London Super Comic Con

This past weekend, i was lucky enough to nab myself a ticket to London Super Comic Con, at the ExCeL centre. Being a huge fan of all things comic related since the age of about 10, and even having one of my pieces about a girl falling in love with a tree published (don’t hate, it was a real tearjerker, promise), it may surprise you that i’ve never actually been to a comic book convention. With that thought in mind, i donned my Gorepress shirt, withdrew ample cash and headed off into the cold and snowy capital to see what the fuss was all about.

My Comic Con experience began even before we reached Excel centre. I’ve always struggled with the London underground, due to being colour blind, and pretty darn lazy in general, but luckily for me i was with a friend who uttered the most sagest of words: ‘Follow the cosplayers’. Never a wiser words has been spoken. As such, i can now say i know what it’s like to sit next to Wolverine on the Docklands light Railway.

We arrived in good time, to be greeted by long queues, doubled back on themselves. Luckily for us, the event was so well organised, the queue moved quickly and efficiently, and we weren’t waiting for more than 20 minutes. It’s important to mention though, that everyone in the queue was in the same environment; all looking forward to the convention, excited for their own reasons. I found it reminiscent of queuing for a movie such as Star Wars/Lord of the Rings on opening night, where everyone knows everything about it, some choose to go the extra mile and dress up, but you’re all there for the same reason, so you have a mutual respect and common ground with everyone.

Once we actually got into the venue itself, we were greeted by a huge open area, all clearly marked and labelled, impossible to get lost in. There was enough there to keep a newbie or a hard-core comic fan entertained, and it became instantly understandable how people can spend the whole weekend here and not get bored.

In terms of the pedigree of the artists there, it really was an A-1 turnout. Granted, last year topped this year and any other year, as Stan Lee, Mr comic book himself was there. This year however, didn’t disappoint. Notable mentions go to Dan Slot, writer of The Amazing Spider-Man, Arkham Asylum: Living Hell and She-Hulk, and the current writer of superior spider-man. I queued for a fair amount of time, but managed to get one of my Spider-Man issues signed by the man himself. Other favourites included Gabriele Dell’otto (Secret War, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Annihilation), Kevin Maguire (Justice League, Batman Confidential, Captain America, X-Men.), George Perez (Avengers, Teen Titans, and Wonder Woman.), Neil Edwards (avengers, Fantastic Four), and watercolour master Esad Ribic (Thor, Loki, X-Men, Silver Surfer) who i was lucky enough to watch paint an incredible portrait of Thor in about 15 minutes. In short, mind = BLOWN.

Aside from the big names, a favourite area of mine was Artists Alley; a place for the up and coming artists to showcase their work, and for a very reasonable price, would draw you a personal piece. I was lucky enough to get personal favourite Emma Frost drawn for me by the exceptionally talented Dave Stokes, (Twitter: @davestokes) which was my personal highlight of the day.

There were some great personal touches which impressed me, such as the portfolio review; a place you could go where professionals would check out your artistic/storytelling skills. I would have killed to have had my work overseen by a professional back in the day, and i thought it was really a great touch. It also explains why there were about 300 people walking around with chuffing great sketchbooks/canvases.

Oh, one more thing. Did i mention there were comic books there? Yeah, just the odd few hundred thousand or more… Comics, comics, as far as the eyes can see. I must say, i fell prey to the 25p each or 5 for £1 stalls, granted most of which were Spider-Women/Emma Frost influenced, but hey, I like what I like? In all seriousness, anything you wanted, they pretty much had it. Whether it was the 5 for £1 stalls, or the single, plastic encased $10,000 comics you were looking for, they had it all. Countless collectors with illegibly constructed lists of comics they needed greeted me at every stall, but this was no chaos at Christmas Eve mentality. Everyone was polite, everyone waited their turn, and it was a testament to the kind-natured people that attend conventions.

Of course no convention, especially a comic book convention can be talked about without mention of cosplayers. Those diehard fans who go above and beyond the call of duty, put in countless time and effort to dress up as their favourite hero/heroine. In short, it didn’t disappoint. I myself spoke to, got photographed with, and generally had a blast with Wolverine, Beast, Phoenix, Hellboy, Bane, Batman, The Riddler, Two-Face, Yorick (Y:The last Man), Black Cats (so many black Cats), Psylocke, Maya and Salvador from Borderlands 2 along with their 7 year old child dressed as a Psycho Bandit; and it’s the latter that really epitomise what cosplay and indeed comic con is all about. It had something for everyone, a family event, for all ages. Many people look down on people who attend conventions as geeks or nerds, but to fully immerse yourself in the day, you quickly realise that these are some of the nicest, most approachable people you’ll ever meet. They’re there to show their passion, their hobby, and they don’t care how people perceive them, especially the narrow minded people who typecast them.

All in all, i had an absolute blast. Came back having seen some of the best artists in the world, met some new friends, and with a backpack bulging with swag. I’d highly recommend it to anyone. Leave your preconceptions at the door, there’s something here for everyone.

So, see you at the MCM Expo in May?

Yeah? Sweet deals.

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