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Diary of a Comic Book Convention Part 1

Written by  Published September 10, 2013 05:38
This is the first of a two part article, that will look at my experiences with two recent comic and film related events in Glasgow. While events of this nature are common place in the US and Canada, they are a fairly novel concept in the UK. It was refreshing to see such an established and internationally renowned event as The Edinbrugh Book Festival devote so much energy into comic-books this year. It should have perhaps acted as a preminition of what is to follow in this article: a mixture of nostalgia, cynical opinion and romantic notions of journalism. Despite my ranting and moaning, I hope you enjoy my first foray into the world of comic-book conventions, press passes and culture shocks. Film and comic-book conventions aren't a new concept to Glasgow. Over the past ten to fifteen years, there's been a unique mixture of names for a single, annual event: Collectormania, Memorabillia Glasgow and MemorabilliaCon. It's since reverted back to its original title and continues to expand in size and popularity year on year. It's title should now be viewed as a brand: the event has now expanded and goes to every untapped crevice of the UK.  

In the past, the event was little more than a glamourised car-boot sale and as Imcm 2 have grown older, my nostalgic enthusiasm for the event has worn thin. I find it hard to be excited about meeting wrinkled Bond girls and Star Wars extras. The aged 'stars' litter the event at their allocated tables, peering at the public through their disorganized towers of un-signed photographs; they clutch their small tins of loose change and Scottish currency, aware that they are now void of any notable fame. Passers-by would attempt to identify the empty, withered shells lurking before them, looking for clues to identity on the table before them. Absent of their former riches, the 'stars' would barter, ransom and exchange their well-wishes and perfected signatures for payment of coin and recognition.

San-Diego Comic-Con, with its extravagant affairs and eccentricities, was foreign to those in Glasgow. There was nothing rock 'n roll about Collectormania. This was an event populated by overweight Goths and snotty Scotsmen who navigated a maze of painter's tables strewn with dusty bootleg copies of Holiday Specials, 'rare' toys and dog-eared, vintage movie posters.

At the point of becoming a founding member of another website, I conducted some research on the forthcoming Comic-Con esq events in the UK. I was surprised to find that Collectormania is still in existence and that the annual venue has since changed. Furthermore, it's become a far more appealing and exciting event as it offers a range of pop-up shops, props, vehicles and film stars. This year saw the inclusion of Lance Henrickson, Robert Englund, David Warner and three of the dwarves from The Hobbit.

mcm 1My enthusiasm for the event grew to throbbing proportions as I was sent an e-mail that made me squeak and shudder like a sex starved prude. Whilst reaching my merry climax, I read a promise of 'direct access to the attending celebrities'. This signaled a landmark in my writing career, a pat on the back and a firm 'pop' of the cherry: testimony that all of the hard work, slander and late nights were 'worth it'. It was an opportunity to obtain the ever elusive 'original content', the g-spot of individualism and the key to unlocking the chastity of success.

It was a moment that spawned innumerable hours posing intriguing questions to mirrors, in-depth analysis of the attending star's chequered past and the creation of hypothetical discussions in the mists of my imagination. Yet, on the eve of this year's Collectormania, the excitement waned and the cherished fog dissipated. My in-box was devoid of any Press Pass and my confidence as a writer buckled under the weight of disappointment.

Absent of all enthusiasim, I regurgitated the notion of being a paying customer. Instead, I chose to stick by my morals and to sit at home and question my legitimacy as a writer.

Two days passed and like a subtle, yet gentle hoof to the nuts, realisation hit me:

I am, and shall forever be, a 'f@#kwit'.82053572

I was actually confirmed as an attending member of the Press at this year's MCM Comic-Con Glasgow, a far smaller, yet no less exciting event. I would have access to Warwick Davis, Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan. Armed with a new passion for journalism, I printed off my barcode and set off for my first journalistic adventure...

I stood before the monolythic Armadillo. By the time of my arrival, the building accessorised with a slithering horror that slowly wound round the iconic building. This was a sight that few Glasgwegians had ever witnessed. Cowering in its silver shadow, dread's icy touch slowly crept up my spine.

But hope remained. A superhero stood by my side: a slightly wiffy and suspiciously overweight Norse God, who in an act of heroism held aloft his mythical hammer toward the serpent before exclaiming:

'This... is... pure... f@#kin... mental... by tha' way'.

Part 2 to follow...

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