MCM – and Doing It Before It Was Cool

So – MCM.

Fun, hectic, rammed with more people and costumes that I’ve ever seen and always a great opportunity to catch up with the lovely people from across the greater industries of geekdom – books, comics, toys, the whole kittencaboodle.

During the weekend, though, one of my work-mates commented, ‘Why didn’t we have stuff like this when we were young?’ He’s of similar age to me, and he completely understands that we grew up in a time when being a geek was something to be hidden. If you liked comics, or science fiction, or fantasy, or gaming, or wargaming, of dressing up, it was something to which you didn’t admit (only to your circle of geeky mates). Hell, my own mother was ashamed of my loves and hobbies. 

But we were geeks, and unashamedly so. I used to do cosplay, such as it was at the time – I still own the ubiquitous thighboots, and the chainmail bikini that my friend made for me (though I would NOT wear it in public now!). I’ve been to Cons in ludicrous dress-up, and before such things were cool, before anime brought us credibility and bright wigs and fabulous, outrageous weaponry. 

We were the generation that played dungeons and dragons before it arrived on our computer screens, before your humble adventuring party was celebrated by vlog and podcast and graphic novel. We did LARP and re-enactment before such things were ever popular – and long before Kathryn Winnick ever donned mascara, and kicked some serious booty. 

Don’t get me wrong – in some ways I’m glad there’s so little record of the fun we had (cough!), and I’m over the moon that it’s acceptable today, that the geekcred of such things is as massive as it’s become – the acceptance and the reassurance and the sheer celebration of this huge community.

Watching the Watchwomen

But in others, I feel we almost missed out. 

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The Art of the Brick

The epitome of a win-win? Lego and Batman. We knew this already.

If you go to The Art of the Brick, though, it takes on a whole new lustre. (And it’s not just all black. Or very dark grey). And Bats has brought his signal, his friends, his foes, his cars, his multi-coloured masks, and some lovely cinematics… as well as Supe in every guise, Wonder Woman and her Invisible Jet (yes really), The Flash and some classic DC comics covers all laid out in brickwork.

Plus there’s Lego to play with, and the ubiquitous Lego shop that will make you wish you’d bought more money – or less kids. Even the big ones.

Go – you’ll never look at Lego the same way!

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Glory #23 – The Warrior Goddess Returns

Joe Keatinge over at Image has sent me this…

The Extreme Warrior Goddess returns! She’s now written by Joe and drawn by artist Ross Campbell, and quite apart from anything FP-related, I’m absolutely loving her re-manifestation.

Something about the artwork reminds me of both ElfQuest and A Distant Soil – the comics of my youth. And the narrative features an almost Miltonian fallen superbeing (always a winner). And the greatest wonder of all…

Glory LOOKS like a warrior. Yes, she has a scant costume and an adorably cute turned-up nose, but she’s a fighter – she manages to be both ludicrously hot AND she looks like she’s plummeted from the Creator Race and hit every damn rock on the way down. Her beauty is manifest, but broken. It suits her.

Let’s hear it for proper Warrior Women.

Well done Joe. I love it – and I’m glad she’s back. Give us more!

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Books Vs. Cigarettes – New Webcomic!

A while ago, the wondrously talented Sarah Langton and I threw together a cynical slant of a webcomic (I threw, Sarah got dead clever with the drawing).

Now, it has a name and home – find ‘Books Vs. Cigarettes – A Sly Look at the World of Geek Publishing’ in its new place on Geek Syndicate. First episode is here; look out for the second, coming later this week.

We promise to take no prisoners.

And that means you.

 

 

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Doctor Who in Comics

For something so huge, it really isn’t very big; you can walk round it in under 15 minutes. But the artwork is beautiful, and it’ll take you through time – from 1964 right up to the present day.

You can see how a Doctor Who comics story evolves from script to finished page, follow the roles played by writer, editor, penciller, inker and colour artist. For those who’ve never read the magazine, this display introduces worlds and adventures that you never knew existed – holes in space-time that show something amazing…

The Doctor is comics form may be ever better than he is on screen.

This is a whole new Universe, a side of the Doctor that I’ve been aware of but never really explored and that was completely new to my Who-mad son. And we both loved it.

I couldn’t take too many pictures and was wary of infringing anyone’s copyright; the stuff I’ve shown here is only the smallest taste of the wonders on display. It’s suitably TARDIS-like – very much bigger on the inside.

But don’t take my world for it – go down and find out where the boundaries of space-time really are.

Doctor Who in Comics 1964 – 2011, exhibit at the Cartoon Museum.

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Bat Cuffs

With the rise and rise of The New 52, I thought these were rather topical.

If only for cuffing yourself to the collectable briefcase that you’ve stored your shiny new comics in.

The image came from here (and I’m not entirely sure it counts as SFW, though it *is* only one man’s love of handcuffs…)

 

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Kapow!

Comics culture is expanding. And a day at Mark Millar’s Kapow! is all you need to see it for yourself.

We know Comic Cons; we’re used to the demographic and the slightly grubby, lightless venues. We’re used to long boxes of variant covers and collector’s editions, to fans that flick through them for the rare ones they don’t yet own.

For the outset, Kapow! was going to do things differently.

This is a stronger event, brighter, more dynamic. This is big; this is shiny. Under the sunshine coming through the roof of the Design Centre, there’s a heaving, mobile statement about the modern changes in Geek Culture. Cybercandy are here, and the London Rockin’ Rollers. This is cool – and it knows it.

The audience is younger, hotter, better dressed – and there are more girls than ever.

From behind the FP stall, we see a lot of ink, top-end body art and some arsekicking alternative fashion. There’s a teasing gleam of Steampunk, a timeless flicker of Who, an errant Manga cosplayer – but here, the costumed characters, too, have presence and quality. The ones present in force are the Superheroes, the icons of our childhoods, but like the culture itself they’re streetwise now – they fuse retro with all growed up.

As the culture expands, then, so does its personal expression. No longer is the comic restricted to the printed page. We know that Superheroes have made the big screen and become socially acceptable; we know that independent comics have found new expression on the web. What we’re seeing now is that comics imagery is permeating youth culture, fashion and self-expression. It’s not just for nerds anymore – or has the very word expanded at the same rate?

On my way in on the train, there was a guy in Marvel headphones; at the event itself there are accessories from jewellery to household décor. FP are doing a roaring trade in Kick Ass mugs and travel-pass holders – and the Genki Gear guys have likewise expanded their product range.

Keeping a lookout for Kapow!’s best geek t-shirt (the guy in the ‘Han Job’ tee probably won that one hands – erm – down) got me thinking.

Rebellion’s Keith Richardson commented that more people were asking him about 2000AD, about where they should start and what they should read. If the readership is expanding, and events like Kapow! are turning comics culture into a lifestyle choice… then the old belief that the t-shirt is the ultimate geek status symbol is surely becoming outmoded.

And the best accessory is taking over.

So – am I talking pants? What do we think of these as a winner?

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Forbidden Planet does… The Royal Wedding?!

When the Royal Wedding Street Party memorabilia starts arriving in the Forbidden Planet office, you realise that you’re facing the most surreal event yet. In eight years of doing this, I’ve never had to wear a cardboard waistcoat before…

But! It gets better!

On Saturday 2nd April from 1pm, Forbidden Planet will be celebrating the forthcoming marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton – with our very own in-store street party.

Join Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston, artist Gary Eskine and Owen Jollands as they bring you the wedding of the year – with the Markosia Comics release of ‘Kate & William: A Very Public Love Story’.

This is a signing with a difference – not only the perfect opportunity to discover the story of Wills and Kate in graphic novel form, but to have your picture taken with the happy couple (well, kind of) and to enjoy the classic retro feel of an old school street-party, complete with tiaras and bunting.

We can’t promise we’ll be taking it too seriously – but we can promise that it will be done in true Forbidden Planet style!

Also available will be the two commemorative one-shots ‘William Windsor: A Very Public Prince’ and ‘Kate Middleton: A Very Private Princess’. Make sure you pick up your commemorative copy.

The Forbidden Planet London Megastore is the largest of its kind in the World. It’s the true home of Sci-Fi and Cult entertainment, the heart of Geek Chic.

But we can do ‘cheese’ too…

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Warm Up for KAPOW! at Forbidden Planet

In a special pre-KAPOW! event, ANDY DIGGLE, JOCK and JAMIE DELANO will be signing at FP London at 6:00pm on Friday 8th April… and may well be in the pub afterwards!

Grab yourself a copy of the Titan Books publications of Rat Catcher and Hellblazer: Pandemonuim – and get a head-start on the hottest, newest Con!

According to underworld legend, the Rat Catcher is a peerless assassin who specialises in silencing mob snitches. There’s just one problem – he doesn’t exist. Now there’s a pile of dead bodies in a burning safe house outside El Paso. The Rat Catcher has finally slipped up, and a washed-up FBI agent has one last chance to hunt him down. Follow Andy Diggle’s tale of two master man-hunters in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, each of them hiding a secret from the other.

In Hellblazer: Pandemonuim, an alluring Muslim woman catches John Constantine’s eye and brings troubles to his doorstep: a bombing in a London museum, mysterious ancient Sumerian artifacts and a terrifying creature running rampant with renegade intentions. To save his life and freedom, Constantine embarks on a desperate trail, blazing from the back streets of London to the detainment centres and battlegrounds of contemporary Iraq. Hellblazer: Pandemonium brings original Hellblazer writer Jamie Delano together with fan-favorite artist Jock to tell a tale about war and terror in a horror story tailor-made for the 21st century.

The best comics events – at Forbidden Planet!

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