A wise man once noted how space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. Such was the feeling I felt when I stepped through the N7 entrance of the ExCel hall last Saturday morning. For various reasons, editor-in-cape David, possessing a press pass, managed to scramble into the event before me, as I only had a lowly weekend pass. With nothing but my custom made Hitchhiker’s Guide and small green towel for protection, I was dumbstruck not only by the sheer size of the hall, not only by how much of it was filled, but what it was filled with.
While I was waiting in line, a tacksuit-clad Predator entertained the masses grooving to a chunky 1980’s cassette player slung over its shoulder, but that was nothing compared to the swarms of Deadpools, Spidermen, Captain Americas, Jokers, and Stormtroopers who were already inside – and they were just hanging round by the entrance!
Having only been to two comparatively indie cons in my time, and LSCC ’15 being the first one in which I went in cosplay as Ford Prefect, I was, in a word, fearful. I’d very little idea of what to expect at this sort of gig, as the two I’d previously been to were fairly mild in comparison. But I’d really no need to be fearful. As I trudged down the queue to get in looking for the end in order to join it, my bawdy wig, Hawaiian shirt, and green towel met with some approving gazes “Yes”, I thought, “people actually know who I’m dressed as!”
Saturday was far more intense than Sunday, a testament to why someone should really think of creating a three-day weekend. David, myself and our Video Hero Will (who foolishly forgoed any notion of cosplay) spent much of the first day making friends anyone geared up in spandex, wigs, and brandishing swords made from toilet tissue roles. Given that we’ve now jumped from almost 500 likes on our Facebook page to 550, I’d say we’re pretty damn good at making friends! We also bagged some video interviews with a variety of comic book artists and writers, some of whom we’ve supported over the years.
Sunday was, naturally, more chilled. What with David and I being somewhat hungover and rapidly being bogged down by con-flu, I guess we were lucky that not nearly as many people were in cosplay as they were the previous day. Sunday still gave us a chance to catch up with more writers and artists. We met some comic creators who had some truly intriguing concepts on display, such as Cape Fear Comics who are currently producing a revolutionary way of experiencing comics. They use a mixture of digital platforms, 3D printing and music to produce a method of reading comic books that appeared truly out of this world. We also found new friends who had a plethora of exciting titles on sale, such as Bragnoc – Genesis (currently on Kickstarter) and Post Mortem (soon to be on Kickstarter) – watch this space for reviews on those titles.
For me personally, the con was an absolute delight. Meeting my fellow Capers and many of the comic book creators we’ve supported over the past few months, including those who took part in our Year of the Mockbuster, was a blast. I myself could only grab short yet sweet natters with Brett Uren, creator and author of Torsobear: Yarns from Toyberg and Jon Lock and Nich Angell of Big Punch Studios, who’s various comics I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing (including The Heavenly Chord), all of whom were lovely chaps and humbling in their thanks for the support AP2HYC has given them.
I’d say my favourite thing about LSCC spins off from meeting with comic book folks face to face. There was a real sense of community in that mind-bogglingly big hall. We noticed a couple of Captain Americas bounce up to each other exchanging hugs, not because they knew each other, but because they shared a passion and love for the same person. There was a similar feeling in the air down the comic book alleys. The age-old notion of snooty, pretentious journalism blokes (us) going up against comic book creators who lay their lives and souls down in order to write and draw stories for our amusement (them) was very much dead here.
Writers and artists were as keen and bubbly in their enthusiasm to tell us about their creations just as much as we were in wanting to know more about them. One tiny moment that struck me was when Heart of Time author Sarah Millman noticed I’d splashed out and bought all of Jon’s Afterlife Inc. titles and Nich’s 7String chapters. She looked just as excited as I was in buying them, and that moment hit me in that, in the world of comic books, there’s very little sense of competition, and everyone is there not just to create their own tales, but to help and love everyone else’s work.
In short, I’ve ruined myself for future cons, because LSCC was nothing short of spectacular. The sheer amount of enthusiasm and diversity everyone there, from cosplayers to special guests to comic book creators, was a real joy, particularly for someone who’s spent nearly his entire time with AP2HYC in front of his laptop screen alone. Getting to meet so many of the people we usually converse with digitally makes this job far more awesome than it already is.
Oh yeah, and I shook hands with David Lloyd, shared a platform with Johnny Vegas, and was befuddled as to why Shaun, T Money and Green Mile from Storage Hunters were at the con with their own stall. As you do.