Dublin Comic Con 2016 – Review by Fran Winston
Convention Centre Dublin 6&7 August
You could be forgiven for thinking that some great evil had been unleashed on Dublin, given the amount of superheroes strutting their stuff this past weekend. Name any comic book or anime icon and chances are they were floating around. However, it was all in the name of Comic Con cosplay rather than saving the world.
Just weeks after MCM brought their Con to the RDS, Dublin Comic Con hit the convention centre with their own selection of guest stars, panel talks and surprises. A huge amount of visitors were channelling their inner hero or anti hero with Suicide Squad proving a huge cosplay hit – Harley Quinn in particular was providing inspiration for many. This ensured that proceedings were colourful from the get go. The ground floor hall was proving extremely popular with multitudes of stalls selling various merchandise – some of the offers exclusive to the event. I’m not sure how much stores paid for these concessions but judging by the amount of people I saw carry goodies away I’d say it was a lucrative undertaking!
Also on offer were a series of panel talks that gave attendees a fascinating insight into different elements of geekdom. These included a talk from Medieval Armoured Combat Ireland, a look at the world of voice acting and even a panel about the legendary comic 2000AD which gave the world Judge Dredd!
However the main attraction at these events are the big cult stars who jet in to meet and greet fans while charging them a nominal fee for photographs and autographs. Given that this convention doesn’t have the reach of MCM Comic Con (which is a multi city event) they managed to pull in an impressive calibre of guest! Charmed star Brian Krause, Scrubs star Robert Maschio and Thomas Nicholas – best known as Kevin from the American Pie franchise – were just some of the names appearing and all gave panel talks at some point which drew eager crowds. For me though the highlight was Paul McGann who famously played the Eighth incarnation of Doctor Who in the 1996 made for TV movie which was intended to be a pilot for a full run. While he was posing for photographs with fans on both days he saved his panel talk until the Sunday. He was the very last speaker of the convention and definitely worth waiting for. Totally self deprecating, he was open, honest and witty and really impressed the audience (well myself and my friends anyway but judging by the cheers everyone else enjoyed it too!)
On the whole this was an extremely well organised event only let down by certain issues at the venue. The staff didn’t always know where things were happening and at 5pm on Sunday it pretty much became chucking out time in the pub as they “very enthusiastically” shepherded people out. With some cosplayers changing back into civilian clothes it became impossible to even get into a toilet and they weren’t encouraging you to queue preferring you to leave and go elsewhere. This did tarnish the day somewhat and if it was a case that the centre was supposed to be clear at 5pm then perhaps organisers should have scheduled talks and panels to end at 4.30pm to give people time to collect photos and return to the real world without simply ushering everyone out en masse.
That aside this was a impressive event that went down a treat with attendees and personally I’m looking forward to next year.