By Barry Lord @
Comic book fans of all ages got to unleash their inner geek at Dublin’s Comic Con at the weekend and I got to meet Dr Who star Paul McGann.
4,000 people congregated at the Convention Centre at Spencer Dock around the North Quays, lavishly turned out in their best superhero costumes, all ready to snap up comics, games, gadgets, toys and other memorabilia.
A queue the length of O’Connell Street greeted stars such as Terminator and Aliens actor Michael Biehn, American character actor Scott Wilson (Herschel from The Walking Dead), Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H’ghar in Game of Thrones) and former Doctor Who, Paul McGann, whose line this reporter joined for a meeting with the extremely pleasant Scouser.
During my brief chat with Mr McGann, I confessed to not being the most devoted fan of the long enduring BBC series, (which elicited an audible and disapproving murmur from one young Dr Who acolyte standing behind me) citing instead his performance in the cult classic Withnail and I as one of my favourites.
I meant no slight and thankfully the actor did not take it as such and I happily walked away with an autograph and selfie.
The Marvel and DC universes may be at loggerheads in the battle for the hearts and minds of comic strip lovers worldwide, but the mood here was remarkably benevolent as fans of Batman (DC) and Spiderman (Marvel) to mention only two, enjoyed the spirit and camaraderie of the occasion.
Indeed, if you don’t consider yourself a comic and sci-fi geek, you would not have felt out of place. Since the numerous screen translations of Marvel and DC alumni like Superman, Fantastic Four and the Avengers, the feeling that you may have entered some exclusive club is long gone.
The world I stepped into was certainly all inclusive.
Even if you’ve never picked up a comic in your life, you will know all about the fantastical exploits of Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker’s alter egos and therefore have something to bring to the table.
The centre’s main forum held numerous exhibition stalls, selling comics, posters and other official merchandise. If gaming was more your thing, an entire area of the hall was devoted to the committed console fanatic in the family.
Those seeking tips on how to make it in the increasingly competitive world of comic writing and drawing talent could have done worse than bend the ears of established guests like writers Nick Roche and Stephen Mooney, both recognised in the industry for their prolific work at DC comics and IDW publishing.
The occasion also gave a platform to new up and coming Irish comic strip talent like Seamus Kavanagh and Colin Langan, whose swords and sorcery tale A Life In Defence was available for purchase.
Of course, there may well have been people just dropping in to star spot and in that respect, they would not have been disappointed as a number of famous faces dropped in to sign autographs, merchandise and meet the fans.
After five hours of fun, I followed a tired but jubilant group of costumed fans back into town on foot – yes, even Superman relies on the Dart – having made their purchases and met their real heroes, their day was made, and the organisers can raise a glass to a highly successful weekend.
Same time again next year?