The one with Not Another Comic Con, a beer tasting aboard a canal boat and a crazy amount of food and drinks at the new Canal House.
As if the weekend at MCM London wasn’t enough, the very next weekend I found myself pulling on the cosplay again for Collectormania24 at the NEC in Birmingham.
I’ve never actually been to a Collectormania event before, but as it was on the doorstep, it seemed rude not to investigate. When we arrived at about 11, we were quite surprised by how quiet it was. Initially, we were a bit concerned we wouldn’t find enough to keep us amused, as there weren’t huge numbers of people or stalls. Very soon though, we had become converts to Collectormania24.
We were pleased to find a good sized Cosplay Zone, as this is so often neglected at conventions. There were lots of knowledgeable guests with stands set up, so you could go and chat, admire the costumes and get advice. There was also a full timetable of cosplay panels presented by the guests on subjects from Cosplay Etiquette to attaching horns to your head. We caught the end of King Tide Cosplay‘s panel on working with latex, and watched Team Arrow UK talk about the work they do. The cosplay competition was great on both days too, with some really amazing costumes.
There were some great items on display too, including movie replicas and this amazing display from Brick Central. We especially loved this model of Birmingham’s Bullring, with superhero characters mixed in. It was great.
When we first arrived, we thought it didn’t look like there were huge amounts of stalls, but when we started walking around, we soon found there were a lot more than it appeared. The stalls that were there also meant there was lots of us to look for. It wasn’t that there were less stalls, it was just that there were only good stalls, rather than the MCM way, which can feel like a Scooby Doo style revolving background of stalls of Funko Pops, t-shirts and Japanese candy. While all these things were there, there was a lot less repetition. We found ourselves strolling slowly, browsing most of the stalls, and we found plenty to buy. We came home with new lego, Gundam, X-Men magnets, and T-Shirt for me.
Collectormania24 had a really impressive guestlist, and several of the guests presented their own panels too. Most of these panels were free, which was excellent. Dave managed to duck into some of John Barrowman’s panel (and I could hear Barrowman singing Copacabana from across the hall), but my favourite was the Buffy panel with Julie Benz and Charisma Carpenter. Both women were very funny, and spoke with real love for the show. Charisma in particular impressed me, talking about how much she loves Cordelia and it makes her sad when people assume she won’t want to talk about the part that made her name. In her words? “If an actor is like that? Fuck ’em.” I met them both on the Sunday, and got a shirt signed, and they were equally delightful. Julie chatted to me about feeling like people hated Darla, and Charisma told me she loved my Wonder Woman cosplay. An excellent experience all round.
My personal favourite cosplay was these amazing dalek, who not only looked spot on, but trundled around the show yelling at people and causing havoc. It tried to take over Starbucks, screeching “Caffeinate, caffeinate!” and commanding the staff to make coffee. It also tried to fight me, but I survived the encounter.
I really enjoyed Collectormania24. The atmosphere was friendly and fun, and we were pleasantly surprised by how good the stalls, panels and Cosplay Zone were. We’ll be back for sure.
Oh…and here’s a couple of shots of my cosplays from the weekend.
We attended Collectormania24 as members of the press, with press passes. All opinions are honest and my own.