By Olly MacNamee
Snuggled comfortably between Leicester's famous market and the main drag of the city itself, the all-new Victorian shopping complex, the Silver Arcade, was a truly inspirational venue to host Leicester's first comic-con. Not only did it encourage local comic fans to support a worthwhile cause but, in offering free entry after 11am, it also encouraged newbies and the odd traveling city shopper to come in and join in too. The sun was out and striking through the great glass interiors of the shop units. A recipe for success, as there was a steady stream of fans, young and old, walking through all day long.
This family-friendly event got it right, in my opinion, by thinking of the kids as an integral part of the convention. During the day the Creation Station entertained my daughter, and a very many other children with superhero themed arts and crafts. So much fun that I happily missed a Dan Abnett panel (sorry, Dan) at 1.00pm because my littlun was putting the finishing touches to her cape and mask combo. She wore it proudly through Leicester for the rest of the day even when we were engulfed by a swarm of Kasabian fans thronging though the city to go and watch their local rock gods' homecoming gig. For a moment, in all the madness, the Kasabian fans looked like a set of staggering Top Shop mannequins come to life. A uniformed mob that stood in sharp contrast to the colourful individuality on display courtesy of the Leicester Comic-Con attendees.
There were cosplayers, and while there weren't many, I imagine this number will grow in coming years as cosplayers in attendance spread the word. Those that were in attendance did the community proud with a nice spread of different genres on show. Where else could you find Mario's brother Luigi side-by-side with Venom?
With guests Ian Edginton (Brass Sun), D'Israeli (Matt Brooker, 2000AD) and the aforementioned Dan Abnett (Legion of Superheroes) this wasn't your ordinary first time con. Add to this a rich mix of indie publishers and artists across the convention as well as the first 50 attendees being able to pick up a free Lego Spaceman print from The Retro Draughtsman stall, and this was a grand day out, all for free I hasten to repeat again.
Organizers Adele Wearing and Nathan worked wonders with this boutique venue and deserve to be applauded for their efforts, as well as the volunteers for the day who seemed to be having as much fun as the rest of us.
Unfortunately, unable to attend the after show knees-up at local watering hole Cookie (note to self: leave the kid behind next time) I wandered back home glad to have been a part of the birth of a new comic con for the Midlands. See you next year, Leicester.
Olly MacNamee teaches English and Media, for his sins, in a school somewhere in Birmingham. Some days, even he doesn't know where it is. Follow him on twitter @ollymacnamee or read about his exploits at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or don't.