COMIC CON LONDON SHOWMASTERS JULY 2018 DEBRIEF: NOW I know what they mean by a ‘sweaty’ in the Fan world!
So I went. And I survived! Comic Con, London. I have a complicated relationship with these events. When we acquired Movie Viral back in 2015, I thought we inherited a fully functioning team of bloggers who loved these things. Turned out..we didn’t; but anyway. I did propose the possibility that San Diego Comic Con was on the way out as a cinematic platform in marketing? Not in terms of fun as a convention but just that Marvel appeared to be reducing rather than consolidating its power base there and few if any trailers marketed as ‘exclusive’ remained that way more than a week, given the high propensity for Youtube uploads etc, security aside. Turns out I was in fact..sort of right? Marvel had a skeleton presence at this year’s San Diego Con, it seems. No major massive reveals of Avengers 4 or Captain Politically Correct Etc.
Meanwhile? The UK (yes we still exist, just, rumours of demise exaggerated) has kind of upped its game, ‘con wise. More events. Bigger star names. So I can indeed attend the occasional event here and report back. Long story short? They get better, though will inevitably always be a mixed bag of experiences. A paradox.
Last year (that’s 2017 to the layperson), in BIRMINGHAM I met, among others, at these ‘Cons’:
Billie Piper: exquisitely beautiful, genuinely lively and engaged with all, especially good with kids. Sort of hugged me.
Janet Fielding: witty, lovely: feisty Australian, tells it like it is…but still so very human and real in the split second you meet her. Impeccable orientation / ordnance skills, too!
Peter Davison: a thorough gentleman; genuinely invites and enjoys exchange of civil conversation as he signs/poses for pics. Trivia: was almost the new Barnaby in Midsomer Murders, but had just played a suspect / quasi baddie in a previous season, which kinda killed the opportunity. Shame. He’d have been great.
Harriet Walter: A cousin to both Christopher Lee and Ian Fleming, the lady exudes class, elegance, wit and style. You MUST read her work on acting as it is definitive.
Denise Crosby: Tasha Yar in Star Trek. Obviously an actual alien because Denise has not aged since the show was aired and is just as lovely as in 1987. No. Even Lovelier!
Virginia Hey: A classic beauty and refined, graceful. Had THE most fascinating chat about the politics and romance of the ever changing 007 series. Wonderful woman.
THIS year (2018. D’oh). In LONDON..It’s HOT! It’s TOUGH! But it’s FUN! Several Doctor Who actors meet and hug. Some ingenious cosplay is seen. A Galaxy of Stars are ready to answer questions, sign posters and share the ambient enthusiasm for movies!
Look! Everywhere around, such loving care and attention to detail.
ACTUAL LADY THOR!! A 14th Doctor Who costume! (yes it is the 14th..shurrup)..BANE! ALAN GRANT AND ELLIE SADLER!! PREDATOR! TELOS ERA CYBERMEN!
:droid and dalek, co-existing, in PEACE!
It’s very easy to be cynical. To whinge about the heat. And yes, if you do seek out the darker subtext in anything, you can probably find it. A corporate ownership of fandom as a product in itself. ‘GEEK PRIDE’ is now a booming hashtag; monetised and centralised, akin to the now (politically /socially joyous but in all honestly: HIGHLY commercialised) ‘Gay Pride’. The previously marginalised but distinctive; now merged into the media mainstream and yet thereby losing rather than cultivating or consolidating a celebration of difference. And it’s a terrible shame too, that any actor should have to do these conventions /signings, especially if facing old age /infirmity. They should be sipping martinis. On a Beach. I commend the enormous physical effort and social / psychological will involved. They EARN their money. Every penny of it.
But so what? THERE ARE SMILES! LAUGHS! FUN!
There is also comedy, depending on how you look at it. It is ironic to see the hordes gather to have a picture taken with Christopher Eccleston, whom one would have assumed, was not ‘into’ this sort of thing. Maybe he is doing it for charity? Good on him. But even so, at odds with his, shall we say, rather ‘thoughtful’ tendency to reflect on roles and their politics. There are lots of Dr Whos here, it seems!
Fans go into cheers of joy when it is announced David Tennant might be attending. I STILL want David to play Richard III on stage. He gave us a great Richard II and Hamlet so it’s natural for a Shakespearean actor to complete the list? Someone make it happen!
I missed out on seeing Matt Smith..coz I cannot be in 3 places at once, even with a TARDIS. But he’s a genuinely lovely human being who embodies an ethic of hard work, zero ego, chameleon like transformation and love for his friends and family. Awesome in The Crown. And he arm wrestles Eccleston at this convention! Love it. Incidentally, if you want to know why Matt is so great? Like all successes in life, it starts with an amazing mom. Mrs Smith’s tweets are awesome.
Blink and you’d have missed it but there is a touching moment where Colin Baker and Peter Capaldi hug each other. This is the acting community at its finest. Moving stuff.
Speaking of royalty? I also met Miranda Richardson: the definitive Elizabeth I onscreen and much copied, never beaten. Looked striking. Signed a glossy pic for me ‘to James’. Did not do ‘chat’. Even strategic name dropping of (possibly) mutual magic media mate does not cut it with Miranda. Nothing. Not even an ‘oh that’s nice’.
But hey: LONG queue; LONGER day; hot and hard work for her in less than comfy conditions. And frankly, that shrug of shoulders is PART of her appeal as an actress. A regal hauteur; an awkward but confident contradiction of movie-star remove. I love it, actually. 😉
In any event? much better luck with Mrs Miggins /Tales from the Poop Deck star, Helen Atkinson Wood. In fact, she was so lovely and charming that as we were talking, I neglected to join the chorus of wow as Jason ‘AQUAMAN’ Momoa walks past.
The man is a GOD. Seriously, must have been honed and crafted out of rock and stone. GREAT hair. And a warm, dynamic, friendly presence (flanked by security but once again: discreetly and with class). MY MAN! Good luck with AQUAMAN. But if they do kill off Nicole Kidman’s character in the film, I will sue Time Warner for trauma / disappointment.
(actual pic of me and Sean Young..yep; I am on the left..totally. )
I finished the day with a photoshoot with SEAN YOUNG. Well they say photo-shoot..what they SHOULD say is photo shoot, via military level endurance test to locate the place where said event is happening. It’s nobody’s fault as such but boy..I did not mind missing my run next morning. Put it that way!
I glimpse Jack O’Halloran and manage to shake his hand and say thanks for his support of my writing work on social media, where he gives the occasional, much appreciated ‘thumbs up’ etc. I promise to return, post Sean, for autograph. I miss him, as it turns out. Next time.
I also, en route, get a quick look at Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Ebony Maw in INFINITY WAR: lovely to the fans, btw) and Paul McGann (8th Dr Who: now looks better than he did in 1996 : must be a genuine..Timelord?).
(me, bit dishevelled, on train, post convention..bit tired..bit hot).
(Sean Young: divine, as always).
Finally, I meet SEAN YOUNG. Mission: accomplished. She’s lovely. And relatively, the same as she always is /was onscreen. You’d recognise her, immediately. Smile, poise, presence. Why ‘her’? Why did I rate Sean as the Holy Grail to visit at the Con? Well: her career is made has of magical movie moments: THAT car ride in No Way Out and basically, every shot that features the most beautiful replicant ever in BLADE RUNNER.
On meeting, I do express my disappointment that we never got to see her play Vicki Vale/Catwoman (broken arm / clashing schedules etc). Sean also laughs when I mention that BLADE RUNNER 2049 should be done under trade descriptions because she does not in fact feature in it half as much as she should, thereby making it a far duller viewing experience. A full interview MIGHT be happening, subject to Ms Young’s own commitments: I commenced discussions with her agents, there and then. They seemed very helpful and keen. We’ll see. But a lovely moment, in any event. THANK YOU, SEAN YOUNG!
Genuine Selfie of me wiv Sean Young. Yep. Totally. 😉
Exit JM, stage left (or was it right..bit of a labyrinth) via the JACK RYAN exhibit, a BATMOBILE, Daleks, a lovely lady who was painting a Patricia Hodge portrait (Katherine Leszczyc-Sumińska is the artist’s name); a cosplaying Mary Poppins from Texas who looks like Gemma Arterton and some of the most talented and promising artists and stalls around. Inspiring stuff. Even when knackered and in a rush to just get hydrated and home, fast.
So. There you have it. A ‘wrap. Thank you, London Comic-Con. Congratulations and Best wishes to all who helped and attended. Enjoy the next one! x
JAMES MURPHY IS EDITOR IN CHIEF AT MOVIE VIRAL. HE WILL DO AUTOGRAPHS. IN EXCHANGE FOR..AUTOGRAPHS. Feet still a bit sore after the convention. Still gutted that there were neither Cosplaying She-Ras and Pepper-Potts types nor She-Ra /Pepper potts dolls at any stalls. Will get over it. Poor thing. 🙂