I recently attended the Belfast Film & Comic Con convention at the SSE Arena, last Sunday, November 1st. This is my report on the event.
The first Belfast Film & Comic Con took place last year. Compared to other Showmasters events I’ve attend which were manic and not very relaxed, I did really enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the event and it was the same for this year. This is one of the things that makes me appreciate the smaller conventions over the big ones, but naturally the big conventions have the draws that you can’t back away from. Not sure why, but Belfast Film & Comic Con felt eerily like CollectorMania Glasgow which I attended last year. I think it was similar in terms of the relaxed atmosphere and the way the arena was used.
I only met two guests at the convention- Dave Prowse (Darth Vader in Star Wars) and Samuel Anderson (Danny Pink in Doctor Who). Both were very nice and enjoyable to meet. Prowse is someone I’ve wanted to meet for a long time but I kept putting off (usually at fan shows where he charges more for autographs) but like Peter Mayhew and Kenny recently, I was delighted to finally meet a Star Wars actor I had been meaning to meet for a long time. Even though his character got some criticism from certain Doctor Who fans, I really enjoyed Samuel Anderson’s Danny Pink and I really enjoyed meeting him too. Unfortunately, due to a bit of carelessness on my part I lost a £1 coin (long story for another time) and that left me with not enough to get his autograph, but after seeing how chilled back he looked with fans I thought I’d ask him for an interview anyway, which he happily obliged to. Really interesting guy with some great stories that I can’t wait for all of you to hear.
On the subject of guests, while I believe that last year’s guest list was slightly better (I met three guests instead of the two this year), I was very happy that both Dave Prowse and Samuel Anderson were allowing pictures at their table. All three of the guests I met last year at this convention (who I won’t name for obvious reasons) weren’t allowing table photos. I understand and respect that it’s their/their management’s decision and Showmasters can’t do anything about it, but it felt awful coming away with no pictures with any of the guests I met.
Overall on the guest front, it was great to finally add Prowse’s autograph to my collection. Hopefully I can make amends and add Anderson to my collection at another convention.
As far as cosplayers are concerned, I thought there were a lot of great cosplayers at the event (including costumes organisations like the 501st Ireland Garrison and the Emerald Garrison). I was very impressed with the variety of franchises represented. Even when attending general (multi-franchise) conventions in the past I’ve sometimes felt that more films or TV shows are represented over others, but this event had a great variety. Some of my favourites included The Wolverine, Optimus Prime, Kylo Ren, Sabine Wren and The Silent, but all of the cosplayers I saw were excellent.
There were also a lot of great stalls at the convention. Aside from getting Dave Prowse’s autograph, I also bought four posters from a stall selling big posters in a 4 for £10 deal. How could I pass up on that? The posters I bought included two from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (including the recently revealed official poster), a Star Wars: Rebels and a Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D poster.
If I had one criticism about the convention, I believe that (in my honest opinion) it does have the potential to be larger. I know that Showmasters can put on much bigger conventions (London Film & Comic Con and CollectorMania Milton Keynes being the biggest) and while I don’t think the Belfast show ever become as big as those two, I think it could become one of Ireland’s (including both Northern and the Republic) biggest conventions. Considering the size of the SSE Arena, I think they could also have more going on at the event.
In summary, I had another great time at Belfast Film & Comic Con. Both guests I met were really nice, and I got a great interview with Samuel Anderson. The four posters I got were great as well, and I once again really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of this convention. However, I also left feeling that the convention has a lot more potential. We’ll see how it improves in its third year.
By Ruari Williamson
*The opinions in this article are of the writer and do not represent the views of all of the Everything Geek Podcast staff*.