London Film and Comic Con: A Preview
First launched in 2004 and run by Showmasters Ltd., London Film and Comic Con – otherwise known as LFCC – is an annual convention that pretty much is what it says: A convention dedicated primarily towards everything based around the movie and comic genres, as well as accommodating to include the world of television, anime, manga and games. Interested? Why not find out more!
First launched in 2004 and run by Showmasters Ltd., London Film and Comic Con – otherwise known as LFCC – is an annual convention that pretty much is what it says: A convention dedicated primarily towards everything based around the movie and comic genres. However, over the years, the convention has become more diverse; accommodating to include the world of television, anime, manga and games. Even though the convention was originally located at the Wembley Exhibition Centre, a new home was soon found for LFCC at Earls Court, South-West London (with the exception of 2012, when, due to the London 2012 Olympic Games booking the usual venue, the event had to be held at the London Olympia Grand Hall). Originally, the event lasted the weekend, until 2011, when the decision was made to extend the opening times to include the Friday as a preview evening.
I first attended LFCC back in 2007, when the event was held in Earls Court 1, situated in the upper levels of the main building. This was one of the first conventions I had attended, second only to MCM Expo, which was held at the ExCeL centre in East London. Although the lighting was somewhat dark, and the convention was smaller than the first convention I had ever attended (both of these aspects due to the actual venue), I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of guests, props and stores at the event. Personally, the most notable prop of this particular LFCC had been the Bumblebee Camaro car from the live action Transformers movie by Michael Bay. The layout of the convention was very well planned – and organised in a manner that did not cause much congestion due to human traffic. Guest tables were situated at different locations around the venue to also ease overcrowding, and there were various talks, competitions and Q&A panels on the main stage to keep con-goers of various interests occupied. By the end of the weekend, both myself and my friends that had been to our first LFCC were so impressed that we decided we would return for future events. And that’s exactly been what we’ve been doing ever since: To this date, I have never missed an LFCC convention.
Over the years, LFCC has grown both in the size of the venue – moving to the much larger Earls Court 2 – and in the fact that it has been attracting an increasing number of guests and attendees. Even with the bigger convention hall, last year saw LFCC packed with convention goers. Despite this, the organisers and gophers still managed to maintain a safe and family friendly environment for everybody to enjoy, which is a definite pro for anybody looking to attend for the first time that have plans to bring their kids with them. Personally, I would recommend booking your tickets in advanced – via the LFCC website www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com – to avoid having to wait in the longer queues for on-the-day entry. The aforementioned website also features a forum with dedicated sections and threads for all of Showmasters events, inclusive of LFCC. This is extremely handy for people that have never been before to ask any questions about the event towards both the more seasoned convention goers and the actual LFCC administrative team. It is also a great place to keep updated with any specific social gatherings that may take place before, during or after the conventions. Equally, the forums can also be used to help organise cosplay groups during the convention too – after all, we cosplayers are quite a social bunch and nobody wants to feel left out of a potential group cosplay.
The range of guests that attend LFCC events are quite varied: The convention features guests of all levels; from television shows, films, animated voice actors, comic book artists, sports personalities and even guests from the prop-making industries too. I have never been to an LFCC where there were no guests that piqued my interest. In the past, guests have included Adam West (Batman), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead), Ron Pearlman (Sons of Anarchy), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files), Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), David Prowse (Star Wars), Patrick Stewart (Star Trek), Vic Mignogna (Fullmetal Alchemist), Mike Tyson (boxer), Tom Baker (Dr Who), Craig Charles (Red Dwarf), Sylvia Anderson (Thunderbirds), Lee Townsend (comic book artist), Robert Maschio (Scrubs), Walter Jones (Power Rangers), and David Hasslehoff (Baywatch). And that is just to name a few! As stated previously in this article, the layout of the convention means that the guests are spread out around the event to avoid the actual convention hall becoming overly crowded and walkways becoming obstructed. The guests themselves always seem in good spirits and are often accompanied by a member of LFCC staff. There have been moments at other events where signings have felt like a conveyor belt – attendees pay, get their item signed and then leave – but this is certainly not the case with LFCC: I have always found that you have enough time for a little natter with the guests when you meet them. Obviously, it does also help as a convention goer to have the common courtesy to know that if there is a massive queue of other con-goers waiting behind you for an autograph, not to take up too much of the guest’s time too.
If you are attending a convention purely for the shopping experience, LFCC has much to offer. The many stalls there cater for a wide variety of things, ranging from plush toys, manga and imported food and drinks to vintage comics, video games and collectables. And what comic convention would not be complete with artist stalls? This event is no different – with various comic book artists situated around the convention, attendees can take the time to chat with illustrators and authors, buy their works and even have their own personal commissions carried out (although time constrains and workloads may have an effect on how many commissions an artist may be able to take on so do think about getting in there early with your request!). Recently, LFCC have also catered for charities to set up stalls throughout the event – so if you are interested in finding out more about certain organisations, this may be a good time to ask questions and give to a good cause or two.
Events-wise, over the last few years, LFCC have set up multiple enclosed stages within their venue. This enables more than one event to take place at once. Attendees will be able to sit in on celebrity guest panels, talks on topics such as crafting armour and other special effects, and even to watch the cosplay masquerade. It is always advised to check the schedules in order to make sure you will not miss out on any events that may be of interest to you.
Personally, if I were to pick an event for a first-time convention goer to attend, I would pick LFCC. The venue is relatively easy to get to via car or public transport, not too big or too crowded, and filled with a variety of celebrity guests, stalls and things to do and see. Saturday July 12th 2014 to Sun July 13th sees LFCC return once again to Earls Court, London (with an extra evening of Friday July 11th 2014 as a special preview time for attendees). As mentioned earlier in this article, tickets and further information can be found via the official LFCC website www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com
Members of the Renegade Revolution team will be in attendance at LFCC this July – we hope to see you there too!
Photos © Jojo Yap and Scott Sanderson