Wow, what a day that was!
As I have previously mentioned, I was going to attend the comic convention in Hull on Saturday 18th June 2016 and boy, was that a great decision! You’ve seen my choice of cosplay (and if not, it was revealed in the post before this one) so now it’s time to talk about the day of the convention itself.
I’m quite fortunate to have student accommodation on campus, so I was quite glad that I didn’t have to wake up at 4:30 am like I have done in the past – I’m looking at you, MCM Telford. The day started at 6:30 instead, and after quite a decent breakfast, if I do say so myself, I got changed into my cosplay. I went over to a friend’s house at 8:30 to help with the last final bits of their cosplay and as a group, we were already to get to the convention before 10:00.
We were one of the first in line to enter the convention, using the time spent in the queue to people-watch, as well as guessing and admiring other cosplays. Speaking of which, we were pleasantly surprised at how many people were dressed in anime cosplays – Death Note, Vampire Knight, Madoka Magica, Attack on Titan…. you name it.
As soon as we entered, we began to look around the ground floor (for those who don’t know, this convention was spread over three floors of the student union building!) where we spent quite a bit of time admiring the models at Estatic Arts, as well as the manga and art available at other stalls. Making our way to the stalls in the Asylum nightclub (quite a fitting name on this day, really), we continued to look at the many stalls including some that were selling Game of Thrones merchandise, retro movie posters, Marvel mugs, quite a fair bit of anime merchandise, Pocky and various Japanese candies and drinks.
I can’t move away from talking about this part of the convention without mentioning the various guests that were also there signing autographs and having photos taken with the visitors. These guests included Hugh Mitchell (Harry Potter, The Da Vinci Code), Norman Lovett (Holly, Red Dwarf), John Challis (Only Fools & Horses, Doctor Who), Kai Owen (Torchwood, Being Human) and Jon Campling (Harry Potter, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV) to name just a few. I managed to get a photo with everyone’s favourite Death Eater, Jon Campling, further on in the afternoon.
In the morning, we had quite a bit of time before any of the talks and panels we wanted to go to began, so we took this as another opportunity to explore the convention some more. On the first floor, we spotted a couple of more stalls including one from AnimUK, who was selling plenty of anime merchandise from series such as Free!, Axis Powers: Hetalia, Haikyu! and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. On this floor as well there was a social area with some very comfy-looking seats, a retro gaming area hosted by Keep It Retro complete with an NES (that was my first time seeing one in the flesh, actually!) and a tabletop gaming area hosted by Back to the Board, featuring games such as Werewolf, Cash & Guns and even had some games aimed at the younger – and perhaps not so younger – audience involving Adventure Time.
After looking around the first floor, we decided to ascend to the second floor where there were comic artists and authors. Here, there was also someone talking about JRR Tolkien and how Hull influenced his work on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings which seemed quite interesting, however, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to spend enough time there to be able to see what it was all about.
We stopped off for a quick drink in Sanctuary, the campus’ pub so-to-speak. Drinking a pint of lemonade whilst seeing the children line up for their faces painting and looking at the balloon toys (?) available was quite pleasant – the kids dressed up as Captain America and Ant-Man were so cute!
Then, it was time for the first panel of the day: the Harry Potter talk featuring Jon Campling and Hugh Mitchell. Located in the John McCarthy bar, a quaint little venue for panels, it seemed very personal – Campling especially made it as if he was having a conversation with you one-on-one, possibly due to his laid-back personality and involving the entire audience in the interview. I honestly left the panel feeling like I had become acquainted with Campling in a way that I hadn’t expected due to previous experiences of panels.
We then grabbed some lunch from EATs, the campus’ main eatery. I settled for a meatball salad with, I believe, chilli sauce drizzled over the top. Yummy! However, the lines were quite long and it meant that we missed quite a bit of the cosplay panel that we were wanting to go to. Hosted by Hull’s very own Nocturnal Naomi, it gave some good advice for aspiring and new cosplayers alike including how to make awesome armour!
After that, we had an hour before the Cosplay Contest began. After being the first of the entire convention to enter the contest ( o_o ) I was a little nervous to how it would go – it was to be my very first contest, after all, and although I felt a lot confident in this cosplay than my previous one (this one is my second ever cosplay) I had seen a lot of cosplays around the convention that was so much better. To calm my nerves slightly, we decided to have another look around the stalls and have a look outside.
The Cosplay Content was being held in John McCarthy once again, a perfect venue for such an event. Hosted by Nocturnal Naomi and her friend Hull – Harley Quinn, it was honestly very entertaining. Each entry was called onto the stage to the sound of applause, followed by a little chat with the two lovely hosts. A pose to the cameras later and that was it. I watched the children’s contest with complete awe – all of the outfits were great, and the little Squirtle was so cute! Then the adult contest began and I was first on stage, minus the Riddler from the children’s contest who went to the toilet halfway through and missed his cue – I was quite grateful for that, not going to lie! It was great fun to participate in the contest, and although I didn’t look into the camera (oops) or come close to winning, I would join another contest again!
After that we spent quite a bit of time outside again, but that’s not without going around for some final purchases! Admittedly, I didn’t expect to spend what I did, but after seeing the Haikyuu! plushies at AnimUK’s stall, I just had to buy one. And, of course, because I cosplayed as a Love Live! character, I just had to buy a little something from Love Live! as a little souvenir. Photos were taken with a couple of other cosplayers as well, including characters such as Finnick Odair from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, a Host from Ouran High School Host Club (I even got a rose!) as well as obviously grabbing some photos with the friends I went with, one of which dressed as Natsu from Fairy Tail.
After that, we went back home for a little bit to cool down from the con itself. I quite appreciated this. I’d been wearing my wig for the majority of the day from about 8:00 – my head was killing me! But the fun from the convention didn’t stop there. Oh, no…
The guys at District 14 Events, the company who had organised the convention, had also organized an after-party and we went back to join the fun there. What fun it was as well! Located in the John McCarthy bar (again!), the party started with a quiz about gorillas in comics and, despite not having an actual quiz sheet nor being an actual fan of comics, it was quite insightful and very amusing. Following this was Simon Fisher-Becker’s autobiographical stage called My Dalek Has Another Puncture, based on the second of his autobiographical trilogy. As a Doctor Who fan, it was quite interesting to listen to how he got cast as Dorium Maldovar, yet the thing that stood out to me the most during this stage was the story he told about his assistant, Matthew Campbell. I won’t reveal too much, but if you ever have the opportunity to go and watch Fisher-Beck’s one-man-show, I would fully recommend it. For Simon’s current tour dates, look here.
However, the pinnacle of the after-party at Hull Comic-Con would have to be the stand-up comedy from Norman Lovett. Again, the smaller venue choice made it seem to be more personal, despite Lovett making several references to the others in the venue who should “go to another bar” if they wanted to talk, which kept making the venue seem bigger than it was. The best thing about Lovett’s stand-up was the fact that everyone was actually “not sure he told a single actual joke” as Russell Payne puts it in his blog entry of the same convention. Lovett’s stand-up was hilarious, although I can’t tell if it was Lovett’s jokes or the interaction between him and Jon Campling (who was also in the audience) which made it. Regardless, both are funny guys.
After the funniness, the disco began and with a good dancing playlist consisting of Beyoncé, Rihanna and more, quite a few people were on the dancefloor dancing. Including, at times, Jon Campling, which was honestly quite bizarre to watch. In a good way, of course. We didn’t stay too long after the disco had started, really, but that certainly wasn’t because it was bad in any way – we were simply too tired to continue to dance and we were still in cosplay, which didn’t exactly help, as we found out by having buttons falling off jackets and injuring ourselves with certain dance moves mixed with tight clothing. Ouch.
I would wholeheartedly recommend that you go to Hull Comic-Con if you have the opportunity to. It was quite easily one of the best days I’ve had in a while, the only negative being that I was too shy to ask for photos with quite a few other cosplayers.
District 14 holds many other events in Hull and the surrounding areas. For more information, visit their website.