Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab



Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Convention: London Super Comic Con 2014 - Saturday


A Bit Of Background...

I explained in my post about fantasy conventions in London why I decided to go to London Super Comic Con this year; I didn't enjoy MCM 2013 very much and I wanted to see what this expo had to offer me.
Stuff I learned from MCM, not all my own experience but stuff I witnessed: 
- If there's an Early Bird ticket, get it.
- PRE-ORDER your ticket, whatever it is. Trust me, it saves so much TIME.
- Arrive at least an hour early of whatever time the doors open.
- If you can't take a friend, take a book. Take a DS. Take something, ANYTHING, to do in the queue. You don't know how long you'll be waiting.
- Your most comfortable shoes. Always.
- No matter how early you get up, do not drink coffee. You do not want to be an hour and a half into the queue, realising there's another hour to go, and then realising that you need the toilet.
- Take food. Just because. If it's nutritious and will give you energy, great. If not, something crap and sugary will do. Just for some perking up, really.
However I already didn't follow my own advice as I got my ticket as a discount from Amazon Local Deals, not realising it would then be an standard-entry one. Damn. On the flip side though, you can only get an Early Entry ticket for the whole weekend, £32, which I definitely didn't want.

 
Research

I did a bit of last-minute research, because I was concerned about the queue time. For MCM London 2013, my older brother, my younger brother and I got there an hour before the show, and still waited two and a half hours to actually get into the venue, by which point we were shattered. I did the maths:
  • LSCC doors open at ten, so -
  • Need to be there at about 9am, so -
  • Need to leave at between 7.30 - 8, sooo -
  • Need to get UP at about 6.30 !!
In the post I found at Clandestine Critic about LSComic Con 2012, they explained that "it took an hour (which felt longer) to get to the entrance to the con itself [..] and another fifteen minutes of queuing in the con itself before I had got my shiny plastic pass on cord (like a backstage pass at a gig) and was allowed in properly."

That sounded about right, for a comic con. But then, worryingly, I found another post for LSComic Con 2013 on Comic Convention:
If there was one gripe, it was the queue management at the entrance.  The slightly odd (actually, make that abysmal) decision to make everyone form a huge scrum and then pile in almost as the whistle blows for the early entry tickets was entirely the wrong one. [...] There was no fairness or justice for some of the early birds who had beaten everyone to the front by getting up at sparrows fart only then to then be unceremoniously divided, split, moved here, moved there and eventually put on the same keel as others who’d simply sauntered up ten minutes beforehand.
That did not made me feel chirpy. But on the website it states that: "Tickets will be processed in the queue.
Please remain in the queue as from 10.00 ticket holders will be allowed into the convention strictly in queue order." So I just went with my fingers crossed.

As you probably know, I normally dislike having to write properly structured reviews. It's a lot more fun to just write what I thought and litter it with emoticons. :3 :D :P


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The Convention

I actually remembered to take pictures this time!

I got this awesome picture from cosplayers there as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, and of iron man, and of the creepy alien dude with the boombox on his shoulder. His mask was awesome though.



Queuing

This was EXTREMELY efficient. You can join the queue from the moment you get there, and the attendants actually come to you and process your ticket in the line. Thus, the moment the doors opened at 10, the queue moved so fast because we literally flashed our wristbands and walked in.

If there was one little gripe - as we had Amazon Local tickets, we were sent to the main queuing bit by N3, then sent back to the entrance because we had Amazon Local tickets instead of the ones from the site - they processed it there, gave us our wristbands, then we had to go BACK to N3 to rejoin the queue. At least fifteen more people had joined by that time.

What I wondered was why the Amazon-ticket people with the tablet didn't walk down the queue like the other attendants, who were just scanning the normal barcodes with a smartphone. If the organisers know there is more than one way of getting a ticket, they should kinda accommodate for that as extra time is spent walking to and fro. I confess though, I missed the sign that clearly stated 'Amazon tickets blah blah'. So, partly my bad.

There were cosplayers that walked up and down the ever-growing line the entire time, making the queuing experience really fun. In all the expos I've been to so far, queuing is one of the best experiences - hi-fives, free hugs, awesome costumed superheroes walking up and down, generally just having fun. And like I said, literally the moment the doors opened, we started walking in. It was such a smooth and efficient process (well, not counting the Amazon thing, but that's not a big deal) that it puts MCM to shame.

Admittedly, MCM is a lot more popular. But then they need to find a better way to deal with that volume of people. Processing tickets in the queue saves so much TIME.



The Experience Once Inside

Ahhh, spaaaaace. So much spaace. Even when it started to get very busy, there was still room to walk and jostle around slowcoaches. What a relief. I tried to figure out if it was bigger or smaller than MCM and came to the conclusion that it's marginally smaller. c:

Stuff to do:
- Buy comics, graphic novels, special editions
- Memorabilia like keyrings, necklaces, belt buckles, wristbands, t-shirts, earring, ring, bracelets...
- Buy artwork and prints
- Buy sweets =D
- Get your picture taken with all of the AWESOME COSPLAYERS!
- Meet profession cosplayers
- Get a signature from popular comic book artists and get your hands on some of their work!
- Buy quality drawing and sketching materials and How To Draw [ something ] books
- Sit in on lectures and talks in the panel rooms
- Join in or watch the London Super Cosplay Championship 2014 (which is being judged by the professional cosplayer Yaya Han, and I got to see her over by the Special Guests table so that was really cool, I just loved her costume.)

List goes on and on... well, it doesn't go on that much more actually, that's the gist of it.

It is VERY, VERY Comic book based, let me just say. So as a fantasy fan, there were things that piqued my interest aside from the comic books. But it is VERY comic focussed, so games, films, books, they're not really a feature here like MCM.

I went to the first talk in The Comic Heroes Panel Room which was on Mecha-Man's Superhero Science which was really interesting. I quite enjoyed it. My older brother was beyond rude and put his earphones in to watch TED talks on his phone five minutes in. Does anybody want to swap brothers? I'm so tired of mine.



My younger brother was reading Dark Wolverine. I was so tempted to whine at him until he let me read it.


Why I Found LSComic Con MUCH Better Than MCM

- Sorting tickets and giving wristbands in the queue. I cannot. Say this. Enough.
- Queuing time, due to above.
`---> something I realised was that because queuing time was so quick, I was a lot more excited for LSComic Con and more eager to see things because I still had a lot of energy. I never realised this before, but that's probably why I enjoyed it more.
- The atmosphere was much calmer. It's weird to write that here as a plus, but last time, Tired + Crazy = Error.
- There was less variety of things at LSCC, which was a downer, but the fact that it was more focussed  meant that I could really be immersed in a field I know less about compared to other fantasy subgenres. Coolio.


Goodies

I came home from MCM with all my money. This time I was surprised how much I spent! I came home a very happy girlie, let me tell you.

So, what did I buy?!!


Comics, £1 each


Cinnamon Bun Bites, £2.15


3D Print, which the very nice gentlemen let me have for £10 XD


- The Legend Of Zelda T-Shirt, £15


- gooorgeous (albeit tiny) Canvas Print, £3


- How to Draw Anime book, £4.99, because, why not.


Plus in the goodie bags there was a bunch of promo and freebies. Good timessss.



Aftermath

So, if you're just here to read about the convention, you can go now. I won't bore you.

For anyone who reads this next bit, I'm very sorry. I'm always unsure how far I should go into my depression. But because it affected my experience of the con, I'm going to write it anyway. First I must explain that I go through cycles of chronic fatigue. This means I can feel constantly tired no matter how much sleep I had the night before. It also often happens that I can get up at say 8, be going about my day as usual, then I'll be hit by it at 12 noon, and I literally cannot function or focus on anything until I've had some rest. This is prolly why MCM wasn't great for me.

I went to LSCC with two of my brothers and although I actually had a great time at the con,because the CON was awesome, they made it an excruciating experience and I came home feeling worthless and extremely depressed. In all honesty, even though I went with them, I felt as if I was alone so I might as well have gone solo. I'll remember that for next time. I left LSCC at 12:30, but if it wasn't for the talk I probably would've left at 11:15, because I didn't feel happy anymore. I do wish these things wouldn't always be linked to a bad experience, but who can tell, maybe I'm a naturally self-destructive human being.

Anywhoo, I came home and got straight into bed, and woke up at about 6pm to a sparkling KA, a frozen pizza, ice cream for afters, which I had while watching Batman: Under The Red Hood, which is incredible by the way. That helped me to chill out - didn't solve the problem of course but allowed me to find myself again.



What's Next?

London Film And Comic Con is coming up and ironically Sally Green will be there - I read her book Half Bad in the queue yesterday. Also, Stan Lee will allegedly be there for this last ever signing =( I'm looking forward to a stress-free con for once. I gotta shake off these ghosts clawing at me.



Ashana Lian .

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