Martin Ryan’s D-Signs and Displays Ltd. are a unique, creative and forward thinking company based in Coalisland, Northern Ireland. They design and manufacture a wide range of visual displays for the sign, display, exhibition, theatre and film industries – and are also responsible for such amazing endeavours under the Emerald Garrison banner raising money for charity at special events, as The Dragons of Azrael, the Planet Aliens workshop, Invasion, and of course Heroes & Legends.
The first ever Heroes & Legends Convention was held in W5, Belfast, Northern Ireland on the 17th, 18th and 19th of February 2013. They returned to Belfast in 2013 and made their first appearance at the 2D Comic Festival – Northern Ireland’s premiere comic event – at the Millennium Forum, Derry on the 1st and 2nd of June 2013. Heroes & Legends also made a splash at the Armagh Planetarium in 2012 and this weekend they made their return in an event that saw an amazing turnout from not just the awesome set pieces and costumed heroes (and villains) but also from the fans.
Organisers of the event, and staff at the Planetarium, estimated that they had seen over two thousand people cross the doors, numbers which were up on the impressive event the year before. As someone that has been to most of the Heroes & Legends events this wasn’t surprising as it is obvious each time that the organisers, staff and characters love what they are doing and always strive to put on an entertaining and friendly day for the whole family.
This year saw set pieces from Ghostbusters, the Batman franchise, Aliens, Spider-Man, the Green Hornet, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Stargate, Alice in Wonderland, and many more … which, of course, included the Star Wars universe; you cannot go to a Heroes & legends event and not see someone (or something) amazing) from the Star Wars universe. This year the stand out costume – in what was one of many incredible costumes – had to be the seven foot tall Wookie, Tarfull. It wasn’t just the kids who were amazed when this one wandered around the venue, Wookie call crying out, as many an adult stood and stared …or grinned as they got their photo taken with him. That sums up the atmosphere of the event quite nicely: it may be aimed at kids, in some ways, but each and every adult there had a smile on their face and enjoyed it as much as the kids themselves. In fact, for some of the younger ones, they recognised Batman, Spider-Man, and Supergirl easily but for the adults there was the She-Ra, Stargate characters, and even an original Star Trek redshirt; I saw him a few times but, unfortunately, I can’t confirm if he made it through the whole event…
Heroes & Legends at the Planetarium may not be as sprawling as W5, or as well known in the nerd circles as 2D, it is quickly, for me at least, becoming the spiritually home of this event as it seems to fit very nicely indeed – bringing science fiction and fantasy to science fact together. I hope that they keep coming back to this venue, and I am sure that they will, because they are growing from strength to strength.
The crew obviously love what they are doing, and do it well, and each one of them are true heroes and legends themselves for awesome event that they put on.