From June 27th to 30th the comic convention took place in Cologne, which is in Braziln has already proven itself: the CCXP. Under the name CCXP Cologne, the convention is now to take place at annual intervals in the Cologne exhibition center. Around 40.000 visitors took part in the kick-off event, solid figures - but in view of the ambitious goals, they were below the expectations of the organizers. Adjustments for the next CCXP Cologne should be safe.


For a kick-off event, the CCXP Cologne was quite a success, despite some critical voices. Elaborate stand structures, well-known cosplayers, well-known stars from film and television, numerous interactive offers for visitors: the CCXP Cologne could have started much worse. Around 40.000 fans set out to visit the new comic convention, which has its roots in Brazil and has been organized there by "Omelete" since 2014. Almost 260.000 comic fans were guests in São Paulo last year, no comparison to the figures for the German premiere of the CCXP in Cologne. The goals of the organizers were ambitious - they had expected up to 70.000 visitors. Even if only a little more than half of the set maximum goal was achieved, the organizers draw a positive conclusion from the start.

Comics, Cosplay and Commerce

Markus Oster, Business Unit Manager at Koelnmesse, looks to the future with confidence. In the final press release from Koelnmesse he comments: "I see a bright future for the city of Cologne, the region and its leading role in the media industry if we continue to bring innovative formats and new worlds of experience like CCXP Cologne here." In fact, a start with around 40.000 visitors is more than solid, especially considering the experience that Koelnmesse managers have with organizing similar trade fair events.

The fact that the premiere fell short of expectations in terms of visitor numbers is due not least to the choice of date. At the same time, the Comic Con in the Landesmesse took place in Stuttgart - a proven convention that attracted 35.000 fans. For the CCXP Cologne 35.000 potential visitors who wanted to rely on the tried and tested instead of daring to try something experimental in Cologne. In addition, the CCXP Cologne ran for a total of four days - together with the spacious halls, many fans got the impression that the convention was hardly attended.

The CEO of Koelnmesse GmbH, Gerald Böse, is convinced of the quality of the CCXP: “The first CCXP COLOGNE was a great success and impressed with its quality and exclusive content; a first-class basis for building up this new format at the media location Cologne for Europe's most important comic con.” The content of the new Cologne convention was actually impressive, even if many fans still missed out on the topic of “comics”. Many would have wished for a more comprehensive "Artists Alley" - with more comic offerings and more artists.

Pictures from CCXP Cologne 2019. Photo: André Volkmann
Not unusual: waiting in line to meet the stars. Photo: André Volkmann

What was there was worth seeing: a lot of Harry Potter, including Elbenwald's own merchandising shop, which had everything to offer from ties to table lamps that a fan of JK Rowling's model magician could use. Just a few meters away, there was a pretty structure with a hippogriff for fans as a perfect photo motif for a souvenir selfie in the semi-darkness. Real comic classics such as Batman and Superman were also on display to celebrate their jubilee years. The dark avenger, its theme world was placed centrally, and its 80th anniversary was one of the highlights of the CCXP Cologne. Superman's round anniversary last year, on the other hand, was celebrated by fans in a "private setting" in a video box. The best scenes of the man in the blue tights were shown.

The CCXP Cologne also had big names to offer at its premiere: not only Jason Statham and Idris Elba were guests in Cologne, but also the Game of Thrones star Nicolaj Coster-Waldau and Benedict Wong, known from Avengers, among others . In addition, as is known from conventions of this kind, there were other stars and asterisks that you may, but do not have to, know. Everyone gave autographs – but for cash. This is not new, but the price level is still surprising. It should therefore hardly come as a surprise that the pricing policy of the CCXP Cologne gave cause for criticism. However, the CCXP is not the first convention where admission prices are discussed. Other merchandise items, on the other hand, were extremely attractively priced. including some offers in the pop-up store of the Saturn electronics chain – where you could buy Super Mario Maker 2 for Nintendo Switch for 49 euros – or in the LEGO merch area, where sets from overseas were also available. And indeed, we saw those fans who seemed to have been waiting for this special shopping opportunity: quite a few visitors left the CCXP with shopping bags full of "merch".

Pictures from CCXP Cologne 2019. Photo: André Volkmann
Sometimes too commercial: Nevertheless, a comic convention without a comprehensive merchandise area is hard to imagine - and for many fans even uninteresting. Photo: André Volkmann

The cosplayers were also stars, albeit of their own cosmos, who ran through the exhibition halls, greeted the visitors at the opening in the morning and competed for the prize for the best costume as part of the Cosplay Championship - in front of a full hall, in which the fans almost freaked out when the host Kes shouted the names of some popular cosplayers into her microphone. In the end, first place went to "Anochi" with a World of Warcraft cosplay depicting the Shaman's tier 10 set. Fans want more of this atmosphere for the CCXP Cologne in 2020.

Kes from Kes Costumes & Cosplay agrees. “As the moderator of the Cosplay Championship, and for us cosplayers in general, CCXP COLOGNE set new standards. Never before has there been such intensive all-round support for our championship participants and all other cosplayers in the Cosplay Universe. You can feel the enthusiasm and passion that Koelnmesse and CCXP have put into this con in every corner - not just for us cosplayers, but in all areas of the event. I am proud to have been part of the premiere and am already looking forward to next year. "

Press release from Koelnmesse GmbH

The structures in the outdoor area were also a feast for the eyes. The fallout area presented the "Wasteland" up close - apocalyptic atmosphere thanks to the temperatures around 35 degrees included. No less impressive was the gigantic X-Wing and the neighboring AT-ST, stylishly guarded by two stormtroopers. Darth Vader and the Emperor cavorted in the Star Wars area, as did Darth Revan and Darth Nihilus. On the other hand, many a Jedi looked pretty pale, despite the elaborate costumes. Just how atmospheric a comic convention can be was demonstrated at the CCXP Cologne in the very hall where the members of associations such as the German Garrison presented their handcrafted masterpieces.

Pictures from CCXP Cologne 2019. Photo: André Volkmann
The Joker was also a guest in Cologne - the new one at that. Photo: André Volkmann

The 2.000 square meter "playground" was almost isolated. There were board games there, even a lot of good ones – even for connoisseurs. In addition, role-playing games - but not enough of them if you listen carefully to the reviews of the fans. Some small providers and the publisher Ulisses exhibited their pen and paper games, fans wanted more - maybe they will get that next year. The fact that the game areas were different than at the RPC is not least due to the orientation of the CCXP, which is not a role-playing fair but a comic convention. The concept is different, not worse. Pierre Mantovani, Founder of Omelete comments: "We are very happy to see how our concept has been brought to life here, with the help of Koelnmesse's experience as organizer and the support of five global content producers and the local fan communities". The CCXP Cologne is not an RPC - or maybe it is, but with a different claim.

André Kuchel, founder of the Role Play Convention, is impressed by the change: "It is great to see 'my' Role Play Convention in such a new dimension without losing her heart and soul". According to Koelnmesse GmbH, Kuchel played a key role in the conception of CCXP Cologne.

Photo gallery: That was the CCXP Cologne 2019

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In terms of content, the new Cologne comic fair offered more than just fan services: exclusive screenings, this time for Annabelle 3 (unfortunately only in English, despite the foreseeable cinema release), lots of interactive things to touch and plenty of opportunity to exchange ideas with like-minded people in peace and quiet , formed a contrasting program to the often hectic hustle and bustle at such events. In any case, the "modern version of the RPC" seems to be a multi-channel event.
 
The organizers not only reached fans on site, but also via social media and live streams: "CCXP Cologne reached more than a million people during the four days via social media and the live stream from the glass studio". The latter was a centrally placed, transparent cube that, among other things, hosted star guests for interviews. The event organizers presented around five hours of spectacle there.
The CCXP Cologne offered room for improvement, but overall it was a premiere on which one can build - also in order to reach the missed target in terms of visitor numbers next year.

The date for this has already been set: CCXP Cologne 2020 will take place from June 26th to 28th, 2020 - again over four days, again at Koelnmesse, but with a probability bordering on certainty with some conceptual adjustments.

 


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