Geek Pride’s Wigan Comic Con Adventure
Sunday 22nd June saw the birth of a brand new convention in a rather unlikely North-western town in Greater Manchester. Wigan Comic Con hit the ground running at Robin Park Arena and Geek Pride jumped right in the middle of it.
The event was organised by Paul Prescott, owner of Wigan’s Funky Figures and American Candy store, along with Barbara Seddon. After running a small Christmas event in 2013, Paul took it a huge step further this year by organising a full comic convention. Despite it only being Wigan Comic Con’s first run, it’s needless to say that the event got off to a flying start.
Whilst I attended the con on behalf of Geek Pride, my sister was running a stall for me selling my Geek Treats canvases, so we were there with fellow traders at 8am. Upon entering the venue, I was astounded to see the amount of stalls setting up and the huge variety of geekery available. I’ve attended cons in the past, with Wales Comic Con in Wrexham being a favourite, but nothing has really compared to amount of goods on offer at Wigan Comic Con. Typical stalls selling merchandise, comic books, figures and the ever popular Pop Vinyl figures were on site, along with artwork, American candy, retro games, handmade clothing and much more.
Being a stall holder (although the title should go to my sister, since I was flitting about all over the place) was a really interesting experience and offered a great insight into behind the scenes at the convention. It was my first time selling my wares at this sort of event and I had an incredibly successful day, taking great pride in the fact that people were buying things that I had made to display in their homes.
From a trader’s point of view, this aspect of the convention was very well organised and the stalls were set up in a way that made it easy for guests to see everything on offer. I’ve been to comic con events in the past where it was difficult to see which direction to walk in, which created a bit of a traffic jam and this certainly wasn’t the case at Wigan.
My highlight of the day was getting involved with the Under 16’s Cosplay Competition, which was organised my Lora Marsden. Lora works in a local high school and runs a cosplay club, something which she is incredibly passionate about as she feels that there was nothing like that available when she was in school. She felt that cosplay didn’t have the presence that it does now and wanted to help the kids to get involved and create costumes for the event. I had the privilege of helping Lora out on the day and being a judge for the competition, which was great fun. Considering this was the under 16’s competition, I was impressed with the huge variety of costumes on display and the effort that some of the kids had put into them. Favourites included a mini Matt Smith Doctor, who won one of the prizes for under 10s, Little Sister from Bioshock, an Attack on Titan duo and our overall winner, a female Sephiroth.
There was also a competition for over 16s, which was split into handmade and bought categories. I was rather surprised that most the entrants were for the bought section, but those that were handmade really were something special. For such a new con, I never expected people to put in as much effort as they had and the results really were fabulous. My favourites included Tank Girl, Lara Croft and a very cute Charizard.
With Wigan Comic Con being a new event, the list of guests appearing at the event was rather small, however there were some rather popular names. Star Wars favourites Kenny Baker (R2D2) and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) appeared, along with former Doctor Colin Baker and a handful of other actors, authors and artists. Despite the low number of special guests in comparison to larger events, this really didn’t seem to matter. The focus of the day really seemed to be on the stalls, cosplay, car displays and an incredibly family friendly day out.
So, what next for Wigan Comic Con? Well, an event is planned for December 7th once again at Robin Park Arena, but in a much larger space which will be three times the size of the hall used this year. There are also plans to better handle the queues, as some folk were left waiting for quite some time. However, in my opinion, people are well warned of this sort of thing, especially when events are so popular. Perhaps the upgraded venue will allow for a wider entrance, which I found to be a little problematic when entering and leaving the hall due to the amount of folk moving in different directions.
With the popularity of the event over the weekend, I’d expect early entry tickets to fly out and they really are worth paying the extra couple of pounds for. If you’re local to the area, this really is a con worth attending and there’s plenty on offer for all ages. I, for one, can’t wait for December and will most definitely be returning to Wigan Comic Con. For more cosplau photos, head over to our Facebook page and see if you can spot yourself!