4 Sep 2015

Melksham Comic Con 2015: The Voyage Home

Now we've had a chance to settle back into reality following our third visit to Melksham Comic Con, here are some thoughts on last weekend's events...
Matt C: The summer's coming to a close and the PCG are suffering from a collective case of 'Post Con Blues' (a real medical condition) following the enormous highs experienced at last weekend's Melksham Comic Con. This was our third year in attendance, and our second being directly involved, and we felt just as welcome and embraced by the organisers (collectively known as 'Brians') as we did the first time. There's such enthusiasm and a real love of all things geeky on display that it's impossible not to get caught up in it all.

It's not a con that's concerned with getting huge marquee names but the guests that do appear (this year's batch included Mike Collins, Sonia Leong, Dylan Teague and John-Paul Bove) are always approachable, engaging and upbeat, available to sell their plentiful wares or just have a chat. You can stock up on back issues, get yourself a cushion adorned with your favourite characters, or get your picture taken with a cosplaying Deadpool or Rocket Raccoon. And if you want a breather from the circuit, there's always a wide range of panels on offer... which is where we come in!
Go ahead punk, make my Deadpool!
For the second Comics In Just A Minute on Saturday afternoon, returning champion Sonia Leong faced off against second-timer Jon Lock, his Big Punch Studios partner Nich Angell, and a last-minute-addition in the form of Red Mask From Mars creator Vince Hunt. It was as unpredictable and hilarious as last year and it saw Sonia hold onto her crown once again (although there are those who will convince you that Vince one the hearts of the audience).

Our debate panel made a return appearance too on Sunday, with Spy High scribe Andrew B once again overseeing the light-hearted arguments, and this time the subject was that old chestnut, Marvel vs DC. Husband and wife team John-Paul Bove and Jess Bradley faced off against myself and James R, with them taking Marvel's side and James and yours truly fighting DC's corner. There were good arguments from both sides, some rather sneaky visuals from the Marvel duo ("Bat Nipples!") and, unfortunately for the PCG, the audience ended up voting for Marvel at the end of the debate (not surprising considering the current climate in both movies and comics).
A clash of titans?!
In between these two, the PCG manned the wheels of steel in another 'versus' scenario, this time with the guys and gals behind Big Punch Studios, at the aftershow on Saturday evening (we do like to pit ourselves against others it seems!). And no, we didn't just rely on the Guardians Of The Galaxy soundtrack to get folks dancing. But it helped.

Sunday afternoon saw another con highlight, and this one we can't take any credit for. Big Punch Studios (yes, that lot again!) compered Comic Book Pictionary with Mike Collins and Jess Bradley scribbling for two opposing teams, with much unbridled amusement ensuing. And Jess left us with the best image of the weekend. Can you guess which recent superhero movie this is??
Clue: it's a recent superhero movie.
James R: For the third year in a row, Melksham Comic Con continues to be the convention that can. Over the weekend, the topic of the late, lamented  Bristol Comics Expo came up in discussion. While discussing the numerous good times we had at that con, I realised that Melksham truly had filled the void left by its passing. Undoubtedly Thought Bubble in Leeds has become the UK's heavyweight convention, but for those of us here in the south of England the Melksham Con really is the place to go. Matt's already mentioned how welcoming everyone is, and it certainly is the friendliest geek weekend you can imagine. During all of the panels I attended there was a lot of laughter, and nobody took themselves too seriously; in the sometimes po-faced world of the fanboy, it is a blast to spend the weekend with such quality folk.
You're never more than an hour away from something great at Melksham, and once again all credit to Hayley and the Brians for making it such a vibrant weekend. One thing I've not mentioned before is how great the location is - when I last went to the London Super Comic Con, traipsing round the Excel centre meant a long, arduous day, and you're forever fighting against the hordes or stuck in a queue. Melksham couldn't be more different - it's accessible and accommodating to all ages, and I wish it would spin on into a third day!
"Have you got Giant-Size Man-Thing #1?"
Speaking of expansion, I came away from this year's con with the same wishes that I had last year: I hope it continues, I hope it gets bigger and better still, but I also hope that it keeps the personal magic that's made it the highlight of the geek calendar for me.
My personal thanks to everyone that took part in and attended our panels - it's a dream come true to be asked to take part in them, and to do it twice is a luxury! We're really fortunate to keep being teamed with such brilliant people, and you should check out the work of Sonia, the Big Punch guys, Vince, and the kick-ass couple that is Jess and John-Paul - they're proof positive that the UK remains a vibrant hub of comics creativity.
Comic In Just A Minute: Nich Angell, winner Sonia Leong, James R, Jon Lock, Vince Hunt
For now, my trademark horn will be stored away in my Fortress of Solitude, and I shall hope that the PCG will once again get the call from Melksham... Can we get a laugh from saying 'Giant-Size Man-Thing' three years on the bounce?!

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