Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Con Report: London Film and Comic Con 2015

If you’ve kept up with my scribbles over the last few years, you will know that I and my girlfriend share a fondness for cosplay and visiting MCM Expo, London.

But this year, we decided to broaden our horizons by paying a visit to London’s second most famous convnetion: Film and Comic Con at the Kensington Olympia. What ispired our visit were guest appearances from MalcolmMcDowell (A Clockwork Orange, If...) who sadly couldn’t make it; Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street); and most importantly Sherilyn Fenn of Twin Peaks – the show which inspired our choice of cosplay.

Peakies of London
Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re)
As my brother’s leftover clothes made up for a close interpretation of Twin Peaks’ resident thug Leo Johnson, I donned the chequered shirt and used my James Dean style white shirt and jeans. (Alex, if you’re reading this I’ve put your top back in the wardrobe – sorry I didn’t ask first!)

But more importantly to show our loving affection for the show, Caroline came up with a truly handsome interpretation of the Log Lady, David Lynch’s take on the Crazy Cat Lady trope – which has always been my interpretation. Her aesthetic log bag was provided by independent clothing and fan paraphernalia peddlers: The Elisarium, who did a damn fine job in my opinion. Caroline received many a compliment and photograph from fellow Peakies, especially those old enough to have seen the show on its first airing.

Catherine E Coulson as The Log Lady
Not that many people recognised mine but I don’t blame them because Leo Johnson is a minor character who disappears somewhere near the middle of the show but does offer interesting twists and turns to the plot as agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLaughlan) searches for the murderer of Twin Peaks’ local sweetheart, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).

All in all, I’m very happy we had an original choice of costume. We were only able to attend on the Friday because the Saturday and Sunday were sold out so I do hope other Peakies of London descended onto the con with their own quirky takes on the mysterious series.

And by what Caroline told me, Sherilyn Fenn is a lovely lady who enjoys being photographed with many a fan.

And here's a few quick pics of our exploits:

Ask it what?

Alien mistook Caroline for Sigourney Weaver!

Cheer up Grumpy Cat!
A family of Transformers. I bet those kids had the best day out ever!

My Fanboy Haul

No visit to a con is complete, for me, without a few happy purchases to supplement your inner passion for whichever film, TV show, game or comic/book that you will always treasure. I was certainly pleased at my findings this time as I found these long lost gems of action figure history.

For anyone who has not seen the film Dune (1984) (this was a very Lynchian visit I must say) these are the figures of hero Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) and antagonist Feyd Rautha (Sting). Both book and the novel by Frank Herbert played a core role in my formative years. If they look at all familiar to you here’s the Dune buggies sketch from Robot Chicken which Ricky was very quick to remind me of:

Finally I came away with the first two volumes of the Serenity comics series. This last year I’ve been rekindling my love of Firefly, which I didn’t quite understand first time round, but having matured to understand the works of Joss Whedon and the like, I’ve fallen in love with the show and the franchise with all the passion a kid with a liking for the future, the 19th century, the American Civil War and strong female characters can fathom.

I got volume one: Those Left Behind, and Better Days. I now have to locate volume three: The Shepherd’s Tale and four: Leaves on the Wind (post Serenity).

Power Rangers in Kensington

Accompanying Caroline and I to the con, also on his maiden visit, was my friend and anime and Japan nerd, James ‘Mitch’ Mitchell. Mitch has been attending MCM Comic Con for over 10 years and has pulled off some very elaborate cosplays in his time. He also educated me with many tales of the country he holds so close to his heart, particularly Japanese culture and the creativeness that goes into animation, the country’s biggest cultural export.
He is hoping to set up his own business selling anime figurines and fan merchandise.  His expertise made him quick to point out if anything on show was fake or genuine. It was because of him I noticed just how big a business the Pop figures franchise is, as there were figures from all across the TV, film, anime and gaming spectrum to satisfy any fan wanting a caricature of their favourite character in their own home.

But what had also inspired him to attend, were the guest appearances of several Mighty Morphin Power Rangers cast members. Among them were Austin St John (below left) who portrayed Red Ranger: Jason Lee Scott, and Jason David Frank (below right) whom we all know as Green Ranger: Tommy Oliver. Any 90s kid who enjoyed the highly choreographed capers of the teenagers appointed to protect the earth would have loved to see this.

What I did notice was both these actors didn’t seem to have aged. They were quite the overgrown versions of the younger selves we all saw on Saturday mornings. It’s quite fascinating when someone you saw in a cartoonish show ages the way only said shows could have imagined them in the future. Looking like this, they really did bring back many good memories.

Also appearing was Peta-Maree Rixon, the voice of Alpha 5, the hyperactive robot who aided the Power Rangers on their missions. A very good venture for someone obsessed with his childhood. All this talk of Power Rangers makes me want to listen to some Pellek now:

But other such appearances that made me feel very happy were the presence of Dave Prowse, known to the world as the visual Darth Vader. James Earl Jones provided the voice of our favourite Sith Lord, here’s a quick snippet of how Prowse sounded when improvising Jones’s lines on the set of ANew Hope.

Also pleasing this Star Wars fanboy were Jeremy Bullock (Boba Fett) and Peter Mayhew, best known as everybody’s favourite Wookie, Chewbacca. These guys were part of my childhood more than the Power Rangers and it was simply amazing to see them in person. I’ve never been a huge fan of meeting idols, but I have noticed that when you realise the people you look up to are as human as you are then it feels quite phenomenal, because you might hold said people in such high esteem you may think you will never be like them. But the double edged sword of meeting the ones you idolise has its positives and that is knowing that we’re all human and we can all do amazing things like boost the imaginations of many a child in their most formative of years.

All in all, I had a truly swell time paying homage to one of the greatest TV shows and film directors of all time and I am looking forward to the return of Twin Peaks very soon. Keep up the good work Film and Comic Con – you’ve really done a good job.

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