I'll let you in on a secret. I've been waiting for years to go to Comic Con. YEARS. I'd seen how bonkers it was, I'd watched visitors cosplay in their thousands and I was god damn ready.
Let me first start by saying that this was unlike any other convention I had been to before. The sheer scale of it completely blew me away. Taking up nearly the whole of the ExCeL Centre (a place I am now intimately close with after two cons in close proximity), there were sections out there to please every nerd. From a Marvel extravaganza, to an Anime haven. Just walking the length itself was absolutely exhausting.
I was laughing because a Deadpool cosplayer was trying to shoot my Togepi #candid
This year I also took the opportunity to cosplay for the first time ever, going as Misty from Pokémon. Now I won't lie, this was a big step for me. I'd been absolutely so nerve-wracked the week before, getting bits of my costume delivered to my office (including a stuffed Togepi) and praying that nobody would ask me what I'd ordered. I worried that people would judge that my costume wasn't good enough. Or worse, I would get stared at and deemed a loser.
As it turned out, I had nothing to fear. Because if there is anywhere that celebrates and embraces cosplay, it's this event. Out on the green in front of the ExCeL, cosplayers gathered in droves, performing signature moves and performances related to their fandom. Taking group photos and supporting one another. And boy, some of the outfits were an absolute joy to behold.
The amount of time and effort that attendees put into their work was simply breathtaking. If this day taught me anything, it was that I shouldn't be self-conscious or worried about this side of nerd culture. Because so many others are so confident in showing their love for it, so why shouldn't I?
Just a glimpse into some of the cosplayers hanging out
Soul-searching done, I decided to mooch over to a panel. More specifically, the panel for Anthony Mackie, best known for his role as Falcon in the Marvel franchise. I must say, this dude is one hell of a character. He opened the panel by talking about Spiderman, saying "if you're a little white dude, then you need to watch out!". This then naturally led him onto ribbing on Tom Holland extensively, claiming that he was the type of guy that wears tighty whities.
He attempted to get #TightyWhitiesTom trending. Naturally.
He also told us a touching story about his son, and how his dad was his own personal superhero who makes him breakfast and takes him to school every morning. The two went shopping together and came across and figurine of Falcon, to which Anthony's son exclaimed, "dad that's you!"...up until they made the figurine speak.
And it sounded nothing like Anthony.
His son then refused to believe that this action figure was his dad, and that the two of them needed to find the 'real' one. Trying to settle a point, Anthony stormed over to the cashier, held the doll next to his face and exclaimed to the woman,"EXCUSE ME. Is this me?!".
To which the employee raised an unimpressed eyebrow and stated, "You can be whoever you want to be".
Clearly she must have been a DC-only fan.
Top notch editing skills here (apologies, I was quite close to him though)
There was also an opportunity for Anthony to try out his British accent, after a fan asked him to. In fact, Anthony was so excited by this request that he jumped out of his seat and gave the fan a huge hug. The accent was actually a rather decent attempt. You could tell he'd been practicing.
All in all, Anthony was just a force of nature to behold, and had a sharp wicked sense of humour. He also apparently has a fetish for women with blue skin, as according to him, “there’s never been a girl of that colour that wasn’t hot”.
I mean, make up your minds on that one.
After traversing the length of the ExCeL several times, searching for the perfect merch and schwag, I had tired myself out. So I battled my way through the underground, to prepare myself for round two.
On Sunday I came geared up in my brand new Groot shirt, ready to meet my old friends to see what more Comic Con had to offer. Remember way way back when I wrote the article on my first RT fan meet-up? Well, the gents that I spent the evening with then joined me for the Sunday adventures, which was great fun.
This was the day that I managed to secure an exclusive interview with a special guest of the con, but I'll be keeping that info hush hush until another time.
I know, I'm such a tease.
With the slower pace of the day, I used the opportunity to browse through more of the stalls content and have a chuckle at some of the creative fanart that the merchants had created. Now, I'm not usually a pun lover. In fact, I groan in despair every time my boyfriend makes one, as he adores them so much. But these two items, for some reason, just got me.
No caption needed
The afternoon of Sunday saw one of the iconic Comic Con events, the Cosplay Masquerade. Now truthfully, the first time I ever heard of this event was in my reading of Geekerella by Ashley Poston (check out my review in my Top 3 Geek Romance books!), as before I had no idea that this amazing spectacle existed.
For those of you who don’t know, the Cosplay Masquerade is not just a way of showcasing some of the best outfits at the con. It also holds a performative element, as contestants have the choice of their own music, and can add in other skills such as dance and acting should they wish. Being a theatre kid myself, I was immensely giddy at the prospect of seeing cosplay in this form. And for me, some contestants stood out from the crowd when it came to these factors.
I have to give special mentions to two contestants. One being the Fairy Godmother from Shrek 2. And yes, most people had the same bewildered reaction when she was announced. It’s not the first character one would think to cosplay. But oh my goodness. Not only did this girl lip sync with gusto to “Holding out for a Hero”, she also had the magical outfit change into a red sparkling gown, and all the mannerisms of the character down to a tee. Class A, I must say.
Also as a call for help, I could not track down the awesome cosplayer who performed her! If anyone has any idea, please let me know. I would love to give her credit.
Cosplay goals from Emily Seabrook, photography by SLAshburn Photography
The second shout-out goes to Emily Seabrook from The Road to Cosplay, who performed as Aquaman. Storming on in full gusto and character, Emily surprised everyone by switching things up with a rendition of Ariel’s 'Part of your world', dancing daintily around the stage. If I’m being honest, I will be disappointed if I don’t see the actual Aquaman do the same in Justice League. No pressure DC (Yes, I realised I’ve based DC twice now, but I am no hater, I promise #WonderWoman4GreatestSuperheroMovieOfAllTime).
But seriously, she made me fully belly laugh, and fully deserved her recognition in the awards ceremony at the end.
As I rounded off the evening sipping my signature drink with my buddies, I contemplated how different this con had been from previous ones. Despite being by far the biggest thing I’ve ever attended, the mania in queues and crowds was missing. As the event catered to so many fans, everyone seemed to be dispersed evenly, and consequently the atmosphere was very chilled out. The fact that I could leisurely stroll in and out of panels was a new feeling for me!
I’m excited to see where MCM London will be in a few years time. It seems like every year it’s growing, slowly but surely. And after such a positive experience this time, you can bet that my name is down on the list for MCM 2018 in the spring.
Take me baaaaack