It’s that time of year again for the first of the annual FCCC’S. Once again playing host to a plethora of stars from film and TV, such as Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Mark Williams (Harry Potter) and Vicki Michelle (‘Allo ‘Allo) to name but a few of the stars in attendance, along with a host of professional (and amateur) cosplayers, comic artists and stalls selling an abundance of merchandise and craft.
To my mind, this con is always a little on the smaller side. The Motorpoint Arena (or CIA if you’re old like me) in Cardiff is always a little underwhelming, it’s one of the go to venue’s in the city but it’s dated and it’s floor space is minimal as well as having adjoining rooms scattered across different floors and corridors which doesn’t really add to the experience. However there really aren’t many great venue choices in Cardiff, or South Wales really, we shall see if the opening of the ICC in the summer, just a dash down the motorway from Cardiff in Newport changes how South Wales handles these big events.
The guests are, as always, lovely to see, but I feel like we’ve seen them before, I know that Robert Englund and Colin Baker have been quite recently and whilst I appreciate that guests are a little subjective as to who enjoys what, I do feel that Cardiff gets a raw deal sometimes on this front. Another example of a guest billed as from The Walking Dead was Lawrence Gillard Jr. however for my recollection, he was only in a handful of episodes across all the series’ – so not exactly a top billed star. Just as a little comparison, a smaller and newer con being set up by a local couple has managed to get Peter Shinkoda (Nobu from Daredevil) and Simone Missick (Misty Knight from Luke Cage) who for my money are a little more contemporary than some of the people that Showmasters managed to get. Again, I appreciate guests are subjective and some people would have truly loved the guests that appeared in Cardiff, but I always feel there’s nothing unique or on a theme that comes to Cardiff, like the pairs who appeared at Liverpool, Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher(Loise and Clark) or Adam Baldwin and Sean Maher (Firefly).
One of my favourite parts of Comic Con is seeing the craft and art stalls, people who come along to show what they’ve made and to try and sell their wares. You really find some great local talented artists and craftsman from these sorts of events, be it from the sale of some lovely badges and stickers (which I’m a sucker for!) or huge pieces of artwork. The aisles for the stalls do get a little crowded once general admission starts at 11 and that also puts me off any extended browsing but it’s certainly a place to find some lovely curios.
The cosplay contingent was out in full force and there was some fantastic displays from attendees as well the professionals. There was some great talks on cosplay make up and design given by some of the attendees, it’s a shame this was just shoved into the corner on the main floor and there was no announcement or clear signage as to what was starting and when.
Overall, the experience is an enjoyable one and it’s always good to feel part of something bigger, like a fandom or cosplay, I just feel that, for the Con of Wales’s capital city, that it could always be a little more.