HEROES AND VILLAINS
By Ann Evans
Photos courtesy of Rob Tysall at http://www.tysallsphotography.org.uk
Heroes and villains, superheroes and comic strip characters, they were all out in force at the NEC recently – and that was just the visitors!
It was another MCM ComicCon and Memorabilia Show – an event where the visitors look more spectacular than the stars! The show itself features everything from steampunk to cosplay and manga to anime. And if all that sounds worlds apart from traditional memorabilia shows, then you’re probably right, as nostalgia is as popular amongst youngsters and teenagers as it is for those grown ups ‘of a certain age’.
Storm troopers and Darth Vader lookalikes are still massively popular, but fans are becoming more and more adventurous with their costumes and make-up, taking their enthusiasm for their favourite character from comic books, cartoons, video games as well as film and TV. And I have to admit, as I meandered around the NEC at this latest extravaganza, it was often a case of going up to someone in costume and saying, ‘excuse my ignorance but who are you?’
Amongst the characters I didn’t know were Pyramid Head who I’m reliably informed is a horror character from the Silent Hill series. Tucked inside this weird and wonderful costume was Sian Hadley of Bromsgrove, who was at the show with Trissie ‘T’ Lavender dressed as Soldier Master Chief, the main character from Marvel Comic’s Halo series.
Happily I did recognise The Joker and the Joker’s girlfriend, Harlequin from Batman. In fact, Harlequin was quite a popular character at the show. One of the Harlequins I spoke to was Tori from Norfolk who was probably exhausted by the end of the day, as she wielded an enormous mallet over her shoulder all day.
Three people who looked very much like the characters they were dressed as, were Sean George, as Captain Jack Sparrow; Jo Marriott as Xena Warrier Princess and Kit Summerfield as The Seeker, Richard Cypher. As well as being part of UK Garrison – a Star Wars costume group who raise thousands of pounds for charities, the three are all professional actors, and were having something of a busman’s holiday by appearing in their authentic costumes – which Jo Marriott had created.
If you were on a bit of a spending spree there was no shortage of things to buy. I headed straight to Laura Haslam’s 8th Sin handmade jewellery, accessories and clothing for alternative girls were I found some lovely unique accessories designed and created by her. www.8thsincreations.co.uk
You could also buy original artwork, and even watch the artist in action, as many comic artists and writers were exhibiting their work in the Comic Village. We stopped to admire the fantastic artwork of Lee Bradley of Redditch, who first became inspired to draw comic strip characters through his love of the Jungle Book film. He would practise sketching these cartoon characters and other Marvel and DC artwork along with characters on TV and film during the 80s and 90s. Lee is now a busy freelance artist working within all aspects of comic books as well as running workshops. www.leebradley.com
Victor Wright was another person who had turned their passion into a career. His passion being writing – in particular war, horror and crime. Having always loved writing stories he was runner up in MARSocial Author of the Year 2014 and runner up Writer of the Year Writers’ Bureau 2014. www.vickorsbooks.co.uk
Victor is also a publisher for his particular genre of war, horror and crime books – www.geekycomics.com and is organising an international comics festival in the heart of the Midlands. The Birmingham Comics Festival takes place on Saturday April 18th at Edgbaston Stadium. Visit the website for details: www.thecomicfestival.com
And if you fancy some cosplay yourself, there’s more MCMComicCon and Memorablia shows held all over the UK throughout the year. Check out the dates and places on their website, and I’ll maybe see you there. Watch out for a photographer and a reporter who may be dressed as Clark Kent and Lois Lane!
Further details: www.mcmcomiccon.com