Convention Diary Part 5

Collectormania 24

Okay I was dubious about attending this con. Perhaps dubious isn’t the right word. Without sounding negative if you have been to one event put on by Showmasters you have essentially been to them all. Which is a good thing. We are after all creatures of habit. The reason I didn’t want to attend this con was because the previous 23 incarnations of Collectormania took place in my home town in a venue with free entry. It felt dirty attending! Collectormania took place in Birminghams NEC. So for me a forty minute train right, trains aren’t cheap man. But I can’t hold the good people of Showmasters responsible for that! Standard entry was £11 which compared to free seems extortionate but realistically for an event this size is more than reasonable. For me any entry of £20 better be a special experience. A goody bag thrown in at the very least.

On to the convention. The biggest advantage the NEC has over the venues previously used for Collectormania in Milton Keynes is the space. This was well laid out. I’m assuming Saturday was the busier day as the con only took place Saturday and Sunday. It didn’t feel busy because of the lay out and space. I can testify it was busy from the size of the queue getting in and the people milling about outside. The space was well utilized with vendors occupying the middle and then the signings flanking on two sides. If guests were popular there was a slight crowding on one side of the venue with queues heading back into vendors but it was minor. Over all there was no bottle necking down aisles. I was even able to find space to sit on the floor and eat/drink comfortably. You were able to get your hand stamped so you could come and go to the food vendors outside or make use of the sunshine if you had a packed lunch. There were also vendors inside hall 5 along side the convention. There was a Subway and then just a standard sandwich/snack seller. As well as a pulled pork van and a fish and chips vans. I plumped for the pulled pork. It was delicious and not terribly over priced. For £6 it was a decent sized roll crammed with pulled pork and stuffing. The pork was very succulent. That’s my Man Vs Food section over with.  For those of you familiar with the previous Collectormanias and London Film and Comic Con (From here on in CM and LFCC) I would say this weekends was bigger than previous CM’s but smaller than LFCC. For me I found it low on the era of comics I want and thus was unable to make an real dents in my Daredevil and Master of Kung-Fun runs. Perhaps at last summers LFCC I just got lucky. It was my first convention since I started collecting Master of Kung-Fu and I picked up a decent handful of issues without breaking the bank. One seller I spoke to had just acquired a stock of Master of Kung-Fu but hadn’t got them bagged and boarded in time for the con. So hopefully I’ll see them at another one soon. From them I picked up #130, #140 and #142 of Daredevil all VFN all £10. I got them for £28 in the end. There was lots of recent comics, TPB’s and a few £1 boxes. I don’t have anything against £1 but I know the majority of issues I’m looking for won’t be in there so why waste my time when they aren’t in order? I was looking for a Incredible Hulk #340 (Because I can’t afford #181) and a Daredevil #132 (First Bullseye). One guy had the Daredevil but it was in a top condition so out of my price range at £75. I also picked up two Punisher Max TPB’s from a seller with 20% sale. Both came in at £11 which is very reasonable. Also I went through a period of Punisher MAX trades being hard to find. It seems obligatory to pick up a Funko Pop at a con nowadays. I picked up two! Netflix Daredevil (£10) which I missed at LFCC last summer and Sabertooth was a steal at £7. Lastly I picked up the recent Marvel Legends Old Man Logan action figure. I paid a little more for this than I usually would at £25 but I save money on comics and I really wanted it!

Over all Collectormania 24 was a solid B+ event. Probably geared more towards film and TV fans, with plenty of toys and memorabilia. Hardcore back issue searchers like myself may not be overly pleased. With this in mind I probably would not attend yearly but if I went once in a blue moon I would find it enjoyable.

 

Convention Diary Part 5

FCBD 2017

Why have I not attended one of these before? I have been collecting comics for nearly twenty years now and today I popped my FCBD cherry. I make it sound like a big mystery but really it’s been nothing more than it falling on days when I’m otherwise occupied. Even the years I had a LSC I never made it. This year I was free so I contacted a friend and headed out to Close Encounters in Northampton. (www.closeencounters.co.uk).

I’ve spoken about Close Encounter on this blog before they are the nearest to a LCS I have. Two stores in two towns in each direction from me (Northampton and Bedford) and a third store opened recently in Peterborough. I get my comics online from the Bedford store but I as the Northampton one is a little larger I decided to head there for FCBD plus there is a bit more in the town to do as well. I’ve heard many a horror story of FCBD. Stories that it doesn’t increase sales, dopes asking for stuff that isn’t free and scavenger’s taking the freebies and nothing else. I can report nothing but positives from my first experience. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect going in. FCBD like a lot of things in the UK hasn’t hit the heights as things seem to do in the US. I guess each shop brings its own ideas to FCBD outside of the sanctioned books. So going in blind probably wasn’t a bad idea. On the positive side I knew I was making the trip and there were a few current trade paperbacks I was looking to pick up anyway. I’ll start by talking about that as it is not FCBD related. How fucking good is Southern Bastards? I picked up the third trade and I absolutely love this series. It is like nothing else currently on the stands. Equal parts brutal and beautiful. Jason Aaron, Jason Latour, Chris Brunner an Jared K. Fletcher keep up the incredible work.

Back to FCBD itself then. I walk straight past the monthly books as I know they are safely waiting for me a the Bedford store. I even walk past the free comics. Towards the back middle of the store is about ten long boxes of comics. I’m told they are all 50p! Time to start flicking those fingers! I’m not even a quarter of the way through when my friend asks me a question about the IDW TMNT series. I help him out best I can. I’m reading it in monthly issues he’s reading it in trades. We are at this stage miles apart. I point out the free TMNT issue on offer and grab one for myself. Then back to the long boxes. There was a vast assortment of comics on offer. Plenty of comics from the big two. Even a Captain America #25 which I was tempted to pick up and see what I could flip it for on eBay. Every publisher you can think of was in these boxes. Even ones that are long defunct. I picked up a T.H.U.N.D.E.R Agents #1 from Deluxe Comics. Most genres were accounted for in these 50p boxes. I mainly used the low price to pick up some oddities nothing to make any dents in my collections. I picked up Just Imagine Stan Lee’s Batman, a Wolverine one shot and a Wizard Wolverine special. Which was so old it had Dougray Scott as still attached to play Logan. In reality I could have gone through all ten boxes three times and picked out some cool stuff. The main thing was the boxes catered for everyone. It didn’t matter if you were a seasoned collector like me or if it was your first time in a comic shop. It was heart warming in a way seeing kids going through these boxes looking to piece together some issues chronologically. Also on the positive side I saw plenty of people picking up newer items like trades and figures which is all good for the store. In one corner was a selection of second hand trade paperbacks and hardcover graphic novels. There was plenty to choose from. Again good for long timers and new comers. At the lower prices I find people are more willing to try a new story. From the sanctioned free books I picked up the Guardians of The Galaxy one. Mainly for the Defenders back up which sets up the new on-going by Michael Bendis and David Marquez. The TMNT comic slots perfectly into the canon of the series and sets up their return to Dimension X. Lastly I got Keyser Soze Scorched Earth from Red 5 comics. Who knew one day The Usual Suspects would branch out into comics. I’ve only flicked through it so far and doesn’t seem to have the same vibe of the movie. I will keep an eye on the series and see if it gets closer to that continuity at any point. This comic also contained two stories the second was The Rift which seems a cool concept. Written by Don Handfield and Richard Rayner. With art by Leno Carvalho and colours by Rodrigo Fernandes. The Rift the title refers to is a rift in space and time of course as a WWII pilot crashes in modern day Kansas. It is the sort of story I would pick up as a trade as long as it is a done in one contained story. There was one free comic I couldn’t find that was on the website. The Ballard of Franklin Bonisteel. I only wanted this for the free download for a song by Robert Finlay and Dan Auerback of The Black Keys. I minor complaint from an excellent day.

Lastly as I paid me and the guy talked about how far I had come, where I get my comics (them) and how great Southern Bastards is. I got a few extra freebies thrown into my bag and it wasn’t bad stuff. Walking Dead #163. Bloodshot Reborn #1 and DKIII #2! I’m a huge Frank Miller fan so this was a nice surprise. I’m waiting to read it in one go as a trade and this has just made me more excited. Also I got one of those build your own cardboard Deadpools which was a promotional item and few years back. I’ll post it on Instagram when I’ve put it together. (Ianwells87).

All in all FCBD more first in twenty years of collecting was a fun experience. Whether I would do it every year depends on the quality of the books. That’s not to say I can’t still go and support my comic shop. I just have to weigh up travel expenses and my time table against going through 50p boxes for potential gold. That is not to say I am joining all those who scoff at FCBD. Like I said it works for certain shops more than others and each shop goes about making it its own experience. I don’t think its main aim is to shift more comics on the actual day. I think its to grow the awareness and popularity. From what I saw today its doing that.

 

 

 

 

FCBD 2017

Whitewashing… Yawn

I’m completely bored now of the whitewashing debate. That is not to say I am a racist.Yes I am aware as a thirty year old white man I’m not allowed to voice an opinion. I just believe when it comes to comics and genre based TV/movies there is so much more to complain about. Lets remember no one is forcing anyone to watch or read anything.

In recent weeks it has been Iron Fist on Netflix and Ghost in The Shell taking all the hits. I don’t see where people get off on saying Danny Rand shouldn’t be white in the Netflix show because the character never should have been white in the first place! I’m sorry did you create him? Nobody said you have to read and like Iron Fist. If you want a Asian Kung-Fu comic try Shang-Chi who debuted a year before Iron Fist in 1973. Admittedly recently Iron Fist creator Roy Thomas made some rather uneducated comments. But I don’t think the case of Thomas and artist Gil Kane creating Iron Fist in the first place as white American can be considered racist. Comics are a product of their time. They were working from page to page to earn a living. Look at whos popular in comics, Batman and Ironman are both rich white guys. Thomas and Kane were sticking to what sold. Marvel were undoubtedly cashing in on the impact Bruce Lee was having on cinema screens. But like I mentioned earlier they already had an Asian kung-fu comic. So where was the harm in trying something different. People see Iron Fist as the story of a foreigner going to a foreign land and stealing from them. Maybe I’m being narrow minded to see Iron Fist as a story about a young man achieving greatness in the face of adversary. Isn’t it equally stereotypical to say only Asians can be good at kung-fu? Nowhere is it mentioned anywhere that the people of K’un Lun are Asian. It’s a mystical city they could and should be fucking any race! These are all reasons why I stand with the creators of the Netflix show in their choice for keeping Danny Rand white American. I might be bias as an Iron Fist fan but if they were to change a character who has existed for forth three years why bother adapting it in the first place? Why not make Shang-Chi? Recently and rather refreshingly Daniel Wu star of Into The Badlands spoke up about the Iron Fist whitewashing debate. He called people ‘precocious’ saying their argument was misplaced, as Iron Fist has always been white. He went on to say he doesn’t buy into “cultural appropriation bullshit that only Asians can do martial arts.” He did concede Marvel had the chance to do something different by casting an Asian American, “But they didn’t so what can you do?” I think it speaks volumes when a creator defends a supposed case of whitewashing. That is exactly what happened recently when Ghost In The Shell creator Mamoru Oshii spoke out about Scarlett Johansson’s casting. When he says “Major is a cyborg, her physical form is an entirely assumed one… There is no basis for saying that an Asian actor must portray her.” For me it just highlights the fact that the arguments are misguided and skirting the real issues. There is so much more inequality on comics and movies to complain about.

Genre TV and movies seem to bare the brunt of the whitewashing debate. More so than every other Hollywood genre. But it is very easy to make the argument that genre TV and movies is also actively looking to make things equal more than any other genre. Look at one of the hits of last year Rogue One. Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang and Forest Whitaker all played significant roles in a Star Wars movie! Marvel could greatly shift the balance of things if and when Chris Evans steps away from the role of Captain America. Anthony Mackie or Sebastian Stan? Both would certainly bring something different to the Captain America role. Both characters have wielded the shield in Caps absence so Marvel couldn’t be accused of whitewashing. No doubt if they choose Stan over Mackie the accusation would be thrown anyway! I’m not just saying it for the case of being impartial but I think Mackie would certainly bring more to the role. Stan has the tortured potential hero of Winter Soldier down to a tee. The argument could be made that having him take the shield would be a more complete story arc, but I see more potential in Falcon taking the role. They would be able to move away from the man out of time angle with Mackie. Sam Wilson is a modern man, he has a certain swagger which would make for a very different leadership role. Its been promised the landscape of the MCU will be very different after 2019. Anthony Mackie as Captain America first in a solo movie then leading a new generation of Avengers would certainly be a huge step forward. It is a big step Marvel could have taken a few years ago when Spider-Man became part of the MCU. Why didn’t they look to cast a Miles Morales? Peter Parker has years of fandom behind him and therefore is more instantly recognisable as Spidey and therefore my bankable. But Miles Morales in a short space of time has built a strong following in this day and age it would have been great for the MCU to make the move. Maybe after what happened with Tilda Swinton’s casting in Doctor Strange was met with negative reviews they decided against it. In this case Marvel thought they were being brave by giving such a high profile role to a women only to have the whitewashing card thrown in their face!

There could come a time when too much negativity in the whitewashing debate will lead to a feeling of pandering. Why change a characters race for an adaptation of a comic?  Why not just tell an original story if you are going to make such changes. There a times when it works and times when it doesn’t. In comics when Marvel launched the Ultimates in 2002 making Nicky Fury African American was a move that worked for a new era. Going forward it also proved a move that would work for the inception of the MCU. Now if the change of race had been made in the movies without the change in the comics proving a success I don’t feel it would have worked. You couldn’t adapt the original Nick Fury war stories for the silver screen with an African American actor. It is just a sad fact of history that a man of colour wouldn’t have had the status of Nick Fury. When DC relaunched with the New 52 they made Wally West a black character, why? It is a move they have since gone back on. So if they wanted a black speedster why not create a new character alas Miles Morales?

I understand I may have said something here that may be viewed as controversial. I’m simply throwing some ideas out there. I often feel the argument is misguided and loses its focus easily. At times it gets thrown around to easily without people really thinking about all the aspects. Whilst comics and movies often find themselves under the spotlight like I said they are often at times making huge steps to address the balance. To anyone who reads comics and regular goes to the cinema this can make you feel proud and part of something important.

 

Whitewashing… Yawn

An Open Letter To Geoff Johns

Dear Geoff Johns

I am convinced 2017 is the year to bring back an Unknown Soldier ongoing. Now I should probably leave out the part that this idea came to me in a dream but it’s best to be truthful. Also while we are being truthful I’m not expecting you to hire me to write it, though it would be amazing. I mean I’m a nobody. At best I’m an ideas guy. I do the skeletal system I need somebody else to do the muscles and blood. In the dream it was Frank Tieri and Sean Chen (My favourite Wolverine creative team). Anyway I digress.

So why 2017? Well when I woke from the dream the next day, thought about things logically and made some notes everything just seemed right. Rebirth will be coming into its second year. At some point it will need a shot in the arm. New characters to freshen things up. Instead of rebooting an existing title relaunch an oldie. Unknown Soldier can work in 2017. It will be the first full year in Trumps administration. People are more politically minded than ever. Comics is a format that can tackle any subject. I’m not saying make the Unknown Soldier be anti Trump propaganda. But right away the real world sets the tone for the comic. Another reason Unknown can work in 2017 is that anyone can be the Unknown Soldier. Meaning it doesn’t have to be continuity heavy. From the start of the series we have a new character in the title role. An unknown character (See what I did there). The readers learn what he/she is about by watching there actions as the story unfolds. The reader learns who the Unknown Soldier is as other characters in the story learn. By having a fresh face in the role it makes it more appealing to new readers. In early story arcs drop hints to a bigger picture and once the new readers are hooked you hit them with the continuity. The role of the Unknown Soldier has passed on from war to war so you have back story to play with. Hit them with nostalgia with Kanigher and Kubert! Americans killing Nazis sells! Flashbacks to Sgt. Rock and Easy Company. There is undoubtedly a rich history to play with both from comics and real life. Do you know how many countries have ‘Tombs to The Unknown Soldier’? My research found 49! Some countries have more than one. So you could say 52 just to keep things symmetrical. You could have Unknown Soldiers on a Batman Inc. level if handled right. Making things more appealing to readers overseas.

Conspiracy theories, true crime and war accounts are such a big part of the global zeitgeist right now. Bringing back Unknown Soldier in 2017 can not fail. Serial, Making a Murderer, The X-Files comeback, Russian email hacks, WikiLeaks. The world The Unknown Soldier operates in is happening on the news and in popular entertainment every night. Not having him in a comic while this is happening would be like having a comedian in eighties England who didn’t do satire. It would be like not having rock bands that hide political agendas behind heavy licks and riffs.

Now for what I believe is the icing on the cake. The element that will tie Unknown firmly into the world of Rebirth. I want to go back to The X-Files for a moment if I can. It helped provide me with the final piece of the puzzle. The final piece of inspiration that made me think this could work. The ten seasons were divided into ‘Mythology’ and ‘Monster of the Week’ episodes. You do the same with The Unknown Soldier except you swap out ‘Monster of the Week’ for ‘Heroes and Villains’. Let me explain further. The ‘Mythology’ issues of The Unknown Soldier would deal with government conspiracy. All with the powers that be not being what it seems. Botched assassination attempts, government sponsored death squads, political back handers. That kind of thing. The ‘Heroes and Villains’ issues would deal with The Unknown Soldier interacting with the DCU in a wider scope. At first I didn’t know how to make this element work then it hit me. As we have established the role of The Unknown Soldier has passed on from generation to generation. Well so has the information they have gathered over the years. For example The Unknown Soldier of 1939 would first have investigated the ‘Superman’ of Metropolis. Whilst The Unknown Solider of 1993 investigated his death. All this means the ‘Heroes and Villains’ issues provide further space to play with the characters past continuity they also provide great fanboy moments. Isn’t that what reading comics is all about?

Thank you for your time

Ian Wells

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter To Geoff Johns

#IStandWithChelseaCain

It’s been nearly a week since this horrible situation and its consequences occurred. Did it really need my ass hole with a blog opinion? But that’s how the whole thing started, ass holes with an opinions! They were abusive, sexist, derogatory and uneducated opinions. Its rather sad to think that comics and entertainment as a whole can create this much hate and abuse in people. It is absolutely senseless to go after a creators gender because you don’t agree with their message or even worse just because you don’t rate their work! This incident has just highlighted the dark side of social media even more. Twitter and Facebook can be great tools for creators especially those in the shelf publishing areas. It can be very useful those creators in feeling the vibes of fandom. But when you get situations like last week it throws it all in to question. The creators know their fan base they don’t need all this extra shit on top of meeting deadlines and tackling writers block. Yes it takes away that level of contact with fans but they have to do what is best for them. The Mockingbird TPB made it to Amazons number 1 top seller this week so it shows educated people win out in the end. It’s easy to say Chelsea Cain should have remained on Twitter and rise above it, but like I said why bother? She knows Mockingbird was largely well received fuck what the sexist trolls think! I would be more than happy if Chelsea so wishes for me to go after the individuals in question via this blog. I don’t have any deadlines to worry about and at times in the past I have spent weeks arguing about sport online so I’m well trained! There has been a positive to come from this though. The way fans and fellow creators have come out in support gives a sense of pride to educated comic fans. This show of support was us saying “These idiots do not represent us!” I agree there are times when comics and other forms of entertainment can be over used to push a message. It can be frustrating if you are just there for entertainment and don’t want an agender forced on you. But you know what to do? Stop reading or watching! Try something different, broaden you horizons! Don’t sink to caveman levels of uneducated bullying. Its not clever! It’s disgusting to talk to people in the way Chelsea Cain has been addressed just for putting out a form of entertainment! Female creators and lead characters seem to be in the spotlight more than ever in recent years. This incident started negatively but when we all stand with Chelsea Cain it has become a positive. I was going to say a female presence in comics needs to be increased, then I looked through my back issues. Marvel has strong representation despite a call for more. Ann Nocenti, Jo Duffy, Marie Severin, Glynis Wein, Louise Simonson, Gail Simone, Marjorie Liu, Kelly Sue Deconnick and all the others Stand with Chelsea Cain!

#IStandWithChelseaCain

Hail The King

If your a hard core comic collector, a casual reader, someone who loves comic book movies Jack Kirby has influenced what you enjoy with or without you knowing it. Sunday 28th August would have been The Kings 99th birthday. Do you think when he drew his first comic people would still be talking about the importance of his work eighty years later?

I suppose we should address the elephant in the room. The injustice Kirby and his estate have suffered down the years at the hands of Marvels lawyers. But we shouldn’t still be talking about it. I don’t want to sound blasé but it is a problem from a different era. I’m not saying Kirby supporters should go silent and let the injustice rest, but there is a time and a place for it. Kirby Week should be about the man and his art. The management and personnel have changed so many times over the years fans should not harass them when it comes to Kirby. A lot of Marvel staffers are comic fans. Jack Kirby means as much to them as he does anyone else. It is a problem they probably never wanted to inherit from regime change to regime change. I don’t envy them at all. Next year would be the big 100. Can we celebrate the man and his art and not mention the other stuff?

Since Fantastic Four #1 hit the stands in 1961 Jack Kirby remains as relevant and popular as ever. No one in any form of media has enjoyed such longevity! With good reason too, you don’t get the nickname ‘King’ by being bang average. I went onto Twitter with the simple task ‘One word or one piece to capture Jack Kirby?’ I got some good responses that helped fuel my passion in this blog. Artist Ryan Cody (@ryancody) gave me ‘excitement.’ It’s a simple word, but hard to disagree with. From a personal point of view Kirby has never had a strong input on the characters I collect. But you look at his art and it brings a smile to your face. His are images that remind you of a simpler time in comics when it was all about telling one good story a month. Creators were working issues to issues putting their all into never knowing if there would be work the next week. Kirby was a pioneer and the innovations and techniques he used paved the way for longevity of superhero comics right up to their dominance on the big screen. Mike Zapcic of AMC’s Comic Book Men offered this image https://twitter.com/michaelzapcic/status/768800532660121600. Powerful stuff, instantly recognisable as Kirby! Artist David Golding (@DavidGoldingArt) put forward the word ‘genius.’ While Kirby is predominantly thought of as an artist his writing duties aren’t to be scoffed at. The post-apocalyptic Kamandi and the first Black Panther on-going. Huge sagas for both Marvel and DC in the shape of The Eternals and The New Gods respectively. Paul (@pb609plus1) gave me a more colourful word with ‘unfuckwithable.’ Again its hard to disagree with when you look at the evidence. When you think of Kirby instinctively you think Marvel Comics and the era that launched today’s popular characters. There was a time when Marvels loss was DCs gain. He gave them gold! Darkseid often thought of as the JLA’s main protagonist is a Kirby creation. I found out the other day that he tweaked Green Arrows origin to the one we know today. The same one which was the basis for the flashbacks in season 1 of Arrow. Going forward the DCEU is going to be packed full of Kirby creations. We have already had glimpses of Steppenwolf, Mother boxes and Boom tubes. With Justice League out next year his creations are going to play an important roll in DC movies going forward. Which brings me to my next point. Has anyone put my original characters from comics to the big screen? (Remember we are ignoring the fact he hasn’t been properly credited). Captain America, Hulk, Thor, The FF, Black Panther, Silver Surfer, most of the X-Men. Add to that which ever DC characters they use going forward and I think he has it in the bag. The size and the diversity of his career also put him head and shoulders above everyone else. Especially his modern contemporaries. Jack Kirby done 102 consecutive issues of Fantastic Four. A superstar artist these days does one story arc and needs a break! Superheroes, Westerns, Crime, Horror, Romance, Sci-Fi. Kirby did it all and he did it with enthusiasm and to the highest standard.

So next year will mark what would be Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday. Maybe Marvel and DC can give him more than a week. Why not go all out? One Hundred years deserves a Kirby Con. If no one else does it I’ll do it online. Contact me via Twitter @ianwells87 or email ianwell87@hotmail.com and we can put some ideas together.

Long Live The King

Hail The King

Convention Diary Part 4

London Film and Comic Convention 2016

I haven’t had a con experience this positive since my first ever con when I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. I don’t have one negative comment and if you’ve read my previous ‘Convention Diaries’ you might find that hard to believe. Lets start with the venue, The Kensington Olympia. It is a great space and for me coming from Milton Keynes was very accessible by rail. I could get one train straight through without messing about with the underground. So I must sat back and put my music on. The space inside the venue was very well utilized. From what I read on Twitter the space and the layout was deemed better than last year. Last time I went to LFCC was in Earls Court and that was very cramped. There were positive vibes as soon as I got off the train with people milling about all excited for what the day ahead held. There was a guy dressed as Batman and every kid he passed wanted to high five him. Female cosplayers are definitely getting more daring and  I will say no more than that (I’m keeping it positive remember). I had an after 12pm entry ticket which was £16 pound. My first sight on entering the venue was the 89 Batmobile in all its glory. £16 well spent. I think that is what made this con so enjoyable. There was plenty of stuff going on so if you weren’t spending a fortune on merch it was still an experience. Like I said there was the 89 Batmobile, the Dumb and Dumber car, The Delorean. Also on the next level was a big Suicide Squad section with a Squad cardboard cut out you coud pose in front  of. On display were the majority of actual film worn costumes from the movie. The amount of guys taking pics of Harley Quinn’s costume from front and back was off the scale. I suppose its the closets we will ever get to Margot Robbie. Another good photo opportunity was a full sized Star Wars action figure style box. The good thing about this was they were only asking for donations upwards of £3 and all the money was for a good cause. A recent trend I’ve noticed in UK cons is the increasing number of talks and panels just like our American cousins. This is the biggest positive of all, as it will increase the profile of cons in the UK. Therefore increasing star pulling power, increased attendances and all round good fun.

Now onto the merch side of things. Funkos and comic based Legos continue their world take over. I was looking for a Netflix style Daredevil, I would go to one stall and not find it and then you would turn around to walk away and immediately see another pile of pops on another stall. I found one but thought it was a little overpriced. I’ve since seen one on eBay but I kind of enjoy the thrill of hunting one down at cons. Talking of the thrill of the hunt I plugged plenty of holes in my back issue gaps. Recently I started picking up lower number Daredevils. I got a #63 in VG condition for #12. I also got #293 which is an awesome cover of a gun toting DD standing over a slain Punisher. Then I picked up all four parts to the ‘Last Rites’ story arc. All of my Daredevils came from one seller and totalled £30. The guy on the stall also tried to tempt me with a #158 the first Frank Miller on Daredevil. He was asking £100. Fortunately I picked that book up at a con last year for £18! On the topic of expensive key issues The Comic Alchemist (www.thecomicalchemis.com) had a ton of key issues and variant covers. A lot of them were CGC. Out of my price range but an experience to look at. From another seller I scoured the 50pence bins and got some Classic X-Men. Not bagged and board but in relatively good condition. I’m sure I’m not the first genius to come up with this but picking up Classic X-Men is a cheap way of enjoying the Claremont/Byrne run. Now when I completed my Wolverine run a few years back it left a hole in my collecting plans at cons. Recently I done some research and came to the conclusion the Master of Kung Fu would be a fun series to hunt down. This was first con doing so it I wasn’t disappointed. I was able to pick up six issues. Five in the low 50’s and #87 for £19. Not boarded but bagged. Two of the issues were marked as NM and I haven’t read them yet but I would say the others could be between F and VG. Steven Englehart was a guest in the comic zone and had I been collecting Shang-Chi a little longer I would have been tempted to get an autograph. My last purchase was a nice little novelty item and if you are a fan of old Kenner and Hasbro toys I suggest going to http://www.theretrodraughstman.co.uk for a look. All my purchases are on my Instagram (ianwells87). All in all it was a very good day. I a, now considering rearranging my con schedule for next year to accommodate it. Congratulations to all associated with Showmasters for putting on an outstanding convention.

Convention Diary Part 4