The Comic Con was held in Vienna, for the very first time!
From November 21 to November 22, 2015, Hall D of the “Messe Wien” (“Vienna Fair”) building was bustling with geeks, nerds and other pop-culture interested folks.
And I was there!
Maybe I should state a few things in advance, before I start with my report. First, I am not a professional reporter (or photographer, as you will notice) nor am I in the main target audience- when it comes to comics, I am more of a noob/casual fan. Second, I have never been to any Convention before. Third, although it was weekend I had to squeeze my Comic Con time between some pesky real-life obligations I could not postpone, that’s why I missed some of the main panels.
Means, I will maybe not be able to cover all details more experienced Con- visitors might want to know. I just made it up while I went along, to quote a famous movie character.
But I can safely say that it was a fun experience.
Austria is a small country and Vienna is, compared to other European capitals, rather small, with a population of roughly 1,7 million people. Austria is also, when it comes to broad acceptance of pop-culture, still lagging behind other countries, the tyranny of the fiend of everything creative, Michael Haneke, is not over yet.
That’s why the success of the VIECC -the tickets were sold out quickly- is pretty surprising and encouraging.
I have no complaints about the organisation. There were a lot of visitors, yet the aisles were wide enough so that at no point I was impeded in moving through the crowd. The area was also apparently very accessible for visitors in wheelchairs and very kid-friendly.
The sanitary rooms were always clean and very close, there was no need to cross three halls to get to them. Food and drinks were not exactly cheap, but not perversely expensive either, like on certain concerts and festivals I attended before. The temperature was fine, it was never too hot (as it can happen in crowded places), nor too cold (winter finally arrived). I was also pleased that the music was never too loud or too annoying.
One thing I did not really get was the “weapon control”. Apparently, you had to turn in certain fake weapons before entering the hall. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask the guys there what the guidelines were. I saw machine gun replicas and baseball bats (real ones?) lying on a table, although I also saw some visitors inside the hall with some of those. What was the difference?
A big thanks to the organizers of the VIECC who granted me press credentials! That way I could retreat and relax in the very nice press lounge, where I got free access to computers and enjoy some damn good coffee when I got tired. A privilege I admittedly enjoyed (and made use of) a lot!
Your needs for comic books/graphic novels of all kinds and geek-friendly T-shirts, toys and apparel were thoroughly covered. I left a good chunk of money there and if my bank account was not going through hard times right now, it would have been double the amount. Merchandise-Mania!
Most notable trends were an abundance of Funko POP! figures that covered any franchise imaginable and tons of Neko Cat– and Alpacasso– plushies. There was generally surprisingly quite a lot of stuff for Japanophiles, from T-shirts over (of course) Mangas to Japanese sweets and soft drinks.
Some of Vienna’s finest comic book stores had booths, many artists presented their work and you could buy custom-made drawings like a “Manga-fied” portrait of yourself for example. Cosplay stars like LeeAnna Vamp sold prints of their photos and posed for photos.
Other attractions: There was a big air cushion you could leap down into from a hydraulic lift as a part of an Assassin’s Creed- promotion. Free shoulder and neck massages for tired visitors were offered, which was a nice idea.
I am not that much of an autograph hunter, that’s why I did not make any photos with the star guests of the VIECC and left that place in the queue for more dedicated fans.
The most famous guest might have been Giancarlo Esposito, known as “Gus” from Breaking Bad.
Furthermore there was Neve McIntosh (Dr. Who), Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), Sonita Henry (Fifth Element, Star Trek), Finn Jones (Game of Thrones), William Houston (Dark Souls II, Sherlock Holmes), Eva Habermann (Lexx- The Dark Zone) and Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones).
The list of comic book artists was led by Jae Lee, who got an Eisner Award for his work on Marvel’s The Inhumans and was chosen by Stephen King for a six year collaboration on the Dark Tower comics. Miguel Diaz is mainly known for his work on The Smurfs, while Emanuela Lupacchino is active as an artist for DC, like for the Supergirl, Batman & Robin and JLA comics.
Other artists present were Stefan Strasser (Chicken Wings), Mahmud Asrar (Indestructible Hulk, Wolverine) and Nicolas Mahler (graphic novel Unbehagen).
A full list can be found here.
Cosplay stars you could meet at the VIECC were LeeAnna Vamp, Kana, Leon Chiro, Nana Kuronoma, Othien and Jacob & Evie Frye. Look for pics here.
As Gaming guests the youtubers ChaosFlo44 and VeniCraft were invited.
…to be continued…
Tomorrow I will conclude my report with the best, most original and funniest Cosplays from the VIECC!
And some other events as well as my final thoughts!
…and photos of all the merchandise I bought!