BEAUTIES AND THE BEASTS AT MCM COMIC CON
By Ann Evans
Photos by Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography
It was spectacular fun at the latest MCM Comic Con Show held at the Birmingham NEC over the weekend of November 19th-20th as the good, the bad and the ugly cosplay visitors – plus a lot of glamorous ones dressed up as their favourite hero or villain making it a spectacle not to be missed.
You really have to admire the creativity of cosplay fans as the majority design and make their own costumes and usually taking on the persona of their hero too. Some costumes were more weird and wonderful than others, including some rather macabre outfits. He spotted a Nazi Zombi the like of which you might find in the horror film, Dead Snow. The very well spoken young man beneath all the ghoulish make-up was Charles Maxwell-Nixon, a butcher from Derbyshire. He said that some of the items he was wearing were genuine items and others had been made. He also apologised for the smell, as he buries his costume for authenticity!
Rock fans, and photographer Rob being one, instantly recognised the Trooper from Iron Maiden and quickly took a shot as he marched past with his Union Jack flag. While father and son Cosplay enthusiasts Robin and Calum Olley from Essex had created their own very scary characters – Wolf and Reaper. They explained that they were human bounty hunters now dead and in limbo. Their aim being to go after the villains, but it seems they show very little respect to the goodies in the process!
For some cosplay enthusiasts, the hobby can lead to a career. We chatted to Daniel James Brown who made a striking Thor character. Daniel explained that he and friend, artist Tony Booker have recently started a business making costumes and props. Daniel said: “Tony is an artist and was doing canvas work. He got drafted into costumes and he enjoyed it so much we decided to start up a business.” RoBo Customs began in 2015 and is going from strength to strength.”
Some costumes were no more than a coat of paint. A talented team of body painters – Body Paints Events UK, organised by Liz Barnes and Sammie Banks were creating some amazing works of art on their human canvasses. Liz commented: “This shows off the artistry of body painting in all its many different styles. Body painters and models come along and we work together.”
Other entertainment included wrestling and archery; there were areas where you could try out new video games; a live theatre where many of the celebrity guests gave talks and answered questions about their careers. Plus of course you could buy autographs and have your photo taken with the star of your choice.
Amongst the line of of famous people at the November show was Sam J. Jones, best known for playing the role in the 1980s film, Flash Gordon; Keir Dullea, from the 2001 film A Space Odyssey, Gary Lockwood also from A Space Odyssey and Star Trek and many more.
If you were in the mood for shopping, there were lots of merchandising stalls selling everything from clothing to unique jewellery, books, autographs, posters, props, replica superhero-type weapons, toys, bags and collector’s items galore.
There was a vast bookshop display from Travelling Man (www.travellingman.com) with hundreds of books and board games. Co-owner Nabil Homsi explained that they were established in 1991 and have four shops in Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and York. Most of their books are translations of Japanese Manga (graphic novels), plus they sell comics, board games, card games and memorabilia with a big cross over of genres covered. Nabil said: “I have a passion for board games and my business co-partner, Simon Campey has a passion for comics. Our goal is to get everyone in the world to love at least one comic or game. We want to let the world know that they’re not just for kids.”
As usual an area was set aside for indie writers, illustrators and artists to exhibit their work. One which caught our eye was Messy Miscreation (www.messymiscreation.com). We discovered that artist Haydn Gardner studied Fine Art and Illustration at Coventry University. Haydn produces some very unique pieces of art which represent metaphorical monsters inspired by his thoughts and feelings, and those of people around him.
Show organiser, Bryan Cooney said: “We are very pleased with the turnout for November’s MCM Birmingham Comic Con. Despite the cold and rain, more than 40,000 visitors came along to the show, with many taking advantage of MCM’s ‘kids go free’ offer to have a great day out with the whole family. In fact, numbers were up on last November’s figures, which saw 38,000 people attend our Birmingham event.”
The next MCM Comic Con at the Birmingham NEC takes place on 18-19th March 2017. Further details: http://www.mcmcomiccon.com/birmingham/