Coventry Comic Con (Covcon)

Our favourite convention of the calendar year took place on Saturday 28th September and it was yet another triumph for the fantastic organisers.

Coventry Comic Con or Covcon as it has recently been rebranded is one of the best comic cons for first timers with its well considered spacing, good number of famous faces and panels plus plenty of merchandise too. This year saw an incredible Quadrophenia cast reunion, two recognisable faces from the original Dad’s Army (don’t tell them Pike!) and the ever-popular Gladiators amongst many other much-loved faces from small and large screen.

Davros Skaro

If you need a reason to book your tickets to the next event in 2020 here are my highlights from a top day out:

– The venue ~ Sports Connexion in Ryton offers space for the perfect comic con layout. It’s an easily accessible venue too with plenty of parking and the overflow was handled brilliantly. We always enjoy the food from the upstairs cafe bar too and this time was no exception. The cheeky half didn’t go amiss in the bar, either!

– Guests ~ there was a fantastic array of famous faces to meet, get a selfie with, book a photo opportunity for or who’s autograph you could take home (for a few). What was noticeable was the number of guests happy to chat if their queues weren’t over-flowing.

– Heather Ripley ~ she is instantly recognisable to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fans as Jemima. Even though she’s no longer a child! A very pleasant woman to chat to and my five year old son was keen to have a photo with her until his nerves got the better of him. She was so understanding though and we are hoping to get that selfie one day.

– Merchandise ~ there was a great mixture of merchandise for enthusiasts of all genre of movies and tv. My boy came away with a bag full of Disney figures and we could easily have spent a fortune on all the appealing merch on offer. From handmade to official, it was all there and easy to look at too.

Props ~ the scenes set up with famous movie props went down a storm and immediately attracted all of us. The youngest member of the party got in on the Star Wars and Monsters University sets and was quite overwhelmed.

Photo opps ~ not something we took advantage of this time, however the queuing system worked well and was kept well out of the way of the rest of the fun too. Some though had obviously gone into it and it looked like a problem free system. The appearance of it has tempted us to get some photos opps next year.

Cosplay ~ the cosplay costumes were quite something, the sheer effort that these talented individuals put into every detail of their costume does not go unnoticed by me. Davros Skaro was a hit with my son!

Family fun ~ it’s fun for all the family and you can make of it what you will. Depending on your interests it can be a full day’s worth of entertainment or a few hours. Seasonal germs meant we didn’t stay the full day but we had an enjoyable and memorable time and can’t wait for next year!

Visit the website to book for 2020: Covcon tickets

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Coventry Comic Con 2018

Star rating: *****

Comic Con, a staple part of my geekery diet which must be dosed up on regularly – last year our team were delighted that a new convention popped up in Coventry and we were so impressed that we made damn sure that their 2018 sequel was in the diary. We were not disappointed, Coventry Comic Con has got it all – here are a few of the many positives:

  • Well organised – the organisation is top notch, this con has been well though out and the planning that must have gone into making it as successful as it undoubtedly was is evident. From the car parking stewards, to the security to the box office staff, everybody does a seamless job in helping us fans have a great time. No complaints from us!
  • Easily accessible – the event itself is very easily accessible, with the stalls, guests, attractions and talks all on the ground level. Likewise the facilities are also at ground level making this ideal for any fans who may have a disability. Fun for everybody, quite literally – that’s a massive double thumbs up.
  • Expanding each year – in comparison to its debut year, the growth and expansion is clear. From the larger variety of stalls and artists introduced to the additional space used to house the event which was also utilised for the guest talks. The layout was ideal and it’s fantastic to see the convention already going from strength to strength. Bigger and better again next year? Let’s do it!
  • Stalls offering affordable collectables – the number of stalls offering budget collectables made such a refreshing change. Often many of us save up for an event like this in case there’s a tempting item or two. However, if like us, your four year old has spent your pennies over the school holidays, there’s still plenty of merchandise available at affordable prices. Many pocket money options too which is superb for the four year old who’s gleefully continuing to spend the money you don’t have…
  • Cosplay galore – the number of extraordinary cosplayers on the loose appeared to have increased since the previous year. The grounds of the venue offer opportunities for cosplayers to have professional photographs taken too. The details that goes into the costumes is eye-catching in the extreme. Of course a convention isn’t a convention without a few Stormtroopers on hand and a flossing Chewbacca!
  • Plenty of space to walkabout (and run, skip, meaner about) in – is you’re easily claustrophobic, the amount of space left between stalls and attractions allows room to breathe. It’s notable how easy it is to have a proper look at the merchandise and the displays. Definitely a big plus and one of the top features that Coventry Comic Con has going for it. All the more room t floss in!!
  • Reasonably priced refreshments available – the refreshments available are at affordable prices too, so you don’t need to make a decision between the action figure and having a burger, you can have both! The staff who runs the facility are efficient and the food is delicious too. Big thumbs up to the best Comic Con catering!
  • A room to ‘chill out’ in – although we didn’t make use of it, we heard that there was a room to take a break in and that in itself is a genius idea. It can be an overwhelming experience to be in the hub-bub of a Comic Con, especially if it’s your first. This initiative should be adopted comic con-wide. It could be used as a time out room for cheeky Stormtroopers too…
  • Free retro arcade games – we all made use of these, a quick game of Street Fighter and even on Fix It Felix didn’t go amiss and was a welcome break from walking, looking and daydreaming over what we’d buy if money was no object. Making it a free area for everyone to enjoy was a bonus. We love a bonus!
  • Guest stars – the Guest Stars meeting and greeting fans appeared relaxed, with the volunteers looking after them well and plenty of chances for the Stars to chat with fans. A nice, easy approach was taken and surely that means repeat visits from the amazing Stars the convention attracted?
  • A friendly team – the overall atmosphere of Coventry Comic Con was spot on, all members of the crew should be commended on their approachable manner and thanks to all who gave our boy a bit of a boost by showing love for his Porg tee!

We’re only sorry that Coventry Comic Con is an annual event, every six months would be great thanks! Highly recommended by all three of us, it’s a good convention to take the small fans to, particularly if they’ve not explored the world of Comic Con before. Where else might you meet a baby dinosaur beside the rogue carousel horse of Mary Poppins fame? This event is not so large scale that you would worry that you’ve missed anything and it’s become one of the highlights of our yearly calendar of geekery!

Collectormania 25 (Showmasters) ~ NEC, Birmingham

Showmasters run numerous events throughout the year, check out all the details here and book your tickets for their upcoming shows: Showmasters Events

Comic Cons are a must for Entertainment Views, we’d not attended a Showmasters event previously – however this show had so much to offer, we’ll be regulars from now on.

With an astronomical number of star guests signing their lives away for fans as well as posing for photographs with their eager followers, a wide variety of stalls offering memorabilia overload and some props that were out of this world – Collectormania was the place to be last weekend.

If you need any more reasons to go, here are some highlights which might twist your arm:

  1. Guest Stars – the sheer number of guest stars astounds me even now the show is over. From Richard Wilson from One Foot in the Grave (I don’t believe it!), to stars from Wrestling and Sports, there is somebody for everybody and too much choice, in fact. Where else would you get the opportunity to have your photograph taken with six ex-Liverpool football legends? Remember Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon? He was there answering questions on the main stage (a fascinating man to listen to) and meeting and greeting fans back out in the hall. There’s always more to a Comic Con than meeting celebrities, but this event really makes the most of as many fandoms as they can muster.
  2. Organisation – the crew and staff are plentiful, helpful and want everybody to have a good time. From queue control to directing fans to their desired area in the hall – these stewards are the best in the business and deserve all the praise they can take.
  3. Shopping! Comic Cons are the perfect place to find the items you didn’t know you needed in your life – or that you may not have even known about before. I often keep my eyes peeled for gifts, dealer will often give a cheeky offer or two. I am delighted with my Masters of the Universe tshirt, it is one of the best finds I’ve ever happened upon whilst in shipping mode at a Comic Con. Make sure you’ve got plenty of pennies so you don’t have to walk away from must-haves!
  4. Props galore – If cars are your bag then there were a few to get up close and personal with. From the famous blue car belonging to the Weasleys in Harry Potter to a rather cool Batman car which I think we’d have brought home if nobody had been looking! Jurassic Park was also represented which was excellent timing with the next film in the franchise about to be released. Meanwhile, if you fancy yourself as 007, why not stand next to his wheels?
  5. Family Friendly Fun  – Comic Cons are increasingly becoming popular with families, small and big kids alike can enjoy a convention and at Entertainment Views we’ve been asked for advice from many fellow parent pals about which is the best convention to start off with as their toddler would surely love this genre of event (and so would they!). Our little boy is in his element with cosplayers, in the image below he met a few furries who were game for a giggle. We’ll be recommending Collectormania as a perfect place to start, with friendly staff who go above and beyond and more famous faces than you can think of under one roof, it’s been a pleasure, Showmasters! See you soon….

 

MCM Comic Con, NEC Birmingham ~ March 2017

Be sure to visit http://www.mcmcomiccon.com for the forthcoming dates and venues of the 2017 conventions and book in advance if you can, always worth it!   

Comic Cons are the highlights of our calendar every year here at Break A Leg. Yours truly is a Whovian, Star Wars fan and a gamer (when I get the time!) so these events are my not so guilty pleasure. Equally, my husband and son are also geeky and we are always impressed by the number of guests, variety of stalls and abundance of talks we can attend throughout the weekend. Here are a few reasons to love and get yourself to a Comic Con, especially an MCM-hosted one! Plus some highlights of the weekend:

UK Garisson ~ The UK Garisson are a continued delight and highlight for me at all Comic Cons, my little boy immediately looks for them upon arrival and excitedly high fives various Storm Troopers. This time, the group have out-done themselves, the sheer number of costumed members was incredible and the photo opportunity on the stairs outside the halls (as seen in the featured photo) was a moment I will never forget. It actually brought a tear to my eye, I admit it! What UK Garisson does for charity is commendable and they never fail to put a big smile on people’s faces, whether it be making small children happy or us big kids.

Cosplay ~ I love that so many people dress up at Comic Con now that we who aren’t costumed look like the abnormal ones. Attending Comic Cons is tempting me to cosplay and I don’t think it will be long before all of the Break A Leg family are indulging. Watch this space! However, applause to all of the fantastic costumes that were on display and had been lovingly put together by attendees. A shout out to one lovely girl who was dressed as Belle, too – she stole my little lad’s heart, and he almost stole her rose, oops! I am a member of the MCM Comic Con Facebook group and I see the progress that some people choose to share when they’re in the process of making their costumes. It is fascinating and quite a skill.

Panels ~ There was a wide variety of talks available to attend in the Theatre this time. The inflatable auditorium was clearly feeling deflated elsewhere! Red Dwarf are always a popular panel and they were followed by Starsky and Hutch and a special panel for the Keith and Paddy Picture Show where Keith Lemon told the gathered crowds all about the upcoming comedy series that he has undertaken with Paddy McGuinness. Sunday saw Michael Landes and Billie Piper take to the stage (not together… but there’s a thought…). I saw Michael Landes talking on the MCM Buzz stage on Saturday and he was a great guest, embracing the fans and he would have happily stayed chatting all day. The Allo Allo panel on the MCM stage was also a brilliant session, Kim Hartman, Arthur Bostram, Guy Siner and Richard Gibson delighted fans with talk of the series that was and still is so loved. It was emotional to hear about their fond memories of the late Gordon Kaye.

Merchandise ~ The range of merchandise improves every time. Although I tend to find that it’s even better in November when the stall holders are pulling out the stops for potential Christmas shoppers. I personally like Funko Pops and geeky jewellery and I can find both in every nook and cranny, which keeps me happy and my husband looking decidedly worried! I hope that there will continue to be such a great array of stalls and that November makes Christmas shopping all the easier for my husband! Prices at this Con seemed to be reasonable across the board, too – plus if you hang around on the last day, reductions tend to happen…

Family Fun ~ Most of all, I recommend Comic Cons as a family fun day. Everybody in the Break A Leg family enjoys these events and we all get something out of it. Yes, merchandise I my case! MCM do host large scale ones, but I find that I get the most out of the biggies. It can be as pricey as you make it, however if you’re likely to be tempted to make purchases, go equipped with a full wallet!

 

 

MCM Comic Con, Birmingham ~ NEC

I’ve been attending Comic Cons for over ten years, on and off and been a frequent visitor in my press capacity (and fan-girl capacity!) for most of that time. MCM Comic Con in Birmingham is always one of the local events of the year for me. It’s a large-scale geek’s dream with Christmas present ideas galore if you go to the November Comic Con.

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This year’s was no different and possibly the best one I’ve been to this year, and I thought that the effort that Wales Comic Con put in was a sterling one. The layout worked for me, this time, plenty of room to walk around even though advance tickets were sold out. The theatre had plenty of capacity and excellent choices of guests giving talks. Peter Davison was one of my personal favourites, Red Dwarf panel was as much fun as ever and AJ Michalka was a name I wasn’t overly familiar with, but she was fascinating to listen to. What I love about the Q&A sessions is sitting in on those that I know nothing or very little about, I learn something and pick up a new TV show or movie to look out for.

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Giant minions over-looking proceedings were a hit with my toddler, and the UK Garrison brought a fantastic set with them as usual. You could have your photo taken in a Storm Trooper helmet or say hello to a droid. They are a integral part of every con and it’s always a bit exciting when the troopers line up for Darth Vader’s inspection – yes, I know it’s not real… or is it?

The guests in the signing  area were plentiful and varied, Doctor Who, James Bond and Red Dwarf were well represented and it was a coup to have Flash Gordon himself, there aka Sam J. Jones. The last time I saw him was in the first Ted film. Speaking of that bear, thanks so much for the Ted 2 tshirt, I love it! Another reason to like the panel sessions, there are always some fabulous give aways. Tokyo Toys are always among one of the generous benefactors and we were delighted to bring home some Top Trumps Marvel cards for our little lad, too. The Kidzone was well patronised, free face painting being a crowd pleaser, light sabre training being another and the circus skills was an ideal place to allow some of the smaller children to run around.

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Wrestling was an attraction drawing huge crowds as well as robot wars, these add extra entertainment to the billing and I hope to see more of the wrestling in future – definitely a favourite!

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Over the years Comic Cons seem to have grown in popularity and they are popping up everywhere too. The number of people who choose to Cosplay at the events always increases and that ‘makes’ a con for me. As a self-confessed geek, big movie and TV fan, as well as a gamer – I am delighted that cons exist for us to all be geeks together and have a lot of fun free from judgement. All fandoms meet in harmony and I know that some fans are brave enough go by themselves and make friends there. Long live comic cons say I, and long live MCM, too!

I had a great opportunity to network so watch out for some amazing interviews…

Here’s the link to book your tickets for all of MCM’s glorious events: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/

Photo Credits: Garry McWilliams

 

Watford Filmfair Comic-Con ~Watford Leisure Centre Central

Sunday 3rd July 2016

Comic-Cons are always on my radar, I love all things film, television and theatre related, so these events tick all the boxes for me. Watford’s annual one day long Comic-Con which is run by Filmfair UK is on a somewhat smaller scale in comparison to MCM and Showmasters events, which take up several exhibition halls. However, if my visit, today proved anything, it was the quality and not the quantity that matters.

It’s well organised with a logistical layout and enough space to move around comfortably between stalls. There were plenty of dealers present selling merchandise, not so many celebrities available to meet and purchase autographs from as perhaps I’ve become accustomed to seeing, though. Despite this observation, the guests all appeared relaxed and seemed to have time to chat to their fans, which is an encouraging sight in itself. Guests at the Con, today included Andrew-Lee Potts from Primeval, Arti Shah and Paul Warren from such films as Star Wars to name just one franchise and Hattie Hayridge of Red Dwarf fame.

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Just a standard day in Watford! Photo credit: Philip French

 

These fairs seem to be run on a basic level, there are no guest talks, for example, but the entry price is reasonable and parking is easy around the chosen venue. I overheard a parent speaking to a stall holder and remarking that their child would not cope with the larger scale conventions, yet, and that’s a very good point. For a family friendly day out where there are characters from the movies present to entertain your young brood, why not try Watford Comic-Con. Their date for next year will be released, soon and I highly recommend putting in your diaries!

Feature Photo Credit: Filmfair UK

Wales Comic Con ~ Wrexham

On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th April, Wales Comic Con hosted their first ever weekend, and it rocked!

Wrexham Glyndwr University was the venue and it was perfect, there were various indoor areas to check out, where you purchase merchandise or hanker your dream item! The rooms used for the various panel sessions were well laid out with great capacity and it was a coup to be able to sit on the front row because we were present as press. It makes such a difference when there is no hassle to get a seat in a panel you intend to cover. There was also plenty of activity going on outdoors including the presence of Lightning McQueen, available to sit in at no charge (he was quite something to see!) and owls and reptiles to say hello to.

UK Garrison were present to keep a watchful eye over proceedings, they make a Comic Con for me and Chewbacca never ceases to amaze me, he is spot on. If you want to start a Star Wars costume of your own, see these guys!

Not only was the layout of the event excellent and easy to navigate, but the organisation was also second to none. The team could not be faulted from how they handled queues to get into the event overall, to organising lines to go into the panel sessions.

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Photograph above: actor Mark Ryan (R) with Break A Leg Reviewer (aka my husband) Garry McWilliams (L)

There was a huge number of celebrities available for signings and not many cancellations before or on the day. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones this was certainly the Con for you! Also present were John Challis and Sue Holderness, aka Boycie and Marlene from Only Fools And Horses, Mark Ryan from Transformers and Black Sails, plus Doctor Who Doctors Sylvester McCoy and Peter Davison. Star Wars creature actors, Kiran Shah, Arti Shah and Paul Warren were also on hand to sign autographs and have selfies taken with fans.

The two panels that I attended, Star Wars and Doctor Who were both extremely entertaining and informative. I won’t look at the creatures in Star Wars the same way again! Plus any Doctor Who panel session is worth attending that has Sylvester McCoy present, he was the highlight of the con for me, extremely funny guy. The Star Wars panel covered everything from the appearance of Mark Hamill on set, to the process involved when a creature actor is filmed. While the Doctor Who panel consisted of an avoidance of the question about the new companion(!) and a live email to Stephen Moffat  from Peter Davison. Gemma Redgrave was on hand to keep the boys in check and her eyes lit up at the thought of taking on the role of a female Doctor Who!

I attend a number of comic cons and I have to say, Wales, this one takes some beating! I can’t wait for next time. Guest feedback from the signing area was so positive and look out for my interviews with Mark Ryan and Mark Addy (Game of Thrones).

 

 

 

MCM Comic Con ~ Birmingham ~ 19th & 20th March 2016

March madness descended upon NEC, Birmingham on 19th and 20th of the month and a myriad of Cosplayers were out in force to seek out their desired goodies from the massive range of stalls available. The layout seemed much improved with fewer bottle necks and easy access for a family with a buggy (aka us!). I found it easier to find a space to treasure hunt at the stalls and there was an excellent variety of dealers on hand, The Sword Stall and Stateside Stills proving particularly popular.

The number of guests signing in the memorabilia area was phenomenal, ranging from Carry On Stars, to Star Wars actors, to Primeval favourites as well as the ever popular Red Dwarf contingent. UK Garrison are a regular feature at Comic Con and they had their usual storm troopers doing the rounds as well as Darth Vader, Princess Leia and Wicket the Ewok in residence. They had brought along an interesting display of trooper helmets and the famous pod-racer was also a highlight. A good array of photo sessions were also on offer with a variety of stars present over the weekend.

A superb line-up of panel sessions took place in the theatre, Warwick Davies was by far, top of the bill, but there was also a fantastically lively panel with the Red Dwarf cast.

The cosplayers never fail to impress with their magnificent costumes, it was interesting to see some different characters make an appearance this time. The attention to detail with some of the costumes is faultless. The quality and organisation of MCM’s comic cons gets better at every event and I can’t wait for November!

 

MCM Comic Con – NEC, Birmingham

 12289709_10153293300002549_3336194595403633013_n 12295476_10153293300232549_349705785176766741_n (Credit: Alien Loves Predator)

MCM Comic Con arrived at Birmingham’s NEC with a bang! This was the first full weekend we have been able to cover in a long time and it was a fantastic experience. With special guests including Six Million Dollar Man star Lee Majors was one of the biggest attractions, with long queues of fans waiting for his autograph, a photo or the chance to see him in a Q & A session in the theatre. Liv Tyler was also in ‘the house’ on Sunday and attracted a huge buzz to the event. Add Starship Troopers and Saw star Dina Meyer to the mix, and Comic Con was the place to be.

Fantom Films had also brought a wide selection of guests from the world of sci-fi and beyond, swelling the Memorabilia signing area, also joined by K9 who looked resplendent and was a favourite of our little boy’s. The Kid Zone was a big hit, the idea of collecting stickers from around the hall and trading the full quota in for a super hero cape appealed to us as well as to our smallest member of the team. It’s a nice memory of this particular Comic Con that we’ll keep and look back on, as long as it stays in one piece!

There always seems to be a great selection of stalls at the November Comic Con, with Christmas around the corner it’s an ideal time for a shopping trip and there was plenty of choice for all fandoms.

The theatre not only boasted the Q & A with Lee Majors, but also a Q & A on both days with Dina Meyer and an interesting panel with Wireless director and star Andrew-Lee Potts. The piece de resistance was the Star Wars auction, 21 conceptual visuals from the Designer and Illustrator Ralph McQuarrie (commissioned by Gorge Lucas) were auctioned off in aid of Acorns Hospice. We can report that they sold for a whopping £9,750!

The cosplay parades showcased some of the best costumes from the weekend, with some worthy winners who displayed talent as costumiers and performers. The standard of entrants gets more impressive all the time. We can’t wait for next year!

http://www.mcmcomiccon.com

 

 

 

 

 

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