Comic Con Belfast: 10 reasons why it should draw you in
The event – at the King's Hall in Belfast on 7 and 8 June – will be the highlight of the year for sci-fi and fantasy fans, gamers, comic collectors, movie buffs and anime enthusiasts.
1. Top fantasy actor James Cosmo, who plays Jeor Mormont, the Old Bear, in Game Of Thrones and who was in Braveheart, Highlander and The Chronicles Of Narina, will be making a personal appearance in Belfast
2. Red Dwarf stars Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn and Hattie Hayridge – aka Rimmer, Kryten and Holly the Ship's Computer – will be meeting fans, signing autographs and presenting on-stage panels on both days of the show.
3. Former S Club 7 singer Hannah Spearritt, who played the intrepid Abby Maitland in the sci-fi drama series Primeval for five seasons, will be in Belfast for both days of the event.
4. Two of Northern Ireland's top comic artists will be at the sold-out Comic Village. They are Will Simpson, who has produced storyboards for Game Of Thrones and worked on Marvel Comics, and John McCrea, best known for his collaborations with writer Garth Ennis on titles such as The Demon, Hitman and The Boys: Herogasm.
5. World famous comic artists Simon Bisley, best known for ABC Warriors, Lobo and Slaine, and fellow Slaine artist Glen Fabry, who currently lives in Northern Ireland and who is working with Duncan Jones on the film Preacher, will also be hosting at the Comic Village.
6. Gaming voiceover star Raphael Sbarge will be attending both days. He is known as the voice of Kaidan Alenko for Mass Effect (1, 2 and 3) as well as other video games such as Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic II: The Sith Lords as Carth Onasi; and as RC-1262 "Scorch" in Star Wars: Republic Commando.
7. Fans of Manga and Anime – Japanese comics and animation – will be well catered for as the show's organisers expect a big interest in the stand from the leading UK anime distributor Manga Entertainment.
8. There will be rampaging robots throughout the weekend, as Robots Live bring with them the 100kg stars of much-loved TV show Robot Wars, as well as a Cyberball arena where visitors can pilot their own robot in a game of robo-football.
9. For gamers there will be a chance to get interactive and hands-on with the recent release LEGO: The Hobbit on the PlayStation 4 as well as a retro games room.
10. Irishman Bryan Cooney joined with Englishman Paul Miley to create MCM events several years ago and recently held its first event in Dublin. The company is not linked to Comic-Con International, which holds its massive event in San Diego, Calfornia, every year.