Preview: Blackpool Comic Con

When I first went to a comic con, many years ago, it was in a pokey room in a Manchester hotel filled with two hundred people. Of this two hundred, ninety nine percent were male, eighty percent of those were under twenty five and one hundred percent had never heard of soap or Lynx body spray (or Insignia, as it was the Lynx of its day.) I’m happy to say things have changed.

Blackpool’s first comic con is happening in September at the Winter Gardens. Unlike my first experience at a comic con this promises to be an all star extravaganza of an event.

Modern comic cons don’t always have comics at their hearts though, indeed TV telefantasy and films tend to be the focus; the comics that spawned these events are somewhat sidelined or are simply the thing that the big summer blockbuster film was based on and not the star itself. Recent films have created a groundswell of ‘jump in’ fans who like the movie but missed the first thirty years of a comic character’s life before it hit the screen. I’m don’t begrudge anyone who enjoys the films or is exposed to the stories and characters this way, but it has changed the demographic and thus the focus of a lot of these kind of events. Less specific niche guests and a less focused experience for the hardcore enthusiasts is the result. But hey, any chance to mingle with the like minded at any level is always welcome.

The emphasis of the modern comic con is on celebrity signings; all star guest spots are the order of the day and Blackpool’s first event of its kind is no exception. Actors from Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Austin Powers are just some of the line up. If Mini Me and baby Darth Vader are not enough to lure you through the doors then surely the star of Knight Rider will be. NO, not Hasslehoff, the real star, KITT himself will be chatting to the crowds. It’s for that reason alone I’m going. Well, that and the chance to shout, “It’s Turbotime!” at Jake Lloyd, star of the dismal but oddly addictive Christmas Schwarzenegger movie Jingle All The Way.

Another big change from back in my day is the Cosplay element of these new fangled modern comic cons. Whereas when I used to go to them, wearing your best Judge Dredd T-Shirt was considered dressing up, the modern comic cons are wall-to-wall giant-bright-green-haired-massive-foam-sword-wielding-I-don’t-know-what-they-are-from-Manga-characters. The last one I attended saw me stuck behind someone with giant polystyrene angel wings that stopped me from getting to the Warhammer 40k CCG free promo table and not getting one of the event exclusive starter sets they were giving away. I’ve let it go and moved on from that now, but if anyone with plastic angel wings stops me from getting any freebies this time, they will be one step closer to getting real ones!

All that said, I love comic cons, conventions and shindigs and enjoy any gathering of the tribes of Geek-dom’s varied and often very colourful strands. I will be first in line at the door for an event like no other in Blackpool’s calendar. So join me in September where I shall be shouting like the Silver Surfer, ‘TO ME MY BOARD!’ and flying down to the Winter Gardens (or in fact saying ‘town please’ on the number 14 bus).

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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