I visited the London Comic Con around three years ago and after standing in a very long queue for three and a half long hours I was loosing the will to live and interest in actually looking around the exbo. My lower back and feet were aching and by the time I was in the main hall all I could think of was food and where were all the cos players so I could take photos? It turned out that they were all hanging around the main entrance area as it was a glorious sunny day. So I snapped away but did leave the event tired and feeling deflated and wondered if I would ever return to one in the future.
Well fast forward three years and I got an invite to go to the MCM Birmingham Comic Con event which took place over the weekend of March the 18th and 19th. Did I really want to queue up all over again? would it be the same format? After some thinking it was a yes and my ticket was bought for me by my very good friend Adele Anakin as a thank you for a photo print I did for her Father. So off to Birmingham I went with my trusty Sony A7Sii camera and a few lenses in a back pack….lets see what this show has to offer photo wise.
As Adele had bought me the early entry pass i was in through the doors one hour before the public were allowed to enter. I have to say right away no queueing was awesome and a major positive start to my day. The extra hours early entry allowed me to roam around the stands and take photos of various amazing setups and of course cosplayers. And wow there were some truely inspiring hand made costumes on display and every cosplayer I spoke to had a smile on their face and were more than happy to have their photo taken.
So what makes some one want to dress up in costume? is it because they are extrovert? is it because they want to hang out with like minded peeps? I think it’s a desire to be something different form the normal day to day life we live. I think its making new friends, and hanging out with old ones and having a really cool time together. It’s about enjoying yourself and the sense of freedom that becoming a character from your favourite film / comic / game that it brings.
As a cosplayer you can be anyone you want. With enough money you can buy several different costumes and be different at each visit to a MCM event. Many of the players i spoke to have more than one costume in their cupboard and may even take more than one costume along so they can change half way through the day. Either way what an awesome way to spend a day out alone or with family and friends. And I have to point out everyone was having fun with no alcohol in site, just the high of everyone in the room on the same wavelength.
It’s not just about being a super hero either, I saw Mary Poppins, Shaun of the dead, Bell from Beauty and the beast, Ladybug, a host of Disney characters, CATS, Steampunk, the list goes on and on. Obviously Marvel and Star Wars plays a really big part of cosplayers who attend. I saw many Batman and Predator characters and I have to say their costumes were on point! The detail on the Predators costumes was absolutely amazing and these guys belonged to the UK Predators Costuming Group
Attention to detail is paramount when it comes to any Star Wars characters and there is a very strict code of practise to make sure cosplay costumes are kept to the original one seen in a film. One of the main reasons Adele invited me along to the MCM was to meet members of the Star Wars 501 UK Garrison who are the bad guys by the way. The UK Garrison do have 2 spin off groups, one being Reel Icons for non star wars costumes and the other being The Rebel Command for Rebel costumes. Rebel Command is only very small with around 30 active members. Most people join the Rebel Legion if they have a rebel costume and the 501st UK Garrison if they have a bad guy costume. Rebel Legion is an International costume club the same as the 501st Legion. Rebel Command is UK only and not recognised at big events like Star Wars Celebration. If you visit the UK Garrisons website they state “…The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work…”
The key words there being “Charity and volunteer work”. It’s not all about getting kitted out and turning up at an exbo and going home. For some it is alot more and being able to put smile on poorly kids faces who are in hospital. It’s about bringing hope to the and joy to the little ones as they have their photo taken by their super hero. There is a lot to cosplaying and I for one am starting to embrace it more. The guys and gals from the UK Garrion certainly made me feel very welcome and all of them were up posing for their photo to be taken, something I think they must have done a zillion times before. It was so cool for me to be with these amazing people and I left at the end of the ebo think to myself I am so glad I was invited to come along and it changed my thoughts for future visits.
For some time now I have taken hundreds of photos over the years of Living History and cosplayers and now I am actually going to be stepping my toes into the world of all things cosplay. I thought long and hard about what character I would like to be and I decided I wanted to be something that isn’t your standard super hero or Star Wars character. I wanted to choose something that would look amazing and be a bit of a one off character like say Darth Vader is. I decided that Warhammer 40K was where I wanted to go and out of the many various soldiers / commanders that are out there I decided upon one character that was released to the modeling world at the back end of Jan 2018.
So I decided on a character called Rogal Dorn who is known as “The Vigilant,” the “Praetorian of Terra” and the “Unyielding One,” he was the Primarch of the Imperial Fists Space Marine Legion and one of the greatest heroes in the history of the Imperium of Man. But where do I start on building such an elaborate costume? I certainly don’t have the talents to create a cosplayer uniform so needed to recruit someone who can and after a little bit of research I found an amazing uber talented foam creator called John Davies aka The Foam Wizard.
So I have commissioned John to create me a full blown Rogal Dorn costume including chain sword and flowing red cloak and I am uber excited to say the least to see how it looks once completed. I will be show casing to the world on the 9th of June at the MCM Comic Con Leicester.
John has set up a dedicated facebook page to show how he is getting on with the costume so if you are interested in seeing how it is coming along drop in. I think that’s it for now but before I leave you if you click on the next image it will take you off to see a gallery of images from my visit to the MCM Birmingham Comic Con event. Thanks for taking time out to read and have a great day!