Before my first ever Comic Convention I felt as I’m sure all first timers at anything feel – nervous, excited and unsure what to expect! I’d bought the Saturday ticket months ago and had great intentions of creating a unique and awesome cosplay for myself, but life in general and writing a first draft of my book got in the way. I was totally unprepared when the event was suddenly upon us! The only thing I knew to expect was amazing costumes! It wasn’t until the night before that I even looked at the tickets and downloaded the app to look at the line up and timetables. Ah yes, I was definitely an amateur at this! I did a rushed makeup job on myself just to get into the spirit of the event!
Our taxi driver to the event as it turned out was a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan and recommended books, graphic novels and series to us in the taxi journey. The perfect taxi driver for a day at Comic Con! As we boarded the train from Cork it was a mixture of superhero fanatics and Kerry fans all headed to the Big Smoke. Talk of earlier conventions including Brony conventions (less said of that one the better!), superhero powers, Pokemon Tinder, Pokemon Go and predicted match scores reverberated around the carriage. A girl with a giant mallet was the only bit of cosplay we saw on the train. We made a sketchy plan and agreed on three Q&A panels – Tom Wlashiha (Jaqen H’ghar – Game of Thrones), Jim Beaver (Bobby Singer – Supernatural) and Robert Maschio (The Todd – Scrubs). A closer look at the timetable and we swiftly discovered that out lack of planning had scuppered one event and we hadn’t even gotten there yet! Tom Wlashiha was on at 12.00 but the train would get in at 11.40 and we had to stop at an internet café which would make us lose some more precious time! I’m usually a planner so this was an unsettling feeling for me!
The weather improved as the train sped into Dublin and crowds of people stood sweating in the heat waiting for the Luas. Nobody was prepared for the hot sunny day that Saturday was and it was a tight sweaty journey to the Convention Centre. A Harley Quinn cosplayer jumped on the Luas and she was the first of many Harley Quinn’s we’d see that day and she most definitely won Best Harley Quinn for me! Descending upon the venue crowds of cosplayers and normal folks like ourselves approached the entrance. Even though the costume contest was Sunday, there was no effort spared at Saturday’s events! Characters from superhero comics dominated the proceedings – The Joker, Harley Quinn and Deadpool could be spotted in every room alongside other DC and Marvel figures. There were characters from Anime, Star Wars, Harry Potter, video games, Disney’s Malificent and Hunger Games to name but a few. I was so mesmerised by the cosplayers that we ended up just looking at costumes and wandering aimlessly for a while.
The venue is huge and it took us quite a while to get our bearings. Signage wasn’t great and we had to figure out where we were going using the Dublin Comic Con app and interactive maps. We had a quick wander around the artist’s stalls but at the time we arrived it was packed with crowds and hard to see all the wonderful wares that were on sale so we made our way upstairs. On level 1 of the giant centre we found the guest signings and photo ops area upstairs – most autographs and signings were around the 30 Euro mark, there was no one we particularly wanted to get photos or signings from so we made our way around browsing the various stalls and gawked at the guests. Guests included actors, film creators, comic book writers and comic book artists. I’m sure budding comic book writers, artists and general comic book fans would be in colourful comic heaven talking to the people who were the genius behind their favourite comics and workshops and portfolio appraisals were also available on the day.
Not wanting to miss another Q&A panel and with a big Supernatural fan in the group we went on the hunt for the auditorium for the Q&A panel with Jim Beaver.
The auditorium had entrances on multiple floors and seats were comfortable coming with folding table and individual sockets to charge all your gadgets (handy to know for next time). We had a seats right behind the VIP area so we had prime viewing. I’ve watched a few episodes of Supernatural but I had no real idea what to expect from the Q&A session. Jim was funny and honest and a great character in his own right. What became obvious very quickly was that there were lots of hardcore Supernatural fans at the event. Queues of people lined up when it was the crowd’s turn to ask the questions and questions ranged from the normal spectrum to the very strange. Some people didn’t have much of anything to ask and just seemed to want to hear their own voices. I loved every minute of it!
Hunger started to strike our little group so some food was purchased on Level 3, nothing extravagant but the hot food was tasty and not as expensive as one would expect at such an event. The more prepared people sat around eating pre-packed lunches and snacks, groups of friends ate on the various levels, some even playing Magic, The Gathering. We rushed back to level 1 to find one of the panel rooms where “The Todd” was speaking just in the nick of time. Robert Maschio was just like his character – loud, brash, crude and absolutely hilarious! His Q&A session was more like a stand-up comedy gig with plenty of sex jokes and innuendos or “in-your-end-os” as he so nicely phrased it! Highly entertaining!
We had yet to get any photos of the amazing costumes or visit the interactive sets we’d seen advertised so we made our way back to the ground floor. The crowds had calmed by now and we were able to browse the artist’s stalls for art, jewellery, prints, hats, t-shirts, comics, graphic novels and lots and lots of Pokemon! There was no escape from the little buggers! I grew a little braver and started asking for photos, as I wasn’t dressed up I felt like a stalker at times! My brother James is “The Punisher” in the photos below.
The interactive sets were great fun with sets from Alien, Predator among many others and my personal favourite Freddy Krueger!
Well, this girl loves horror! As I snapped away I noticed a lack of horror cosplayers except for a female Ash from Evil Dead (plenty of scope for costumes for next year).
At the end of the day we returned to buy some wares we’d spotted earlier that day. I bought a fabulous watercolour Harry Potter print of Ron, Hermione and Harry from Cowazinga (find their website here). I’m sorry I didn’t buy a Hogwarts one too! A highlight of the day for me was purchasing my first graphic Novel “Outcast” by Kirkman & Azaceta from the lovely guys at Big Bang Comics, they were selling a selection of newer comics, graphic novels, toys, Sideshow Collectibles and Hot Toys products.Cooler than that, they actually knew the writer of “The Punisher” comic and took a picture of my brother to send to him! They’ve just been named by Pittsburgh Magazine as 1 of the top 5 comic shops in Pittsburgh and had awesome stuff, you can find their twitter page here. The taxi driver had recommended Outcast that morning and Dean over at Weebitwordyblog (You can check out his cool blog here) had recommended Walking Dead by the same author so it was fate! I’m only halfway through but I think graphic novels have opened my eyes up to a new type of reading experience for me! Thanks Dean at Weebitwordyblog for planting the seed and thanks Mr. Taxi Driver for the awesome recommendation.
Pizza and drinks were badly needed by 5.30 pm. It was a long day and without a store of snacks we were hungry and tired by then so we needed to refuel. The final part of the day was a random trip to the Ice Coors Ice Cave in the IFSC – The little ice cave with its’ ice bar was pumping with tunes and full of happy people in snow capes. It was a little piece of chilly heaven after a sweaty day at Comic Con!
It was a rush back to the train and tired and happy we made our journey home. We snoozed comfortably on the train and we were home before we knew it. Out taxi driver home was a massive Game of Thrones fan and his dream was to attend San Diego Comic Con – what were the odds?!
I enjoyed my first Comic Con immensely and will definitely return for another visit. At 20 Euro for a standard ticket it was well worth the trip to Dublin and I’m sure the lineups will continue to grow. Next time I’m going to check out the guests well in advance and plan my journey to suit the schedule (and print off my tickets in advance). I’m also going to plan my outfit early next time and be well prepared for the event!
Did you attend Comic Con? What was the most amazing costume you saw or wore? I’d love to hear your Comic Con stories.
Till next time,
Yours as Ever,
The Corpse Bride (aka Noelle)