I awoke on Friday the 17th July after a hot sweaty restless sleep (who knew London could be so humid!) like my 12 year old self in 1994 waiting for me to be let downstairs to see my presents on Christmas Day. I was excited, the day was finally here that I had been waiting for for months. I had sold three quarters of my movie collection (I’m only collecting Blu – ray Steelbooks and collectors items now, everything else can go digital) and saved every penny for this day. I was off to London Film and Comic Con to see stars of the big screen and small screen. People like Neve Campbell of Scream fame and Tom Savini, horror make up extraordinare and ‘Sex Machine’ from Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn). The event didn’t start till 1pm but after last years Saturday debacle (I waited outside for 5 ½ hours when I crucially timed my arrival wrong) I wasn’t going to walk up close to opening time, I was going to be early! I checked on Twitter as I left and people were already posting saying the queue was half way around the London Olympia. My heart sank a little, not again, not this time, I was so excited and although I can queue like any great British person, I couldn’t hack another 5 hour wait. Me and my wife got to the venue about 1030 and could see right from the offset, although the queue was a little long, it was well managed and this year a barrier system was in place, where last year at Earls Court they had none.
One of the highlights of these types of events is seeing fellow con goers in cosplay and feeding off the energy of fellow fans who are just as, if not more, excited as me. Part of this is felt in the queue, I had Selina Kyle from TV’s Gotham behind me and Marty McFly, hoverboard and all, in front of me. The crowd were all jovial and we all moved in time, with nobody trying to queue jump or getting too close. We got in with no trouble after 15 minutes of opening and we were onto our first guest.
Now before I reveal who I saw first, I just want to point out how these events work. You pay an entry fee, now depending on what you want to do and for how many days, this can set you back about £40 for all three days. Now as much as I love these events, Saturday last year nearly killed me, so I like to go on the quieter days and fit everything in in as short a period as possible, so I paid £12 each for me and my wife for the Friday ‘preview day’. Once you are in, you can meet the guests (and get a ‘virtual ticket’, kind of like you get at a fish market where you take a numbered ticket and wait to be called) and depending on the popularity and ‘rarity’ of a guest you can pay anything from £10 to £95. A few years ago Mike Tyson was there and his autograph was an eye watering £150. Sigourney Weaver (who, to my knowledge, has only ever done one other event of this kind in an Aliens cast reunion in Toronto last year was charging £95 this year).
Now my first guest I wanted to meet was Neve Campbell, who was a European convention exclusive guest, we found her table but there was only an empty seat, Neve was at her first photo shoot. I got myself two VT stubs, a low number thankfully of 51/52 and decided to find my next guest, that being Tom Savini. With Tom having been around the block a bit and having been to so many of these events, I had heard a lot of bad fan experiences where Mr. Savini had been rude and very cold to fans. So when I got in line to meet him I was a bit nervous. What do I say? How do I act? I had taken along the lid to my blu-ray collectors edition of From Dusk Till Dawn, the ‘Titty Twister Edition’. Meeting Tom was short and sweet but, I’m pleased to say he was nice and pleasant. His wife was with him and she mentioned that she had not seen many of the box lids given to be signed, which was nice. Tom didn’t say much, but I went away happy, which is the main thing. I ventured over to Neve again, she still wasn’t back.
I had seen at other conventions a booth sponsored by the SyFy channel called the SyFy Cam. Imagine, if you will, the camera set up from The Matrix when Neo bends backwards and dodges the bullets. This was the same kind of think. To pass some time, me and my wife got in line (it was short) and had a go of it. It was amazing, we had lightsabers and the result was fantastic. I am leaping backwards and my wife is slashing me with the lightsaber. I look like I am floating in mid air, good times!
We went back to Neve Campbell around 14.30 and she was finally back. We gave our tickets in and waited. Now me and my wife love coming to these events but most of the guests are guests I want to see. There are a few guests we have met that we both like and Neve was one of them. Sidney Prescott was standing in front of us, I got a bit nervous, I picked my picture to sign and asked how her flight over was and if she had finished filming Season 4 of House of Cards (she has for any fans of the show out there). A couple of days previous I had noticed that a flight attendant had posted on Instagram a picture of Neve and her on a plane. I mentioned this to her and she smiled, awkward but I didn’t have anything prepared to say so went with it.
Two of the main film casts pushed this year was Back To The Future (celebrating its 30th Anniversary) and Aliens. Most of the cast of both films were there. I’ve actually made it a ‘thing’ for me to meet and collect the autographs of the Aliens cast as it is one of my favourite films. Bill Paxton and Sigourney Weaver were present at the convention but were out of my price range, so I opted to meet Carrie Henn who played Newt. Carrie has never acted in a film since and is currently a school teacher. She was extremely busy at the convention, but we managed to get an autograph and had a quick chat about nothing in particular.
Next to Carrie was James Tolkan. Now you may not know the name but you will certainly remember his face. He played Principal Strikland in BTTF Trilogy, Stinger in Top Gun and Detective Lubic in the fantastically 80’s movie Masters Of The Universe. He was a great guest, allowed an over the table photo, and I said I loved him in MoTU. The guy is 82 years old and still doing conventions, what a legend.
There were a lot of other guests there on the day but after a long look around the stalls and a long go on the retro consoles on the upper floors our Comic Con was over for another year.