COSPLAY AND KNOCKWURSTS
By Ann Evans
Photos: Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography
The MCM Comic Con show is regarded as the UK’s biggest modern pop culture event and it’s first show for 2016 saw more than 32,000 visitors pass through its doors. Many of them were dressed as their favourite TV, film, video game, comic or anime character adding to the spectacle of this popular cosplay event.
Comic Con was held at the Birmingham NEC on 19th-20th March and in no time at all we’d bumped into Ming the Merciless, the Joker and Harlequin, Batman’s arch enemy 2-Face, Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, Iron Man and a host of other characters, clad in brilliant costumes – mostly hand made by the themselves.
One such amazingly dressed character was Thor Pendragon from Stoke, who plays a Borg from Star Trek, whose authentic costume was made from Latex and plastic. He said: “It takes quite a few hours to get ready. And I can’t actually see through one eye – only the flashing light. So it gets a bit disconcerting after a while!” If you want to book Thor for an event, contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A particular sinister due were Army of Two video game characters Tyson Rios and Elliot Salem – father and son in real life. Dad, Tyson, alias Jay Smith said that he hand made the costumes from leather, foam and even water pipes. “It took a long, long time!”
The show featured hundreds of stands selling collectables, costume accessories, original artwork in the form of pictures, paintings, posters, comics and graphic novels, plus you had the opportunity of meeting and talking to these talented artists and writers in the Comic Village area, where more than 60 writers and artists were exhibiting their work.
There were stalls selling toys, jewellery, clothing, t-shirts and DVDs. There was replica props and memorabilia from cult films and video games; there were scaled models of characters, space ships and vehicles, and even some real-life cars used in the making of Batman.
While there was some conventional memorabilia from the 1950s and 60s, there was certainly plenty to attract fans of manga and anime. Face painting was as popular as ever for the youngsters, plus there was also professional body artists there, creating some amazing designs – in the flesh.
For video gaming enthusiasts there was the chance to try out brand new games. And as always there were celebrities signing their latest books and photographs.
Bionic Woman Lindsay Wagner was a special guest of honour. Visitors could see her and ask questions at panel events. Likewise Robert Llewellyn of Red Dwarf. Other famous faces at the show included Murdock Mysteries Thomas Craig, Sleepy Hollow‘s Tom Mison and from the adventure video game Assassin’s Creed Syndicate were stars Paul Amon and Victoria Atkin.
For me, the highlight of the celebrity line up was Kim Hartman and Richard Gibson, alias Helga Geerhart and Herr Otto Flick of the Gestapo in the hugely popular BBC series ‘Allo ‘Allo which ran for 10 years with 85 episodes.
While Kim and Richard have been busy doing lots of stage and TV, they looked back at the series with very fond memories. Kim said: “We did a pilot and it was repeated – and we knew from the pilot that it was going to be successful, but we didn’t know quite how successful! Every year we’d do another series and then another. And we did this for ten years. It was great fun to do.”
They’d brought along the portrait of the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies – and a knockwurst sausage in which it was hidden. Who could ask for more?
The next Comic Con at the Birmingham NEC takes place on 19th -20th November 2016. Further details at: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/