You know how the old saying goes of “third times the charm” right?! Well amazingly enough this year makes the third year that Dublin Comic Con has graced our lovely city. Three years is a long time and a lot can be learned in the two years previous. Have the organizers learned a thing or two, added some more tricks up their sleeves for this year?! Read on and find out!

Dublin Comic Con have been keeping to the tradition of if its not broken don’t fix it, and had kept the convention in the same venue for the past two years, that can be a good thing and a bad thing though, good because the con goers are aware of the place and know how to get to it, but the only bad thing was for some it was a bit of a trek to get to it. So the organizers have broken the mold and got prime placement right in the heart of Dublin City itself and have moved the convention into the Convention Centre Dublin. And it’s one of the best moves that I have ever seen. Whilst other conventions have moved in the past, they have not worked out so well. Some have gotten places way out of the way for most people and others have moved to a new venue with little to no space compared the last. It’s definitely save to say that the folks at Dublin Comic Con definitely made all the right decisions when picking the new venue.

Ticket prices are always a tough decision for an organizer, you can’t undercharge people because you might lose money but you don’t want to make it too expensive so that people can’t buy tickets. Well it seems to be DCC have catered to the fact that most of the regular con goers may not have a ton of cash to spend in places like this and the last thing you want is to spend all your money on an entry ticket. Their prices are more than fair and to be honest could have charged a little bit more for what they offer in terms of size, quality and variety.

From my travels to London for conventions such as LFCC I experienced what some would call a true con experience, and I will let you in on a secret, not many conventions in Ireland will give a proper convention experience. But Dublin Comic Con this year have really revamped it up and are getting well on their way to providing Dublin City with a true con experience, and maybe in a few years, if it continues on this rhythm, could become one of the main conventions in Europe.

Courtesy of David Doyle Arts and Photography.

Another part of the convention that they really turned up the level on was the guests, DCC had always got a high level of quality when it comes to picking and sourcing guests and when it comes to expenses it seems like they are willing to spend the big bucks to please the crowd. Whilst some would argue that conventions will deliberately get specific guests in just to satisfy the fandom of the organizers or staff members, DCC seem to focus on the wants of the fans themselves. Whilst some expectations may be high in terms of who fans want, you still have to remember we are a little island with not s lot of resources when it comes to conventions and especially funds. But that doesn’t seem to stop DCC with guests such as Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, Walking Dead and Mallrats), Billy West (Voice acting legend on shows such as Futurama), Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

Courtesy of David Doyle Arts and Photography

The guests were situated along the wall. On the upper level and there was barriers lined out to make the queuing as swift and easy as possible. The only change I would make to this and it was from my adventures at LFCC that I learned this n and how much easier it is for the attendees, advertise the prices of the guest on the banner next to their names. While it’s easy to have a page at the guests table,having the price for each advertised makes it easier for the attendee to have their money prepared whilst they wait and less fiddling about. Seeing a celebrity they idolize is shaken enough, let along the search for money in front of them!

Now, onto the things that make a Dublin Comic Con standout from the competitors,the sets! They have gone well out of their way this year in terms of the scale and variety of sets, they have everything from aliens to zombies, halo to fallout, Star Wars and Back to the Future! From what I’ve seen the most popular of the whole lot seemed to be the Predators Ireland set and the Wasteland Carnival. The Wasteland Carnival was hosted by the guys who brought us the ZERO Zombie Survival Camp last year, due to space limitations they had to change it up and decided to bring the wasteland to the con in the most awesome and fun way possible . €1 got you 5 bottle caps and these were used to play various games to win more bottle caps, which you traded in at the end for certain goodies and prizes. All the proceeds went to charity and reports have estimated near €650-€800 was made, good on you guys!!

Courtesy of David Doyle Art and Photography

Last year DCC was on a single floor,big as it was, it was still a bit cluttered and a bit messy. Now they have three floors to spread out the con and they did so in the best way possible. The main entrance opened up into the trade hall which was packed with some unbelievably high quality vendors, unlike some conventions that will have vendors selling copied and sometimes stolen material from Google images, DCC gave the fans authentic Irish talent and that’s always what should come first! Above the trade hall was the Artist Alley and held some of the best artwork I have ever seen, so many times I had to say to friends, “Wow, there are some seriously talented people out there!” Among the artists were the comic guests and comic artists, whilst this is usually a bad idea for crowds gathering around the guests, there was surprisingly very little choke points in the AA that would cause traffic problems.

Little side note, the convention was air conditioned…..Very VERY nice addition!

One thing that should’ve been mentioned earlier was the involvement of The Irish Pubcast in DCC. Without them we wouldn’t have had any panels or talks that let the fans interact with their favourite guests in a way that general admission would probably not let them or give them time too. We also would not have gotten to see Michael Rooker eat a flake bar and realise what he’s been missing out on. Not only were they part of the numerous panels and talks, but they also hosted the cosplay competition, which I’m sorry to say I heard reports that the running of that could’ve been done a little bit better. Numerous charity auctions and events were had and that is always a good sign to show that the con deals with little things like this, although I’m not sure if it was the con’s idea or the Pubcast’s, but during their pubquiz they had a “Cheat for Charity” system which basically was a little system where you could get the answer for a question but had to pay €1 and with that system they raised close to €200 I think it was. Overall all I think they did an amazing job and without them the con would not be as fun or entertaining, well done guys, looking forward to your next con appearance. Check out their Facebook page, you will not be disappointed!

Courtesy of David Doyle Arts and Photography

While all things seemed well and good there were some things that needed to be addressed for future years. There may have needed to be more staff and volunteers spread around area and some that should have stayed at their stations, a few time throughout the day I had attendees complaining to me about not being able to find a staff member to help with a query. Another issue I noticed and which is a major thing to leave out, especially in 2015, the distinct lack of any “Cosplay is not Consent” banners and leaflets. Dublin Comic Con is advertised all of the media, thus attracts people who are not usual con goers and do not know the general etiquette of cosplay photography and actions to take with cosplayers. I heard a few reports of people taking photos of cosplayers getting ready, or without their permission, inappropriate placement of hands in photos etc. For DCC to not have this information made well aware to the attendees is a major setback, cosplayers are the life of some conventions and having this information out there shows that you care about them, to leave it out with a convention as large as this is a big no no in this journalist/cosplayer’s opinion.

Something as simple as this. dotted around the trade hall.

Overall it was an amazing experience and one that went way to quickly for this journalist. With some technology and audio setbacks sadly we couldn’t get the interviews we wanted but the experience was still one to remember. Hopefully things will be addressed for next year and then we may be on our way to having a NY Comic Con or San Diego Comic Con experience right here on our doorstep! Big thanks to the organizers Karl and Derek for providing me with the pass and the access to areas both before and after the con. Roll on Dublin Comic Con 2016!

And of course it wouldn’t be an Akroview Comic Con review without Grahamedia’s always amazing Cosplay Music Video! Enjoy folks!

Adam Waugh

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