On Saturday 31st August I was lucky enough to attend Preston Comic Con. It was a last minute decision really, we had not bought tickets in advance but knew they were available on the door. Therefore, myself, my wife, daughter, one of my sons and his fiancé and my beautiful granddaughter all made our way to the home of Preston North End, Deepdale (the event had been moved here due to the problems at Preston Guild Hall which currently is not in operation).
A rainy day, we arrived at about 10am to a number of Star Wars cosplayers, and queued outside waiting to get in.
As it was raining, the organisers wanted to get people in early. For us though it was even earlier as one of the fine fellas saw we had my granddaughter and sent us to the front to get in. Thank you Avery for that.
We go in, up the stairs (guided by a Star Wars cosplayer) and shown the kids area, the panels room and then led to the main rooms, where you found a multitude of stalls, cosplayers, guests and more.
We didn’t want to rush round and do everything in one go, so it was a brisk look around the stalls, where in my head I spent a few months’ wages with ease. The variety of stalls was great; a glow in the dark t-shirt stall, That Comic Book Shop (who are based in Preston and had some cracking bargains), Funko Pops galore, collectables, handmade items, authors and much more…
After a walk around, eyeing up all the things I would love but didn’t have the budget to buy, we thought it wise to visit the kid are with Avery so that she could have a chill. For a one year old the amount of people can be overwhelming although she didn’t let it phase her. Half an hour later, drinks gone and it was back inside. It was amazing going around just how much you miss first time and see things you didn’t before.
However, before that I wanted to do what I went there for most off, and that was to meet Ian McElhinney. I have no doubt that this will be a name known to many, probably for his appearance as Ser Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones. Obviously, I was aware of that but for me, it was more because of his link to the DC Universe. Mr McElhinney plays, rather played, Val-El (Superman’s Great, Great Grandpappy) in the Krypton tv show; a show cut down in its prime. I was lucky enough to visit him at a quiet point and got to spend 10 minutes chatting to him. I mentioned that myself, as well as those of us involved at DC World that were surprised and shocked at the shows cancellation. He told me that he himself and the cast felt the same at the time they found out, they didn’t see the cancellation coming and that it was a bolt out of the blue. Being in television for a number of years he said that in his experience that if you get a second season you get a third, if you get a fourth you get fifth which made it even more surprising to him.
He spoke very passionately about the show and mentioned that he had heard rumours about Warner Brothers taking on the show and possibly bringing it back via another network. Like he said though, these are rumours and may well come to nothing. I told him that I would be more than happy if this was the case.
After that I spoke to him about us both being from Belfast, although my accent is long gone; we were both born there and have a lot of affection for the place despite all the troubles it has been through. He spoke passionately about Belfast, and Norther Ireland in general and I made a promise to him that I’ll make a visit over home very soon.
Unfortunately a queue started to build and I had finish my meet with him, but I must say that Mr McElhinney is a wonderful and very charming person to speak to and it was such a pleasure to meet him at Preston Comic Con. I believe he appreciated the chat and commented on how it was a great pleasure for himself to meet me. My thanks go to Ian for his kind words.
Following on from meeting Ian I was on a high and next on my list was a comic artist and illustrator called Phil Buckenham. I have seen his work before as part of the Upperdeck/Marvel trading card series’ so he was someone I wanted to meet. Again, another charming fella and he was offering illustrations on the day for a nominal fee. I’m growing to be a massive fan of Harley Quinn, in fact I think she might be fast becoming my favourite character from the DC Universe (controversial?). I therefore asked Mr Buckenham if he could do me a coloured drawing of the character.
As Phil needed time to get the drawing done, it was my chance to have a proper look around the stalls. Now, because this was a last minute decision to go my funds were on the low side. I’d already purchased the autograph from Ian McElhinney and the piece of original art from Phil Buckenham I was happy with that and didn’t need anything else to remember the day.
Due to that I picked up a Marvel (I know, sacrilege right? Blah Blah, I love this as much a DC so there! J) mystery box from a stall I have bought from before at Morecambe Comic Con, I Collectables. Always a pleasure to talk to the owner and I would certainly recommend them. They have a shop in Blackpool and I will leave details of where you can find them below.
That Comic Shop who are based in Preston also had a stall and they always bring some cracking bargains with them. For myself, I picked up a 6 issue mini-series called Ragman for a great price but he was offering so much more that, if I had the money, I’d have been buying.
The only other thing I bought was a memento of the day, a Preston Comic Con mug. I also laughed (probably) too hard at this on passing another stall.
There was also some great cosplay on show and the photos below are just a section of those that were there. Was great to manage a couple of photos too with a few of them who were more than willing to participate.
Purchases and photos done, it was back to Phil Buckenham to pick up my Harley Quinn piece. There it was, on a stand at his table waiting for me. I was, still am really chuffed with it and I shall be picking up a nice frame for it to go in. I was very thankful to Phil and ensured I got a photo with him showing off his work. Top fella and so happy I went to him for this.
Along with talking to convention go-ers and the like, that was it. A cracking day out, my granddaughter for the most part, enjoyed her second comic con (she had already been to Morecambe earlier in the year) and I went away happy after meeting some fine people. Yes, it may be a smaller comic con than those further South but I would heartily recommend people have a visit, you won’t be sorry.
My thanks to Wonky Rocket Events who are the team behind this and other comic cons across the North West of England. This was a great event, first time I’ve been and I’ll certainly return.
As the image below states, Thank You Preston, You Were Awesome!
Wonky Events can be found on Twitter @W0nkyR0cket
Preston Comic Con can be found on Twitter @prestoncomiccon
Ian McElhinney can be found on Twitter @SerIanMc
Phil Buckenham can be found on Twitter @philbuckenham and Instagram @philbuckenham
That Comic Shop can be found on Twitter @ThatComicShop and at www.thatcomicshop.com
I Collectables can be found on Facebook and at http://www.dreammaker-toys.co.uk/