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Manchester Comiccon Weekend

I got back to my house at 7pm last Sunday, slumped onto the couch and said, “Well, that was a weekend and a half!” I was exhausted.

We had spent two days at Manchester Comiccon which, by far, had been the best weekend we had experienced in a good few years. Over the weekend I had interviewed Steve Guttenberg and Michael Winslow for my podcast, touched a genuine Gremlin, got my photo taken with Sloth from The Goonies, met Johnny 5 from Short Circuit, and taken a photo of Steve Guttenberg learning how to use a Lightsabre.

“The thing is… if I told anyone about what has happened,” I said to my wife, “they wouldn’t believe us.” She agreed.

We had arrived early on Saturday and spent the first hour wandering around in awe. The moment you stepped inside the venue, (the BEC arena in Manchester,) you were faced with full scale recreations on space craft from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. The sheer size of them was immense.

There were a generous amount of photo opportunities too, which were all free. You could have your photo taken on the Simpsons couch, or stood outside the Blue Oyster Bar from Police Academy. Johnny 5 from Short Circuit was also wandering around and was happy for you to take a photo of or with him. The bike from Street Hawk and KITT were both on display too.

Guest-wise it was a very 80s event, which was perfect for us! Steve Guttenberg was there! The ACTUAL Steve Guttenberg, from Police Academy, Short Circuit, Three Men And A Baby and Cocoon. Michael Winslow, Marion Ramsey and Leslie Easterbrook, also all from Police Academy, were all there too. It was Steve’s first UK Comiccon appearance, and he was so welcoming when you went to talk to him.

From Gremlins there was Zach Galligan, Judge Reinhold and Francis Lee McCain. They were all really approachable too.

Each of the guests took part in an onstage Q&A and the Police Academy talk, with all four guests, was awesome. It was great to hear Steve, Michael, Leslie and Marion recount personal stories from the Police Academy films, including one story about Callahan’s bra and Bubba Smith (Officer Hightower) bargaining to get Marion into one of the sequels. These are the kind of stories I love hearing about.

Aside from the guests and the many talks throughout both days, there were two other huge areas to explore – a Retro Gaming area and a Trading Hall.

I’ll be honest, I spent hours in the Retro Gaming area over both days. Although I run an 80s website, I don’t own many original 80s consoles and computers. I tend to use emulators, so it was SO good to finally play Chuckie Egg on a real CRT, using keys! I even bumped into veteran games programmer Jim Bagley, who was there as an 80s fan too. Jim is always great to chat to.

The traders hall was great too, with vendors selling everything from anime series, to original artwork, to sweets and retro games. As ever, when I am let lose at a convention, I bought far too many Lego-style minifigures. I think I’m addicted.

For those of you who have never been to a Comiccon before, I recommend you do. Comiccons give you a genuine chance to meet people who you have only ever seen on TV or in films. But not only can you meet famous people, you can get autographs from them, see sets and props from films, and mingle with likeminded fans.

So, yes, I was exhausted at the end of day two as I say slumped on my couch, but I’m so looking forward to the next Monopoly Events show!

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