Wales Comic Con celebrated it’s tenth anniversary show this past weekend, with movie stars, toys, pizza, and superheroes of every kind. I love Wales Comic Con not just for pizza and movie stars, but because it sits at the intersection of big and small. Big enough to draw the names, provide suitable facilities and big enough to draw a crowd and recoup the investment. Small enough to feel cozy and casual, and family friendly like a day at the fair. This is my third visit to Wales Comic Con (WCC) and every year I enjoy it more, and appreciate the differences between this show and some of their big city counterparts.
WCC sets up at Glyndwr University in Wrexham, a spacious and tidy campus with the use of a number of seperate buildings. Moving between the buildings is quick and the guide book has a map for the out of towners. Facilities at the University are busy, but not swamped, and the bathrooms are generously sized. Why do I mention the bathrooms you ask? Have you ever tried to use a bathroom with half the Marvel Universe tying on wings and capes, and painting themselves blue? Spacious bathrooms are a major plus at a convention, and relieve the stress as well as the bladder.
This past weekend in the hot Welsh sun, stars of stage and screen met thousands of their fans, and a fine time was had by all. Wrestling icons Christian and Diamond Dallas Page, mingled with Gothams big names. Ex X Men rubbing shoulders with Dr’s Who, and some of the dearly departed from Game of Thrones. Several Star Wars names appeared, including Greg Grunberg (Temmin ‘Snap’ Wexley of The Force Awakens), and Taylor Gray (Ezra Bridger of Star Wars:Rebels). Greg and Taylor kindly agreed to be interviewed and those will be posted in coming weeks. Undisputed King of the mountain though was Warwick Davis (Wicket from Return of The Jedi) , with the longest line of loyal subjects in town. Warwick has expanded his meet’n’greet operation to feature a gift shop of all things Warwick, for you to purchase instead of (or as well as) a photo. Warwick was fantastic to meet and posed for photos with everyone who asked, making sure everyone went away happy.
Outside there were many green spaces and benches to rest on, as well as food trucks and ice cream vans furiously dishing out cones and ice cold bottles as fast as they could. The University Cafeteria was doing a roaring trade, but again it didn’t feel rushed, and there were plenty of tables for people inside and out. Aside from the many vendors of Funko Pops and toys of all kinds, there were interesting attractions like a Cosplay video booth, and live owls, snakes, and insects to handle for a small donation. While it was very hot, the crowds were managed smoothly by friendly staff, and when the hall got too hot, the fire doors were opened to let in some air. Runners were delivering cold water to the stallholders, it’s refreshing to see a large scale event being run well, with a focus on safety as well as enjoyment.
Thanks to Wales Comic Con, over the years I’ve been privileged enough to meet everyone from Hacksaw Jim Duggan to “The boys from the Dwarf”, the stars of T.V.’s Red Dwarf. I know I will continue to visit, and I encourage you to make the trip if you can. Here’s to another ten years, Cheers!