Wednesday 19 April 2017

Comic Con Review: Alton, Guildford & Reading Comic Cons

Angel Effects at Alton Comic Con
Sorry for the delay in posts folks, this parent lark doesn't half eat away at your time! Its been a few months but now I am very much back and you can expect to see many more regular posts from myself and some new contributors. 

Convention season is now upon us and I thought this would be a good time to share a round up of some of last years local conventions I attended.
Me with Bond girl Caroline Munro

Last year I decided to bite the bullet and finally get myself to some comic conventions. I have already let you all know about my experience at MCM London last May. Since then I have managed to get to three smaller local conventions and I thought I would share my experience with you all.

Alton Comic Con

Alton Comic Con was arranged by events team Nerdageddon. Due to how local Alton is for me I thought I would give the convention a try. I decided to visit Alton on the Sunday of the convention. Sundays are typically the quieter day for crowds, cosplay and special guests and that seemed true at this convention. The event was held at the Alton Assembly Rooms which is a gorgeous old theatre venue in the heart of Alton with easy access and parking nearby. Adult tickets cost £6 on the door.

Me with actor Julian Seager
There was a good flow of people for the small venue although I am sure the Saturday would have been busier. The venue was split into two rooms downstairs of exhibitors and gaming upstairs. Due to the size of the venue there wasn’t a huge amount of stall holders. There was however variety of stall types and product which is good. I only purchased some badges myself.  There were displays outside and some cosplayers circling and posing for pictures and all seemed very friendly. There were some special guests all of which were approachable and had proper conversations with me and allowed selfies without any charge. There was a Ghostbusters car outside that received a lot of attention, some different daleks from Doctor Who and a fantastic display from Angel Effects of Iron Man costumes and a variety of movie shields which are very impressive. You can check out their work here.
The overall feel of the convention felt very friendly and a worthwhile event to attend. I would happily go back this year if my schedule allows however would rather try the Saturday this time instead to see if there is more buzz and more cosplay and hopefully cosplay myself.

Guildford Comic Con

Guildford Comic Con
Fanzone Events run Guildford Comic Con. I decided to take my partner and son again for a family day out. This was held at the Guildford Spectrum Leisure Center which was a good easy location to get to and park at. I went swimming with my partner and son first then attended the convention afterwards. A ticket for the day cost £10 and we could pay on the door. I went to Guildford Comic Con again on the Sunday and experienced a similar feel with quieter traffic, not much cosplay and not many special guests. The Saturday is definitely the next I would like to try at a convention. 
My goodies from Snikt & Bamf
There was a good variety of stall holders. There were comics (always essential at a ‘comic con’, anime products, selections of memorabilia of different fandoms, handmade jewelry etc. As mentioned in my previous post I came across stall Snikt and Bamf which is was ecstatic to see at the event. They produce laser cut geek jewelry and I had previous seen their work on social media. Seeing them at the event and being able to purchase from them made the event for me personally.  It looked as though the venue could possibly hold more stall holders. There was some special guests however I only actually saw one at their station and there was no fans talking to them/getting signatures etc at all the whole time I was there. Unlike Alton this con had its own dedicated Cosplay Zone with masquerade and talks from special guests. This was impressive to see some specific dedication to cosplay and it was very well run and planned. The only downside was that is wasn’t advertised or sign posted well. I only found out about it from another stall holder otherwise I would have completely missed it.
This convention was bigger than Alton with a larger variety of things available. There were differences between the two. For example Alton had the dedicated gaming room whereas Guildford had the cosplay zone. They both had similar types of stall holders but Guildford probably has the edge for me purely based on the stall Snikt and Bamf as that was a highlight for me. Alton I think had the edge when it comes to cosplay for the amount of dressed up people and the quality of outfits however Guildford had the dedicated cosplay zone. Overall it was a good event. There was clearly still come teething problems with this being their first event however it was good and hopefully improvements will be made for the next one they do.

Reading Comic Con

Me with Death Eater
Jon Campling
I attended Reading Comic Con with my cosplay group the Basingstoke Cosplay Collective, I dressed as a casual Narcissa Malfoy. The convention was run by Fanzone Events held at Rivermead Leisure Centre Reading. The venue was great and an ideal location.

I entered the Cosplay Contest for the first time. I entered my son as baby Draco Malfoy paraded around to the Harry Potter theme tune by his mother Narcissa Malfoy and I entered the group contest with my crew the Basingstoke Cosplay Collective as the random individual cosplayers we are. Some of our members entered separate categories and won, Andy Johns won for best props and Holly Anne Rixon won for overall competitive cosplay where she fully handmade her Belle ballgown and sang on stage. This was my most fun convention based on the fact that I was with my friends and taking part in the competition was a great and fun experience.

Holly as Belle and Andy as Ripley last 2 top right
All had good and bad bits to them but are equally good events to attend (on a Saturday if you want more buzzing atmosphere) if your local and fancy something geeky to do! If your traveling from a good distance then do be aware these are small conventions so have your expectations to fit.
I will be attending more this year to attend so stay tuned for more Comic Con reviews coming soon!


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