2007: A Convention Year Ahead (Mania.com)

By:Matt Kamen
Date: Friday, January 26, 2007

Without wanting to get tremendously bloggy on you all, I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. It’s safe to say that between getting attacked at a train station, caught in a bomb scare and my PC blowing up, only to return from repair in worse condition than it left, last week’s column kind of slipped through the cracks. So, in order to mentally repress all those nasty experiences, let’s look ahead to some of this year’s upcoming UK conventions. 

Midlands Expo – 24th February 

As I’ve covered this before, there’s not a great deal to add besides the recent guest announcements of Gareth David Lloyd (Ianto Jones from Torchwood), Chris Barrie (most notably Rimmer from Red Dwarf) and Kenny Baker and Warwick Davis (both Star Wars). My personal expectations are high based on the usually fantastic London Expo, though only running for one day will presumably lend a different air to the proceedings. 

Asylum 2007 – 11-13th May 

The return of last year’s Coventry based Smallville convention, this time incorporating guests from Supernatural. The initial event was a popular and friendly event but this year’s looks to be substantially bigger, all places having sold out. Those already registered can look forward to meeting guests including Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, the leads of Supernatural; Justin Hartley and Eric Johnson, Smallville’s Green Arrow and Whitney Ford respectively and Tania Saulnier, who has guest starred in both shows. 

Bristol International Comics Show – 12-13th May 

One of the UK’s longest running comics shows, this year’s Bristol convention will pay special attention to the 30th anniversary of seminal British comic 2000AD, as well as hosting the 2007 Eagle Awards. Transformers fans will be pleased to know of a con-exclusive variant to the upcoming movie prequel comic, only available over the weekend (or one day later on eBay, most likely). As well as being a spotlight for mainstream and independent comic talent, Bristol will have more guests than you can shake a copy of Watchmen at. 

London Expo – 26-27th May, October (Dates to be confirmed) 

Speaking of the London Expo… 2007 will be the sixth year for this successful event, though the organisers always seem to find room for improvement. Guests for this year’s shows have yet to be confirmed but you can expect the usual mix of film, TV, anime, comics, games and more to entertain you. Easily the best value of all the UK events, too. 

Japan Ex London – July (Date to be confirmed) 

Another show from the organisers of the London and Midlands Expos, this show looks to explore the burgeoning popularity of Japanese cinema and culture in the UK and the influences they have had on our own culture, popular or otherwise. Seemingly trying to distance itself from just another anime convention, Japan Ex London will give equal focus to the whole culture of Japan – from martial arts, music and traditions to food, games and technology.  

Amecon 2007 – 10-12th August 

The Amecon committee surprised many at the tail end of 2006 when they announced that their next convention would be held in 2007, rather pleasingly breaking their previous bi-annual pattern. The Leicester based event has fast become one of the pivotal dates on UK anime fans’ calendars and while they’re keeping details of guests and special events close to their chests at the moment, a steady trickle of news in the coming months should build excitement before the date itself. 

Fuyucon 2007 – 19-21 October 

The newcomer to the UK anime convention scene holds its debut show in Nottingham. Details are still pretty thin on the ground at the moment but the organisers have announced Helen McCarthy as their first guest, a true veteran of anime fandom having founded several UK anime magazines and author of numerous books on the medium, as well as a brief stint as a voice actress. 

There will doubtless be many more shows to look forward to in 2007 – the Birmingham Comics show will be returning at the end of the year, as well as several Collectormania and Memorabilia shows and more besides. Now, let me get back to pummelling my PC into the ground…

New UK DVD Picks for 29/01/2007

 

The Simpsons Season Nine 

Arguably the last of the good years of The Simpsons, season nine hits shelves next week sporting the tonne of extras we’ve come to expect from previous seasons, including audio commentary for all episodes, deleted scenes, animation showcases, sketch gallery, featurettes, TV commercials and quite possibly a kitchen sink.

Otogi Zoshi Volume 3

 

No-one appreciates quality anymore… Otogi Zoshi is definitely one of the hidden gems of anime series currently being released in the UK, a blistering samurai drama that makes a major change in direction at the end of this volume. Extras include discussions of the historical events featured in the show and various behind the scenes materials. 

Doctor Who: New Beginnings 

A collection of classic Doctor Who episodes, charting the transition form Tom Baker to Peter Davison and including the stories ‘The Keeper of Traken’, ‘Logopolis’ and ‘Castrovalva’. The three discs are slipcased together and come with the usual hefty array of extras from the BBC archives. 

That’s it for this week. Thoughts? Comments? Hatemail? Contact me at mattkamen@gmail.com