Liverpool's official Comic Con returns to Exhibition Centre Liverpool in 2019!
Liverpool Comic Con
Exhibition Centre Liverpool
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Why Liverpool's new Comic Con is a welcome addition to the calendar
Walking in to the cavernous hall of Liverpool Exhibition Centre first thing Saturday morning felt like being an extra in Total Recall.Comic Con 2018 may have only just opened its doors but the venue which gave the Batcave a run for its money sizewise was already teeming with members of the public dressed in the most remarkable costumes.
Stormtroopers from Star Wars greeted us at the door, Manga and anime characters were strolling alongside various incarnations of Doctor Who and the gamut of Marvel and DC heroes. If you had a galaxy that needed guarding, Starlord was never too far away either. With full-size vehicular props dotted about the floor, it genuinely felt like the sci-fi equivalent of Crewe station, characters briefly crossing over from their own universe for the day before heading off on other adventures.
A friendly buzz was everywere. If you had ever struggled to find your people after quietly admiring your favourite fictional characters from afar for years, this was the place to make compadres for life. But it's worth remembering this festival of harmless fun almost didn't take place at all this year.
After two successful conventions in the city, previous organisers MCM declared late last year that they wouldn't be coming back after new owners took over the brand. Liverpool was dropped as a location, as was Telford and the event in Northern Ireland so they could concentrate on building up the four remaining events in Manchester, Birmingham, London and Glasgow. We imagine their reasons for letting go a convention which has welcomed 20,000 visitors to the waterfront venue were sound on paper and wish them well for the future.
But if the event that came in to Liverpool at relatively short notice at the weekend was anything to go by, this city's comic book love is in safe hands.It was only late December that new organiser Andrew Kleek played his card and announced a new convention would take up the slot previously booked for MCM. Considering the relatively brief run-in period of three months, Mr Kleek should be feeling very proud of himself today.
How much of it was already in place and absorbed under the new Comic Con banner is unknown but even so, it remained a gamble for a newcomer to the city to take on.
When you see youngsters beaming at the sight of their heroes, whether it's from TV, film, comics, the wrestling ring or illustration, you realise how special an event Comic Con is. Not everyone's idols are from the sporting arena and they deserve their own place to pay homage - especially when the opportunities to do so are only peppered throughout the calendar, not regular fixtures throughout a season.
And that's before we even get to the cosplayers. The work that goes in to the outfits on display is astonishing, with many finished pieces referencing works so obscure even Sheldon Cooper would struggle to identify all of them.
Cultural references stretched back through the decades, going as far back as Dan Dare, the '50s comic book hero through to the original Star Trek series of the '60s, '80s teatime grump Grotbags and the noughties updates of Superman, Wonder Woman and Iron Man among others. It wouldn't be a surprise if the planning for much of these creations pre-dated November's cancellation. There's a sense of joy in every stitch.
The plan is for Comic Con in its new incarnation to run in Liverpool for the foreseeable. After seeing the loyalty of the fans and visitors who flocked to the Exhibition Centre this weekend, it's heartening that this corner of the universe is safe once more. There's a weekend in March by the Mersey that would be a drabber place without it.
Jamie McLoughlin - Echo News