True Believers Comic Festival 2016

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Kit headed off to the True Believers Comic Festival at the Cheltenham Racecourse this year. Here’s what he thought!

Mission: To put the comics back into Comic-Con!

Do you like comics? Well you’re reading this so I’m going to assume that yes, yes you do. With that in mind you really need to check out the True Believers Comic Festival. There are many conventions around the UK, you can go to the likes of MCM Expo, which although fantastic and a hell of a lot of fun is not for the faint of heart. I have many fond memories there, but also less fond memories of being stuck in queues for entire mornings or being caught in a crush of people trying to get to the loos. If you want something similar, but on a smaller, far more relaxed scale then True Believers is for you. It’s only been running for two years, and I’ve had the very good fortune to have been to both cons so far.

It’s based in Cheltenham at the beginning of February each year, located at the Racecourse. When my partner, Charlie, and I got there (her in cosplay, a dress down Black Cat and looking fantastic… I was lazier this year and didn’t dress up myself…), 15 minutes after opening we were greeted by a packed entrance hall! There were a lot more people there than last year (no figures to back this up, but it certainly felt like this!) but once we’d hacked through the small crowd to the entrance we made our way in. The main hall itself was full of stalls with plenty going on around each. There’s collectible figures, merchandise of all the mainstream comics, there’s artists, cake and my personal favourite – indie comic books!

One of the things I love about attending True Believers is the time you can spend chatting to the indie artists and writers. They have a great chance to promote their work here and are naturally very passionate about it. When you pass a table and something catches your eye take the chance to talk to them and next thing you know you’ll be even more intrigued by their work, will be the proud owner of a new comic book and a few pounds worse off. I’ll be doing my next few comic reviews based on the comics I picked up at True Believers.

We attended one of the main panels, Celebrate Cosplay lead by GCC, Kurostyler, Limegreenjelly and Tris Trinket. They talked about all things cosplay, they gave advice, spoke about their experience and answered questions. The whole atmosphere was fun and relaxed, plenty of people in the audience felt comfortable asking things or contributing themselves. They promoted a very positive attitude towards cosplay, focusing on enjoying it whoever you are and discouraging elitism.

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There was also a new table-top gaming area, where anyone could step in and play a board game and get to know other con-goers. There were group meet ups (Charlie joined in the Marvel and DC group) and some incredible costumes.

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TB3There was also a real family friendly environment, plenty of kids dressed up as their favourite character and enjoying themselves.

The main event in the afternoon was the cosplay catwalk. I didn’t take part this time, but Kurostyler did an excellent job MCing it. He kept the crowd entertained and introduced all of the excellent costumes.

All of the people working there, from organising the big events to shepherding people into the convention, work really hard, and as a note if any of them are reading this – thanks a lot for putting on a fantastic event. We’ll definitely be back next year!

Anything they could have done better? Well as the convention is growing, the demand for panels and other activities (maybe a video game area) is going to grow. So basically yeah, the same again please, but even more!

Kit

London MCM Comic Con – Day 3: Cosplay Cavalcade

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

Walking around London Comic Con this weekend I saw some pretty excellent cosplay. Here are some really low quality photos of some of my favourites! I promise I’ll bring a proper camera next time, rather than taking photos with my camera phone which doesn’t really do some of these costumes justice!

Black Widow, Hawkeye and Iron Man

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Complete with J.J. Abrams lens flare!

Massive Dragonball group

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A fair few groups met up like this and posed for photos outside the convention centre. Mr Popo looks a little terrifying.

Warhammer 40K

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These were ridiculous. I can’t imagine how hot they would have been inside

Judge Dredd

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He’s got that sneer down

Bayonetta

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Excellent detail on this one

The Walking Dead – Rick and Daryl

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That is an ace looking Rick-beard

Mr Bubbles!

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Always nice to see some Bioshock represent

Chappie

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Complete with his bling

Attack on Titan – Female Titan

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I think this one ended up being my favourite of the weekend. I love the added detail of the scout hanging out of the mouth

That was just a sample of the great cosplay on show at London Comic Con. It will be back in October at the Excel centre, so make sure you head along to check it out!

Adam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London MCM Comic Con – Day 2: Meandering Without Getting Anywhere

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

After wandering around on Friday to get my bearings at Comic Con, and checking out some of the video games on offer too, I arrived on Saturday to find the Excel centre teeming with attendees. Hazarding a guess, I’d say there were nearly ten times as many people there, with a far higher number in cosplay compared with Friday too As I walked in, attendants were advising that Weekend and Saturday tickets were all sold out, and if anyone hadn’t already booked then they wouldn’t be able to buy any on the door. Even last time I came here back in October, when I queued outside with some friends for about an hour and a half, there were still tickets left on the day. Every time I come here it seems that it can’t get any more huge, and then it does.

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Bird’s eye view of the huge number of people at London Comic Con this year

While it is always cool to see this many nerds in one place, it did make getting anywhere a bit of a nightmare, and rendered certain areas (in particular the access above where all the food was) pretty hot and stifling. I had a little more of a wander around the stalls (not making much progress) and bought a couple of things, but today I was aiming to check out a few panels (which I’ll talk about in the next article) and have a look at some of the cosplay on show from everyone at Comic Con.

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I bought an item from this stall that is visible in this shot. Can you guess what it was? Answer at the end!

If I was struggling with the heat, everyone in their bright-coloured wigs and massive costumes must have been far worse. It was no surprise then that when I ventured outside for some fresh air the number of people out there was nearly as many as were inside. All the various cosplayers were also meeting up out there for group photo shots, from Dragonball characters, to every possible Doctor, to Adventure Time Finns and Fionas, to a massive Hetalia Axis Powers group, all hanging out on the grass nearby.

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I wandered around out there for a bit, taking some photos of a few more cosplayers that I’ll compile into an article tomorrow. After several hours of panels, weaving in and out of the massive crowds and appreciating all the costumes I headed home on the tube with my new purchases…

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Licence to kick people in the chest? I think so.

On the way home a man stared at me with more contempt than I have ever seen on a human face, but every kid I passed was loving it. So that guy needs to get his priorities in check really. On the last day I’m going to head to a few more panels, check out what cosplays people bring along and spent a few hours enjoying all the awesome art in the Comics Village. Come back tomorrow for what I thought of it all!

Adam