Film and Comic Con Sheffield
A fun convention, with a varied series of guests, that had something for everyone to enjoy.
The heat quickly became overpowering due to the crowds inside, but this was quickly alleviated by regular breaks outside in the fresh air.
Last weekend was Film and Comic Con Sheffield, held in at the Motorpoint Arena. Headlining the event was Michael Biehn (Reece in The Terminator and Hicks in Aliens, amongst many others) as well as Chris Judge (Stargate SG-1’s Teal’c) and Robert Englund (Freddie from A Nightmare on Elm Street.
Billy Dee Williams (yes, that Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian in Star Wars) had also been scheduled to appear, but was unfortunately forced to cancel due to ill-health. Whilst this was unavoidable, and Geek Pride send him our best wishes for a speedy recovery, some attendants were naturally disappointed, as he was their main reason for attending.
Despite this, there was a still a lot to offer the convention goers. Michael Biehn and Chris Judge were both fantastic guests and gifted raconteurs. Michael Biehn also provided further insight as to his involvement in the forthcoming Alien 5.
Essentially, Fox have green-lit the proposed Alien 5 by Neill Blomkamp (who recently directed Chappie) with starring Sigourney Weaver in it. Alien 5 will be a sequel to Aliens, whilst conveniently forgetting that Alien³ and Alien: Resurrection ever happened (something many Alien fans have done anyway). The concept art that Blomkamp released prominently featured Hicks looking a lot like Michael Biehn does now, but with a heavily scarred face (from the acid burns he gained from Aliens). Michael Biehn had been asked by Blomkamp to audition for Chappie, but nothing came of it. Biehn’s feeling is that it is a case of waiting for the call to audition for Alien 5. Needless to say, everyone was stoked to hear this news.
As well as the aforementioned actors, people could also meet David Prowse (Darth Vader) and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), as well as innumerable others. Many of them gave talks throughout the weekend on a series of themed panels on Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Doctor Who.
All of the guests were happy to answer the audience’s questions during these panels. However, there were an unfortunate number of questions which were incredibly inane. Thankfully, the actors were sufficiently aware, and answered some of the more pointless questions with a different answer.
It was refreshing to meet actual comic writers and artists at comic con, with John Wagner, Greg Staples, Nick Percival and many others making an appearance. What was disappointing was how so few novelists there were, which had Robert Rankin leading the charge.
As well as the actors, artists and writers, there was also a bevy of wrestlers too, as well as an associated panel. This is something I have never understood (I freely admit to having no interest in wrestling), but nevertheless the reason for wrestlers being at a science-fiction convention escapes me.
It would not be a convention without the traders, and here they were out in force, filling the central space of the arena. However, it was great to find creators’ stands amongst the typical traders, with Devolution Comics and Miss Orky Designs standing out.
Costume and Play hosted a series of panels as well as a masquerade ball that showcased many of the costumes that were worn throughout the event.
The Sheffield Motorpoint Arena was sufficiently spacious to comfortably hold everybody, without feeling claustrophobic. This was despite the Saturday selling out completely. However, due to the heat and number of people that day, the air became stuffy, with many people complaining of headaches, Michael Biehn being one such case. Thankfully, the door people were happy to allow convention goers to enjoy a brief respite outside in the cool air.
The only other down-side was that only the main arena, and surrounding corridors, was used for the convention. Thus the various panels and talks were also held in the main space, which meant that there was a lot of background noise. This was mitigated somewhat by the event organisers strategically placing speakers around the talks, but it did not completely eliminate it.