Wales Comic Con: Telford Takeover Panels – Smallville, Doctor Who, Game Of Thrones, Cosplay & Lots More!
This weekend, we had the chance to visit Wales Comic Con: Telford Takeover for the very first time, and had a blast! As regular readers will know, we often cover the MCM Comic Con’s but this was the first time we’d been able to make the Wales Comic Con… mainly due to them outgrowing the venue in Wales, and moving the whole event to Telford!
As this was my first time at this particular Con, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Getting to Telford itself was pretty easy, although traffic around the venue was pretty messy on the Saturday. Once I’d managed to park, it was a short walk through a lovely little Christmas Market down to the venue itself. Getting inside for me was very straightforward (the advantage of a press badge), although I should point out there was a huge general admissions queue outside. However, the people I chatted with said it was moving pretty quickly, as they filtered people in and out of The International Centre.
Whilst I was there mainly for the panels, obviously a lot of people go to Cons for photos and autographs with the guests. Looking around at people’s experiences online, the general consensus seems to be that, yes, there were some teething issues with the photos/autograph queueing, and the signage wasn’t great at this new home for Wales Comic Con, but overall, it was a vast improvement on the previous venue. I’m sure that will only get better as they figure out how to optimise the space when they return.
Out on the main floor, they had two decent sized halls, filled with various geek paraphernalia to drain your wallet. In terms of size, it is maybe around 1/3 of the size of MCM, but had a lot of good stalls packed into the space. There were a few bottlenecks when moving around, particularly on Saturday which was extremely busy, but that is the case with most Cons, and you could still get around and look through the stalls. One thing I did notice was a distinct lack of comics… I think I spotted one trade comic stand, and a few artists set up, but no major indie comic presence. Whether that is due to space, or just that this Con prefers to focus on tv & film, I’m not sure, but if you are a major comic book fan, it is something you should be aware of.
Speaking of tv & film, the guest line up was pretty spectacular! From ‘Doctor Who’ we had Matt Smith, David Tennant, Catherine Tate, Alex Kingston, David Bradley and Arthur Darvill. From the Arrowverse there was Tyler Hoechlin, Colton Haynes, Brandon Routh & Matt Ryan, alongside ‘Smallville’ Stars Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Erica Durance, Laura Vandervoort.
There was a host of ‘Game Of Thrones’ actors including Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), Isaac Hempstead Wright (“Bran” Stark), Kristian Nairn (Hodor), Ian Mcelhinney (Barristan Selmy), Mary Addy (Robert Baratheon), Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), and Clive Mantle (Greatjon Umber).
Other various tv stars included (but not limited to) Buffy’s Emma Caulfield & Clare Kramer, Josh Mcdermitt & David Morrissey from ‘The Walking Dead’, Stargate’s Christopher Judge & Corin Nemec, Tom Mison from ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Watchmen’, and Sebastian Roche & Mark Sheppard from ‘Supernatural’ (along with a host of other shows!)
On the movies side, we had ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ stars Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn, along with Zachary Levi from ‘Shazam!’, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Bernard Hill, Lee Pace from ‘The Hobbit‘ & ‘Lord Of The Rings’, and a host of other people too numerous to mention!
That’s not even everyone! You can see a full list here, but it was quite a spectacular collection of people from across tv and film.
On to the panels, which were an interesting and eclectic mix of films and tv shows. What was a little different with this Con was that we weren’t entirely sure who from each show (or “universe”) would make it to each panel. For example, whilst there was a DC Comics panel, and there were a number of actors from DC properties on the show floor, it really depended on who was up for doing a panel, and didn’t have a huge backlog of people waiting for photos or autographs. It rather added to the fun, as you didn’t really know what you were going to get!
Teen Wolf Panel Q&A
Due to the aforementioned traffic issues, I missed the start of the ‘Teen Wolf’ panel, however, I did manage to catch the Q&A section. This featured Tyler Hoechlin (Derek Hale), Colton Haynes (Jackson Whittemore), and Ian Bohen (Peter Hale) taking questions from the audience about the MTV drama. Obviously, with Tyler and Colton there, a few Arrowverse questions also popped up.
Catherine Tate Panel
Next, Catherine Tate took to the stage to do what was essentially a 30min stand up/Q&A set. Rather than have an interviewer ask questions, she did the entire thing solo, and was brilliantly funny. There was, of course, lots of ‘Doctor Who’ chat (including her self-aware lack of knowledge on the subject!) plus various character impressions such as Nan and Lauren. An extremely fun panel!
Guardians of the Galaxy Panel With Sean Gunn & Michael Rooker
This, I think, was probably my favourite panel of the show. It began so calmly, with the interviewer asking Sean Gunn questions, as Michael Rooker was still tied up downstairs (i do wonder if they “literally” had him tied up downstairs and he broke free!) As we moved onto the Q&A section, Rooker appeared… and all hell broke loose… He took over the Q&A, running around the fans and asking them questions, whilst (occasionally) giving some answers of his own. It was hilarious, chaotic mayhem, and I would have expected nothing less. Just brilliant!
Game Of Thrones Panel
Whilst opinions are… shall we say “mixed”… about the final season, there is no denying ‘Game Of Thrones’ is a phenomenon, so it was great to have a panel with so many of the cast together. Joining to chat about the show were Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), Isaac Hempstead Wright (“Bran” Stark), Kristian Nairn (Hodor), Ian Mcelhinney (Barristan Selmy), Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), And Clive Mantle (Greatjon Umber). They talked about favourite scenes, things they would have liked to have seen, and answered a host of questions from the audience.
Smallville Panel With Tom Welling, Michael Rosenbaum, Erica Durance, Laura Vandervoort
‘Smallville’ fans were in for a huge treat with this panel, as we were joined by Tom Welling (Clark Kent), Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor), Erica Durance (Lois Lane), and Laura Vandervoort (Kara Zor-El/Supergirl). It was lovely to see them all together again, and you can see what great friends they all are. A lot of banter and joking around, with some great stories from behind-the-scenes, including things they “borrowed” from the show when it ended. Watch to the end for a bonus audio bit featuring Michael’s hilarious intro.
DC Comics Panel
Sunday kicked off with the DC Comics/DC Universe panel, and it was an interesting mix of the various people from DC properties they could drag away from the signing/photo queues to get on stage for a quick chat! This led to a really interesting mix of ‘Shazam’ star Zachary Levi, Donal Logue aka Bullock from ‘Gotham’, and Constantine himself, from ‘Legends Of Tomorrow’ Matt Ryan. It was a really great panel with a wide range of topics from things about their shows and films, to mental health and acting tips.
Lord Of The Rings/The Hobbit Panel
Next we had the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ panel. No Aidan Turner unfortunately as he was only there for a limited time on Sunday but we did get Lee Pace (Thranduil the Elvenking), Dean O’Gorman (Fili) and Bernard Hill (King Théoden). I get the feeling Dean and Lee were somewhat jet-lagged, but they managed to power through, giving answers to audience questions and telling stories about the making of the films.
Doctor Who Panel
The last panel on Sunday was ‘Doctor Who’. Whilst there were a couple of Doctors (Smith and Tennant) at the show, they were only there on Saturday, and did a separate ‘Evening With’ event that night. The Sunday ‘Doctor Who’ panel featured the wonderfully bubbly Alex Kingston (River Song) and Arthur Darvill (Rory), along with David Bradley (First Doctor) who joined them later. It was another really fun and hilarious panel… mainly due to Alex throwing bananas at people… Just watch!
Sunday on the stage ended with the Cosplay Masquerade, as it tradition at most Cons. As I had been stuck filming the panels most of the weekend, I didn’t manage to see much of the cosplay on the main floor, so it was great to have them come up for the masquerade.
If you want to know more about Wales Comic Con (although I’m told that name maybe changing moving forward), you can find their website at walescomiccon.com. As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, this was my first time at this Con, but it is definitely one that I will do again!
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.