Frances Winston reviews this now biannual event, which sees some big stars in attendance
Dublin Comic Con
The Convention Centre Dublin: 9th, 10th and 11th August
From humble beginnings with a small event in Swords in 2013, Dublin Comic Con has now become a biannual event that welcomes tens of thousands, and sees some of the biggest stars on the con scene show up to meet fans.
It was a couple of years since I had attended this, simply because the dates always clashed with something else, and even in that short period of time it has grown hugely.
Just a quick glance at the calibre of the guests, and the different vendors, proved that. This year saw living legend, Lou Ferrigno, aka The Incredible Hulk, joined by Buffy and Angel Star, Charisma Carpenter, Charmed star, Holly Marie Combs, the voice of Joe in Family Guy, Patrick Warburton, and Guardians of the Galaxy star, Pom Klementieff, amongst the guests, offering autograph and photo opportunities to fans.
However, the photos available for signing at the autograph desks didn’t prove popular with many, complaining that the paper was cheap and the pictures had huge white borders. General consensus seemed to be to bring your own item for signing.
Many people were also surprised at Warburton’s price of €50 for a photograph in the official booth (although he did have a selfie option available for a cheaper rate). There were bigger names there charging less, and it did seem a bit inflated (the Con didn’t set the rates lest you wonder). His sense of worth aside, this was a solid line up that had something to satisfy most attendees, and the guests were almost as excited as the fans.
Speaking on the Friday evening preview, Ferrigno, Carpenter, and Combs all admitted that they were grateful to their respective shows for opening up this world of conventions to them, and that they enjoyed meeting the fans and seeing how much it meant to them.
What was extremely noticeable was that the Cosplay aspect had come on leaps and bounds in recent years. I’ve attended a lot of cons, and I can honestly say this event saw an extremely high standard of costume from attendees. While there were many variations on Spiderman and Deadpool, and a fair few Batmen, I found ‘bro Thor’ especially hilarious. Also kudos to the child who dressed as Bumblebee from Transformers, in a costume that actually allowed him to transform into a car. As you would expect, there were several Game of Thrones inspired costumes. There was also everything from horror icons to comic book legends, alongside some gaming and anime characters, and people really did go all out.
It was great to see families dressing up as a group, and really getting in to it. This really added to the atmosphere, and gave a real sense of camaraderie to the event. Some of the best things about any Con are always the panel talks, and as well as the special guest interviews, there was a huge variety of topical discussions on offer, here including Horror in Manga, and Japanese Pop Culture, Games in Education, Cosplay, Conventions and Consent, and Smartphone Filmmaking. Whatever you were into, there was a panel to tick your box, and these proved extremely popular.
In an ‘it shouldn’t be amusing but it was moment’, Halloween attraction, The Nightmare Zone, also had a space in the vendors’ hall, with people in character, and I’m not saying they were convincing, but I did see one child running away crying when confronted by one of their ghouls! Thankfully, his mum saw the funny side, and he was soon appeased.
Controversially, the Church of Scientology also had a stand in the vendors’ hall, where they offered children a chance to create a drug-free superhero as part of a competition. I was surprised to see them there, and I saw many other people commenting on and complaining about it. This probably wasn’t the best idea on the part of the organisers, and perhaps they should leave the religious organisations out of it next year.
That aside, Dublin Comic Con was a roaring success that attendees are still raving about even after it’s over. Many met their idols, many got to try out new costumes, some just bought a really cool piece of cherished merchandise, but whatever they went for, everyone I spoke to really enjoyed it. Time commitments this year meant I didn’t get to dress up, but watch out next year – I’m breaking out the Doctor Who and Wonder Woman costumes!