Feature: A Pilgrimage to London Film and Comic Con

PrintE-mail Written by Scott Varnham

The first time my friends and I went to London Film and Comic Con back in 2010, we arrived at Earl’s Court station and weren’t sure if we were in the right area. Then we saw somebody dressed as a Jedi and we knew we were heading in the right direction. Now admiring the costumed fans as we’re walking towards the event is part of the fun.

Of course, if you’ve been before, none of this will be new to you and you’ll already be aware of how great LFCC is. That’s why we’ve aimed this article at those who haven’t gone before rather than seasoned veterans.

The first thing you’ll notice is the amount of people queuing up to get into the event. And yes, this is entirely linked to the immense amount of people that you’ll meet and the huge crowds inside. This event is not good for those with claustrophobia (or agoraphobia, come to think of it). Re-finding one stall took me about half an hour just because of the sheer thickness of the crowds.

However, if you’re not the kind of person who is put off by large crowds and likes to spend significant amounts of money on treats for yourself, this is the place to come to. Once you’re inside, you’ll see tons of people cosplaying and lining up for photos with those who are in tangentially related costumes. The ingenuity of the costumes here is amazing; there's a couple of photo's on my reel of a chap in a Deadpool costume who’d made some yellow text boxes out of legal paper.

Something that might make it hard to do on a budget is your favourite actors and celebrities signing autographs for a fee. Of course, some will do it for free or sign the first item for free, but some guests can command up to £25 per item. I usually go for the free ones – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever paid for an autograph. On the plus side, this allows you to meet childhood heroes or the latest sensations.

However, you can sometimes be disappointed if your guests of choice aren’t there for whatever reason. For instance, one of the reasons I bought the Nintendo Zapper was that I wanted the voice of Mario (Charles Martinet) to sign it as he was signing one item for free. However, as I got into the queue to meet him, I was told that he had to go for lunch and then do some talks after that so he wouldn’t be back until at least 3:30 and I had to leave by 3 due to work. I can’t begrudge the man a bit of lunch, but it was still something of a disappointment.

Like any great experience, LFCC has its ups and downs. I urge you to give it a try. This year, there will be a Winter Con that takes place in October. I will make all efforts to be there and give it a go. Hopefully I’ll see you there.

My ‘haul’:

A Nintendo Zapper light-gun (possibly the coolest thing I’ve ever owned) - £5
A battered Target novelisation of The Deadly Assassin - £3
A signed copy of Robert Rankin’s latest novel (also got his previous book signed for free) and an art poster from same - £15
A 60s Pan paperback of Casino Royale - £4
A copy of Starburst #49 - £4
Two books by Philip José Farmer, free from the Sci-Fi Outreach stall. Sci-Fi Outreach is an organisation that gives away free books as a promotion for their presence at conventions. I asked which one I should take (the first of the Riverworld series or a book of his short stories) and the chap running it told me to take the first two of the Riverworld series. - £0

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