London Comic Con MCMEXPO 2012 - Saturday 26th May 2012

All images shown are rendered as smaller images which can be clicked to show a larger version of the image.

Today's early bird entry ticket was a birthday gift from my wife last week, and an opportunity for a portly, bald, middle aged man to enjoy something fresh and different. I used to read and collect comics in a major way. At one point I had a massive collection of over 12500 comics until selling them over a 6 year period up to 2006. I recently enjoyed reading an X-Men graphic novel and another new comic, and they gave me a taste of what I had missed for a few years, although I have never stopped appreciating comic art. These days I collect autographs, but rather than go to Milton Keynes next weekend for a rich list of signing stars, I wanted to attend comicon and experience the world of comic art again, and of course, get a few autographs.

I left home at 07:00, and got my wristband at about 08:35, along with a goody bag from Forbidden Planet that contained three Manga DVDs (one was a bonus - a Genghis Khan film we watched last year which is truly excellent), a Prometheus poster, Gamer magazine, and some promo cards. Many hundreds had the same idea and had arrived earlier, so it took 25 minutes from 09:00 opening before I got inside. One thing that struck me was how the geeks of the world, especially the young geeks of today, have grown in stature and confidence. Many go for cosplay, and were resplendent in their various costumes, with steam punk being a big favourite around me. The Japanese cultures had very strong influences - Tokyopop, Manga, anime, jrock, etc, and many of the stalls inside reflected this. A hefty change from the days when events like this were dominated by Marvel, DC and other super hero companies.

Once inside I had a little walk around to get my bearings, and see who was dong what. I quickly realised that Anthony Daniels of Star Wars fame was already available for signing, and was posing for a photo with everyone who got an autograph. He was not on my main list, but as things were quiet, I thought why not, and he was the most charming man to talk to - a true gentleman and pleasure to meet. Anthony signed a C3PO photo for me, and I had a picture taken with him - a true little and large show.

I then had my first foray into Artists Alley, and found Lee Townsend who I remember from my comic reading days when he worked on Marvel. I got Lee to draw and sign a pencil head sketch of Deadpool, which is on an A4 sheet. A really nice chap, who produces his sketches very quickly. I took a couple of pictures while Lee was sketching.

It was then time to head over to the main signing area, and get a couple of sigs for me and one for a friend. It was a little chaotic there to start with. They have a "Smiley Ticket" system where you buy one smiley per autograph wanted. This was fine, but they then decided that at least one person they had setup tables for was not in this system, so needed to be moved elsewhere, and juggled tables around a bit. Also, some the guests were late coming out, as they were still giving the ok to the stills they would be signing.

First up was Sarah Carter who came out around 10:00. She is a Canadian actress who I first saw in Final Destination 2, but is now a star of hit show Falling Skies.

Had to wait a bit for the second guest, but well worth it as she was lovely, and a great guest to meet - Seychelle Gabriel, an American actress. I first saw Seychelle in series 5 of Weeds where she was very impressive over three episodes, and she is also a star of hit show Falling Skies.

The third person I was after from the main signing area was for my friend, but I was not familiar with the person I was after, and got caught out by the moved tables and lack of signs. This nice young lady setup with her stills, but only the two guests I had just met and my friend's guest had name signs up, so I assumed this was my friend's guest. Instead of getting my target, when the picture was signed, I realised it was not who I was expecting, and was in fact Pascale Hutton. Not someone I was aware of, but after getting home discovered she is another Canadian actress who has appeared in a few films I have seen, and some tv shows. I am more amused by this than embarrassed, and had a good laugh. A bonus autograph I was not planning.

I then bought another smiley ticket, and correctly got my friend's autograph from Sarah Shahi. To make sure I had the right person, I engaged Sarah in conversation, and she was very nice to meet.

It was just gone 11:00, and now time to hunt out my main target for the day, Elvira, who had been moved elsewhere as she was taking her own payments, and not part of the smiley system. Had a little nose around, and took some general crowd pics - not the best, sorry.

Thankfully, it was still possible to move around quite well as the early entry times cover 09:00 to 11:00, so the main crowd had not got in yet. I located where Elvira's people were setting up, and they said it would about 20 to 30 minutes before she started. As such, I wandered back to Artists Alley, and had a look at the different styles. There were some truly talented artists, but one young lady's art really caught my eye. Heavily influenced by the anime scene, but her prints were beautiful to look at. She was also drawing sketches of people in an anime style. I got her to sketch me as a gift for my wife, and picked up one of her signed prints. Her name is Hocas, and she hails from Vietnam. Her art is really worth checking out. It's strange seeing yourself drawn in a different style like this, and not as a straight sketch as you imagine yourself to be. Here's her signed anime sketch of me, and the signed print -

I then went back over to where Elvira was to get her autograph. Her real name is Cassandra Peterson, but when in character as Elvira she does sign as Elvira. I have carefully stored an old Marvel magazine size comic adaptation of the original Elvira movie for many years, and long wanted to meet this fun lady. The magazine has a great cover by artist Joe Jusko. As well as the magazine, I also got her to sign her last DVD and a photo. Not surprisingly she was doing good business, so I was moved along quickly. By all accounts she was supposed to be giving up the Elvira character last year, so this was quite a lucky chance to finally meet her in character. One happy chappy - she was lovely to meet.

Having met my main targets, I decided to have an amble around and look at some of the different comics being touted as many people who setup their own stalls to promote their own comics. I was determined to find something fresh that would be worth trying out. I took one more picture of the venue itself to try to capture it's scale. Sadly it is a little out of focus, but does just give a glimpse of the size of the event from inside the main hall.

There were many levels of comics being sold from home printed paper based to full glossy publications. After chatting to some people I came across a couple of chaps promoting their new comic called Mister Who. Rashid and Tayo, the Dual Amp Brothers, are full of energy, and have some great ideas with their comic. They have made a very slick comic with stiff card covers, and taken the concept further. As well as some nice sharp artwork, and interesting story, they have included a cd with each issue that makes the experience more interactive with sound effects and music to be played while reading. Their work deserves to be checked out, so I hope anyone reading this likes what they see. They signed issues one and two for me, and in exchange for my Sharpie, also signed a promo card of issue one. Please do try out Mister Who - it is very impressive.

I was pretty much finished then with my goals for the day achieved. On my way out the guy behind London Horror Comic, John-Paul Kamath was selling issues 1, 2 and 4 signed for a convention deal price, so I decided to give it a go. Issue 3 has been sold out for some time. He mentioned the cover artist of issue 4, Matt Dixon, also had a stall and told me where to go, so I did, and got issue 4 signed by Matt as well. I was in leaving mode by this time, so did not take any more pictures. I was quite taken with Matt Dixon's artwork though, especially the cover of issue 4, and may check him out in future.

In closing, the early bird entry ticket was a good idea as by 12:30 when I was leaving it was heaving and difficult to move around. I definitely appreciated the extra space earlier thanks to the early entry. It was definitely a fun event, although signings could have been organised better. If my old legs keep on going, I may return in future years.