This weekend saw Liverpool’s Exhibition Centre host the annual Liverpool Comic Con and I was there to cover the event for Gamers Web. The one thing you can never predict with an event like a convention is the weather. I have been to cons in the middle of August that have been totally ruined by horrendous weather, and likewise other cons have taken place during unbearable heat of a heatwave, something that could not have possibly been predicted.
And so this weekend as I set forth from Liverpool Lime Street train station to venture across the city to the Exhibition Centre, it was almost a tale worth of Tolkien as I found myself, along with a good few brave and hardy adventurers braving what is perhaps the wildest weather I have ever seen in Liverpool.
The wind seemed to come from nowhere and even walking through the iconic streets of this proud and wonderful city was difficult to say the least. The weather was pretty awful and I sadly bore witness to at least three cosplayers who had worked tirelessly on their costumes, only to fall foul of the inclement weather and horrendous wind.
But we can’t argue with the weather and as I mentioned above it is not something that can be planned for. Well actually that isn’t totally true, as when I finally arrived at the venue, windswept (if I had hair I would have looked a state!) the first thing I noticed was the queue to get into the centre was placed in a very sheltered location, meaning that the hundreds of people who didn’t have tickets would not be hit to badly by the worst of the weather. A great idea on the part of the venues team and one that I am sure many people must have been thankful of.
Before I go to much further I would like to thank the staff at the Exhibition Centre and the amazing staff from Monopoly who did a sterling job throughout and many thanks to Val for looking after me during the day.
Okay on the event itself. Located in Liverpool’s iconic Albert Dock, the Exhibition Centre is a huge building that can hold many thousands of people in its cavernous interior. It is all on one level giving great access to those with mobility issues, extremely well lit and has a variety of vendors located around its interior to offer snacks and refreshments to the hungry masses.
The venue is extremely large and I think that perhaps due to its vast size and an odd layout, it did look quite empty for the majority of the day, even though there were thousands of people inside. Most of the event took place in small corners of the venue, leaving large open spaces that gave the illusion of the show looking empty, though I have been to enough cons to know easily that this was not the case. Over 20,000 people visited the event over the course of three days, so its not a small village hall affair by any means! Perhaps better use of the space may help this in the future, but a venue that is large enough to hold a full sized X-Wing fighter from Star Wars, several cars, traders and thousands of people, as well as a huge stage and about five hundred seats in front of it, is going to look cramped if its too centeralised I guess! Not a complaint just an observation.
In fact I don’t have any complaints just compliments to be honest. Staff were all really helpful and very friendly and on more than one occasion I saw one of the staff stop a cosplayer and ask them for a photograph, something that is quite rare at most cons, but overall lends itself perfectly to the wonderful city of Liverpool which is well renowned for its open and friendly nature. I grew up only seventeen miles from Liverpool and it was a very frequent haunt during my youth and those claims of some of the friendliest people in the UK are well justified.
As to be expected there were a lot of stalls and booths that were selling everything one can think of from tee shirts and apparel to replica weapons (made from real steel, though not sharpened), Funko Pops and much, much more. These were located towards the entrance of the venue which would have been an ideal location for any traders as people need to pass by them to go in and out of the venue for the most part.
The central area was dominated by a huge podium stage, with seating for about five hundred people in front of it. This was were all the talks and competitions would be held over the weekend, with panels running almost every hour, meaning that there was always something to see or get involved with. Stars such as Dean Cain and Terry Hatcher from the 90s Superman based show ‘Lois and Clarke’ were a real hit with the crowds and the interview with them went down extremely well and they came across as genuinely honest people who counted themselves blessed to have so many fans after all these years.
There were a lot of stars from the big and small screens in attendance, though sadly the one star I really wanted to meet had to cancel. Steve Gutenberg did however send a video message passing on his apologies to the convention goers, though it would have been wonderful to finally get to meet him.
And then there were the cosplayers!
Cosplay is not a new thing, but it is really starting to pick up now thankfully and it is a pure delight to see hundreds of people making the effort at conventions and Liverpool Comic Con was no exception. I have noticed that cosplay at conventions around the country tends to have its own dominant styles, with no two real areas seemingly the same. In Belfast a lot of the cosplayers tend to follow the anime style of cosplaying with shows like Attack on Titan or Bleach being really popular. In Edinburgh and Glasgow it tends to be Marvel and DC that rule the roost, while Aberdeen tends to have a lot of Harry Potter fans! It always seems that each area has its own claim to a niche of fandom, which could be down to a simple case of what is popular among friends.
Of all the hundreds of cosplayers I saw at LCC I don’t think that I have ever seen as many Power Rangers gathered together under one roof! It looked like an Angel Grove convention which is not really surprising seeing that a lot of the guests were stars of one version or other of the hit television franchise, and the Power Rangers UK had a huge presence at the show. These really over the top colours stood out from the crowds and though I am not really a big fan of the show itself, I was amazed at the fantastic effort people had put in and thought that they looked and acted amazingly, stopping and taking photos with the public as if it was a second nature.
Of course it wasn’t just Power Rangers in costume, there were so many wonderful costumes on show, and below is my gallery of images from the show. Please feel free to use any you wish on social media but if you do so can you please tag or credit myself or Gamers Web thanks!
So despite the horrendous weather, with almost hurricane force winds ripping down the River Mersey, the con went well and without any real problems as far as I can tell. The punters all seemed happy and the guests all seemed to have a great time meeting their fans.
I am extremely proud of my dear friends Joanne Alexander and Gabrielle Riddlough who were both cosplay guests at the show and both did an amazing job, of not only chatting with punters, but enthusiastically promoting cosplaying to all people of all ages. Gabrielle did a wonderful job with her cosplay competition hosting, and Joanne did awesome as her first time as a guest at a con, which I am sure will not be the last!
So three months into 2019 and two conventions under my belt. The next con is the biggie of the year for me which is Edinburgh Comic Con, then more coming throughout the summer months.
My many thanks to Amy Parkinson and Fiona Quilietti and Monopoly Events for all their help and support with coverage of this convention!