Dutch ComicCon retrospective

Last weekend (18-19th November) I was lucky enough to be a guest at Heroes Dutch ComicCon (winter edition), thanks to the American Book Center of Amsterdam. This necessitated my first flight this century, which in turn necessitated a fair bit of “watch what the person in front of you in the queue is doing and, if it seems like they know what they’re doing, copy them”. Happily, although my carry-on bag failed its initial security check at Manchester (I forgot that my eye drops weren’t in the sealable clear plastic bag with the rest of the fluids, pastes, and gels), no one arrested me for being an international menace, and easyJet were on time. Also, it turned out that I haven’t developed a fear of flying in the last 25 years, which was useful.

On the Friday evening I went to a party for the convention’s organisers, volunteers, and guests, where I met Tiemen from ABC, as well as one of the bookers of Dutch Pro Wrestling, who was involved with the cosplay part of the con (we got chatting about his Bullet Club T-shirt). However, I didn’t stay long at the party, mainly because the music was incredibly loud, and also they were playing Oasis.

Saturday started with breakfast in a conservatory/garden centre:

This would be the last daylight I saw, because after this I was picked up and taken to the convention centre, whereupon I was ushered into the Green Room and promptly met Elijah Wood, who was there to do far more high-profile things than me. He was very friendly, and graciously agreed to be in a selfie with me after I explained how the Lord of the Rings movies had put me in touch with a group of friends even before they came out, and with whom I was still in touch to this day.

After that, it was down to the American Book Center stall, where they had arranged for a veritable wall of my books, plus a table for me to stand behind:

(strangely enough, even though my face was right there, some people didn’t realise that I had written the books in question, and after they’d come over and chatted about them, and decided they wanted to buy one, were confused when I offered to sign them)

I was taken back by the sheer scale of the place, having only been to one ComicCon before (MCM in London in 2021). For context, this was one hall of FIVE. They were apparently expecting some 55,000 people over the weekend:

And there were some incredible things on display, including a life-size TIE fighter, and a giant LEGO Bowser:

I also met the spectacular cosplayers of Antelion Cosplay and the 180th Krieg, who asked me to sign their armour and banner respectively:

On the Saturday I did a Q&A about writing for Games Workshop at the so-called ‘Cozy Corner’ (a small stage where you could still barely hear anything over the noise of the con!), and on Sunday I did a panel in the same place alongside Dutch authors Cathinca von Sprundel and Lysander Mazee, who were signing their own books beside me at the ABC stall.

All in all, it was a brilliant weekend. I saw so, so many brilliant cosplays: a lot of what I suspect were manga or anime characters I didn’t recognise, the usual plethora of Jedi and Sith, quite a bit of Grishaverse, several One-Piece characters, a few Geralts, not as many Deadpools or Harley Quinns as I saw at MCM ComicCon, a few Owl House, two lots of She-Ra and Catra (one with bonus Glimmer), lots of variations on Spider-Man, and so on and so on. It was great to see all the effort people had put in, and also to play the perennial game, “cosplay or goth?” (one person lost this when they thought I was the villain from FarCry 3).

Huge thanks to Tiemen and the American Book Center for inviting me over. 10/10, would Netherlands again.

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