This weekend has seen MCM Comic Con land in Birmingham, and being just down the road, I thought it only right we should take a look!
First Impressions, Costumes & Comics
This was actually the first MCM Con i’d covered so I was interested to see what it would be like. This Birmingham Con took up 2 massive halls of the NEC. One dedicated to memorabilia the other to comics. Wandering around, there were naturally a lot of people enjoying themselves in costume. Some had made rather more effort than others, but they all seem to be having a good time. I think it’s fair to say Deadpool is proving somewhat popular this year with both young and old. I also spotted a large number of Harley Quinns and of course, male and female Doctors from Doctor Who – I’d say a good balance between 10th and 11th incarnations… I did see a number of Fez’s… but then, as we all know, Fez’s are cool. ;) A special shout out really has to go to the lady Doc Ock who was standing around having photos taken with Spidey, for her frankly, spectacular outfit, complete with mechanical arms!
Looking through some of the stands, there were lots of great artists and independent comic book writers. The one that really caught my eye though was ‘Bearland’ from Subversive Comics. After the Zombear Apocalypse, the Bear-with-no-name travels across a Zombie infested landscape to find the bear responsible… The zombie apocalypse with teddy bears! What’s not to love!
There were no shortage of people signing autographs, some bigger stars than others. A few people that have had minor roles in Star Wars, or Doctor Who, along with some other well know British TV faces. Not unsurprisingly, Hannah Spearritt & Ben Mansfield from Primeval were proving popular with the autograph hunters, as was Richard Kiel (aka Jaws from James Bond). I also spotted Nabil Shaban who played Sil in the 6th Doctor’s serial ‘Vengeance on Varos’. Sil was a character that scared the crap out of me as a child, and it didn’t help that when I saw him, he was in the section of the Con that had a selection of live animals, and he was busy ‘petting’ a tarantula!
Kate Kelton & Richard Donat from the Syfy show Haven were also there, and I did have a brief chat with them as I went up to get an autograph after their panel. It was also a this point an incident occurred which made me fall a little in love with Kate. You see, it appears she is a MASSIVE Star Wars geek, and it just so happens the guys from The UK based 501st Legion were there in, ahem, force… So when Darth Vader himself decided to pay Miss Kelton a visit just as I got to the front of the queue, she had, what I can only describe as a geekgasm. It was really rather adorable, and she just freaked out and had her photo taken with the Sith Lord and his Imperial Guard. She did return to the signing table eventually with an ear-to-ear grin which I suspect still hasn’t faded. J.J. if you’re reading this, offer Kate a role in the new movie, and you’ll have a friend for life! ;)
Kate Kelton with Darth Vader
I should say, the 501st Legion were brilliant throughout the time I was at the Con. They seem to always stay in character, and it’s not uncommon to see Stormtroopers wandering through the halls mock ‘harassing’ willing con-goers. The best incident I saw of this was when Vader himself ‘caught’ a Star Trek fan in full costume, and had him prostrate himself in front of the sith lord (and onlooking crowd) and declare ‘the Federation is nothing, long live the Empire’. It was all in good fun, and the Federation officer (who i’m sure will be court-martialed for his cowardice) was eventually let go.
There were a number of interesting panels at the Con. First up was the Haven panel with Kate Kelton & Richard Donat, who answered lots of fan questions about the show. It was an interesting mix as this was Kate’s first Con, and she was clearly pretty hyper, where as Richard was far more laid back. Both utterly charming though. Favourite answer to the question ‘which other character would you like to play on the show’ came from Kate “Duke. I loooovee Duke as he’s such a smart-ass. Although if I got to play Nathan, I get to kiss Audrey, so that would be fun!” Geek temperatures rising around the room! ;) See the video of the Haven panel here.
Next panel I caught was with prolific Manga voice over artist Todd Haberkorn, although the panel I caught was more related to the work on the brilliant web series Star Trek Continues in which he plays Spock. It’s shot in the original 60’s tv show style, and picks up right after the end of the last episode. They’ve shot 1 full episode so far, and thanks to a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, are shooting 4 more next year.
Finally, the big one. The Red Dwarf panel. This included Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn, Danny John-Jules, and Hatty Hayridge, all who where on top form. Many questions from fans about how they got the roles, and favourite episodes and jokes, which resulted it Chris and Rob reenacting the classic “Are you sure sir, it’ll mean changing the bulb” line. There was also some discussion about who’s most disruptive on set, to which Chris replied “We’re all consummate professionals these days”… and then Rob goes on to relate a story of how Craig has a habit of setting fire to his scripts. ;)
Overall, I’ve had a blast over the past 2 days. I’ve met some great people (in some amazing costumes!) and seen some very entertaining panels. If you get a chance to go then do it, you won’t regret it. Lovely people, and you may even get the chance to meet Darth Vader!