On the 22 November I got up and looked forward to a train journey from Rugby to Birmingham International.

Now, I live in Kent and the International train stations down this way go to the continent by TRAIN. You can get on a train at Ebbsfleet or Ashford and get off in Paris, Brussels or Disneyland [wtf would anyone want to go there?]. Birmingham International, by contrast, requires you to get off the train and go through the airport to board a plane. Same end result I guess but not as cool as a train going under the English Channel.

I like the trains from Rugby to Birmingham. They don’t cost a great deal, there’s a reasonable car park close to Rugby station, are always busy and comfortable. There were plenty of people dressed up at the station heading to Comicon in their cosplay outfits.

Sally and I had tickets to go to the MCM Birmingham Comicon at the NEC, we were meeting her brother there. I had bought an express ticket which apparently meant I could enter the hall an hour before Sally, whose brother bought their tickets. I think it’s worth pointing out that a glance through the official online programme produced absolutely no times that events were happening. This was annoying as it would have been nice to plan the day out while at home rather once in the venue and having to try and find a timetable.

Because I got in to the arena before Sally and her brother I went for a walk to figure out the lie of the land. I tried to find times of events, checked the autographing queues and looked at some of the shops there.

When it got close to the time for Sally to enter the event I wandered back and found her. I had expected a decorated hall with plenty of events. Comicon seemed to be a mostly trading event with many many shops selling all types of comic and anime stuff. There was an arena in a dome with some events but the cosplay was quite late in the afternoon and we decided to head home before then. We found a small stage area where the celebs were going to be paraded and interviewed. We hung around there to see Liv Tyler but didn’t listen to the interview. In one corner of the hall there was a Storm Trooper display:

They looked great. Although I think some of them looked a little short to be storm troopers.

We wandered around the autograph area where I saw various people from good sci fi shows over the years. I didn’t get their autographs as I don’t think that sort of thing bothers me. They are just people. Adding their signature to something may make it more valuable but doesn’t really change the product. I was quite impressed to see Virginia Hey as I remember her in Farscape. Steve Austin, of Six Million Dollar Man fame, was there too and I could see him. Liv Tyler also signed some stuff if you wanted.

I was already aware that these guys charge for signatures and it didn’t bother me particularly that they did but the prices really did vary! The bog standard celebrities were GBP5 for a signature. However, it would appear that the more famous you are the more you can charge:

That’s a lot of money just to be close to someone and see them sign something of yours!

On the way out of comicon Sally and I decided to find some geocaches as there were two within easy reach. It didn’t take long but as this was just after the Paris attacks it seemed weird to be nosing around near a train station and massive exhibition centre. We found two, as you can see below:

NEC Caches

I did buy a few comics direct from the writers who were based in writers corner. I have yet to read these but will report back once I have.