KingCons bring Game of Thrones stars, Super Mario and more to the Stadium of Light
King Con’s first year in Sunderland turns out to be a success as thousands flood to see special guests at the Stadium of Light.
After outgrowing their previous venue in Durham, King Con was confirmed to be at the Stadium of Light this year, and spread over a weekend full of panels, competitions and more.
Arriving on Saturday I was met by some of the latest and classic characters, first of all a Storm Trooper followed by an Ewok and Ray holding onto BB-8 from the Star Wars universe, while they mixed it up hanging out with the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. The most memorable moment of the day was waiting in the queue standing behind The Flash and Aquaman, watching a toddler Superman running away from his Catwoman mother.
After being confronted by a Dalek that decided to question people waiting for entry, there was the opportunity to look into the bedroom quarters from Red Dwarf, while another deactivated war-dressed Dalek looked on. For those who aren’t into science fiction, an animatronic dinosaur stood proud and threatened to bite you if you got too close.
Moving on to the special guests, fans of Ripper Street and Game of Thrones had the chance to meet and chat to actor Jerome Flynn. There was also Charles Martinet, the voice of plumber pair Mario and Luigi for more than 20 years, who spent his day signing memorabilia and taking photographs with fans. The tallest man in Britain was also present. The seven foot 7 actor has appeared in Game of Thrones, Doctor Who and The Avengers: Age of Ultron building up a reputation for being the big bad guy. Another special guest was Pikachu who was wandering around all day happily taking selfies with anyone who would give him a hug.
If you’re anything like me, walking through the dozens of stalls took hours after being enticed by all the new merchandise that is available, everything from POP! Vinyls to replica swords and shields, there was something for everyone. Even then, those more into the retro scene had Super Nintendo’s running Hyper Street Fighter open to play. It was also the perfect place for gift shopping with lots of themed jewellery, keyrings and cuddly toys available for all ages.
There was also incredible art on display, some of which that was limited edition or only for this year’s event. Paintings and drawings of popular characters from lots of backgrounds such as Street fighter, Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles, Robocop, Doctor Who and obviously the Marvel and DC properties.
One stall had even created moulds of Predators and Pinhead’s heads, as well as making the masks of Iron Man and Predator. A range of 3-D printers were also making a Millennium Falcon and an X-Wing with incredible detail.
The Walking Dead fans were represented throughout the event, with the chance to test your skills with different weaponry against the walkers. Whether you wanted to test your aim with an semi auto rifle on the firing range or whether throwing knives and axes, there were lots of options for all. Trained professionals manned the stations and helped give the best technique on hitting the target ahead of you to make the most of the experience.
It’s not all about comics and cosplays at King Con as ‘The Crazy Creatures’ proved. This set-up had everything from a tarantula to chinchillas there were a range of animals for everyone to hold and take a selfie with. The huge yellow snake called Summer was a fan favourite with everybody getting a chance to hold her and take a photo.
To finish the day, the best costumed people battled it out in the cosplay competition. The competition was split between under 16’s and adults. The highlights from the children were easily Poison Ivy, Jacksepticeye and the eventual winner the Gyarados.
The adults took their cosplay very seriously and many spent months in advance designing and making costumes as similar as possible to the original. Impressively there were a range of different characters from television, gaming and movies.
Highlights included the incredible World of Warcraft characters (including a dragon!), Rip Hunter from Legends of Tomorrow, Professor McGonnagol and Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter as well as everything from Sans from Undertale and a Viking… from the Vikings. The eventual winners were Arya Stark from Game of Thrones in third, runner up spot was Vivi the Mage from Final Fantasy, and the winner was Jacob Frye from the Assassin’s Creed franchise.
Overall, the day was filled with events, stalls and meet and greets for everybody to enjoy. A thoroughly enjoyable day with friends, a great outing to try something new and a perfect for parents to take children to meet with some of their favourite characters gives them an excuse to dress up with the kids.
To attend next year’s event, keep up-to-date via the King Con page http://www.kingcon.co.uk.