So last weekend I went to the Cardiff Comic con with rest of the WAC group and a few tag alongs. In all fairness to the title I gave this article, we did actually go because it was the Cardiff version of Comic con and so expected nothing less than a budget version of every other one being held. However, what I found was a little less than budget, bordering on the verge of the pointless, where I couldn't really work out what the event was really even there for other than just a glorified flea market.
Maybe that's unfair but I'll go more into it and then you can judge for yourselves to what extent of unfairness I'm hitting. I immediately found the lack of actual things to do pretty alarming. Really all it boils down to is that there are signatures to have signed and things to buy. There were also about five talks per day. I really thought there'd be a lot more interactive stuff to do there. Sure I can't think of many things, since events hosting isn't exactly one of my skills, but I thought there would've been some more things to do bordering on the lines of famous comic art gallery or a small museum of official sci fi memorabilia and props. All I saw was General Lee from Dukes of Hazard at the door, which led me to question two things. Firstly, whether or not it was actually the real thing or simply just a replica. Secondly, I questioned who the hell actually still gives a shit about Dukes of Hazard and whether or not there were any hardcore fans present. I thought it was the wrong crowd to be preaching to.
Interactivity wise there could've also been a gaming tournament, maybe even some game demos, some antique arcade games or literally anything else substantial compared to what was there. The only equivalent to this that was there was about 6 computers playing a counter strike mod that I'd never heard of before as well as a single dance dance revolution arcade machine that had been swarmed into oblivion long before I arrived.
As far as purchasable things went, there were of course the signature booths, each filled with an increasingly irrelevant, gaunt and depressed looking celebrity of glory days gone by. Included in this group I would put Dave Prowse of Darth Vader's body fame, a random woman from Aliens who I didn't recognize and finally David Hasselhoff, who in case you were wondering is in no way any less depressing than those previously mentioned. Although in all fairness I enjoyed the selection of celebrities they had there because most of them were comically shitty, except for Anthony Head, who actually just seemed pretty happy to be there meeting his fans. I also ended up meeting Paul Blake who played Greedo in Star Wars and I must say he really is a very nice man.
This remote control K9 continued to scuttle about on the floor and entertain people way more than it should have for most of the day.
I think its eyes are trying to instil the fear of endless suffering into my soul though
The celebrity appearances were of course very entertaining and I'm glad they were. The stalls however were abit of a mess. I understand the aspiring and independent artists and writers that go there. The discovering of new talent is one of the best reasons for Comic con. I obviously didn't buy any of their stuff because I'd never heard of them before and their prices were through the roof, but their presence was definitely a plus. However, there really weren't that many of them across the whole floor.
It was the other stalls that surprised me. There were a few jewellery stalls, Japanese candy stalls and almost too many t shirt shops, but along with these also came a lot of other tat and shit that I couldn't really understand how it had got there. There were a lot of autograph shops that were selling the autographs of celebrities, but most of the celebrities that were on sale really had no relevance to anything to do with Comic con ranging all the way from Hugh Grant to the bloke who plays Ian Beale on Eastenders. Along with these there were a lot of stalls just selling games, ranging all the way from the SNES and back up to as recently as the Gamecube. But something didn't feel quite right about this. It just seems like Comic con should be a place where you go to buy stuff that you can't usually buy. It's the new artists and the merchandise and endless reams of custom novelty t shirts that should be the point. Unrelated celebrity autographs and just a stall of games that I could find at any old outdoor market just made the whole thing feel abit shit. I couldn't really work out who had let these people in to sell their games and how most market stalls at any weekend market weren't therefore also eligible to attend. I'd paid for entry into an indoor flea market, where there was barely anything else to do except for look at tat that I could get anywhere and maybe meet the Borg Queen if I could be bothered to shell out the cash.
There were several photo ops, but they all felt incredibly shit. The website promised a CG Gollum, an interactive ET hand to touch and the Iron Throne to take your picture in, but because of the tiny venue all of these things were crammed into the corner in an area which we actually missed because it was outside of the main venue. When we finally paid our money for the photos we could only sit in the crappy plastic Iron Throne because apparently Gollum (who was not CG but instead a shitty plastic model) was experiencing technical difficulties (which makes no sense) and ET had been retired for the day.
Here's retired ET, made to stand undignified in the corner like a scolded child
What surprised me even more is that there was no cosplay competitions or anything. There were no group interactive shows or competitions at all to speak of. I don't cosplay because my body shape is so average and slightly short that I don't think anyone will ever design or imagine a character to fit that stature, but I was still surprised that with all the cosplayers there, there was no ideas about how to further integrate them. And there were some really good cosplay there, including both the greatest Ghostbusters outfit I've ever seen and a pretty spot on Matt Smith Doctor Who. There was also a guy who was dressed in a bloody mask, wearing a leather jacket and walking slowly around the place with a black cane. I didn't recognize the character but I remember thinking the first time I saw him it was cool and then by the second time I saw him over four hours later, he was still wearing the whole outfit and strutting around slowly, and by that point I just thought he was starting to seem abit fucking creepy.
So there we have it. That was my experience at Cardiff Comic con 2013. Sure it wasn't one of the big ones, but I was still really disappointed by how little outside of buying market level goods and getting autographs there actually was to do there. I didn't think Comic con would just be a giant indoor market. Maybe if I was a cosplayer and wanted to meet some of the few indie artists, then I would've had a good time. But the lack of activities really made the day drag slightly.
Although I heard the Star Trek convention in London had barely any stuff to buy there, so maybe that's where I'm destined for.
Finally, for anyone who was curious, here's the only picture I could manage to steal of Aaron staring like a psychopath from the Iron Throne.
Looks like an awkward Joffrey