Bro-op: Comiccon Brussels 2016 review

A few weeks ago, I was refreshing away on Twitter (hit me up, I’m @torettox84) when a Promoted tweet mentioned ComicCon Brussels being in March. I didn’t realize this was a thing, so I contacted my brother and bro-op partner @kenobixions, to see if he wanted to go.

Him being a bigger nerd than I am, was immediately interested, and he ordered the tickets. And it’s all downhill from there. Just kidding, or am I?

Comiccon Brussels, where geeks meet… vendors?

Tickets for CCBX were €15, which is more than we usually pay for Gamescon tickets. Gamescon is our “holy grail” – we’ll be visiting the gaming walhalla for the third time this year – so that already made us raise an eyebrow. We remembered another event in Brussels, that was a “Gaming Event” which translated to four game development companies and a literal stand for MediaMarket, a retailer for electronics and the likes.

So, we head to Brussels, and we manage to get there in one piece. We could use the parking under the event hall itself which was pretty nice. Walking distance was a few hundred meters, and that’s where the queuing started. After waiting in a rapidly advancing line for thirty or so minutes, we could enter the hall and we were ready to breathe in the nerddom.

What we usually like to do is scout the area before committing to doing something. After having spotted a Witcher necklace and some shot glasses dedicated to the Purple Prince of Darkness, the Joker, we thought we were going to see the awesome stuff.

Wrong. So very, very wrong

Comiccon Brussels can be summarized in a few bullet points.

  • Vendors of merchandise. Lots of them
  • C-list celebrities.
  • Entertainment. Well, not really.

The entire main hall was dedicated to vendors of the same products. Shirts, toys, and other merchandise. Surprisingly few Manga, or actual comics caught our atention. It all became sort of a blur as they all pushed the same merchandise with the exception of maybe two or three vendors.

I remember seeing someone sell “mead” and other related, RPG-y brews which was interesting. There were replicas of game weapons, a vendor of wooden sculptures and the rest was “generic convention stuff”.  You could compare it to the Merchandise hall of Gamescon, if you ignore that the Gamescon secion had way more variety.

After having cruised past the vendors and buying something each – K bought the Joker shot glasses and  bought the Witcher necklace from one of the few vendors who actually seemed to enjoy being there (he made a sales pitch like “So, this item is magic, helps with spells, and leads to adventures… I’ll sell it for €9…”) we were basically done.

There were two artists signing their work. I don’t know a lot about comics, so that might’ve been a missed opportunity. Still. Two artists? That’s, well… underwhelming.

And then came the money grab alley. First there was the photo boot, where you could make a photo of yourself and a C-list celebrity – believe me, fellow nerds, I am not a series buff but they really are obscure as fuck – for “only €20”.

Want to know what would have been better value for your money than spending that $20? Taking a picture of one of the cosplay players. They were there, and the costumes weren’t all fantastic, but hey, that’s life. And no, a FREAKING CHARIZARD ONESIE is not COSPLAYING. That’s just walking around in a pyjama. I dared K to pull the tail of Charizard but he refused. Coward.

And if taking selfies with C-list celebrities isn’t sad enough, there was a sadder option. There were five or six actors from “The Empire Strikes Back” whose signature you could acquire for €20.

“OH MY GOD, THAT IS SO EXCITING.”

Except it’s not.

I’m not a big Star Wars buff. I’ve seen all the movies (Saw the Force Awakens twice in theatres because I could), I know all the characters, I know the storylines and played some game. I know stuff. But I’m not a buff like my brother, K. He read books on Star Wars. He owns a freakin’ Encyclopedia ‘nd shit.

And not even him recognized the C-list celebrities.

Want to make it sadder? There were boards behind each actor to point out who they played. And EVEN THEN, none of the characters rung a bell, which makes me assume they’re the sort of “actors” that try to bank on the fact that they appeared in a popular movie franchise for ten seconds.

One of them played a Storm Trooper. And a Snow Trooper. And basically, all sorts of generic trooper. Talk about dragging people to a Con just because they were in a movie.

Anyway, after passing the C-list Celebrity Hall Of Lame, we headed to the entertainment hall, realized there was literally nothing interesting to do there (The gaming zone was two Xboxes. We counted them. Okay, we guestimated). The stage for the musicians was the size of your bed room. The booze and food was overprized.

Conclusion

Going to Comiccon Brussels was something I wanted to do, because I’m trying to make 2016 a year where I do all sorts of things. But, if I’ve got to be blunt… Comiccon Brussels is basically an overpriced fair where everyone is selling the same product, and where people who thing they’re important because of that thing they did get their minute in the spotlight.

Will we be going back? Ehhhhhh. Unlikely.

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