Wales Comic Con 2016
Glyndwr University Wrexham has become the host to one of the biggest local geek events, a pretty heavily star studded comic convention that dabbles into most of those fandoms and fields that we hold dear.
I’ve been to a lot of MCM Comic Cons in Telford, a mini version of the ones you may know from Birmingham or London, basically a big pay-to-enter open market with everything you could ever want to buy, much to see and famous faces to meet, and yet I don’t think I’m quite so taken with MCMs efforts as I am with Wales Comic Con. I only attended a few hours of the Saturday, so there’s not as much to discuss about WCC as there is about a Kitacon or a Amecon, but…
Well let’s start by saying that two hours in the freezing cold, knees going rigid, nose numb, and all remaining body heat lost to the icy hands of a loved one, accompanied by a cold and dry bacon sandwich sold at an only slightly inflated price, watching as those who paid beforehand shuffle keenly into the embrace of central heating, it all serves as a valuable lesson to buy your tickets in advance and dress/cosplay warm. Still, not enough to put me off giving it a shot, especially with the help of a caring friend bearing hot beverages.
Inside the whole campus is unrecognisable, not that long ago I saw the entry foyer full of graduating students, now awash with cosplayers. Banners mark the lecture theatres as event halls for the live Q&A sessions scheduled constantly throughout the day filled with panels of celebrities from various TV shows. I made it to an hour with Ian McElhinney, Tom Wlaschiha, and Ian Hanmore, or Barristan Selmy, “Jaqen H’ghar” and the warlock Pyat Pree from Game of Thrones; lots of behind the scenes stories, wishful thinking, wild speculation and wishing certain characters weren’t dead (like Barristan Selmy and Pyat Pree for example), and absolutely no confirmation whatsoever that the Faceless Man would return for season seven.
Side rooms were open for gamers, one for traditional gamers, including a stall for local shop 4th Planet, and tables for anyone to come and bust out a board game or Magic deck. A full hall was filled with various consoles and PCs, including gaming tournaments and a well fenced off VR experience. Also of note, a couple of side attractions, including a mock-up of the Iron Throne and Wheely Big Cheese of the Robot Wars alumni.
A courtyard was filled with food stands including freshly made doughnuts, a double-decker gaming bus from Fragers and a shooting range, also a stand for the local owl sanctuary which got a lot of love. On the far side, a market filled with the standard memorabilia, artists and artisans, trinkets, weapons – larp and otherwise, and more. The walls were lined with stalls where guests could greet fans and sign autographs, in between photo opportunities and panels.
Then we come to everything not seen. I know there were halls I never entered, parties I didn’t go to, an entire day I didn’t attend, so clearly there’s still plenty more to do and see. I only went to one panel, but there were screenings of TV shows and films, chances to meet people that next time I think I’ll be making more of, for a start I’ll be paying ahead and getting in out of the cold. If this seems like a short review of such a huge event it’s because I squeezed as much as I could out of a short window and I feel like I’ve undersold Wales Comic Con in the process.
Still, there’s always next year. Might see you there.