MCM Comic Con London October 2016

This past weekend Adam & Ian headed off to Comic Con. Here’s what they thought!

Despite actually living in London, it still somehow takes me over an hour to actually get over to ExCel at Custom House and to Comic Con every time. However, once you hit the DLR stations (sometimes even before) you slowly start to see more and more people in cosplay or general geek finery, puzzling commuters in business suits but allowing me the biannual feeling of once again being among my people. Each year the show gets bigger, with seemingly thousands more people attending and sprawling out over ExCel and the surrounding area.

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London Comic Con is always rammed full of a huge variety of vendors selling a huge range of film and video game memorabilia, retro video games, beautiful and expensive figures, board games, replica weaponry, anime body pillows and comic books and manga. You could spend all weekend just wandering around the stalls and still wouldn’t see everything. You would also end up broke. As I always do.

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There is always a tonne of cool props, vehicles and other interesting pop culture bits and pieces kicking around, like the excellent xenomorph pictured here and the tiny metal xenos around it.  We also checked out the various games demoing there, a big showing for JRPGs and anime-related games this year like Berserk and Dragonball Z Xenoverse 2, and some retro games. We both sucked at Diddy Kong Racing on the N64, with Ian being slightly less terrible but certainly not doing anything quite as prosaic as ‘winning’.

One of the main draws of Comic Con, and for me the most important section, is always the Comics Village, where a host of independent comic creators, writers and artists show off their wares. I always come away with a few of the comics that have caught my eye, and while I may not have been able to afford quite as many as I would have liked, I still picked up a couple. If you haven’t spent some time there before, I heartily recommend checking it out next time Comic Con rolls around.

As I’ve said, there were a lot of folk showing off their cosplays all over the place. This year there were a lot of Pokémon GO trainers, Overwatch characters, Harley Quinns of every conceivable flavour (though mostly the ‘Daddy’s Lil’ Monster’ variety) and unfortunately, quite a few Jared Leto Jokers, though I prefer to call that particular incarnation ‘The Junker’ (after one of the precious children from an episode of the fantastic Monster Factory). Here are some of my favourites though:

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On top of all of that there was even more focus on eSports than the previous times I’ve attended, as well some excellent guests and panels this year, in particular the wonderful Nolan North and Troy Baker. If you’ve never checked out London Comic Con, it rolls back around in May so be sure to check it out!

Adam

Genki Gear Exclusive London Comic Con 2016 T-Shirt!

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Check out Genki Gear’s  official T-shirt for this month’s London Comic Con!

Created exclusively for the MCM London Comic Con, the limited edition design will only be available on pre-order from 20th September to 23rd October.

Available in both men’s and women’s sizes priced at £16.99, this great t-shirt showing the latest adventures of Barry in Barry the Pegasus T-shirts can be collected direct from the Genki Gear stall at London Comic Con itself, or you can have it posted directly to your home, ready to wear as soon as Comic Con opens.

I’ve got a couple of t-shirts, a poster and a mug from Genki Gear, and not only are they very cool and funny, but they are all excellent quality too!

To order your official MCM London Comic Con T-shirt and check out the rest of Genki Gear’s great range of geek-tastic clothing, visit www.genkigear.com. If you’re planning to collect your official tee at the show, you can also order it from the MCM store at www.mcmexpostore.com.

Adam

London MCM Comic Con – Day 3: Cosplay Cavalcade

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

Walking around London Comic Con this weekend I saw some pretty excellent cosplay. Here are some really low quality photos of some of my favourites! I promise I’ll bring a proper camera next time, rather than taking photos with my camera phone which doesn’t really do some of these costumes justice!

Black Widow, Hawkeye and Iron Man

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Complete with J.J. Abrams lens flare!

Massive Dragonball group

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A fair few groups met up like this and posed for photos outside the convention centre. Mr Popo looks a little terrifying.

Warhammer 40K

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These were ridiculous. I can’t imagine how hot they would have been inside

Judge Dredd

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He’s got that sneer down

Bayonetta

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Excellent detail on this one

The Walking Dead – Rick and Daryl

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That is an ace looking Rick-beard

Mr Bubbles!

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Always nice to see some Bioshock represent

Chappie

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Complete with his bling

Attack on Titan – Female Titan

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I think this one ended up being my favourite of the weekend. I love the added detail of the scout hanging out of the mouth

That was just a sample of the great cosplay on show at London Comic Con. It will be back in October at the Excel centre, so make sure you head along to check it out!

Adam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London MCM Comic Con – Day 3: Agents of SHIELD Panel

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

For the last day of London Comic Con this year I spent a large amount of the day admiring the great art in the Comics Village (and picked up a couple of indie comics that I’ll be reviewing over the next couple of weeks), saw some more excellent cosplay and headed over to a couple more panels.

Agents of SHIELD Q&A

When I arrived in the morning the first panel I headed to was the Agents of SHIELD Q&A, with cast members Iain de Caestecker (playing Leo Fitz) and Nick Blood (who plays Lance Hunter, the only person I have ever seen with a more comic book real name than his character). Season two of SHIELD has finished over in America, but we are still a couple of episodes from the end of the season over here in the UK (airing on Channel 4). While a lot of people seem to have a fairly negative view of SHIELD, I think at worst it started reasonably (where people expected it to be mind blowing, with every single Avenger guest starring) and ever since it reacted to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier as part of the wider MCU I think it has been excellent. Season two has carried this on, with the continuing fight with Hydra and the emerging Inhumans storyline playing a big part. The extended cast with the new agents has been a bonus too, with the introduction of Bobbi, Mack and Hunter rounding off the cast from season one nicely.

One of the overwhelming impressions I got from the panel, which actually spoke to the cast in general, was how tight de Caestecker and Blood seemed. Whenever they were asked who their favourite character was, or who they liked working with most, of course they were going to say each other because they were there, but they dragged it out for comic effect. The pair had the entire crowd laughing throughout the panel too. When asked about their character’s origin stories and who would play their parents, de Caestecker described ad libbing with his actual mother, who would only refer to him as Iain and when he tried to correct her she responded “don’t be so stupid”, and Blood joked that it would be an interesting twist if Agent May turned out to be his mother, and the story of how and why she abandoned him.

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With regards to plot developments, de Caestecker was asked about how he approached changes to Fitz’s character as a direct result of what happened to him at the end of season one, to which some people called spoiler (again, why go to a panel if you’re either not up to date or expecting spoilers, especially for last season), and he talked about how he appreciated any extra aspects for him to tackle to allow the character to evolve, and studying up on the effects that the damage he sustains would have on a person and their character.

They were asked about superhero costumes they would have (pyjamas and a cape, and a Liverpool football kit with Steven Gerrard on the back), the Inhuman powers they would want (the ability to not need sleep, and the ability to sleep at any given moment), the Avenger they’d most like to guest star (Tony Stark to give Fitz romantic advice), codes for going to the toilet when on set (and lying about how long others had been away) and who pulls the best pranks. Apparently Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson) goes for psychological pranks, as being privy to plot developments slightly earlier than the rest of the cast he often teases about what is about to happen or who is going to die. Overall, Iain de Caestecker and Nick Blood were funny, affable guys that really sold the idea that the cast of the show get on well, which is always nice to see.

 

Adam

London MCM Comic Con – Day 2: Panels – Felicia Day and Arrow

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

I was running a little late on Saturday morning (no reason, I was busy eating cereal and watching Person of Interest) but still managed to make it in time for the first of the two panels I wanted to make it to throughout the day.

Felicia Day – Geek Goddess (actual name of the panel, I didn’t come up with that)

Felicia Day

Felicia Day is hands down, one of the most genuinely charming and funny people I have ever seen in person. If you don’t know who she is, Day has acted in a whole host of genre television including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, in addition to starring in her own web series The Guild and creating a veritable nerd empire with the Geek and Sundry Youtube channel, which we at The Lost Lighthouse are pretty big fans of.

Day came out and spoke pretty quickly, admitting that she had already drunk a lot of coffee that morning. The set up of the panel was largely a Q&A, where fans queued up next to some microphones and shot some questions towards the stage. Before that, she talked briefly about her upcoming book ‘You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost)’ (which you can preorder on her site here), Welsh mouths and being so cramped on the tube at 6 15am that she and another person were basically inside each other (“I don’t even get that close to my friends”).

Then the questions started, There was, admittedly a huge bias towards questions regarding her character on Supernatural. I have yet to get round to watching even a single episode of Supernatural, though I’m sure I would actually like it (especially as it has Mark Sheppard in it), so a lot of this flew over my head but sounded fairly interesting. A recurring theme of the Q&A was how “very killable” she has turned out to be in her television work, and how she likes to try to make herself heavily whenever someone has to carry her in a scene.

Due to her involvement with Tabletop on Geek and Sundry she said her favourite board game at the moment was Lords of Waterdeep, a D&D strategy game, and how she used to freak out about people’s greasy hands all over her game pieces when she invited friends round for board games and pizza. She was asked about the character based on her in Dead of Winter and for tips on how to survive with her character, to which she responded that the character was overpowered and he advice was to just “play better”. With regards to Geek and Sundry, while not revealing much, Day spoke about the content they have coming up revolving around shorter, faster shows in particular.

The rest of the Q&A (aside from even more Supernatural questions) was filled out with fans asking for advice on getting in to acting and following your passions, and also a very nervous girl bringing Day some fan art that she genuinely seemed to appreciate. In fact she spoke about how she gets very attached to gifts from fans, only mentioning one she threw away – a sculpture of her made of hair, which to me is mind-blowingly terrifying but I guess if you really try to see the compliment in it it’s kind of sweet? Maybe? The last question asked about how she got into using YouTube as a medium, and she described the internet as somewhere where we can “be who we are and not be ashamed for it”, which is something I’ve never really thought about. I get so caught up in how genuinely awful people can be and regularly are online, that I tend to overlook what it has actually done not only for our counter cultures, but what a force for good it has the potential to be and often has been.

UPDATE – If you want to watch the panel, MCM have put it up on their YouTube channel here

 

Arrow: Heroes & Assassins (again, what the panel was called)

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I’m a big fan of the CW’s Arrow show, aired over here in the UK by SkyOne. Based on the DC Comics character Green Arrow, the show follows Oliver Queen (played by Stephen Amell) in his quest to fight crime in Starling City, while dealing with an increasingly powerful array of villains. For this panel, Willa Holland (who plays Oliver’s sister Thea), Karl Yune (Maseo Yamashiro from Season 3) and Rila Fukushima (Tatsu Yamashiro, also from Season 3) had all come over to London to discuss the show and field some Q&As from the assembled fans (if anything the room was even more packed than for Felicia Day).

There were questions about the martial arts on the show, which have only increased through the third season with the League of Assassins storyline, and the cast guessed that they probably do around 30% of their own stunts (Yune said almost none, to which Holland objected) but Amell tries to do as much as possible. They were asked what super powers any of them would like to have, with Holland immediately answering The Flash or “Bridget Allen”. She revealed herself to be a pretty big DC comics fan from a young age, to the point that when she got the chance to do some of the more bad-ass stuff Thea gets up to later on in the series she got pretty emotional (I would have too). I always like hearing when an actor playing a character in any sort of adaptation I watch is actually a big fan of the source material. It doesn’t detract from a performance when they’re not, but it does enhance my appreciation of their work when they are!

I was actually, somewhat embarrassingly, taken aback by how friendly and personable Willa Holland was, as aside from her substantial character progression in season 3, I have only ever seen her play fairly bratty characters (which is a ridiculous thing to say, as playing negative characters doesn’t guarantee you are a negative person any more than playing a nice, funny person guarantees that you’re not a a bastard in real life). All three of the Arrow cast members at Expo were genuinely nice and interesting people. Yune got a fair few questions about some of his more emotional scenes near the end of the season, which he preferred out of the flashbacks and current scenes (he went flashback) and what his experiences as a Korean-American were like with finding roles that weren’t typecast or stereotypical. Fukashima started off fairly shy and quiet, and while she did have a interpreter to help her with a couple of time she was struggling to express herself, she came into her own later on and it was interesting to hear about her experiences preparing for Arrow and how they compared to her work in The Wolverine playing Yukio (I totally did not connect that it was her).

Of course someone asked them which they all preferred, DC or Marvel, near the end. Holland, whether it was genuine or just brand loyalty/towing the company line, answered incredibly quickly, while Yune and Fukashima tried to be diplomatic before falling on DC’s side. Finally, someone asked the fairly complex question of whether any of them thought that the comic book/superhero adaptation bubble would be bursting any time soon, to which Yune replied that the fascination would last forever. A nice thought, and I certainly hope it will, but nothing lasts forever. To quote The Vision, “that’s what makes it beautiful”.

Two things that I found slightly odd about the panel were due entirely to the nature of the crowd. Firstly, more than one question was repeated later on by someone that either wasn’t listening, was hoping to catch the cast out or had just joined the queue and heard their question asked, and decided to ask it again anyway. Fukushima was asked more than once, for example, about potential inclusion in the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow series, despite already answering that they are kept largely in the dark about those sorts of plans, and anything they do know they can divulge yet. The second was concerning spoilers, and people’s reactions to when they were said out loud by the fans asking the questions. On the one hand, the Arrow season finale only aired this week in the UK, and last week in the states. On the other, I find it odd that anyone would go to a panel involving the cast of a series that has aired it’s season finale without actually watching it. Some outrage even came when events were mentioned that happened in earlier episodes too. Despite that, the cast dealt with it well and skated round spoiling anything themselves, calling people out for spoiling plot point for others too. This panel was an interesting look at the making of the show, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next in Season 4.

 

I’m going to be heading to a few more panels on the last day of London Comic Con, along with checking out some more cosplay and spending a few hours looking around the art in the Comic Village. More on all of that tomorrow!

Adam

 

 

 

London MCM Comic Con – Day 2: Meandering Without Getting Anywhere

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

After wandering around on Friday to get my bearings at Comic Con, and checking out some of the video games on offer too, I arrived on Saturday to find the Excel centre teeming with attendees. Hazarding a guess, I’d say there were nearly ten times as many people there, with a far higher number in cosplay compared with Friday too As I walked in, attendants were advising that Weekend and Saturday tickets were all sold out, and if anyone hadn’t already booked then they wouldn’t be able to buy any on the door. Even last time I came here back in October, when I queued outside with some friends for about an hour and a half, there were still tickets left on the day. Every time I come here it seems that it can’t get any more huge, and then it does.

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Bird’s eye view of the huge number of people at London Comic Con this year

While it is always cool to see this many nerds in one place, it did make getting anywhere a bit of a nightmare, and rendered certain areas (in particular the access above where all the food was) pretty hot and stifling. I had a little more of a wander around the stalls (not making much progress) and bought a couple of things, but today I was aiming to check out a few panels (which I’ll talk about in the next article) and have a look at some of the cosplay on show from everyone at Comic Con.

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I bought an item from this stall that is visible in this shot. Can you guess what it was? Answer at the end!

If I was struggling with the heat, everyone in their bright-coloured wigs and massive costumes must have been far worse. It was no surprise then that when I ventured outside for some fresh air the number of people out there was nearly as many as were inside. All the various cosplayers were also meeting up out there for group photo shots, from Dragonball characters, to every possible Doctor, to Adventure Time Finns and Fionas, to a massive Hetalia Axis Powers group, all hanging out on the grass nearby.

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I wandered around out there for a bit, taking some photos of a few more cosplayers that I’ll compile into an article tomorrow. After several hours of panels, weaving in and out of the massive crowds and appreciating all the costumes I headed home on the tube with my new purchases…

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Licence to kick people in the chest? I think so.

On the way home a man stared at me with more contempt than I have ever seen on a human face, but every kid I passed was loving it. So that guy needs to get his priorities in check really. On the last day I’m going to head to a few more panels, check out what cosplays people bring along and spent a few hours enjoying all the awesome art in the Comics Village. Come back tomorrow for what I thought of it all!

Adam

London MCM Comic Con – Day 1: Arkham Knight, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 & Godzilla

Adam headed off to the MCM Comic Con Expo in London this weekend. This is what he saw.

As part of my first day at London MCM Comic Con this year, aside from some general wandering around (first impressions here!) I checked out a few of the video games on offer, focussing on some upcoming games that I’ve been looking forward to (some of which I had forgotten about until I saw the demos). Here are some thoughts on three of my favourites.

Godzilla the Game

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As you can just about see there, Godzilla is a Namco Bandai game already out in Japan for PS3 and PS4, but over here it isn’t being released until July 2015. Playing as Godzilla, I destroyed some buildings while being attacked by the army, with the aim (I think) of blowing up some generators and gradually growing in size. In my way were two other kaiju – King Ghidorah and Space Godzilla (like Godzilla, but from space) that I had to scrap with in an arena. I took out King Ghidorah while he was trying to deal with some giant stalagmites created by Space Godzilla, then melted the latter’s face with some multiple nuclear breaths. Apparently I also successfully destroyed the area. It was 100% more fun than last year’s film.

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Also the 10 minutes I played for involved more Godzilla screen time than the film too

The short Godzilla demo I played was at it’s core a very fun, if simple and easy game. Not that there is anything wrong with that, not everything needs to be Bloodborne and gaming would be exhausting if it was. Tonally it was much more in line with the classic Japanese films, tongue in cheeky rather than oppressively dour, unsurprising as it was made by Namco Bandai rather than a Western studio. The controls were quite basic and to be honest, fairly clunky and sluggish. But admittedly, having the King of the Monsters moving in a quick, smooth way wouldn’t look or feel quite right. So despite that, I’d be interested in seeing what the whole game is like.

 

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3

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Pirate Warriors 3, developed by Omega Force and published by Namco Bandai and Tecmo Koei again, is the latest instalment in the One Piece musou games (Dynasty Warriors style 1 vs. loads of enemies). I really like the One Piece world, and the powers of Monkey D. Luffy, his crew and the variety of interesting allies and enemies are perfectly set up for this sort of game. The levels typically involve hundreds of weak pirates or navy infantry for you to smash or hack through, followed by some big boss. It is basically button bashing fun, and the demo for the third entry in the series was no different.

20150522_120852A few new elements here (aside from even more characters added to the already huge cast) involved some of the more recent story from the anime and manga, including Fishman Island and Dressrosa, and the new team attack (apparently called Kizuna Rush) that uses multiple finishing moves from your companions at the same time in a massively damaging combination attack. It looks insane and is a ton of fun. Pirate Warriors 3 is already out in Japan, but is everywhere else in August on PS3, PS4, Vita and apparently PC too.

 

Batman: Arkham Knight

ArkhamFinally, I queued for about 10 minutes to watch some Batman: Arkham Knight footage. We were filed in to a stiflingly hot room and a screen of about 10-15 minutes of gameplay was shown to us, with one of the attendants doing a pretty solid job of narrating. For some reason, despite the game coming out next month and so hopefully finished by now, they weren’t offering demos to actually give the game a try. I wasn’t too bothered about this though, as having played 3 full Arkham games already I know what to expect – more of the same, with some new extras, better controls and improved graphics.

I wasn’t totally enamoured by Arkham Origins. It was fine, but it ultimately felt like a bit of a cash grab to me. The story wasn’t bad, but elements of the game felt inherently ridiculous (executioner gloves), the sandbox you played it seemed largely unchanged and some parts were just re-skins of assets from Arkham City (glue grenades, really?). I felt like it was a fine game from WB Montreal, but I consider Asylum and City to be from Rocksteady to be great games. I feel like if we hadn’t had a new Batman game since Arkham City in 2011 then general excitement, at least speaking for myself, would be much higher. And maybe rushing out an average game damages the brand somewhat. That being said, I really loved Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The attention to detail with regards to Batman and his rogues shows a great love of the source material, and when they use ‘Be the Batman’ in promotional material it really is because the free flowing combat has been honed to the point where, aside from donning a cape and risking your life every night, it really does feel like the closest thing to being the caped crusader every time you slo-mo smash someone’s face into the wall at the end of a fight.

In the footage we were shown, some of which was for the first time, the mysterious Arkham Knight (supported by the Scarecrow) has occupied Ace Chemicals. Batman glides in and wrecks some thugs with the impressive new ‘fear takedown’ that allows you to chain takedowns after sneaking up on foes, before opening the gate and remote calling in the Batmobile (check out the full size Batmobile they had at the event at the top of the article!), seamlessly jumping in as it enters. Throughout the screening we were shown a few more fights that showed off improvements to the combat, and some battles between the Batmobile and unmanned drone tanks controlled by the Arkham Knight. We also saw an assisted takedown carried out by Batman throwing a thug up in the air and having the Batmobile take them out with a stun shot. It was pretty rad.

As far as storyline goes, little was given away other than the fact that the Arkham Knight has a serious hate on for Batman, and wants him dead before the end of the night. I’ve a few guesses for who it might be, and while I’m expecting a twist I really hope it isn’t something that involves the Joker. Please.

Arkham Knight is out on the 23rd of June, and I’ll be picking it up on release and reviewing it to avoid some work I’m pretty sure I should be doing that week.

 

I played a few more games, but Comic Con (as you can probably guess from the name) isn’t primarily a games convention so it wasn’t exactly a focus. I’ll be back with more articles tomorrow on what I checked out on Saturday. London MCM Comic Con is open until Sunday, so if you’ve been thinking about it come on down to the Excel centre for some geeky goodness either today or tomorrow! I’ll be the one wearing the nerdy t-shirt.

Adam