Unconventional fun takes centre stage at Dublin’s Comic Con

More than 20,000 fans gathered to celebrate all things sci fi, comic, movie and video games

Comic, movie and sci-fi fans turned out in their droves for Dublin Comic Con at the weekend.

Now in its fourth year, the event enjoyed its biggest crowd to date, with more than 20,000 people passing through the Convention Centre Saturday and Sunday.

First in the queue on Saturday was Andre Griffin from Dublin. He said it is all about meeting like-minded people. “You meet a lot of people with the same interests and you can chat to them, you know? In my school it’s just always about sport which is a bit dull,” he said.

Dublin Comic Con is the biggest event of its kind in Ireland and its director, Derek Cosgrave, says it is growing.

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Extra floor

“We added an extra floor this year, the auditorium, to push the capacity because we were hitting it last year so the extra floor helped us grow a bit more,” he said.

There were photo-ops with actor Scott Wilson from The Walking Dead TV series, Doom "deathmatches" between fans and the videogame creator John Romero, and talks with celebrities of the gaming, comic and sci-fi worlds.

Among those holding court on Saturday was Game of Thrones actor Tom Wlaschiha in conversation with Wayne Talbot from Pubcast.

Better known to fans of the series as Jaqen H’ghar, Wlaschiha answered questions, but anyone hoping to find out what happens next in the series was left disappointed.

"Fans always assume that we know more than they do. It's really not the case," he said. Part of Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland, and Wlaschiha said he enjoys spending time here but he could do without the rain.

“I like Ireland a lot, except for the weather. I mean, if you had different weather this would be quite a cool place!”

The rain has not put off video-game royalty John and Brenda Romero, however.

The Doom creator and his wife relocated from California to Galway last year with their children, after falling in love with the country.

During their Q&A on Saturday, Brenda Romero – who was one of the first women to break into the gaming industry in the 1980s – was complimentary about Ballyfermot College in Dublin, which offers courses in animation and game design..

Fighting underdogs

“Ballyfermot is such a great school. I mean you guys are fighting underdogs. I absolutely love that place and you guys have brilliant teachers there too,” she said.

The main attraction at Dublin Comic Con every year is, however, Cosplay when fans dress up as characters from comics, TV shows, films and video-games.

Rachel, who was dressed as Castiel from Supernatural, said she found out about cosplay online and was hooked.

“Meeting all the other people who are taking part in cosplay is one of my favourite things about coming to Comic Con. I went to three so far, but I hope to go to more,” she said.

Comic Cons are held all over the world but the largest is in San Diego, which attracted a crowd of 130,000 last month.

Dublin Comic Con will return next year. Cosgrave says there are plans to add another event to the Irish calendar early next year in the south of the country too.

Jennifer Ryan

Jennifer Ryan is a former audio producer at The Irish Times