Written by Shark of Skybot Film
On Saturday 7th March 2020, before comic cons began to postpone their events, we went to Liverpool Comic Con in the Liverpool Exhibition Centre.
We arrived at about 11am and were lucky enough to get a car parking space in the multi-storey opposite. There was a little queue inside which was great. Alarmingly though security did not do any sort of bag checks. Once our tickets were scanned, we weren’t issued any sort of wristband and there was no signage saying where everything was.
We followed our gut instincts and took a left where we came across the main hall of the convention. It was split into 3 sections, vendors, photo/prop area and the signings area.
Firstly we visited the vendors area. There was a mass array of older toys, brand new toys/comics, artists (which had some amazing work), and even an area where they were demonstrating effects make-up on someone of the Demigorgon from Stranger Things.
This area was fantastic, it had both the feel of a small con with nostalgic stalls and the feel of a bigger con with you FunkoPops, newer toys and merchandise also. However, it was incredibly crowded. Yes this was a Saturday but speaking to other people who went, it was just the same. The aisles seemed too narrow for the flow of people and it was free for all. Some cosplayers were pulling along suitcases also which did not help the matter.
The next area was the photo and props area. This was a wide open space with hardly anyone around. Some of the props were amazing with a life size ED209 from Robocop, a Tardis, a Jedi training area, some Autobot cars and a photo opportunity to take a picture on the back of Falcor from Never Ending Story.
I bought a photo with Peter Cullen, a legendary voice actor who is mainly known for voicing Transformers’ Optimus Prime in the original cartoon, the new live action movies and many other Transformers games and cartoons. The queue was very swift at moving and the staff were very ‘on it’ at communicating with people and making sure they were in the right line as there were 2 photo area. I was possibly in the queue for 5 minutes before meeting Peter Cullen. He was giving fist bumps instead of handshakes which was very sensible at the time. This was before any information was given about social distancing etc.
I had a very quick chat with him, thanking him and he thanked me and I was on my way to let the next person. This was when the headache happened…both photo booths merged into one and was an incredibly long queue to get your photos. Instead of the photo being printed out as soon as you left you had to queue and get your photo. They were trying to hand them out to people who they could see and if they couldn’t then they would put them at the end of the table but not make any announcements about that. I was in the queue for about 15 minutes to get my picture and had to rummage through everyone’s photos to get it. Not the most organised.
I met back up with my friends then who were in line waiting for Peter Cullen to return for an autograph. They were waiting for about 10 minutes which I thought was great. Then they queued up for Frank Welker, mainly known for voicing Transformers’ Megatron. The queue went on for an hour to get a prepaid signature.
Above the photo area were 4 large screens where they were live streaming the panels that were taking place but we had no idea where these rooms were. After getting all autographs needed we went on one final search through the stalls, it was about 3pm and the queues had died down a bit thanks to some top celeb panels on.
Once we finished our shopping we went to look for the cosplay area. We looked outside of the main hall and there was just the Liverpool Comic Con sign so went for a wander back to the entrance. We noticed many people going upstairs so we went up the first flight…still no signs…went up the second flight and went down a skybridge corridor and found the panel room. At this point we were a little fed up of hunting to find other things so decided to call it a day as we had a long journey home.
So overall feel was that they needed to spread out the vendors a little to make the traffic flow more fluent and less claustrophobic. Also the system in where you get your photos after they are being taken needs an overhaul as other events have the printers near the camera so by the time you leave the room you get it handed to you. Finally the building needs better sign posting to the areas.
However, we had a great time meeting some childhood heroes, meeting friends from other Transformers conventions and also all the amazing vendors and artists. Would we go back…it purely depends on who would be there and if the above concerns were rectified. Thanks for reading everyone and hope you all stay safe from the Covid-19 virus.
Shack – Skybot Film