MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU! – The first Comic Convention in Gibraltar

It’s not every day you find yourself wedged between Wolverine and Wonder Woman, but this is about to become a new possibility for the Llanitos. The Gibraltar International Comic Con (GICC) 2017 is the first ever multi-genre entertainment and comic convention that is to grace our Rock annually as from the 5th May, promising an unforgettable experience for all. If horror, animation, anime, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, web comics, fantasy novels and the mythical world of Marvel is your bag, then you’re in luck.

This year, GICC will be a two-day event held between Friday the 5th and Saturday the 6th of May, and will host stalls, seminars and a wide variety of events based on movies, series, comics, games & pop culture. Thursday the 4th will see a special preview for select guests pre-registered for the full event, as well as professionals and exhibitors. Amidst this preview is the game, ‘Star Dash’ with special guests. May the 4th be with you!

Behind this event is Sunbow Projects, a collaborative group of Gibraltarian and International professionals and artists who aim to promote Gibraltar by staging unique events on the Rock. You may have heard of, or even been a part of, ‘ZDay’; an interactive apocalypse-themed ‘street play’ that saw teams of locals work together to evade hordes of zombies.

The GICC has been made possible thanks to a number of dedicated hands, of which a pair belong to Peter Mckay, whose involvement includes contacting guests and societies, releasing updates and promotions, and dealing with a lot of the marketing and members. Peter runs the ‘Gibraltar Comic & Anime Convention Society’ group on Facebook which he formed last year and which has now garnered over 500 members.

Speaking with Peter, we picked his brain for what makes this event so unique, and got the low-down on what the weekend will consist of.

How does this event differ from any other comic conventions?

This year, rather than focusing on actor guests, we’re bringing people over that work in other departments in the movie business, for example: special effects, make-up, props and costumes. We feel that speaking with these guests will give you a more accurate overview of what it’s like to be in the movie/series/game business, offering a unique learning opportunity to anyone who has always been interested in the subject.

Do you have any special guests planned?

So far, we have a number of guests that can be found on our website including François Petit, the man behind the mask of one of my all-time favourite bad guys growing up, ‘Sub-Zero’ from the Mortal Kombat franchise.

Also a part of the line-up is Hollywood executive producer and screenwriter Steven Bratter, who has had over 25 years of experience in the industry working with some of the biggest names in show business including Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock and Stan Lee to name but a few. Joining Steven is costume prop-maker Simone Michaux (who has worked on both Marvel and DC as well as Power Rangers and Dr Who), Robb Crafer (prosthetics and makeup artist for Maleficent, World War Z and Guardians of the Galaxy), special effects engineer Will Bazeley (Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Doctor Strange), Jamie Seymour who has been involved in iconic hits such as Thor: The Dark World and Game of Thrones, and lastly, the aptly named Sarah Scarer Smith, whose face and body art will transport you into a different dimension altogether.

Are you going to cater to most/any other fandoms asides from comics (film, television, roleplay games (RPG) etc.)?

Absolutely! Our guests have all worked in the film and TV industry. We also have book writers and illustrators present for those with creative minds like myself. Gibraltar’s Tabletop Society will also be there and hosting games.

Will you be bringing over exclusive merchandise to sell?

We’re still working on the details, but without going into too much detail… yes! We will have ‘merch’ on sale.

What are YOU into personally?

I am a family man first, so most of my hobbies tend to include them. I’ll go to conventions with family when I can afford it, play board games or go to the cinema with them, my son is basically a clone of me so we get along nicely. I’ve been a geek since before it was cool. I love Star Wars, Marvel & DC and I like games, both console and tabletop. I am also a roleplayer (no dress-up yet!) and I tend to lean towards anything creative: from writing a story or poem to drawing, painting or creating things like scenery for miniatures – I get a lot of my creative aspects from my mum, who has been into craftwork since I was a child.

Have you got any tips for people who may be interested in attending their first Comic Convention, but don’t know quite what to expect?

Get tickets online prior to the event to prevent queuing and sell-outs.

Turn up with an open mind.

Get involved with the cosplay (the art of dressing up as a fictional character from TV/cinema, books/comics or video games), and perhaps bring some extra clothes in case you’d like to change.

Keep hydrated. It’s Gib, it’s hot, and you may be in costume. Have a water handy.

Bring some spending money. You might see something that catches your eye but don’t fancy dashing off to a cashpoint.

Don’t be shy. If someone is in cosplay, they expect people to ask for photos! Just be respectful and ask first.

Bring your kids, bring you parents, bring your friends – GICC has stuff to cater for everyone.

Get involved – if you see a tabletop game happening and you’re interested, ask! Same goes for the Star Dash game.

Have fun! Really, that’s the most important thing for us.

Why is this a good event for Gibraltar?

I’ve been to conventions in Spain, UK and even the USA; one thing they all have in common is acceptance, I’ve never felt unwelcome at a ‘con’. In these cons, people can be someone else without judgement, there’s no politics, religion or gender in conventions. Gibraltar is a multicultural place with many religions and we’ve generally been a place of acceptance. With all the political issues happening right now, I think the GICC can act as a reminder that we can be accepting and welcoming to everyone and anyone. It can also act as an escape for people who have trouble in their daily lives, a place to meet others, to shop, to learn from the seminars and their respective industries, to find others alike and to feel at home. GICC is a convention made by geeks, for the geeks… and everyone else! So please, come along and support the event!

With such an exciting plethora of activities, this year’s GICC is sure to be an enjoyable action-packed day for all. Make those masks, collect your capes and grab some gloves… We’ll see you on the other side.

Visit www.gibraltarinternationalcomiccon.com.

words | Sophie Clifton-Tucker