Collectormania events are similar (although smaller) to LFCCs – loads of geeks, loads of cosplay, loads of guests to meet, yadda yadda. Collectormania’s take place at the Stadium MK (home of the MK Dons football team) in Milton Keynes, about 50 miles north of London.
And so with the memories of October’s Winter London Comic Con barely behind me, along comes Collectormania 20 in November, and the opportunity to meet yet another massive Star Wars legend. He’s a card player, a gambler, a scoundrel. He’s the original owner of the Millennium Falcon. Yes, it’s only Lando bloody Calrissian himself Billy Dee Williams! And as an added bonus, I’ll also get to meet a certain android (sorry, ‘artificial person’). He may be synthetic but he’s not stupid – it’s Bishop from Aliens aka Lance Henriksen!
With Milton Keynes a nice manageable drive away, I set out with my ever faithful geek-in-arms and co-pilot ‘Nien Numb’. We arrive in good time, a little dizzy from navigating Milton Keynes’ many many many roundabouts. It’s a bit nippy so we head into the stadium only to find it to be colder than outside! The scale of the show is much smaller that the LFCC events, but there’s still a decent amount to see. Without wanting to dilly-dally, I head straight to Lando System – wait, Lando’s not a system, he’s a man!
And there he sits, keeping warm in a padded jacket and scarf. I’d previously heard that he can be a little ‘offish’ at conventions, particularly when compared with other Star Wars guest, so I was a little apprehensive. He is indeed a man of few words - he nods and smiles, says a little “hello”, and adds his signature to my The Empire Strikes Back poster – yes that very same poster I got signed earlier in the year by other Star Wars legends. We shake hands and he thanks me when he sees what a delight it is for me to be meeting Lando. Pleased to say that meeting Billy Dee Williams was a great pleasure and a memorable experience, so I’m happy!
And onto Lance Henriksen. He’s a veteran of many great films – The Terminator, Near Dark, Hard Target, No Escape, and Millennium TV series to name but a few. And of course he is Bishop in Aliens. With the sleeve for my Aliens: Special Edition laserdisc in hand, I walk up to Lance. He is as giddy as a geek at a convention! Well, actually he is a geek at a convention! He takes one look at the sleeve, grabs it and marvels “Wow! Laserdisc! Man that’s cool!” He takes his time to open the gatefold to admire it, and proceeds to read the inner sleeve text. I stand there waiting. “Oh yeah, right!” He suddenly realises why I’m there. And I thought the A2's were supposed to be a bit twitchy!
I ask if he could personalise the sleeve to myself and Joanne (aka Nien Numb - real name’s out the bag!). He then calls over to her “Hello Joanne!” After he signs my laserdisc sleeve, we engage in a bit of Aliens banter and then I ask him for a posed photo. “But who will take the photo?” he asks. And then when he sees Nien Nunb ready with camera, he calls to her “Thanks Joanne! Thank you Joanne!” and proceeds to give her a ‘thumbs-up’. What a great guy to meet! Photo in the bag, we shake hands, and he makes sure to shake Nien Nunb’s hand too. It’s guests like this that makes a geek’s convention experience truly memorable!
Then we do the usual browsing of the stalls. Lots of awesome geeky things to look at! I purchase a couple of cool t-shirts and other bits and bobs. And after a couple of photo opportunities with Chewbacca and Gamorrean Guard cosplayers, we decide to call it a day and head home. Brand new signature on my TESB poster in hand, and one lovely looking Aliens: Special Edition laserdisc signed by Bishop himself. Excellent!