Review by Melanie Brehaut,
Photography by Tony Irvine – ARI Images
7th – 8th June 2014
MCM Comic Con
It was a rather damp start to Belfast’s first ever MCM Comic Con, particularly for those unlucky enough to be in the really quite unbelievably long general admission queue at the King’s Hall on Saturday June 7th.
So what are a cosplayer’s natural enemies, you may ask? How about some endless, soaking costume destroying rain!
The aforementioned cos-players were everywhere: Deadpools rubbed shoulders with Thors, and Batman & Robins, and Doctor Whos, and manga/anime pixies…it truly was a sight to behold and IV was most impressed with the effort that people had put into their costumes.
There were of course merch stalls throughout, selling a host of comic, sci fi and sundry geek items.
Forbidden Planet were there, along with a plethora of cheerful ladies and gents selling the likes of signed photos, manga gear, tshirts and so on.
Our attention was particularly captured by Lazer Now, with their beautifully engraved slate gifts (http://lazernow.com/).
Phoenix Copper Art, home of some stunning copper fronted bound books (http://www.phoenixcopperart.com/) and the creepily astonishing latex masks of special effects expert Chris Stephens (https://www.facebook.com/Chrisstephenscreations/timeline).
If comics are your thing, there were several artists, both local and from further afield, displaying their wares and ready for a chat in the Comic Village. From vampires to zombie bears to local legends, these talented artists covered a wealth of subject matter between them!
Sci fi TV stars such as Hannah Spearitt (Primeval), Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time) and Jessica Parker Kennedy (Black Sails) were on hand for autographs, photo opps and talks, as well as Game of Thrones/Braveheart tough guy James Cosmo.
The burly Scot participated in a highly entertaining Q&A session, answering fans questions with wit and grace. He took particular delight in one punter’s description of the characters he portrays as “likeable badasses”!
The real coup was of course the actors from cult sci fi favourite Red Dwarf. Saturday saw Robert Llewellyn (Kryten) and Hattie Hayridge (Holly) undertake their own Q&A session, as well as graciously signing autographs and posing for pics with fans.
Sunday’s Q&A saw the addition of the legendary Chris Barrie, aka hologram Arnold Rimmer, resulting in a tightly packed room and a real air of gleeful anticipation. Unsurprisingly, the trio lived up to such expectation; they were warm, interesting and bloody funny.
Highlights were the odd Red Dwarf quote here and there, an absolutely perfect Rimmer salute from Barrie, and the latter’s spookily accurate Belfast accent which delighted the wrapt crowd (turns out he spent time in Northern Ireland in his youth, the result of his dad being in the military).
In all this was a highly successful foray into Northern Ireland for MCM Comic Con. So successful in fact that the organisers were reportedly astonished at just how many people came – a total over over ten thousand people over the two days.
The event has already been booked for the same time next year, which is welcome news for the obviously large number of comic and sci fi geeks in Northern Ireland. It seems it’ll be a case of “smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back for 2015”! Ahem…anyway. Bring a brolly just in case…
To find out more about MCM Comic Con exhibitions, visit their website: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/