This weekend I was an attendee at this year’s Heroes and Villains Fan Fest which was held at Olympia in London. I have been to Comic Con a few times but this was my first HVFF so I was understandably excited at what was to come. To be honest I had no idea what to expect, I knew it was going to be similar to Comic Con but also different.
HVFF was set up in 2015 with a different fan experience in mind by Stephen Amell and James Frazier of Walker Stalker, the Walking Dead Con fan experience. Their idea was to move away from the retail heavy experience that Comic Con gave and offer a more intimate, friendly atmosphere. It certainly worked because they have expanded the experience from around the United States to across the world to the United Kingdom and Australia and New Zealand. I have no doubt that this idea will spread even further and soon be a world wide experience that fans all over the globe will be able to participate in and enjoy. To learn more about it you can read this article
Considering what had happened recently in Manchester I knew things would be a bit different in Olympia. For starters the increased security measures that I’m sure everyone knew would be coming were in place but were so subtle that you hardly noticed anything new. Credit must go out to the organisers and the Metropolitan Police for doing such an amazing job keeping us all safe so the experience could go off like it should. Credit should also go out to all those who attended. In travelling to London to attend we were thumbing our noses to all those who are trying to prevent us living our lives like we should, freely. The purpose of terrorism is to terrorise and to do that they pick soft targets, civilians and by picking those soft targets their goal is to instil in us so much fear that our society is disrupted. We stop going out, we divert from our normal routine and the moment we subscribe to that fear, the very second we allow that to inhabit our lives is the moment they win. We have to carry on as normal as possible and that’s why this weekend was such a success. We turned out in the thousands and we all enjoyed ourselves. Stephen Amell, John Barrowman and others all commented on the bravery that brought us to the venue, which was very humbling because quite honestly I never gave it a second thought. I knew about the increased security but I never once allowed it to make me think I shouldn’t go. There were quite a few touching moments when the events in Manchester were mentioned and one of the guests, Mehcad Brookes from Supergirl even made provision for anyone from Manchester who had signed up for a photo op with him he made sure they got it for free. It was his way of showing support to all those grieving families whose lives were touched by the tragedy there. His panel session was halted more than once when someone from Manchester was asking a question was given a hug by him to show compassion. It was beautiful and real, and even after his session ended I saw him chatting with tearful attendees as he listened intently tot their tales which was always followed by a huge hug from this bearlike man. There was a real sense of community at this event that went beyond the geekdom that is usually visible at events of this nature, this was different. This was a community that encompassed everything and it was fantastic how our guests who we came to worship eventually wound up supporting us.