REVIEW: Blackpool Comic Con
Well Blackpool Comic Con came and went in very controversial fashion unlike any other con I have attended.
We (The Slaughtered Bird) attended alongside our mate Dave McCluskey and his comic company ‘Dammaged Comics’. We arrived at the crack of dawn at Winter Gardens Blackpool and in normal fashion, set up our stall then headed out for breakfast (McDonalds & Coffee)!
When we headed back most of the traders were set up and the doors were ready to open to the public. I ventured downstairs to the reception and explained who we were and to collect our reserved V.I.P. & Guest Passes. The young girl on the door looked like a deer in headlights and clearly out of her depth (poor kid) told me she basically didn’t have a clue what was going on or who was in charge? I said I’d return a little later, but then realised numerous people just helping themselves to the mounds of various passes that were laying underneath the table in clear view. She turned around and spotted me and embarrassingly handed me some passes, that was the first indication that there were going to be a few hiccups. I kind of shrugged it off as I was well aware that this was Blackpool’s first convention, so there was going to be things that didn’t go to plan.
Even though we didn’t meet who was exactly in charge and can say that the numerous staff that were working the day were all great and did their best in very difficult circumstances.
I went back to our stall and spoke about it with Dave and our neighbours Tim Quinn & Eric Fish. For people who aren’t aware Tim is the scouse comic book legend who worked for none other than Marvel Comics for twenty-odd years. Tim is the most down to earth, gracious, humble, but hilarious guys you will ever meet. Eric is an amazing photographer who is equally as witty. Together they’re dynamic and truegentlemen.
The day began and the floodgates opened and when I said opened, I mean a surge of rampaging cosplayers. I don’t think I’ve seen as many people enter a venue as quickly and they kept coming in their hoards. The venue capacity I was told holds around nine thousand. By 3pm the guy with the clicker said there were close to fifteen thousand inside and the que was wrapped around Winter Gardens five times. We were getting snippets of information from various people saying they’d been queuing for four hours and things were getting pretty heated at reception with punters and staff. I clearly saw parents struggling to fight through the crowds with their kids. My buddy Lee (Tattoo artist @ Barcodes Studio Liverpool) was in attendance with his partner Paula and children and I could see them struggling in the crowds and Lee’s a big tough guy!
One of the main problems I believe was there was no map or programme of who was were and what was on offer or what was happening. I’ve been told that there was a tattoo artist working and various traders and stalls that I had no idea they were there?
Ok ladies and gentleman that was the downside, now for the upside and there was loads of them. You see if I was a paying customer I’d probably kick off too if I’d queued for hours or got trampled on, but being on the other-side it was an absolute blast. Getting to hang out on our stall and meet tones of cosplayers from literally hundreds of Deadpool’s & Harley Quinn’s to extremely camp Spider-men. We had in-depth conversations with Jedi Knights who had top secret information regarding the ending of the new Star Wars film. We spoke to Ghostbusters, Doctor Who and a very authentic Chewie. I had a stroll around and saw Michael Madsen (Kill Bill), Verne Troyer (Austin Powers) and had a brief chat to the amazing Hugh Quarshie. I understand the majority of people attending just wanted to speak to him about Star Wars: Episode I or even Holby City, but I remember him from classics such as Highlander, Nightbreed and the film that I asked him about ‘The Church’. When I mentioned that I’m a huge fan of the film he gave off a beaming smile and shook my hand and said its very rare people mention it at convention’s, That was a nice moment.
Blackpool Comic Con was enormous fun and it’s great to hang out with talented people from artists to writers, from actors or cosplayers. I know since the event there has been a host of backlash from angry people who either attended or didn’t even get through the doors and I truly sympathise. I know since the day the event website has mysteriously disappeared which doesn’t look good, but I can only judge it from my experience, which was fantastic. Dave and Tim both had great sales of their books and we (The Slaughtered Bird) gained tones of interest in our site, so from our angle it was a huge success.
I wouldn’t have a clue if Blackpool Comic Con will return next year due to its controversy. It will be a shame if it doesn’t because with better organisation this could quite possibly be one of the best cons around. The amount of interest was phenomenal so there’s definitely a demand there. I guess we’ll see what happens and here’s hoping were heading to Winter Gardens again in 2016.