MCM London Comiccon May 2019

We’re just back and recovering from our first Con of the year. We’re not doing many this year as we’re also saving up to buy our place, so I’ve been looking at the Cons earlier in the season with longing. We’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest draw to conventions for us is meeting our friends, whether in cosplay or not, and enjoying catching up with them.

As usual we stayed at the Crowne Plaza, so that we could nip back and forth during the day if needed. The weather forecast was for hot weather, and we knew from last year that the area outside the ExCel is a formidable heat trap. It was a good decision – even with reasonably simple cosplays it was a huge relief to be able to step back into air conditioned coolness over the course of the weekend. This was especially useful when Lady M overheated with heatstroke from the fierce sun on her first day.

Obadiah Stane

I had three costumes lined up: Friday saw me wandering around as Obadiah Stane – the villain from the first Iron Man film, as depicted by Jeff Bridges. I have a bit of an obvious headstart on that costume, already having a beard and having my head shaved – and I hadn’t really expected much of a response to this one as he’s relatively unknown and not particularly flashy.

I made two props: a massive cigar, and his patented paralysing device, which combined with my suit and a suitably expansive and expressive way of approaching Tony Stark cosplayers. A quick spray of white dye over the beard and I was ready to stride the convention floor with gusto. It was great fun. Within moments of getting into the queue I heard people asking each other if I was Obadiah Stane, and from there on out I had nothing but praise and enthusiasm from everyone I met. It also helped focus attention when talking to security and to convention staff.

Booster Gold and Blue Beetle – the classic double act

Saturday had me wandering round as a very casual version of Booster Gold: time-traveller and self publicist extraordinaire. (And protector of the time-stream, but not many people know about that.) This was fun for so many reasons, partly because he’s such a relatively unknown character – except for people like myself who have an avid appreciation for him and his hidden history.

So many people are used to my normal appearance that the wig and dyed beard completely threw them. People who know me and my cosplays well, were still shocked to hear my voice – a few actually flinched a little when they worked out who I was. Essentially though this was a jeans, tshirt and leather jacket ensemble so it was easy enough to moderate my temperature. Mid afternoon I still gave in and removed the wig so I could take advantage of cooling breezes off the water.

Sunday was a return of my Captain Boomerang – an old favourite for messing about as one of the Suicide Squad and one of the Flash’s Rogues.

As might be expected of such an inveterate thief, I also included props from the previous two cosplays – Obadiah’s cigar, and the Legion Flight Ring worn by Booster – I’m starting to accumulate items from various costumes and characters to wear as trophies for this one, which is fun as a form of refinement.

This was definitely the hottest costume to wear, with multiple layers – and by mid afternoon I decided I’d had enough, so swapped out into a Squad UK vest to cool down.

Was the Con perfect? No, there were a few inconsistencies with how a couple of security people interacted with us – and we made a complaint on that front – but broadly there were no hitches. There weren’t so many large displays from the main comics companies, but the Comics Village was well represented, and we enjoyed ourselves hugely, and bought a lot of merchandise.

Thank goodness I’ve booked all this week off to recover, I’m exhausted

Okay, back in the room

The Inktober posts are resuming now that illness is rebuffed and we’ve survived the madness that was MCM Comiccon this weekend

Speaking of the Convention, it was huge fun, somehow aptly summed up by the image above – a great rush of geekery, humour, and catching up with friends. I’ll write more on it as my brain settles down, but the whole polycule was there, along with the cub at his first Con, and it’s been exhausting.

Anyway, back to the ink sketches…

MCM ComicCon May 2018

I’m exhausted. There’s no two ways about it. Across the blazing hot Bank Holiday weekend we just had, I’ve sweltered and socialised with fellow cosplayers, geeks, nerds, and friends at MCM ComicCon. It was brilliant.

Three days, three costumes, many photos, and best of all our first proper group cosplay as a triad, recreating the Black Sails partnership of Jack Rackham, Anne Bonney, and Max. We even managed to get in to see Jessica Parker Kennedy, who played Max in the show, for a photo opportunity.

We’d mildly squee’d when we saw her announced, and then I’d had a number of conversations around whether the three of us could see her at once. Negotiations and financial considerations sorted, we then waited until the Saturday to tell Lady S in case she got into a complete panic meltdown.

As it turned out, we were instantly recognised as our respective characters (more than a small relief), and then for the rest of the day found ourselves being approached by a surprising number of people who either loved the show or who themselves also cosplay characters from it.

I think it was a first for all three of us, to find ourselves being stopped by people so enthusiastically, and it’s just made the whole weekend that much more special.

Photos from various photographers are starting to filter through, and we made it into at least two videos that I’ll post links to as they get published.

I’m tired now. What a brilliant weekend.

Little Victories

One of the things of which I am most proud this weekend has been how well Lady M has done with all the crowds at MCM. Its been a long hard struggle for her, and being able to engage and flourish in the heat and confusion of such a big and busy Con has been joyous to watch. It has also been a little bit scary as she dived in and organised photographers with verve, charm and a little cheek to maximise the day.

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Lord and Lady M in pirate garb with Kisasa Cosplay as Kaylee from Firefly

Its been a huge leap forward, even as she’s found it exhausting. What has been even more of a blessing has been how the people who have been along on this journey with us through posts here, on social media, and in keeping in touch let her know how pleased they were to see her there – without overloading her with excessive schmaltz. Thank you all, especially our friends in UKCC and Squad UK, for being amazing and supportive.

My Favourite Costume

One of the questions I’ve been asked by a couple of people since the weekend has been about which of the costumes I wore was my favourite.

MCM Comiccon was a long weekend that seems to have both passed in a blur and to have been never-ending. On a quick count on fingers it worked out as being a five day extravaganza if you count travel: we travelled up after work on Thursday and meandered home in a daze on Monday.

Of the three costumes – Karnak, the deatheater, and the gender-bent Harley Quinn – I had the most fun with the unmasked ones.

Karnak was great for martial arts styled photos, and especially in using my Body Balance experience to strike yoga positions. The problem is that the character tends to be quite serious, so my tendency to grin for the camera didn’t always jive with the look. The green greasepaint design was fun though, and I soon learned that I was the only Inhumans cosplayer at the event – much to the delight of one photographer.

The Harley costume therefore fit my sense of silliness and fun – and also gave me more license to mess about with people. I was the only male Harley who wasn’t cross-playing, choosing my own interpretation instead – and the impression I got was that most of those trying cross-play were aiming for sultry expressions rather than bright and fun.

As a consequence I had more fun, and more poses requested with people with the Harley costume than any of the others – so that one gets my fond nod for having been my favourite.

It was simple, didn’t involve a lot of preparation – and no greasepaint to rub off on anyone (sorry Tom), or worry about smudges. I’ll be revisiting the mask as it rode up every time I smiled, and possibly reworking the baseball bat, though the smaller size did make it easier to transport and stick in bags when not in use.

The deatheater? Well I learned that thick masks are intimidating and too hot for extended use, and while it was a fun concept, it just didn’t quite work for me. Lessons learned, and all that.

Harley will definitely return.

MCM Comiccon

We’re back now from MCM London Comiccon, and aside from the exhaustion of being in our feet for most of the last 96 hours or so we’re still buzzing.

The last few times we’ve been there, we didn’t really know many people; so on our single day excursions we tended to run around like mad things.

There are usually four main areas covering merchandise, films, computer games, and comics – and a lively cosplay community. As our introduction to MCM came through Lady P, we’ve usually gone in costume but never really felt a huge part of the community.

This year we got Priority Weekend Passes so we didn’t feel the need to rush. More importantly, we’d been engaging online with a number of groups on social media who we knew would be arranging meets during the weekend.

The UK Cosplay Community group, Squad UK, and Marvel and DC United all looked positive and proved fun and engaging. Lady M led the charge, and as we got nearer to the day, I joined them.

They each had mass photoshoots arranged for each day, which was the initial draw. Then, as if we weren’t already going to be busy, Lady M started booking individual sessions with photographers to give us a more structured day. I have to admit that I did grumble that it was starting to feel more like a working weekend than a holiday.

We posted elements of our designs and pictures of the costumes as works in progress, and as we got to know people we felt more comfortable anticipating the weekend.

We were not disappointed. We soon ran into names and faces we recognised, and were very pleasantly surprised to find that the people behind the Facebook identities were even warmer and more supportive in person.

Cosplayers and photographers alike actively sought out Lady M under her persona as Mothermafiacosplay – based on those prototypes – and the boost to both our confidence just can’t be understated. Big grins were soon fixed on our faces.

Even better, we very quickly realised that no one was doing characters or interpretations of characters quite like us. Lady M’s roster included an elegant Victorian Poison Ivy, Baby Groot, and Mrs Potts – the animated teapot from Beauty and the Beast. Mine included a dark wizard escaped from Azkaban, a gender-bent Harley Quinn, and the philosopher/martial artist Inhuman known as Karnak.

In between photo shoots, we wandered the exhibits and bought souvenirs, but we kept being drawn back to mingle with this welcoming, positive and supportive group of people who never failed to make us smile – either by words, actions, or just general humour and shenanigans.

Whether general members, or personable group administrators, we were treated like old friends rather than strangers known only online. Each group has a strong anti-bullying ethos, battling poor behaviour and snobbery at every opportunity. It was a large part of what had drawn us to them.

People of all ages, whole families even, were united in having fun and displaying their love of pop culture heroes and villains. No matter how popular or obscure the characters – how complex or simple the costumes and props were – people were admiring each other’s work and passion.

It was, and is, truly inspiring.

The weekend passed in a blur, punctuated with quiet moments back at the Sunborn Hotel – the yacht parked next to the Excel Centre – where we enjoyed convivial gins while younger and more boisterous convention-goers ran riot. Well, relatively boisterous – as far as I know, the police were only called once to The Fox – the local hub of after-hours debauchery.

Even better, the proximity of the yacht meant that we didn’t get overloaded with bags of loot, and so we could stay focused on socialising and playing.

Monday came, and we made our way home. Exhausted, foot-sore, slightly muddle-headed, and above all wanting to get on with preparing for the next one.

That said, I’m really very pleased that we both have this week off to recover.

MCM Preparations

We’re now in the final week before MCM Comiccon at the Excel Centre. Our hotel was booked some time ago, our costumes are… mostly ready, and we’ve been chatting online with and getting to know people in the UK Cosplay Community so we don’t feel complete numpties while we’re there.

Lady M has been focusing on making costume elements in between crippling migraines, and I’ve assembled and painted a number of props for us both. What, as the saying goes, is the worst that could happen?

We will of course be exercising self care to manage our respective anxieties and conditions – and we’re determined to be as social as we can. So, if you happen to be there and spot Karnak and Baby Groot, a Steampunk Poison Ivy and gender-bent Harley Quinn, or Mrs Potts the teapot and a Deatheater on the run from Azkaban then come on over and say hi!

Be warned: Lady M may giggle a lot – this may in fact be an incentive for some of you.

Geeky Weekend

Lacking energy to go out much, I’ve split time between games, catching up on tv shows, helping Lady M stitch a hula hoop into a dress, and starting to paint a prop gun for the Harley Quinn costume.

Netflix and Amazon provided the Defenders and Preacher shows – talk about a contrast in styles – while Mass Effect Andromeda continues to be a good distraction. I particularly enjoyed the shout backs to the original games this weekend as I finished unlocking the protagonist’s locked memories.

As for the prop gun, I’m still blocking colours now I’ve properly undercoated it. I’m going for a mostly red and black colour scheme to match the rest of the costume. The black will likely get a bit of a metallic tint to it eventually, but I’m looking to create something a bit cartoony in style anyway, hence the steampunk stylings of the prop. There have been a couple of false starts and repaints along the way, but I should have a finished piece in a few days.