ACME Comic Con 2022

I want to start this post off with a quick apology for the delay in getting this post up on the site, you see I was fortunate enough to be granted a press pass for myself and my team to cover the event. This was a big milestone for me, as it made me feel valid as a content creator and journalist. I had such an amazing time over the weekend, and I was so excited to share my thoughts on how ACME Comic Con went. Unfortunately, right after that weekend I was beset with a variety of personal troubles which has meant that this post is going to end up going up closer to ACME’s Rai Con event in November than this one in September.

Anyways, prior to them dropping their Manchester and Glasgow events from 2021 going forward, myself and the majority of my team were regular attendees at MCM’s Comic Con Scotland (in Glasgow). We always enjoyed these events, although I have my issues with them as well, which I’ll elaborate on later. So it was a welcome surprise to see that ACME, who have previously hosted Rai Con, an annual Anime & Manga Convention, which takes place every November, were throwing their hat into the ring so to speak, and taking over the slot which had previously been held by MCM Scotland. 

I was unable to attend their event earlier in the year on March 5th and 6th 2022, but by all accounts it was incredibly well received. I know for a lot of people, they viewed this earlier event as a trial for the potential September one, and that everyone I’ve spoken to about it, who attended the earlier event, felt that it more than sold them the ticket for September. So clearly, for the vast majority of people ACME is doing something right. 

Now I mentioned some misgivings about the old MCM Scotland event, not to sound like an old hipster, but myself and Tori B Bearly have been attending the one in Glasgow since it started back in 2013, and we watched it grow and evolve throughout that time. It had a lot of good elements, but I felt that the last couple of years there was a distinct shift in quality, moving towards a more commercial feel. For example the first few years were an explosion of new and different things, but the last couple of years I really felt like I was seeing the same three stalls selling the same assortment of things. The Artists Alley was still awesome, and still easily my favourite thing about any Comic Con and they always managed to get a nice assortment of guests. I mean I met TomSka three, possibly four years in a row. But nonetheless it had lost some of its charm, and then sadly, and rather unceremoniously it was dropped from the list of returning MCM events.

Fortunately, as I talked about above, we were not left without a proper Glasgow Comic Con for too long, ACME immediately stepped up and took charge, and not only pulled off one, but two phenomenal events. I think they used what MCM had done as a blueprint for the event, and they tried to make the transition as seamless as possible, from utilising the same space, to retaining a similar format and layout. Obviously having MCM as the framework for the event made things easier, but they didn’t just strive to replicate it, this was by no means MCM 2.0, rather they took was worked from previous events, the best elements and added in their own unique ideas to make something that was not only super successful but raised the bar for similar events ran around the country.

I cannot express how much I enjoyed the weekend, I’m usually much less enthused the second day of a Comic Con, I’ve spent the day walking, my shoulder is acting up and frankly I’m just a little overstimulated, and I have no way of knowing if perhaps I just went into this with a different mindset because I was there as a member of the press or if something just felt different about ACME’s Comic Con but honestly I felt energised by the event, it had a nice vibe, a lovely crowd of people in attendance, and it felt fresh and new and more importantly it showcased all the fantastic artists, crafters, creators and cosplayers.

Speaking of which, my first year attending a Comic Con, which also lined up with my first year as blogger/journalist, I wrote a piece for the site about the cosplay community. You can feel free to check that out here, but the focus of the article was on how welcoming, encouraging and supportive the community was, as well as how incredibly talented all these fantastic cosplayers were. I’m in the process of expanding and updating this article as it’s been relatively untouched since it was posted, but if you are interested in sharing your story and promoting your cosplays/social media then drop me a message either on the site, or via social media and we can sort that out. Oh by the way, I’ll be including a bulk drop of all my favourite cosplayers across the two days, make sure and check out my own personal masquerade at the bottom of the page.

Anyway, I usually like to split these types of things into the good and the bad, but other than a request for more seating, there wasn’t really anything I could fault the event on, so let’s move right on to what worked.

Now over the next few paragraphs I’ll be directly promoting some of the stalls I visited during this event. If you aren’t included I promise it’s not because I didn’t like your stall. I’m just limited both by how many words I can write about this event without the article becoming an unwieldy mess, and also even across the two days my actual time was limited so I could not physically attend every single stall, but that’s more a flaw in the passage of time itself that we mortals are subjected to rather than any specific issue with the planning on ACME Comic Con 2022.

So to make this next section a little bit more organised I will be following the lead of ACME and breaking the stalls down into Exhibitors and Artists Alley. Basically what this means is that anyone who is selling merchandise, stock or items from a recognised property, whether it be Anime, Comics, TV or film, they will be placed in Exhibitors, and anyone who is selling their own merchandise or art will be placed in the artists gallery, now obviously there’s some potential for overlap, but I think this is still the easiest way for me to properly promote and talk about all the lovely people I spoke to back in September.

So I touched on this a little above, but I felt that unfortunately MCM Glasgow, the past few years have dipped in quality regarding their Exhibitors, it really felt like you were seeing the same products sold at every stall, with the only potential difference being the price, and sure I bought that Gengar Hoodie, and it has pride of place in my regular rotation of outfits but an awesome find like that was really few and far between. However ACME really injected some freshness into the exhibitors, sure there was some overlap but they were the exceptions rather than the rule, and frankly there were a bunch of stalls that not only had I never seen before but I strongly feel probably wouldn’t have made the cut for MCM.

I also like that there were some Exhibitor stalls who weren’t even selling anything, they were just pop up stalls designed to let the attendees find out more about their organisation. For example as a massive fan of both Star Trek and Star Wars, I was really excited to see societies for both represented at ACME.

Star Trek Group USS Tesla
So I think this was the first stall I stopped at after collecting my press pass and not only were the staff manning the table incredibly polite and convivial but the table itself was jammed full of awesome trinkets and references to the broader Star Trek canon. You can find out more about the group, and maybe enlist on the Tesla yourself by clicking here.

501st Legion
This was another really cool collective of people who are passionate about a franchise. The 501st Legion are as you may or may not have guessed a Star Wars group. Not only did they have the booth but they had a variety of droids roaming around courtesy of the Droid Builders UK, and plenty of people dressed up in movie accurate costumes, who were happy to stop for a picture or two. You can find out more about the 501st Legion by clicking here.

United Kingdom Colonial Marines
I’ve loved the Alien franchise since I was a boy, the Xenomorph, is a truly brutal and fear inducing creature and likewise the Predators who’ve been matched up against them are efficient and dangerous warriors. So I was happy to stop by and talk with the UKCM, and you can find more about them by heading on over to Facebook.

Lorecraft was easily one of the most impressive stalls I visited throughout the entire weekend. Not only was Nicholas incredibly fun to talk with, but he was so passionate about the fabrication of his awesome FX sculptors. The skill that went into making them and the variety and range of sculptures he had on display at ACME were truly amazing. You can find out more by checking out his website.

Tempo Tea Bar
Regular visitors to the site will know that we here at Off the Record are big fans of Tempo Tea Bar, for those of you visiting us for the first time, you can read my thoughts on them by clicking here. Anyway, we of course had to stop off at Tempo Tea Bar’s stall to really make the day complete. We even got to try both of the new flavours made specifically for the event. You can find out more about Tempo Tea Bar, and maybe grab yourself some today by visiting their website.

Auld Pals
Some really good synergy here, with the majority of the cast of Still Game present as guests, this stall was really lined up well. I think I even saw Boaby the Barman pop over for a quick visit at one point. They sell a variety of really cool Still Game merch, from clocks to socks (well underwear at the very least, but that wouldn’t roll off the tongue as well). You can check out their range and maybe buy some for yourself by heading over here

Doki Pottery
I actually completely missed this stall at first, I think I was too distracted by all the awesome cosplayers, but I was sent on a mission to find some Shiba Inu ramen bowls by Avery Dixon of PuppyBandits. They were unfortunately out of the specific size Avery wanted, but we did get a chance to see some of the top notch range of crockery available. Visit their site to find out more.

Dolly Peg Bakery
Not only was the owner of this stall an absolute sweetheart, and not just because they gave me a free Mochi Donut, but the quality of both taste and design on the products available were incredible. If you get a chance to try any of the delectable goods available from the bakery then I recommend you take it. Visit their website for more information. 

Genki Gear T-Shirts
Genki has a lot of really cute designs, and they aren’t limited to just T-shirts, they’ve also got stickers, badges and keyrings. A really good place to get some really neat paraphernalia. Head on over to their site for more information, and to maybe grab some of the stuff for yourself. 

Heathmaid Emporium
Tori and I are massive D&D fans, we love Critical Role, The Adventure Zone and most of all we love the awesome folks at The Oxventure’s Guild. So it is fair to say that we are also dice daft, Tori even made their own super rad homemade dice tower. But why make something yourself when you can go to the professionals. Heathmaid Emporium sells and manufactures a variety of items including dice, dice boxes, dice trays, dice bags and dice towers. They have an amazing array of dice related products suited for anyone who loves to cast the die. You can head on over to Etsy to grab something for yourself. 

Helensburgh Soapy Suds
The Lovely folks from Helensburgh Soapy Suds were so sweet and happy to chat away that I didn’t really want to leave their stall. They have an incredible range of soaps and bath bombs shaped and fashioned after characters from video games. Even the two people running the stall were dressed up as Blathers and Celeste from Animal Crossing. You can visit them on Etsy to get yourself one of their homemade bath products. 

Kini Creations
Has a solid range of Anime themed products, from mugs to posters, to pins and badges. They were also incredibly happy to chat with me. I think I saw them later on in the afternoon/evening of Saturday and I was running low of energy and after talking with them I felt a whole lot better. You can grab yourself one of their creations over on Etsy

Pastel Poison Designs
I absolutely adored this stall, the macabre and horror themed, and yet still really cute designs immediately drew me in, I particularly liked the earrings and the chokers which were both super cool. I strongly urge you to head on over to their Etsy

Rubicon RAW
So if anyone has checked out this site before will know that I have an obsession with energy drinks, I mean there’s now a section of the site dedicated to just that, which you can check out here. I’ve actually just reviewed the full Rubicon RAW range as well, and you can feel free to check that out later. Anyway, I talked above about finding that my energy levels started to fade throughout the day, especially as I darted from stall to stall talking with people and having these Rubicon RAW stalls dotted around the place, with all of the delicious free samples also really helped keep me moving. Also all of the staff at those stalls were so nice, I ended up just chatting with them as they fed my caffeine addiction. 

I really liked this stall, not only did they have a great range of board games, which as a representative of Asmodee UK, is important. But they also had a nice selection of manga to suit a variety of tastes and interests. You should check out the Settlers website, and maybe pop into the store if you find yourself Hamilton, South Lanarkshire. 

Sarah Graley
So it was so amazing to see Sarah Graley. I think Tori and I show each other one of their comics pretty much every day and they were so sweet in real life. They say don’t meet your heroes but in this particular case, it was so awesome. Check out her website for more information.

The Duck Lady
These ducks are so cool, and it’s just a fun and interesting concept. It’s fortunate for my bank account that I was low on funds that day as otherwise I would have bought the full set of Doctor Ducks, themed after the various regenerations of the titular character from the BBC’s Doctor Who. Head on over to Instagram to see more from them.

Zen Crystals and Healing
So we also have a holistic and magic focus on this site, two of our contributors are practising witches and so we leapt at the chance to visit this stall and take in what cool things they had on offer. Check out their Facebook for more.

Artists Alley
Much like with the exhibitors I felt like the crop of artists set up at the artists alley was superb, and I’m not just saying that because our friend was working there this year. I mean the artist alley has always been in my opinion the best part of comic con, it’s just just a bevy of awesome and unique and interesting creators across the spectrum of mediums, genre and style. I cannot remember a bad experience talking with any of the artists in the artists alley, and I only wish I’d been able to visit every single stall in the place because honestly you all deserve a little bit of extra promotion and attention.

Speaking of which before we move on to some well deserved boosterism for you awesome folks, I have a section of the site dedicated specifically to spotlighting artists, so you can feel free to reach out via the contact section of the site and I’d be more than happy to feature your art, and share it with my audience. I should also add that I do this completely free of charge, just like with everything else on Off the Record.

Becky T Art
I fell in love with this stall, seriously if you do anything today make sure and check out ‘Pocket Field Guide to Botanical Dragons’. It’s such an adorable art concept and I particularly liked the Peony Dragon which just gave me really good vibes. You can check them out via this link.

C Bowen Artwork
Their horror themed aesthetic is to die for, the Lady Dimitrescu in particular was awesome, but the whole stall was full of great artwork, plus it was all guarded by a super friendly Cthulhu. I promise for an ancient god from the before times, he’s a real sweetheart. Head on to their website to find out more.

Cara Gaffney
So unfortunately due to budget issues I’ve not been able to purchase their graphic novels yet but I can strongly recommend them. I’m super excited to see what Fault Lines adds to the Steven Universe canon, and I’m very eager to read Wellheart as the artwork was very endearing. You can check out more from Cara via their website.

Cuttlesworth has an absolutely adorable art style, I particularly liked the sticker sheets, it was also super cool that they had designs of the characters from Our Flag Means Death, as my entire friend group is currently obsessed with the show. You can find them over on Twitter

Our friend was seated at the table right behind this artist, so we had the opportunity to talk with them at length and they are honestly so sweet and genuine. Also their paper craft critters were so awesome, you can head on over to Instagram to see more and maybe snag yourself one. 

Not only was the owner of this stall an incredibly talented photographer, but with Pikachu as a model they’ve taken social media by storm, and you can follow them on Instagram to help them grow the audience on their brand new social media account. Also I’m so proud of Pikachu for graduating from the University of Glasgow.

I really enjoyed chatting with the artist and their art style is just awesome, I particularly liked their acrylic charms, and the demonic hot boys. Seriously though, support them by clicking this link, as they are super talented and deserve more attention. 

Jess Was Here
Oh my god, I am so obsessed with Raccoons, so much so that I think everyone in my life has sent me the video of the Raccoon washing cotton candy at some point. So I was super excited to see all these awesome designs featuring my favourite little trash pandas. You can support the artist by visiting their website

Lucy Buscaglia Art
As I said earlier, I tried my best to cover the entire event over the two days, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to visit every booth. I am, however, glad that I was able to visit this one, as their art was beautiful, I’ve always found water themed art to be very relaxing, and I have a fondness for Asian inspired designs, like the type of art you’d see on fine china. Lucy really managed to capture something wonderful in their designs. You can check out more from the artist by heading on over to their website

All of their stuff is so adorable, and as a member of Unity League, an Ayrshire based LGBT+ community group, we love the LGBT+ bats. If I had the money I would have bought them all. Seriously though, they had such an awesome range of things, I especially liked the anime prints. You can check out more from the artist by visiting their site

Octo Babe Art
I love the combination of horror and cute, I especially liked the cat girl slasher villains, especially Ghostface, who really kind of suits being a cat girl and I’m not sure what that means? Anyway Octo Babe’s stall was great and you can check out more of their stuff by heading on over to Etsy

Had some truly fantastic things on offer, I was especially interested in their enamel pins, which included the greatest critter on the planet, the humble water bear (a.k.a Mr. Tardigrade). Also they had some gorgeous hand drawn pictures of Pokémon which I absolutely loved. You can check out more from PhaseChan over on Etsy

Renica Creations
A real bevy of anime delights for every fan, plus they’ve got some badges of adorable critters with LGBT+ flags on their tail. I loved them so much. If you want to check out more from the artist, and I think you should, then head on over to Etsy

Rhiannon Kagoe
I think they were probably the last person I spoke to on Sunday, and even though I am sure they were eager to start getting packed up, they were happy enough to talk with me. First off, check out their comic ‘Spunk’, I’ll be buying myself a copy soon, so keep your eyes peeled for a review in the near future. I absolutely vibed with their art style, I particularly liked the cat telling me to eat ass. He seemed super rad. Liked his energy for sure. Joking aside, Rhiannon is an amazing artist and you can support them by clicking this link

SnowSoundzCreations/WereKoi Art
I found this table really early on during the day and immediately bolted out of the main area to find my good friend J.H. Laird who was doing photography throughout the weekend as they love Kelpies, and we both agreed the Kelpie shirt was awesome. Not just that though, the entire table was filled with super cool things, I especially liked the Disco Snails, and I know that Tori loved the soot sprites as Spirited Away is one of their favourite Studio Ghibli movies. They were also super fun to talk with, but anyways you can check out more from SnowSoundzCreations by clicking here, and WereKoi Art by clicking here.

Fabletop Adventures
Everything at this table was so bright and vivid that I was immediately drawn in, I especially liked the super rad skull with beanie. I’ll be checking out their comics in the near future, but from what I saw it’s awesome. I loved the cute design work on all of their products, I especially liked the badges, Tori got a few for their work lanyards. You can check out more from Fabletop over on Twitter

The Roaring Raar
I loved all of these horror themed designs, I was especially taken by My Little Baphomet who was as terrifying as he was adorable, which is to say…a lot! Seriously though, this table was awesome, and they had such an interesting range of things on offer. I also really liked the dancing rabbit stickers, which were so sweet. I’m planning on grabbing their comics in the near future, but in the meantime we can check out more from The Roaring Raar on Twitter

I also talked with this artist right before closing, so I appreciate them taking the time out of their day to talk with me when no doubt they were exhausted after a long weekend. I really liked their art style, especially the soft pastel aesthetic, I got myself one of the Spider-Man stickers which was just adorable. But everything from their prints to their zines were absolutely awesome, and you can check out more from Yazu_Min by visiting their website

So full disclosure Avery who runs PuppyBandits is a close friend of mine, and we even helped them manage their table over the weekend so I cannot exactly be impartial. What I will say however is that Avery is a committed professional who hand makes each of their plushies, and that the quality and range are tremendous. You can check out more from them over on Etsy

Matt Smith
It was an absolute treat to talk with Matt Smith, not only was he open to talking with me more about the comic book industry for the site but he was just really nice and seemed interested in what I had to say. I’ll be reviewing some of his comics in the near future, but for now why not head on over to his website to find out more about him. 

Matthew Cooper
Another awesome comic book creator, he produces a variety of horror tinged stories which I strongly recommend you check out. Speaking of which, check out his collected works via this link.

Guests & Other Events
Okay, now let’s talk about everything else that ACME Comic Con had to offer, and full disclosure between talking with various stall owners and taking pictures with various cosplayers I didn’t get to check out as many of the other attractions as I would have liked but nonetheless I want to share a few of the things that helped to make ACME such a roaring success.

They had some real luminaries from the comic book industry in attendance including Charlie Adlard (noted for his work on The Walking Dead comic book series), Torunn Gronbekk (who has worked on titled such as The Punisher and Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor) and Nigel Parkinson (the artist behind Dennis the Menace, as well as many other characters from The Beano and The Dandy). It wasn’t just comic book artists and writers either, Charles Stross, the author of The Merchant Princes and The Laundry Files Series, Joanna Corrance the author of John’s Eyes and Thom James Carter, the author They Came to Slay: The Queer Culture of D&D were also in attendance, and that’s just to name a few of the amazing authors at ACME this year.

Something else that I thought was really interesting and would love to see continued was the wrestling stage, I mean not only could you interact with some wrestling talent but overall it was just a really fun and entertaining spectacle. I think one of the reasons why I liked this attraction so much is that growing up in the 90s wrestling was really just starting to get popular in the UK so it elicits a certain level of fond nostalgia. They managed to secure some superb home-grown professional wrestlers like Angel Hayze, Logan Smith, BT Gunn and AC Anderson. Interestingly enough one of our contributors Glen Robertson, was involved in the Scottish wrestling scene, you can check out an interview he did a few years ago for The Big Grapple to find out more, and you can check out some of Glen’s posts on this site by clicking here.

Okay let’s talk a little about the other celebrity guests at ACME, and then we should wrap things up as this is getting just a wee bit too long. I said above that I had no real complaints about ACME Comic Con 2022 and I maintain that’s still true, as this is less of a complaint and more of an observation. I personally felt like the celebrity guests were a little unbalanced, that’s not to say that the guests themselves weren’t good but rather it felt like they were incomplete.

For example, Dominique McElligott who played Queen Maeve on the Amazon Prime Video series, The Boys was also the only cast member from The Boys in attendance so she was somewhat isolated as a result. Likewise, while it was awesome to see the cast of the hit BBC comedy series, Still Game, they were also incomplete without Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill who play Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade. At least in this case it makes a little more sense as Kiernan and Hemphill have been touring the nation as part of Jack and Victor’s Scottish Road Trip, to promote the Jack and Victor Blended Scotch Whisky, which was released to commemorate the show, as well as its characters, who are ‘Still Here in Spirit’. If you’re interested I was actually able to get my hands on some, and you can check out my thoughts here.

Again, I want to make it clear that I loved all of the guests, I mean I love Still Game so much that I binge watched the entire series ahead of the convention, although that may also have had something to do with taking part in a Still Game quiz at The Longhouse in Kilmarnock, a week or so prior. And I love The Boys, which reminds me, keep your eyes peeled for a review of the first two or three issues of the comic series in the next week or two. But like I said, there was some room for improvement, but on the whole the weekend was amazing, and I am really excited for next year.

So those are my thoughts on ACME Comic Con 2022, you can keep up to date with ACME via their website or by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Now check out the gallery below to see some of the best cosplayers I met over the weekend!

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