In my view: I love the mad world of the Comic Con
PUBLISHED: 11:12 03 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:12 03 June 2015
What would you say was the big event during the bank holiday weekend? Massive Eurovision party of 20 people perhaps? Maybe you were lucky enough to get tickets for the 50,000 strong Radio 1 Big Weekend? Or were you one of the 85,400 who went to Wembley to see Norwich progress to the Premier League?
Depends who you ask.
Personally, I was exhibiting with my fellow filmmakers for an army of 122,000 people in the ExCel centre in London.
With such a huge attendance you’d think everyone would be able to name this event but finding any coverage would be a bit of a task.
I am, of course, referring to the MCM London Comic Con, the UK’s biggest pop culture convention.
Cosplay? It’s the art of disguise
In addition to the professionals showcasing advance screenings of film clips or letting you trial upcoming video games, one of the biggest inclusionary aspects of the convention is the cosplay.
One could argue that cosplay is just fancy dress but for many convention-goers it’s so much more.
Many of these individuals will spend days handcrafting their costumes to become exact replicas of their favourite characters.
And we’re not just talking about Batman; I’m always surprised by what is deemed worthy of a costume.
Over the weekend I witnessed Fat Controllers from Thomas the Tank Engine, Lego figures and more Doctor Whos than you could shake a screwdriver at.
Will you know who these people are supposed to be?
Not all the time.
I’m immensely informed on geek culture and even I have difficulty ascertaining who specific characters are supposed to be but for those who recognise them, it’s a world changing experience.
I’ve seen the grumpiest of dragged-along-dads light up when suddenly face-to-face with a real life Captain Scarlet.
But it’s worth remembering these aren’t hired professionals, they’re just regular attendees and each year more and more visitors take the plunge and don a mask.
If you’ve never witnessed a convention it can be quite mad to explain. Essentially tens of thousands of people pack into an enormous hangar lined with stalls advertising new films, games, comics, TV series and commerce celebrating all things “geek”.
If you’ve ever wanted to battle a Jedi, this is the place to do it. Want a hand-drawn Iron Man or a hug from one of the Minions? You won’t get a finer opportunity.
And every year the scale and intensity of the convention grows, ushering in a new breed of con-attendant.
There was a time when these events would only appear in major American cities but with niche pop culture quickly becoming the highest grossing entertainment sources worldwide, a stable credibility has formed.
Gone are the stereotypes of dark rooms filled with overweight single men arguing about minute details (although they still exist) – now conventions are open to all.
Families of all ages take the weekend off to queue for hours on end to be immersed and surrounded by the things they love, part with their hard-earned money for mountains of merchandise and possibly meet the stars of their favourite TV shows.
As a member of Cheesemint Productions, we had a table set up and got a chance to engage with fans of our work, showcase new footage on a staged panel and tout our wares to as many passers-by as physically possible.
It can be daunting but it’s a thoroughly unique experience; like Disneyland with none of the rides. A three-day pass is about the price of a theme park ticket, so if you’re feeling curious and courageous, we’ll see you next year!