Thursday, 1 December 2016

Reading Comic Con 2016 - A Detailed Review

Guests met and discussed in this review (with the franchise I most associate them with personally) :-

• Clive Russell (Brynden ‘Blackfish’ Tully from “Game Of Thrones”)
• Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon from “Game Of Thrones”)
• Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon from “Game Of Thrones”)
• Ross Mullan (Various White Walkers in “Game Of Thrones”, The Silence in “Doctor Who”, and the Teller in Doctor Who’s “Time Heist”)
• Ceri-Ann Williams (Wonder Woman’s body-double in the upcoming movie)

Two quick notes before we get started...

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With that being said, let’s dive in...

Two days removed from the conclusion of Reading’s inaugural event, it’s time to explore the pros and cons in as much depth as I can muster off of little sleep and a thesis to finish. “Reading Comic Con” took place over the weekend of the 26th and 27th of November at the Rivermead Leisure Complex, hosting the usual comic con activities of special celebrity guests, autographs, photographs, talk panels, Cosplay, memorable television/movie vehicles on display, and a plethora of merchandise stands. As far as smaller first-time events go, this one was up there with the very best.

First and foremost, as I’m sure you’re aware by now, I largely attend conventions for the guests. Getting to interact with people you admire or whose work you appreciate is almost always a blessing, and advancing to the point of being able to call some of these people my friends is a very cool and surreal position to be in. In the case of “Reading Comic Con”, my primary reason for embarking upon the 90-minute journey to Reading was the “Game Of Thrones” guests that were present, particularly Clive Russell. I’d met Clive three and a half years previously, got his autograph, but missed out on a photo with him. I had intended to get one at the autograph table, but had one of those rare brain-fart moments where I totally forgot about it. That would never happen to the 2016 convention attending Shangel, but clearly the 2013 version couldn’t handle the overwhelming schedule of work, degree, and conventions almost every day as well as I can now. Secondly, I wished to go to Reading Comic Con to see my friends, Kerry Ingram and Aimee Richardson. It had been a long time since I last saw Aimee. Almost two years in fact! While I’d seen Kerry earlier in the year at “Wales Comic Con”, I’d semi-arranged to go and visit Kerry in Wrexham while she was filming a new Netflix show there. After she was announced for November’s “Wales Comic Con”, we just decided to meet there instead. Unfortunately, Kerry had to pull out of the event, so Reading Comic Con offered an opportunity for a catch up.

One thing I did notice about the event was that while the attendance was good (either sold out pre-sales on both days or very close to that), the autograph tables seemed to be relatively dead. Not totally dead, but the autographs seemed to be coming few and far between for most of the guests. Interestingly, I was reliably informed by a number of the guests that Sunday’s autograph sales were better than Saturday’s, which is both unusual and disconcerting. The norm is that Saturday is the more attended day and the best day for sales. I guess as it was Reading’s first event a lot of the attendees were locals that had never been to a convention before and just wanted to explore the process and see what all the fuss was about. I can say with complete certainty that the slower autograph sales wasn’t because of a lack of guests or because the guests in attendance weren’t awesome. Not only did the event have a few decent headliners, but every guest I met at the event or had met previously are wonderful people. Case in point: at Reading Comic Con, I met four guests. Plus, I also caught up with Ceri-Ann Williams, having worked with her a couple of months previously at “GloucesterComic Con”, which I helped organise. The four conversations I had lasted 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes respectively. If you can get a conversation longer than four or five minutes at any convention, you go home happy, so this was incredible!

Another positive of the event was the venue. With the exceptions of the zombie cage, the studio photo area, and the talk areas, the convention was contained within one relatively large hall, which hosted the guests, the vehicles, and the merchandise stalls. The space available was used really well. Not once during the day I attended did I feel overcrowded or as though there was little room to move. The area for the guests was plentiful, there were barriers to allocate each guest’s autograph line, and the aisle ways between the merchandise stalls were wide enough for the number of attendees present, even at peak times. Furthermore, while this may mean little to some attendees, I was a huge fan of the lighting in the main hall. Lighting is always hit-and-miss at conventions. For every “Worcester Comic Con” (where the lighting was incredible), there’s a “Film & Comic Con Cardiff”, where the lighting is so dim that you sometimes have to use a flash for table pictures, blinding both you and the guest in question. The lighting at the Rivermead Leisure Complex was great. It was bright enough to give you good table pictures, while not being so bright that everything turned out yellow and white. Big plus.

Sticking with the positives, the crew were fantastic. Actually, I knew a large percentage of them as the team from ‘Geeks’ came along to help out with the event. As many of you know, I helped co-organise “Gloucester Comic Con” with Geeks a couple of months ago and will be continuing to work with them into the future. It was great to see Mark, Jayne, Darran, Andrea, and the rest of the gang once again. They all did a great job. The sales desk was expertly handled, the photographer was tremendous (to the point where he’d take two or three photos to see which one looked best), and all my photos were printed within ten or fifteen minutes of being taken. No two-hour wait! Tremendous! Granted, there weren’t a huge amount of photos to be printed, but as I had five it was still a blessing to have them printed so efficiently. My sister may have killed me if we had to wait around another hour or two after being ready to leave.

The Super Heroes Cosplay group were once again in attendance, collecting money for charity and bringing merriment to the convention. Paul and his team are always a tremendous addition to any show. Their costumes are top-notch, their enthusiasm is infectious, and they always bring along some props too. Check out their Facebook page, give them a like, and always go out of your way to say “hi” to them. When I first saw Paul, he was in his War Machine costume, so I knew it was him. Later in the day, Paul was dressed as a White Walker from “Game Of Thrones” and was added to the group shot as a little extra value for money if you so wished for the White Walker Cosplay to be added. Amusingly, I had no idea it was Paul inside the costume until much later. That evasive little devil is coming up with new costumes all the time! It was a cool addition to the group shot. It gave the shoot extra value for money and something unique that was unexpected. Big props to all involved. Furthermore, next to the studio photo area was a zombie cage of sorts. A little walled-off (with glass walls) room where professional zombie actors were in full make-up and were roaming around making zombie noises. You could get your picture taken in there with them for £3. A decent price and a great little addition to the event – particularly as the zombies would randomly start groaning loudly or coming out of their room to interact with attendees and children. At one point there was a two zombies vs. two aliens (from “Alien”) battle in the corridor. All great fun!

It’s now time for the play-by-play section of the review. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in typical Shangel fashion, I’ve written three pages of intro. before actually getting to the main body of the review itself....what can I say, I love the sound of my own voice...or the look of my own words in this case? I digress.

The first set of headaches, hassles, and horseshit revolved around my partner in crime for the event. I had originally planned to go with my friend John, who does a lot of conventions with me. A couple of days before Reading Comic Con, John had to pull out as he needed to go in to work...then another friend said they’d go and pulled out...then another...finally, an hour before departure, I just roped my younger sister, Natasha, into coming, as driving alone for hours is boring and I needed a glorified photographer to take my table pictures. Plus, I’d gotten two entry tickets so it would have been pointless to let one go to waste. Therefore, myself and Tash departed Gloucestershire at just after 8am on Sunday morning and arrived at the Rivermead Leisure Complex just before 10am. Doors opened on time (always a plus in November when you’re queuing outside) and we were inside the venue by 10:05am. So far, so good. The first thing I did was go to the sales desk to collect my studio photo vouchers – 1x Aimee Richardson, 1x Kerry Ingram, 1x Clive Russell, 1x Iron Throne with Aimee and Kerry, 1x Game Of Thrones group photo. As Miltos Yerolemou had to pull out at the last minute, the group photo was £5 cheaper. Later, as I mentioned, Paul was added to the group photo in his White Walker costume for no extra cost. Very good value for money in the end!

My itinerary for the day was ridiculously simple by my standards – the five studio photos mentioned above, two autographs, two further conversations at the autograph table, the “Game Of Thrones” talk, plus a spontaneous conversation with Ceri-Ann, as she wasn’t supposed to be there, but was in the end. All within five and a half hours (the intention was to leave around 3:30pm)? Piece. Of. Piss.

After collecting my studio photo vouchers, the next thing on the agenda was to familiarise myself with the venue. This is always recommended if you have the time. Just take 10 minutes to compose yourself, get your bearings, and make sure you know where everything is. If you want to go to a talk, find out where the talk area is first thing in the morning. If you have a photo booked, find out where the photo area is first thing in the morning. It’ll save you stress later in the day when the venue gets more crowded. The guests and merchandise stalls were in the main hall, while the photo area and talk area were both in rooms just off of the main hall. Everything I needed was no further than 30 seconds walk away from each other. That helps.

I bumped into my friends Natasia and Adam (not literally, thankfully), so I spent the next 45 minutes talking to them. Not only is it always nice to catch up with Natasia and Adam, but it gets your conversation juices flowing. After a long car journey, an early start, and looking around the venue, you’re not prepared or in the mindset to have a ten or fifteen minute conversation with a guest...or I’m not at least. When I next looked up at the clock, it was 11:15am. Time for my studio photo with the wonderful Aimee Richardson. As I mentioned before, Aimee is a friend of mine and it had been a long time – 20 months to be precise – since I’d last seen her. Big smile, big hug, little catch up, the photo was taken, I promised Aimee I’d go say “hi” properly later in the day. Big props to the photographer once again, as he took two or three photos to make sure that they could choose and print the best one. After a very quick turnaround, it was time for my photo with Clive Russell. I’d met Clive once before three and a half years previously, but as it was a big London show, the amount of time I got to spend with him was I forgot the fucking table selfie! This time I was determined to not only get two pictures (1x studio, 1x phone), but to get a decent conversation out of him too. Clive was friendly and smiled enthusiastically, the photo was taken, and it was time to try and get some autographs or conversations accomplished before the “Game Of Thrones” group photo 50 minutes later.

Aimee Richardson: When I write convention reviews, I usually do something of a play-by-play of the conversation and what happened. In the cases of Aimee and Kerry at “Reading Comic Con”, I’ll do more of an overview. As they’re friends of mine and as we talked about a lot of non-work related things, I don’t feel comfortable divulging exactly what transpired. Therefore, I’ll say that catching up with Aimee was a delight! We basically covered a lot of what we hadn’t been able to talk about face-to-face for the previous year and a half. We talked about the final module of my degree, we talked about my girlfriend, Robyn, moving over to England and moving in with me, I showed her a picture of our kittens, she filled me in on college and her boyfriend, we discussed accents, we discussed conventions...and even started talking a little business...more to come soon.

A few months ago, at the behest of Aimee, I started watching “Orange Is The New Black”. At the time, I told Aimee that I’d blame her personally for any feels that were damaged during the process of me watching the four seasons that are presently available. Feels were damaged, people. Feels were damaged beyond repair by the end of the fourth season. This led to a conversation about the show, as we both vented our frustrations over a certain character’s death (even though it was masterfully handled), as the character in question was Aimee’s favourite as well as mine #Feels. We also discussed the tourism and filming opportunities that “Game Of Thrones” has handed to Belfast and Northern Ireland as a wider whole. The film industry over there is booming and a large part of the reason why is because of “Game Of Thrones”. All those sweeping shots of the spectacular landscape, all the great crew and talented actors that live in the city, all the praise that David and Dan have heaped upon Belfast and Northern’s helped. Big time. Furthermore, we conversed regarding the recent release of Aimee’s mother’s debut novel, “The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir” (available from Amazon here). The last time I saw Aimee (and Lesley), Lesley had recently received the news on her book deal, so it was nice that everything had come full-circle by the time I saw Aimee again. I have bought the book myself and it’s number one on my to-do list after my thesis is finished in January/February. Finally, we talked about Aimee’s recent projects, including the currently-airing “My Mother And Other Strangers” (9pm, Sunday nights, BBC One. Also available on iPlayer...I should be a salesman!). Thus far, Aimee has appeared in the premiere episode as well as episode three. Check it out, show Aimee some love!

Catching up with Aimee face-to-face is always grand. I’m not just saying this because she’s a friend, but she’s one of the easiest people to talk to I’ve ever met at a convention in my life. Totally relaxed, totally excitable, ridiculously friendly...and just the right amount of Luna Lovegood crazy. In fact, Aimee taught me how to smile for pictures in March 0f 2015. If you go back and look at my pictures from conventions before then and since, it’s definitely improved! Thanks, Aimee.  I have a good feeling that I’ll be seeing Aimee once or twice in 2017. Long conversation (20 minutes or so) and a picture at the autograph table (no charge)...can’t ask for more than that! Guest Type = Conversationalist.

(Regular readers, you can skip this section)

“Shangel, what’s a ‘conversationalist’?”

I’m glad you asked. Many years ago, after attending numerous conventions, I devised a system whereby to categorise my experiences with guests and their level of interaction in order to compare the quality of my experiences across conventions and time. I have O.C.D., shut up. The following three types were found :-

·       The Responder: This type of guest is often polite and friendly. If you ask them a question, they’ll happily answer. If you comment on something, they’ll respond or smile gratefully. However, they won’t carry the conversation forward, you have to. These are the most common type of guest, and this is what you expect when meeting someone at a convention. This is a great category to be a part of.

·       The Groucho/Big Guest: There are two aspects to this category. Firstly, you have the groucho. The groucho is there for monetary purposes or is generally just having a bad day, or is a bit of an ass. If you meet enough people, one of them is bound to be an ass! The grouchos aren’t interested in conversations above a few words. They’ll say ‘hi’ (sometimes they don’t bother with that), sign, say ‘bye’ (sometimes), and you’re on your merry way. Of course, in certain situations this is relevant and expected, which brings me to the second part of this category, the big guest. Some guests are going to be insanely popular. Such as Stan Lee at LFCC ‘14, who had an entire building to himself basically. When you get a huge queue like that, the guest can’t take a lot of time with everyone. If they did, many people would go home disappointed at not getting to meet them at all. Therefore, the convention company and the guest want to get through as many people as possible. You cannot have a huge guest and expect to get above a minute with them, which is perfectly fair.

·       The Conversationalist: This is easily my favourite type of guest. They’ll answer your questions with a smile, ask you questions in return, and are happy to chat for an extended period of time (extended = above 2-3 minutes), regardless of where the conversation leads or how long you’ve been talking. Obviously, there has to be some cut-off point if there is a queue behind you, but you leave the experience feeling euphoric and like you gained a lot more than just the autograph you queued for.

Feel free to let me know your experiences with guests in the comments below or on social media!

Clive Russell: After leaving Aimee’s table, I randomly walked around the hall in a circle before going to Clive’s table...which happened to be three tables over from Aimee. Why did I go around in a circle, you ask? No idea. I knew where Clive was, I knew I wanted to go to Clive next, but somehow my brain and feet decided it would be better to go anti-clockwise to get there #Moron #RetreatOfTheFeet. Shangel side note: Thanks to Kerry Ingram for teaching me how to hashtag like someone who isn’t 85 years old. Apparently it’s cool to hashtag everything these days, even if the hashtag doesn’t relate to a trending or search function #TheMoreYouKnow #PublicServiceAnnouncement #AlmostAccidentallyWrotePubicServiceAnnouncement #AnyoneWantAPubicService? #PubicMOT #Awks...where was I? Clive Russell! What a gent! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to have a long conversation with Clive as the man is incredible. What I was expecting to be a five-minute conversation about “Game Of Thrones” morphed into a twenty-minute conversation about “Game Of Thrones”, his one-man show, learning lines, napping in the afternoon, doing a degree from home, and how much he loves his glorious mane of hair. Our conversation started by talking about “Game Of Thrones”, the greatest show presently on television. Clive was unaware that he’d be coming back after his departure in season three, but he’d heard rumblings about it over the past three years. We discussed the Blackfish’s off-screen death as well as his dislike of Blackfish’s men declaring that Edmure, who’d been written as a joke character, was their true liege Lord and opening the gates to Jaime Lannister. We discussed what it was like filming as part of such a complex enterprise and how the show has changed his life. Clive said that “Game Of Thrones” is the first time in his life where he gets truly recognised and offered work purely based on the show, particularly in places like the United States of America. We then transitioned into “Touching The Blue”, which is where Clive really came alive. Having spent most of the weekend talking about “Game Of Thrones”, I’m sure, I think Clive was happy to talk about some of his other work, particularly his one-man show from Edinburgh five years ago, centring on a retired snooker player looking back at his life and career. The show was an hour long and as the title suggests it was just Clive Russell on the stage for the entire hour! That must have been a lot of lines to was, and it also led us into the next section of our conversation: learning lines. Clive’s process is different to most actors in that he won’t start learning his lines until a few days before filming/performing. Even in the case of his one-man show, where he didn’t start learning the hour of dialogue until a few weeks before the performance started. He’d read it multiple times before bed, multiple times early the next morning, and then that was it for the day. Clive also likes to nap in the afternoon when on a lunch break, as opposed to eating lunch, as eating a heavy meal makes him lethargic, while having a nap makes him energised. Plus, there’s research to suggest that you learn better while sleeping anyway. Interestingly, Clive’s autograph was only £10, which shows me that he’s there to meet the fans more so than to make money, as he could easily charge £15 without people complaining. I’ve seen lesser actors with less name value charging more than £10 for an autograph hundreds of times. Literally. £10 for an autograph, a twenty-minute conversation, and a picture at the autograph table? Best. Bargain. Ever. Guest Type = Conversationalist.

Spectacularly, nobody I met over the course of the day was charging for pictures at the autograph table. I know that a few of the guests were (Andrew Lee-Potts, Hannah Spearritt...), but none of the “Game Of Thrones” cast were, which was awesome. It’s becoming increasingly rare these days outside of Showmasters’ events that you go a whole day without a table picture charge. Table picture charges are set by the guest or their agent and it’s usually a way to fleece people out of more money in my humble opinion. If you want a picture but no autograph, I understand a ‘selfie’ charge. If the ‘selfie’ charge money is going to charity, I understand it. If you’re getting an autograph anyway, I feel as though the picture should be free. It takes a matter of seconds.

With two long conversations under my belt, it was time for back-to-back-to-back photos – the “Game Of Thrones” group photo, Kerry Ingram, and Kerry, Aimee, and myself with the Iron Throne. All the photos started on time, all the guests were their usual lovely selves, and Ross Mullan is the most hilariously sassy man in the world. Aimee and Kerry had the privilege of holding Daenerys’ three dragon eggs for the Iron Throne picture, but started bickering because Aimee had two and Kerry only had one. LOLs. All the photos were printed within a matter of minutes after being taken.

Ross Mullan: With half an hour spare between my last studio photo of the day and the “Game Of Thrones” talk, I decided to take the opportunity to go and see Ross. At these type of conventions, Ross is most notable for his work on “Game Of Thrones” (various White Walkers, including the one Sam kills with the Obsidian dagger and the one who takes Craster’s son and turns his eyes blue) and “Doctor Who” (various creatures, including the Silence and the Teller). I met Ross 18 months previously and got a White Walker picture signed, but I still wanted to get a “Doctor Who” picture signed too, so “Reading Comic Con” was the perfect opportunity to do so. For a man who makes a living largely portraying monsters and villains, Ross couldn’t be nicer. He’s ridiculously energetic, he’s camp, he talks with arm movements a lot, he’s sassy, he’s hilarious...I love him. In a move that shocked nobody, we started by talking about “Game Of Thrones”. Actually, first, I told Ross that I was questioning my childhood after he shared a ‘Human Santapede’ picture on social media the previous day...then we talked about “Game Of Thrones”! Having portrayed White Walkers for three straight seasons, Ross has been absent from the show for a little while, which he thinks is because they’re concentrating more now on stuntmen being White Walkers as the scenes transition more and more in to fighting and epic battles. We talked about prosthetics and makeup for various characters he’s played, we talked about him falling off a horse while in full White Walker gear and prosthetics (you can see this on one of the blooper reels for the show), and we talked about life. Ross mentioned that he’s looking to do more conventions, particularly abroad, so I gave him some useful links and information that should hopefully make things a little easier for him. Finally, we discussed his upcoming psychological horror movie, “Charismata”, which sounds tremendous. I’m not sure how much I’m able to divulge as the movie isn’t out yet, so I’ll just say keep an eye out for it and check out the IMDB page for the movie. Should be a blast. Autograph, free table picture, great conversation. Guest Type = Conversationalist. 

I first met Ceri-Ann Williams a couple of months before “Reading Comic Con”, as she attended “Gloucester Comic Con” on the Saturday of the event. I was so busy organising things that weekend that I totally forgot to get a picture with her. We’d spoken since and arranged to try and get one at another time as soon as possible. When Ceri was announced for Reading, it was much to my chagrin that Ceri would be there Saturday and I would be there Sunday...typical! Alas, randomly, Ceri was there on Sunday for a few hours unannounced! This gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up with Ceri a little bit and get the elusive picture! While we didn’t get to chat for long (she was leaving soon after and I needed to go to the “Game Of Thrones” talk), it was great to see Ceri again. As I mentioned in my review of “Gloucester Comic Con”, Ceri has such warmth to her that emanates out. She’s so approachable and easy to talk to, which has definitely translated well into the public as she’s always gotten great reviews from people I know that have met her.

The “Game Of Thrones” talk took place in an intimate, relatively small room that I would guess accommodated a hundred or so people. Myself, Natasia, and Adam were row 1, front and centre. The guests were sat within roughly two arms’ lengths of us. When I go to conventions, I take no notes. Everything I write, all the autograph table conversations, all the details, comes from my memory. However, I usually take notes in the talks. Not even my memory is that good. As I was in the middle of the front row, it would have been rude to be constantly writing or typing notes on my phone, so I took no notes whatsoever. Therefore, I’ll just say that the panel was good! I was worried that nobody would ask questions in such a smaller environment, but questions were asked throughout almost the entirety of the panel. All four guests did a great job. Clive was the storyteller, Ross was the sassy man that gave the comical answers, and Kerry and Aimee were the energetic youths that bounced incredibly well off of each other and kept the panel alive. It’s so obvious that Aimee and Kerry are great friends in real life because they’re so comfortable around each other, even on stage. It’s a shame they never had a scene together in “Game Of Thrones”. Some random notes – horses are a pain to work with, everybody loves the Targaryens and the Starks, Ross wants to be Cersei, Belfast is amazing, Kerry has casts of her face from set (and the wooden horse), Aimee is proud of her city, and “Game Of Thrones” has changed all of their lives for the better in numerous ways. That’s the main gist. Great panel, four terrific human beings, lots of laughs.

However, I’m not sure how the talks will be improved moving forwards. As the event grows and the attendance grows, theoretically the amount of people that want to go to the talks will grow too, so I can only hope that there is somewhere in the Rivermead Leisure Complex that could accommodate a larger number of people attending the talks. Oh! Also, tannoy announcements constantly throughout a 30-minute talk? Must be addressed. While it led to sassy Ross galore, it still hurts the flow of the panel.

While waiting for Kerry to get back from her lunch break (my last thing to do for the day), I got to chatting to Kerry’s mother and step-father, Sally and Rob. Both lovely people. I’d met Sally briefly a few years previously, but I thankfully had the time for a proper conversation this time around. They’re just terrific human beings.

Kerry Ingram: Much like Aimee before her, I don’t feel comfortable divulging a great deal of what myself and the other half of Team Kaimee talked about, as it was more friendship conversation than an actor/attendee encounter conversation. One of the things I will talk about though is that Kerry has a Netflix show coming out at some point, likely late 2017. I don’t wanna say anything I shouldn’t as it’s still relatively under wraps and it’s Netflix, so I’ll keep you all informed in due course as the details start to become public. One thing I will say is that as part of the filming Kerry lived in Wrexham, Wales for a couple of months. It was her first taste of living alone, which came with some amusing stories that I won’t share. She’s also converted to vegetarianism during that time and had the willpower to stick with it...even after a bacon roll was accidentally delivered to her trailer. We talked about fake social media accounts popping up with people pretending to be her, we talked about “Barbarian’s Rising” (check it out), we talked about “Doctor Who” at the Proms, Kerry showed me how much she looks like Emilia Jones (in essence, Emilia and Kerry played the same character in Doctor Who’s “The Rings Of Akhaten”, one in the television episode and one at the live Proms version), we talked about her transfer to a new college and how she juggles college and being away for filming so often, we talked about upcoming convention appearances abroad and in the United States, we talked about her Netflix show filming (and the nightmare of working with horses sometimes). In total, the conversation ended up being the longest of the day at half an hour! I couldn’t believe it had been so long to be honest, but my sister pointed it out to me as she’d spent the 30 minutes staring at either the back of my head or the clock just to the left of it. Kerry’s one of my favourite people to talk to at conventions and I consider her a friend. She’s really witty, her sense of humour is very dry (like my own), and talking to her is easy. If you have the opportunity to meet Kerry (or Aimee, Ross, or Clive for that matter) at a convention, do it! You won’t be disappointed. Picture at the autograph table too! Guest Type = Conversationalist.

For the first time ever at a convention, all the guests I talked to were ‘conversationalists’. Granted, I only talked to four people properly, but it’s still an incredibly rare day to have four great conversations in a row.

By 3:30pm, it was time to say goodbye to my friends and the guests before starting the 90-minute journey home. My phone battery died, the sat-nav on my phone therefore disappeared, and I winged it to get back to Gloucestershire. We made it back in one piece.

Would I return to “Reading Comic Con” next year? Hell yes! I need a few reasons to go (guest-wise), but I’d happily return next year if there were a few people I wanted to meet. I raised a few niggly issues that I’d like to see corrected, but overall the event was fantastic! Well organised, excellent photographer, everything was to the schedule, the venue is great (if the talk panels can be expanded when that’s needed), and the passion is definitely there. Very impressive overall.

As always, thank you so much for reading, for supporting the blog, and for supporting me. The blog has grown astronomically over the past year, to the point where I’m anticipating four million unique hits in 2017! To put that into perspective, my first year (three years ago) achieved 200,000 hits. That’s twenty times the readership three years later! Phenomenal!

If you were at “Reading Comic Con”, please let me know your thoughts. You can either comment below, Tweet me (@Shangel1), Facebook me...I’m easily accessible. I’ll see you all again next week for my review of “Vampire Ball 7”, which is usually always one of the best weekends of the year, particularly for a Joss Whedon obsessive like myself. Oh, I’ll probably upload that “Film & Comic Con Cardiff” review at some point too. I finished it weeks ago, but it’s always getting pushed back for more important conventions.

Stay safe, stay strong.


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