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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Portsmouth Comic Con'24

Updated: May 17

What a weekend this was; from the amazing atmpsopare and experinces to the cosplay and panels. Each year this event becomes... more; and there's so many things to mention.

Initial arrival

This year my experince was also very different because Henry joined me on day two. It's an awesome event I have enjoyed attending for a few years, so it was lovely to be able to share this with him.

The easy travel options made this event so accessable for me, particually of benifit when attending with a little one. We opted to travel by train, which is just a 3 minute walk from the Guildhall. There's also the Park and Ride option, which I used last year.

On arrival I recieved a booklet with schedules for talks, panels and activities, also with a site map. I dont think these were available in previous years, or maybe I missed them. But having this really helped me plan my day, and know where I needed to be (and when). I was also helped a couple of times by Event Staff who pointed out spaces I had'nt seen yet or the best ways to get from one spot over to another (and avioding some of the busier walkways).

The Main Floor

Apart from walking through on the way to another spot, I spent a good amount of time wondering around the Guildhall. Checking out some of the stalls and exhibitors. There's a good range of comics, games, memorabilia, collectables, franchise merchandise and toys. It was great to see event regulars I have spoken to before here again. Chatting with them it was great hear how returning as an exhibitor has been benifitial for them in building awareness and support for their projects and brands. Unfortunately I didnt manage to have full conversations with everyone this time, but it was still great to see, whats becoming a Portsmouth Comic Con Community.

On the second day while Henry was with me, having access the the seats on the ground floor and in the upstairs circle really helped when we just needed to have a break and sit down. We were both very grateful that Henry could get out of his carried for a little while and have a sit down.

The Experience Zone

Last year this was a Jurassic Park theme, this year Star Wars and I hear from one of the panel discussions the plan is that this area chages theme each year. I love that as the plan. This is a really good use of space and with the wider path really nicely accessable for pushchairs, walking aids and those just wanting to get outside. This is the space that I think is also most easerly missed, just by the nature of it being at the back of the building. So definitely look at the map and ask the helpful Event Staff where things are if you're not sure.

Also the droids were amazing, just look at them! Plus the Star Wars Experience displays.


On the Saturday I managed to attend a few (Shooting for the Stars, Game Boys to Girl Gamers, Dr Who Panel, SOS Ghostbusters), on the Sunday we moved between the Speakers Corner and Main Stage quite often, so it was more parts of the performances and conversations. Henry very much enjoyed the Spider-Man and Frozen Heroes Dance, the Cosplay Parade and the Dance Battle.

Again this year I found the panels really interesting, and that they really added to potentally similar conversations from last year. Even two panel sessions on Saturday appeared to be similar but had very different content (from my point of view). 'How to become a content creator' focused more on establishing your characters, developing your attire/ cosplay and the value of collaborating with other creators and photographers. While 'What it takes to become a successful social media content creator' felt more focused playing with/discovering different cosplays/ characters and being safe online; with mention of the potential harassment and sexualisation that can happen particularly for female cosplayers.

I was so grateful to hear the insights from both panels. The practical insights on how someone can get started and the collaborations that can help seemed to result in real interest (in the audience), and I imagine many follow up conversations. The 'What it takes' panel I'll reflect on for longer, maybe because I think has a greater links to my usual conversations around mental health and wellbeing, and the importance of strong support networks. A huge thank you to Fay, Reyla, Rose and Emel for the things they shared within that panel.

While I couldn't catch the whole panel discussion 'Game Boys to Girl Gamers' had some really interesting talking points and highlighted the role gender has played, not in gaming, but in game marketing over the years. Another really interesting topic, and one I hope gets more time next year as well. A huge thank you to Becky for sharing on that panel.

There were a number of other panels I'd hoped to attend, but didn't make it to. I think that highlights one of the things I love about Portsmouth Comic Con, as great as the stalls, exhibitors and main stage are, do check out the panels, they are amazing!  

None of the panel rooms I attended were full, I do wonder if people miss these or maybe its just more niche in terms of interst? If you are reading this and thinking of attending next year, please visit at least one panel and workshop, they really are great.


The two workshops I visited were both very creative and really fitted into an obvious overlap with wellbeing activities. The Seekers Create interactive act (drawing and colouring) space was a lovely gallery of colour, experinces and fun. Providing a space to be creative on the walls, floor... and come to think of it I didn't look on the ceiling, but pretty much all surfaces were the canvas. This space was located next to the new Quiet Room, which had moved into a bigger room providing more space for those wishing or needing to take a break.

The Paint and Take Workshop did require slightly more concentration; with miniature mystical figurine painting hosted by Everstromn Hobbies. With the level of concentration and the type of conversations happening, this was truely a mental health wellbeing activity by another name. When I talked with the Team they also mentioned their interactions with neurodiverse individuals and how supportive and impactful activities like figurine painting can be. For me this highlighted the well-managed balance Portsmouth Comic Con has with booking exhibitors and experiences. More quite and mindful activities and workshops are not just inclusive to be inclusive, this is a huge part of these communities. Being accessable, welcoming, and offering different experiences for a range of needs and interests.


There were of course lots of amazing exhibitors, check the Comic Con website for a full list. But there are few exhibitors that caught my eye this year:

Zookie - I first chatted to Keri last year, it was great to see Keri and Zookie back again this year and to hear how things are going. Do you know Zookie? He's a carefree dragon with an unstoppable appetite for doughnuts. What's not to love about that as a start?

Marc Silk - Marc is so welcoming and well placed each year. He says hi to seemingly every single person that walks past him, with an occasional Scooby-Doo laugh that can not fail to get your attention. Plus a range of voice acting roles, you will definitely know at least one of his characters and be drawn in.

Nomi - I didnt get a chance to chat with Nomi this time, but we had a great chat a while back on the Podcast which you can listen to here. Nomi has a great range of art work you can check out on Instagram, maybe even commission a piece.

Andy's Man Club - I have heard about Andy's Man Club a few times but didn't really know very much about them; so it was great to finally get to talk to a couple of guys on the stand. If you also don't know about them; Andy's Man Club is a men’s suicide prevention charity, offering free peer-to-peer support groups across the United Kingdom and online. I'm hoping there's potentially some future conversations we can have to share some more insights.

Pompey Pride - It was great to see Pride represention at Comic Con. I feel this stand adds a lot to the event in terms of accessability, representation and support. Plus, a great reminder of the upcoming Pompey Pride event on Saturday 6th July.

Mary Rose - It was great to see the team displaying a few items and hosting the bow and arrow again. Much like Pompey Pride, it's great to see local events, venues, activities and landmarks collaborating. Having been to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard a few times in the last 9 months I definitely recommend visiting if you haven't been recently.

Tim and Bash - It was awesome to talk with one of the creators of Tim and Bash. A new online series about a firefighter who adopts a dragon. The webcomic series has been publising videos monthly since December 2022, with a vision to produce a long-format Youtube series which tells the story of Tim and Bash, through a documentary crew who follow their adventures. It was great to hear more about the creative process and the longer term aspirations the creators have. Definitely watch their videos on YouTube and Instagram.

They are just a core part of your experience at Comic Con. Most people stop and watch the cosplay parades (both days), and even if you don't; we all enjoy the experience of being in the environment they help create. A safe, positive and supportive environment for people to come in their cosplays and be welcomed and celebrated. There’s also more and more Dream Team are doing throughout the year to engage and support a cosplay community in Portsmouth and online. It was great to chat with Olly from Dream Team at the event and hear many of the things he'd mentioned wanting to set-up when we spoke on the podcast in July'23 have happened. If you are in anyway interested in getting started with cosplay or looking to build your own community definitely connect with them on social media.

Taking Henry

I loved taking Henry to his first Comic Con. It was so lovely to be able to share not just the event but also photography with him; as we walked around and took photos. I was forever thankful for the seating upstairs and in Speakers Corner where Henry had a chance to get out of the carrier, where I could feed him (and myself) and we could have a little break. I did see plently of families with pushchairs and there was space for these, but personally I much preferred the mobility of having Henry in the carrier. Henry isn't the lightest 9 month old, and after a few hours of straps over the shoulders for his carrier, the backpack with his things in and my camera bag; its fair to say taking those off at the end of the day felt nice. But all totally worth it.


Once again Portsmouth Comic Con was an amazing event, maybe even better than last year. And yet, somehow I get the feeling 2025 could be even better again.

This year my highlight was obviously having our Henry and Daddy time attending on the Sunday. My other highlights were the panels, what I saw was great and I know I missed loads of other awesome panels and workshops. The expanding 'experience' spaces, are great. If there was space to have large Jurrasic Park, Star Wars and Dr Who experiences that would be amazing, but we'd still want more (right?) so I like the idea of rotating the use of the outside space each year to keep this fresh and exciting. Again the inclusion of some local events, support, spaces like Portsmouth Pride, Andy’s Man Club and the Mary Rose is great. And, of course, so much of the event is supported by having amazing cosplay exhibitors and attendees; so Dream Team Portsmouth are a must have.

A huge well done to everyone involved in organising and hosting Portsmouth Comic Con!

Thank you to the Guildhall and Comic Con Team for inviting me along to share my insights and photography. If you, like me, are already excited for next year - get your tickets for the 3rd and 4th May 2025 now!


Blogger's note: This post does include sponsored content; as I was provided a media pass for the event. However, Portsmouth Comic Con (and all exhibitors and speakers) did not ask to and have not seen this post before it is published, nor have they instructed me on what to say. The views, experiences, thoughts and insights expressed in this post are my own. The links included in this post are direct web links and are not affiliate links.


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