On the front line: the Convention War.
Saturday 8th March. The Collectormania Convention in Manchester. An event that spans two days filled with many a cult famous face that the stuff of Geek fanboy and Cosplay wet dreams are made of.
I couldn’t wait to get there. Usually trains to Manchester are really frequent but on this day, cancellations and late trains a plenty seemingly put me in a foul mood. However, after a short packed train journey and a short rain-sodden jaunt to the GMEX [Greater Manchester Exhibition Center now known as Manchester Central even though GMEX sounds better…] we got there.
The last two times I’ve been to this convention, the place was heaving with tables and stars, I got to meet a personal hero of mine: Dwight Schultz, otherwise known as Howling Mad Murdock from the A-Team, as well as the 1984 GMC Custom Van. Of course I have pictures, after all a photograph is the new autograph. (Read and see more later.)
But this time, the comic/merchandise stalls were noticeably scarcer and the plethora of stars available this year was diminished by cancellations. A quick rundown of who appeared this time around:
|Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes)
||Noah Gray-Cabey (Heroes)
||Michael Winslow (Police Academy, Gremlins)
|Doug Bradley (Hellraiser, Nightbreed)
||Anthony Head (Buffy, Little Britain, Dr. Who)
||Kenny Baker (Star Wars, Time Bandits)
With many more.
Although these stars are relatively recent in the public consciousness, with Heroes being the new thing for this, again the sheer magnitude of celebrity was seemingly lost…the guest list is usually bolstered by Star Wars alums Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), David Prowse (Darth Vader) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2), but the choices here and now were lacking.
Hell, I was more excited getting my photo taken with Darth Vader, a tall guy (there have been short versions) in a suit for a convention replica suit wearing lookie-likie company. As you can see:
I’ve had a picture with Boba Fett, Chewbacca, a Stormtrooper (with a weird bump on his head), and Darth Sidious, as well as (in the past) Dwight Schultz, Bruce Spence, and Ray Park (a proud moment)…
As per usual, the stalls on offer had a lot of merchandise. Along with this came the typical elbows in rib shots as people muscled and thrust their stubby spending arms in the beleaguered stallholders face… “I want this, and this, and this, I’ve got that, need this, this, this…” all the while I’m trying to be polite and search for something I know won’t exist.
I met a good ol’ mate of mine there, who secured himself a £40 Lightsaber (around $80) and an American Civil War pistol. To complete his Han Solo/Indiana Jones look. Oh well.
While he continued mooching (the UK Northern slang for ‘browsing’), me and the missus headed off for some more pictures. As we did, Darth Vader appeared from around a corner followed in quick succession by two Stormtroopers. No matter how serious the guy in the suit looked, the sheer comedic element was enjoyed by me, you could just imagine the Imperial March playing, but in a scene from Spaceballs.
And so, after an expensive can of Coke we headed off back into the wet gloom of Manchester, only to find out that a tattoo convention was going on at the rear of the building! But after asking about the extortionate entry fee, I joked and said I’d be back next year.
So for now enjoy the picture I took of the building and the lovely blurriness that ensued.