Thursday, 10 November 2011

MCM Expo: The Pictures, The Memories

It's MCM Expo week here at World of Superman, taking a look back at this October's MCM Expo. Today, I'll be letting my pictures tell the story of the Expo. But, to warn you, I'm not a great convention photographer. I tend to feel very British and uncomfortable asking for pictures, and some experiences just cannot be captured in photographs. But I've got what I've got, and I'd like to take you on a journey!

All good journeys to the EXCEL Centre involve the Jubilee Line, and to my surprise, I sat down next to a Spanish lady who happened to have this emblazoned on her bag. A wonderfully appropriate start to the weekend, and a great way to introduce myself to Guest of Honour Gail Simone later on that day.

From the Underground to the Docklands Light Railway. Can you spot anyone who might be coming to the Expo? I love playing spot the cosplayer, seeing how early I pick them up on my journey from Surbiton to Docklands. This year, I had one on Surbiton station, only 10 minutes into the 90 minute journey, which was a record!

The title sponsor this year was Arkham City. This was the main entrance to the Expo halls, about 1pm, an hour before opening. The best thing about the Friday early entry is being able to get your hands on the hot games without queuing for hours, and I was able to while away some time playing the first section of the game. Having not played Arkham Asylum before, I was blown away by the attention to detail and the depictions of the characters within. Sadly, the game was on an Xbox 360, a console I've had no experience playing on, so I wasn't very good at it at all...

The queueing hall, 5 minutes after the doors should have opened. As much as I hate queuing for an hour, I do enjoy the sense of anticipation and fun you get in one of these queues. I met the lovely @pwnagesniper, who was attending for the first time, and together we whiled away the queue.

The doors, about 30 seconds after opening. No-one's gone through them yet. The con is open!

As always, my first port of call was the Comic Village, which this year had moved across the main hall and had grown across to the other side of the main walkway. Friday isn't always the greatest day for the Village, as about half of the creators don't attend until the weekend proper, but there's always enough great people to spend some time getting to know, and the lack of crowds means that you can get some great chatting time with people. Picture above is the great Ciaran Lucas, working with a digital inking pen whilst inking the 11th Doctor. Unfortunately, not long after this picture was taken, he introduced me to the 'delight' that is My Little Pony: Friendship Is Forever. I'm not Bronie... but I'm close...

Behind the Goblin suit is Claude of Gronk Comics, a must-meet every time I head to the convention. Claude has a great, weird sense of humour, he can happily geek out about comics at any point in the day, and his own comics are always worth spending some money on. Saturday was his Green Goblin day....

... and Sunday was his Hobgoblin day. Sadly, no love for the Demogoblin...

I normally get annoyed when a signing is interrupted by some cosplayers, but when those cosplayers were as good as this, I couldn't complain. Gail Simone was happily signing my pile of Action Comics (pictures tomorrow) when the Secret Six - and friends - arrived to say hello. Gail was an absolute joy to have as guest of honour, so free with her time and willing to be a part of the convention. It was absolutely great to see her solo panel on the Sunday packed out - standing room only, which was the first time I'd seen the audience so full for a comics-related panel at MCM.

It's always a delight to spend some time at John McCrea's table. We had a wonderful chat last time about Hitman, as he proudly showed off some of his original artwork that he had for sale. John very kindly let me watch him work on a commission and take some pictures. As an absolute non-artist, I am genuinely impressed with the skills of anyone who can create such fantastic images with just a pen and paper.

Does this look familiar to anyone? The book is a custom binding of The Demon Annual #2, Batman Chronicles #4, and the first 30 issues of Hitman.

You may recognise it as an upside-down Tommy Monaghan, fighting hordes of zombified sea creatures. If you don't understand why this is absolutely amazing, then run very fast to your local comic shop and purchase Hitman vol 3.

No con would be complete without some cosplay, and this wonderful teeny-tiny Wolverine was the first thing I saw when I came through the doors on the Friday.

Fantastic Four cosplay is not very common, so I just had to grab a shot of this guy. Of course, I also have some ulterior motives for getting a picture of something Fantastic Four related, but you're going to have to wait just a little longer to find out why!

I just loved the attention to detail on this. Well, maybe not the belt, but the darker blue on the costume really works for me. Red Son cosplay is awesome!

There's so many other memories that sadly aren't connected to photographs, so I think for the sake of brevity, I'll only cover a couple of them.

The first was a signing and chat with the always-lovely Tony Lee. Whilst he took my money and signed my stuff, he handed me his iPad, which was loaded with his proof copy of his final Doctor Who comic. I was the second person other than himself to read the book in the UK. It's a Christmas Special, entirely without words (with the exception of a highly appropriate final page), and it's a great way to end his run on the title. As well as my traditional Doctor Who comics, I also picked up a copy of his and Dan Boultwood's Hope Falls, a dark and brilliant tale of an angel falling to hell but taking the murderers of her mortal form with her. It's got one of the bleakest and most brilliant endings I have ever read, and when this makes it to the big screen in a few years, it's going to be a great film.

The other was a wonderfully pleasant chat with David Hine. I'm on good terms with him, thanks to my love of his first Marvel work, Daredevil: Redemption. We spoke a lot about his recent Batman work (did you know that his Detective Comics story involving gangs of fake Batmen and Jokers is actually a tie-in to a currently-unreleased video game?), and he showed me several preview pages by Shaky Kane for their upcoming Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred, their sequel to their highly-regarded 2010 project, Bulletproof Coffin.

I had a superb time at MCM Expo. Check back tomorrow for pictures of my loot from across the show!


  1. great posts! and superheroes are hot topics.

  2. I just loved the attention to detail on this. Well, maybe not the belt, but the darker blue on the costume really works for me. Red Son cosplay is awesome!