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Heroes and villains, stars and fans come out for London Comic Con

posted 8 Jul 2011, 16:00 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 8 Jul 2011, 16:03 ]

The biggest expected Comic Con yet kicks off in London.


The words "Comic-Con" automatically conjure up thoughts of San Diego's comic book and pop culture convention - the biggest of it's kind in the world. That event has become so popular it cause crowding issue for the San Diego Convention Center that houses it.

While London's own convention may be modest by comparison, it has steadily grown and this year promises to be one of the biggest.

Organisers held the first ever preview night in the event's ten year history on Friday night (July 8) in anticipation of the 45,000 fans expected through the doors of the convention over the weekend.

"San Diego (Comic-Con) has been going 35 years, we've only been going ten and I think we're about 20 percent of what San Diego is. But 45,000 people there about 500 traders here selling all sorts of merchandise and at the end of the day a real good selection of guests. Probably more so than San Diego even," said London Comic Con organiser Jason Joiner.

As well as the exhibitions, merchandise and paraphernalia from cult classics and popular hits of television, cinema and comic books, one of the biggest attractions at the convention are the stars of the favourite shows and movies themselves.

While fans can expect to meet the celebrities from current hits, like Karen Gillan who plays Amy Pond in Doctor Who, an even bigger drawcard for some punters are those stars of older cult favourites.

Some of Friday night's biggest queues for autographs were for 1980's teen star Corey Feldmen of "The Lost Boys", "The Goonies", and "Gremlins" and Brent Spiner who played the android Data on "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

Christopher Lambert of 80's cult film "Highlander" is also expected to draw a crowd over the weekend.

Actor Robert Knepper of the U.S. television hits "Prison Break" and "Heroes" said there are no fans like convention fans.

"Yeah, you see them randomly on the street but you never see such a concentrated group of fans like this. I did Sean Harry's (convention organiser) one years ago in London, I did a couple in Sweden and I just did my first American one but, yeah, there's a similarity of the voraciousness of the fans, it's pretty intense," he told Reuters Television.

As usual, many the fans over the weekend will be expected to get in on the fantasy act themselves with plenty of colourful, weird and wonderful costumes expected.

But Jason Joiner said that - more than just chance to dress up - it will be the opportunity to just to talk to some of their favourite writers, actors and artists that will bring people to the convention.

"People want to be able to get close and meet the actors themselves and this is a great place to do that. If you want to meet Doug Bradley who plays Pinhead from Hellraiser and Clive Barker, the creator of Hellraiser, I mean he hasn't done a signing in over here for ten years or so and very seldom does he actually come out and do that sort of thing. So you can actually go up there and meet him, speak to him, talk to him and actually get close to him. So that is something that actually quite special here. It's a nice safe environment the actors enjoy coming here and meeting the fans. So it's a whole pilgrimage for movie buffs really," he said.

Actor Doug Bradley himself, who plays the horror cult icon Pinhead from Hellraiser, has become a convention veteran both overseas and in the U.K.

He shared one thing he has learned over the years:

"Experience has taught me to anticipate nothing and expect everything. You never know what's coming along."

London Comic Con runs through to Sunday, July 10.