by Ralph Carr, Krypton Radio U.K. Correspondent
Sunday 26 April 2015 – Somewhere in Wales. A clear blue sky, sun shining and an early morning spring breeze, steals the warmth away, like an angel, stealing time.
But this is no ordinary Sunday morning in the Welsh town of Wrexham. The reverent quiet of the day is rent, by thousands of the faithful, descending upon the Glyndwr University Campus, many dressed in the costumes of many colours. Young and old, adults and children, boys, girls men and women, here to see their idols, show off their finery, meet up with old friends and find new ones.
Yes, it is that time of year, it’s the Wales Comic Con – Spring Season.
The doors are due to open at 10 a.m., but at eight thirty, the queues are already four deep and several hundred yards long, and growing as I watch. Being privileged members of the press, we are ushered in with the VIP’s and Early Bird Ticket holders, to have an early preview of the day ahead. The first thing we see on entering the huge Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, from Ghostbusters, along with fully rigged out ghostbusters.
Further into the main university building is an area given over to the Robot Wars – huge steel machines of incredible power, fired with electricity and compressed gas. On TV, they look fun, but up close, you can see the battle scars, and get a real sense of true, immense power of these humongous machines. The organiser of this event is collecting for local charities.
Before I get to the main hall, I pass an outdoor exhibit of the Transformers. In their disguises, the huge Optimus Prime, the Decepticon Police Car, the ever loveable Bumble Bee, and their human minder, assure us that although they are in disguise at the moment, they are actually on hair triggers, ready to save the Earth again.
Behind the Transformers is a huge tent, dedicated to, and packed with, computer gamers. Tournaments of Magic: The Gathering, and Warhammer 40K are under way.
One of the more fun parts of this area is the full size Dalek, wandering around, and facing people down. Funny thing is, you know it is sci-fi, but the child inside you has goosebumps as you are faced with the most evil creature in the universe, and it demands information about the Doctor from you … very odd feelings, and great fun, and not a sofa in sight to hide behind.
In the main hall are housed the actors, writers and merchandisers. Of interest to me in particular is the author of the Compton Valence Trilogy, Matt Brown. Not only are his writings crisp and eminently readable, but are witty and clever in a rather grown up way, with many in jokes, and number puzzles woven in. His books are joyfully illustrated, and reminiscent of Adrian Mole, meets Time Travel, meets Horrible Histories.
Then I meet the visually stunning Lucy Saxon, cosplayer and author of Take Back the Skies. We converse about her enthusiasm for her superb cosplay outfits, and how she had developed as a writer, fighting and overcoming the terrible Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She is an inspiration of courage and determination to all sufferers, and non-sufferers alike.
On the very next table area are three of my favourite people, Sam Stone David Howe, authors and publishers of Tellos Publications. They were recently engaged to be married, and sparkled together before, now they are positively radiant. Along with them was my favourite author, the amazing Raven Dane, writer of the award winning Cyrus Darian trilogy. Her first book was Blood Tears, which I buy to add to my collection of signed copies. Her work is beautifully researched and written, quirky and fun, and worth every second you spend reading it. Cyrus Darian, is very naughty, but brilliant! But my favourite work of hers, is Absynthe and Arsenic short stories of horror and misgivings in Steam Punk, Victorian England, so good, you don’t want the book to run out. (I am at present, trying to bully her into doing Absynth and Arsenic II.) Raven is a wonderful, friendly, approachable person, and whenever I speak to her, time seems to blaze by at breakneck speed (check out the interview in The Event Horizon archives.)
I pick on artist Mike Collins next, as he is Wales based, famous for his work for both DC and Marvel, working on Spiderman, Batman, Transformers, DW, JLA to name but a few in his long career. We reminisce about the good old days of the seventies and eighties, and about how the movies of the comics, have both added to the characters, and taken away from them in places, and some of Marvel’s less advertised works, like Captain Britain. Mr. Collins agrees to come on The Event Horizon, to chat about his work in sci-fi, so watch this space.
Mr Garret Wang of Star Trek: Voyager is next up, and he is keen to talk about his days on the set of Voyager, enjoying every moment, and is keen to sing the praises of the cast and crew. Having been busy with personal projects, Mr Wang, voices his eagerness to get back into more TV roles, and with his personality, and abilities, I think he will have no problems. The boyish looks of Harry Kim are still there, but tempered with experience.
Across the room is my recent favourite, Star of the TV series Constantine, Matt Ryan. We speak at length about the challenges of taking the role played with such intensity by Keano Reeves, and making the part his own. He rounds out the character with background content while maintaining the grittiness of the original movie.
The Red Dwarf team, Chris Barrie, Robert Llewelyn, and Norman Lovett are here again, and on superb form, both as individuals and as a wisecracking team, giving us impromptu glimpses of their characters. At the moment, there is no plan to start to push a Red Dwarf 11 through the pipeline, however, public pressure could alter that, so write to the BBC, and pile the pressure on, for the Boys from the Dwarf.
Eve Myles and Naoko Mori of Torchwood, did a Q&A panel, which I recorded, but will probably never be broadcast, as Eve is very vocal and open with her views and comments, and the recording would probably need heavy censoring. I did, however, get to speak to the lovely Naoko Mori, who played the computer whiz, Tosh, in Torchwood.
We spoke of the way Torchwood was like Doctor Who for adults, addressing pithy and sometimes very dark topics. We spoke of Davies’ ability to wrap your emotions around his fingers, especially in killing off main characters, permanently. And we were both still staggered by the ending of Torchwood – Children of Earth, even thinking of it now, I can feel how angry I was at Jack, for what he did. Thanks for that, Mr Davies.
There are no current plans to resurrect Torchwood, but with Russel T. Davies, you can never say never.
The highlight of my day in Wrexham is to meet the most evil man in the galaxy, and shake his hand. I am of course, speaking about Star Wars actor, David Prowse.
The evil of Darth Vader is in stark contrast to this truly gentle giant of a man, He is eighty years old this year, and suffering from memory loss, but what a man! Even on crutches, he is formidable, as Vader, he must have commanded. We speak about the Star Wars trilogy, and the good times on set, and how much he enjoyed working with everyone.
He has had a gym built at the bottom of his garden, like the old days, and he is looks forward to getting back in shape after his recent surgery. This guy is awesome, truly. We wish him only the very best. May the Force be with him!
So many people to see and so many missed, and everyone packing away, but I’ll get them at the next con. And I promise to be better prepared, not to be so shy and tongue tied, in front of these amazing people.
As I leave the Spring 2015 Wales Comic Con, the sun is slipping into the horizon, and my eyes adjust to the light, watching all the cosplayers going home, I wonder – how am I ever going to get everything on paper?
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