It has been a long time coming for me to finally to go a Comic-Con. After many missed attempts and failure to get properly organised, it happened last weekend. I visited Comic-Con and below is the story of my two days.
I meet my friend at the train station and we begin the journey. Our third companion can’t make it, but we’re still excited. My friend has spent two days non-stop building his Gambit cosplay and we do our standard thing when we meet up: we chat nonsense about comics.
Our main talking point, how Logan is like Old Man Logan, but it won’t be Old Man Logan because you need the rights to characters like the Hulk and Spider-man. I conclude that it’s someone who has done their homework. They could just mutants with similar powers to The Hulk and Spider-man.
After weaving through the busy Friday night rail stations we arrive at our final station and it becomes clear we’re getting so close, how did I know this? Because whilst topping up my Oyster Card I bumped into Hulking and Wiccan and a bunch of anime characters I didn’t recognise.
This is when sadly another friend informed us he couldn’t make it, but that wasn’t going to stop us. To this point I began to get excited, real life and geeky stuff is about to collide. So we arrive at our hotel, which was basically a house.
Whilst we waited for some staff to let us in, the door was blasted open by some cosplayers from another unknown-to-me anime… This was going to be our kind of hotel.
After awkwardly saying “hey” to some other folks in the hotel, we thought it’d be rude not to try out the local pubs and find some other con folks. We didn’t, but we did find a cheap pub, so it was all good.
Today is the day we’ve got tickets for. We’ve both have slight hangovers, but we’re still excited. After battling through the not so great facilities of the “hotel” we grabbed a little of breakfast and got our cosplays on.
My ‘cosplay’ was a set of safety glasses I painted red. My plan was to go as civilian Cyclops from the X-men. My plan slightly changed because I noticed I’d packed my Flash t-shirt… Inspiration struck and I decided I’d say that I was Jesse Quick from Earth 11.
Jesse Quick you say? She’s a speedster that hangs out with The Flash. Earth 11 is a parallel universe where genders are reversed, so instead of Batman and Superman, it’s Batwoman and Superwoman. Just check out the results below:
So my friend gets ready to put his Gambit cosplay and we start to have some technical difficulties. My friend was already pessimistic about this quality of his cosplay but he was happy with his bargain trench coat.
The problem arises when he tries strapping on his chest piece. Unfortunately in his two maniac days of building his cosplay he hadn’t tried it on. I managed to rustle up some strong masking tape and after trying to tape him into his cosplay. We tried a different tact.
After a quick Google search, we elected to slightly alter my friends cosplay from Earth 616 cosplay to Ultimate Gambit who didn’t have fancy armour, just a trench coat and his headpiece. We would later see an accomplished cosplayer at the Meet and Greet booth as Gambit, my friend was proud that he actually had a trench coat…
So we hopped on the bus to the convention centre. With each stop and footstep closer more cosplayers appeared on the way, we were getting so close. It was like a load of tears in reality had appeared and the heroes and villains we’re headed to one place.
After navigating our way to the entrance, it became clear that Harley Quinn was going to be the popular cosplay of the weekend as we saw Harley’s of all different realities. Arkham Knight Harley and of course, Suicide Squad Harley. Usually, in tow, we would see a Poison Ivy or a Joker or two.
We arrived inside and in more concentrated areas, people smelt of ham – lovely. So at first we just wandered around amazed by the colourful stalls based on comics, movies and Japanese culture.
Eventually, we decided to get a show guide – your Bible for the weekend. We re-organised ourselves and we aimed ourselves at the stores that we’re selling. I had my eyes on the comic stores and my friend was looking for some artwork.
Of course, I didn’t want it to be all about buying comics but come on, I’ve got a list as long as my arm of odd obscure comics I want to read or own. So I had a dive around. I found a few on the list (more on that on another time) but I did notice the name of the game was variants. I’m not a variant guy, but if you were one of those chaps. You were in luck.
We quickly detoured to a few gaming booths and when I suggested to my friend I wanted to play Gal Gun 2… just so I could make a Simpson quote which me and my friends make all the time.
Over around the Pop Asia and the anime and manga stalls, we encountered the Karaoke stall, we watched and listened to confident anime fans hopping up onto a stage to sing along to their favourite anime opening themes whilst to cosplayers swayed along and kept up the thrilling atmosphere.
After we explored the comic book stalls and art booths we were fully impressed with what we saw, we just remembered out bank accounts were not infinite.
My friend then told me he wanted to head to a panel. I nodded with excitement as I tried to keep a tally of all the Harley Quinn cosplayers that kept shuffling by – I’d probably lost count by this point. Turns out, we were about to be in the presence of Suda51. We listened to the eccentric developer have his words translated about his game The Silver Case.
The highlight was when someone talked to him about porting his works to the PS Vita. He asked everyone to raise their hands of they owned a Vita and when I sea of hands washed up, he was stunned.
Me and my friend, split at this point, as he decided to queue up for Suda51’s autograph, I went to check out the Yu-Gi-Oh stall, check out the toilets, and have another more intimate scout of comic stalls.
I passed briefly by some of the guests signing autographs, and a long queue wasn’t on my agenda. I also get a bit daft when I meet my idols, so a glance was enough for me.
I quickly glanced at the comics and the Yu-Gi-Oh stall, but I still needed a wee. That was a trek in itself as many toilets were locked. By now my tummy was rumbling so I went the room that housed the food court and the fairground? Does the Joker set up at MCM every year?
I headed to the food court, because no matter how Kawai a cheeseburger has been made, I expect some change back after buying it. After a quick sandwich, the ham and heat got a little much, so I had to get some fresh air.
I made my way through the colourful crowd and after getting lost a few times, I made it outside. I was greeted with a refreshing breeze and gaggles of cosplayers posing in the most creative ways possible. I couldn’t help but stare for a while.
Then I headed back inside and found my friend. Suda51 had loved his cosplayer trench coat and inspired by that we checked out the manga and anime merchandise. Again my bank account had a strong leash on me. I used my knowledge of the rooms to show my friend all the comic trades we could find then we checked out the photo opportunities.
We had the chance to pose along with some unlucky Colonial Marines at the Alien booth or head back in time at the Back to the Future booth.
We wandered a little more when we both decided we fancied some merch. My friend was looking for a t-shirt, I decided to join the clan of baseball capped men. We detoured for a little after this for more fresh air when we encountered a conga line started by the Survey Corps from Attack on Titan and taken over by the 10th Doctor. Of course, Android 17 made a cameo.
Back inside, a found the baseball cap that would gain me access to the clan of baseball caps. A Naruto cap. I bought and I went all Ash Ketchum and had it on backwards.
My friend had his t-shirt and we were scouting around the game booths with a view to trying out some Beserk. Through the day we kept seeing some of the best players taking on the fighting games on offer. We watched friends excitedly slap each other around on Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 and knock some teeth out on Guilty Gear.
Then I encountered something rare. A Cardcaptors Cosplay. I had seen some real unique ones through the day, but Cardcaptors was on a whole different level for me being a anime I grew up watching.
These two had really on point Sakura and Li costumes, so I had to get a snap. Being excited like Homer Simpson was when he found a free trampoline in the newspaper ads, it took me a few times to get my words straight for my friend to take my photo with them.
Big thank you for Li and Sakura taking a break from playing their game to indulge a man with the baseball cap.
We did one final sweep, where I bought one more comic and got to show my pearly whites when I visited an Independent comic stall from Buttonpress Publications.
Thanks for signing it guys.
It was near the end of the day and after catching the end of great girl group performing at the Pop Asia booth, we decided we’d had our fill of Dragon Ball Z trainers, Attack on Titan jackets, and cheap love pillows. It was time for the pub. Not before a philosophical Professor Oak posed the toughest question. Am I boy or a girl?
The [email protected] was 99% con-goers and a whole bunch of lads out their depth. Anime characters partied-on-down and went crazy when the DJ played the Dragon Ball Z intro.
After saving a Star Trek red shirt and meeting a cool guy in a Deathstroke cosplay we mingled and drank a lot of grown up pop and I got to stroke the furry car from Dumb and Dumber.
Then we got lost on the way home and after briefly hanging out in a hotel foyer to charge a phone, a group of anime cosplayers were dancing in a window trying to lure us in. Eventually, we got a cab home after ending up at a remote bus station. Saturday was done.
The last day came way too quickly. We ditched our cosplays in the bin and we wolfed down some breakfast with our bags on our back. We returned to the whimsical convention centre.
Most people would think Sunday would be a lighter day, but I don’t think the cosplayers were told about that.
This time we took a look at the eSports booths. We watched some own the room as he showed his prowess as Guile and we watched to teams clash on a third person MMO that I didn’t know, but both teams were on form.
Of course, our last day couldn’t end without us checking out the Pop Asia booth, hoping to see that girl band again. However, instead we saw a bunch of very passionate girls show off their Domobics skills. Domo is essentially a giant toffee like monster with big teeth who convinces loads of women to dance.
The day was topped off with a panel for Cable Chronicles of Hope. A fan film following Cable a mutant from the future wreaking havoc in the past. The folks behind the film are trying to get Ryan Reynolds attention. Give it a watch and maybe a retweet?
— KandKProductions (@DBZ_Saiyan_Saga) October 30, 2016
With that panel over, it was time to head home. As we got further from the centre the cosplays faded away and reality kicked in.
To wrap up
Honourable mentions for the cosplays goes to the guy as Major Chip Hazard from Small Soldiers, The Harley Quinn Power Armour, Mugatu from Zoolander, Neo from the Matrix, Iron Man, Baymax, Cats, and of course Li and Sakura who kindly posed for me.
It was amazing seeing so many people coming together from all over to celebrate their love comics, anime, manga, games or just anything geeky, like the Harry Potter trading card game I came across.
A great highlight was seeing an elderly couple whizz through the centre on mobility scooters one dressed in a Star Trek costume.
Next year, I’ll be more organised and I’ll probably come with a backpack and my camera. One is for food and storage and the other is for memories.
A great two days indeed