Glenn Caldecott lives out his 13 year-old self’s dream at Dublin Comic Con and finally got to chat to Boba Fett about all things Mandalorian.
I find myself in a room the size of an aircraft hangar; in front of me are some light-sabres and a severed Alien head. In the distance I can make out the flashing lights of the DeLorean alongside Knight Rider’s KITT. Boba-Fett and a Storm Trooper draw their weapons, a Dalek rolls past and a Predator stalks the room. A Transformer bursts in through the door and everyone goes nuts.
While this closely resembles a daydream my 13-year-old self might have had (or perhaps The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny), it is in fact my experience of the first Dublin Comic Con.
I case you’ve been living under a kryptonic rock, the National Show Centre in Swords, north Dublin, played host to the world’s most famous comic book convention this past weekend. Modelled on the famous San Diego convention, that draws crowds of 130,000 every year, this was the first time that the geek-fest has come to Ireland.
Organised by comic book enthusiasts, Derek Cosgrave and Karl Walsh, the event offered comic fans, film buffs, video gamers and anyone with a passing interest in all things nerdy a chance to engage with their passions. But you didn’t have to be fluent in Klingon to enjoy the offerings.
There was truly something for everyone and walking around it was easy to get overwhelmed by all the costumed characters, original film props and costumes, panels, sculpting and painting workshops, console gaming contests, interactive film sets as well as a host of vendors selling everything from vintage comics to signed memorabilia. Some of the more interesting special guests included The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, Predator and Game of Thrones actor Ian Whyte, and the man who sculpted Darth Vader’s mask, Brian Muir.
The highlight for me though was the response from the public. Events like this always encourage those with a creative flair to grab their make-up and sticky tape and dress up as their favourite character. The crowd in Swords did not disappoint with people of all ages donning some inventive and elaborate costumes, many of them months in the making.
Once forced to operate on the fringes of society, the geek is now an acceptable part of mainstream culture. Superhero films dominate Hollywood, geek-chic remains fashionable and the likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé are buddying up with sci-fi uber-nerds Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
The organisers of the first Dublin Comic Con seem to have got their timings right. By all accounts the event was a resounding success. Both days sold out (with over 5,000 people getting their con on) and there was a veritable buzz from everyone I spoke to; the consensus definitely being that expectations had been exceeded. And if you missed it this year you’ll be pleased to know there was already a lot of excited talk about next year’s line-up.
Check out Gemma Creagh’s video from Comic Com where she finds herself in “hairy water” at Dublin Comic Con let loose among Predators, Aliens, Superheroes, Transformers and Daleks.