mercure Holland House Hotel. Sponsored by Forbidden Planet International, guests included Kris Carter (Transformers / Torchwood), Matt Savage (Dark Knight / Kickass), Declan Shalvey (28 Days Later) and Dylan Teague (Judge Dredd), among many, many others.
I wouldn’t say I’m a die-hard comic fan, although I do own a fair amount of Graphic Novels (and we all know about my Wonder Woman ‘thing’). Having said that, as a kid a trip to Cardiff with my dad never passed without a trip to Forbidden Planet, where I would beg at least a comic or two. And yesterday was no different.
The higlight of the day, for me, came at the very beginning as we queued outside. There were a few Storm Troopers, Obi Wan, Boba Fett, Darth Vader and a handful of other Star Wars characters patrolling the queue and generally creeping out motorists stopped in traffic. There was one particular old lady on a bus who didn’t seem very sure of the situation. As a couple of Storm Troopers were passing by, we overheard the most classic exchange from the terrifying personal army of Emperor Palpatine… (in ‘authentic’ Storm Trooper robotic voices)
“D’you wanna go back in, butt?’
Getting there early was definitely a good idea, as we were able to ‘case the joint’ before it packed out, and then go back to the most interesting bits later. The dedication of those who dressed up must be mentioned – I never knew Lara Croft came in so many shapes and sizes.
The Storm Troopers continued to add comedic value as I spotted them all queuing outside the men’s toilet, having a good old chat in their robotic voices. Don’t see that every day.
Scattered around the venue was a Tardis and a number of Daleks carrying charity collection boxes. Think the Daleks must have dropped character there, for a while. Darth and his trusty Troopers continued to ‘work the crowd’, which mostly involved holding guns to their heads.
Having been surrounded by sequential illustrators at university, I felt strangely at home watching the artists at work. I had the oppotunity to choose my favourite illustrator to draw a portrait for me, and chose Jenny Clements, who produced this gorgeous illo of me as a warrior fairy (obviously!)
I didn’t really make the most of the panels, only attending one, which didn’t exacly fill the audience with enthusiasm. I have it on good authority, though, that some of the others were very good, so next year I’ll make more of an effort on that front. Apparently the 2012 expo will be a two-day event, so I hope for good things.
All in all, a great day out!
EDIT: I have also just been reminded of a girl that shall now be known as ‘Sheena the Water Thrower’. I first came upon the scene as one of the artists (I won’t pretend to know which one) blotted at his original inked pages with some kitchen towel. It transpired that the unfortunate female in question had managed to spill her drink over the entire pile. After hearing her offer to pay for the damage, and the response of ‘the thing is, they’re £60 each’, I made a hasty getaway.