Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Comic Shops. A Trip Down Memory Lane.

I was talking to a mate about comic shops and it was a trip down memory lane. As it turned out we were going to the same shops  So as it got me thinking about a lot of things but mostly about my father who passed away in 2008.

So lets start at the beginning. I have been going to the Forbidden Planet and GOSH! since i was a young child. It's a shop in Central London so it was a journey to go to so i was only taken there as a treat for my birthday. If i was not taken there then I was taken to the comic shop in Harrow. Calamity Comics was always a special place for me as it was nearer than the Forbidden Planet so i could be taken there more often. It help that at the time my aunt lived in Harrow so i had more opportunities to go. Just a few shops down the road was also a model shop. I got many Star Trek and Star Wars models from there.  

 Now jump forward to the early 1990's and one night my father said he took a different route home and he saw a comic shop in Northfields just outside of Northfields Station. I can not remember the name of it. It was just short bus ride away so very Saturday or very other Saturday he would take me. It was here where i started to collect Star Wars comics i got the Dark Empire and Star Wars Classic comics from there.
At around the same time he found another shop in Hayes. Now i can not for the life of me remember the name of the shop but we just referred to it as Hayes Comics Shop. between these two shops i was able to get most of the back issues and all the new ones that were came out. About a year after we started going to the Northfields shop it closed down and it was sad but there was still the Hayes store. After the store closed and we were left with the store in Hayes we started to go very week. It was local and i spent many hours reading comics while my father would stand around talking to the owner of the shop about comic movies and all that other stuff. Then one day we found out a new comic shop was opening up in Northfields. A new comic shop and its back in Northfields that's great news or so we thought.... 

The store opened and it was called Blue Silver. I remember going and they had a good selection of back issues and new ones. But something was not right and i was not the only one to notice. Then one time time i was picking up a few back issues and then went to pick up a new issue of something i can't remember what but my father stoped me and said i should only get the back issues and we will get the new ones from Hayes. Then i looked at the prices on the new issues. They were more expensive than the ones in Hayes. Now when i was told this and i started looking i realized that a lot of the prices were marked up higher than you would of expect. But The two guys that ran Blue Silver did do Something right. They put together The first comic mart or convention thing in Ealing Broadway. This was awesome as i had been going to the London Comic Mart at the TUC ( Trade Union Center ) for a few years and the idea of have a mart local to us was great. It was at Ealing Town Hall and it was great lots and lots of comics, figures and trading cards. But sadly it was a one off. A few weeks later my father was was talking to the guy in the Hayes comic shop and the topic of Blue Silver came up. Both my father and the owner of the Hayes store really did not like the Blue Silver store and the guys running. All this didn't matter in the end as the store closed a few years later. 

All was not lost while i was at university I found other comic stores in the near veracity. There was Epic Heroes in Edgware and in Richmond there was They Walk Among Us. Later it changed it's name to Ace Comics. Epic Heroes was very cool it had a lot of import figures and i got my first Macross figures from there. Now that was an epic birthday.... but a story for another time. Epic Heroes sadly closed a few years ago and I've not been to Ace Comics in a good while. I might take a trip after work one day...   

Saturday, 22 March 2014

London Super Comic Con.... Part TWO!!! No major complaints but what i do have is minor nit-picks....

Last week I talked about our roundabout trip to get to Excel and the this time i am going to cover the Pros and Cons of the convention. Like i said in my last post

"I think the Cons did out way the Pros but again i did enjoy it. It was GOOD i mean it"

I do feel like this post is going to come across in a negative way but i want you to understand i did enjoy myself and i will try to explain my points the best way i can. And i will be going next year. 

When we got to the con there was not many people there at we got to the con late at around 11/11:30 and with the weather being so nice it felt good to be able to take my time. Things started well when we got to the hall but didn't see a sign or notice to where we should be queuing. I had a bad feeling when i asked a really jolly fellow where we had to go he had a big smile and was more than happy to help use. Unlike the last Expo i went to where the staff were in a bad mood or just not around. He pointed us in the right direction and we were on our way. We got our passes and goody bag... YAY goody bag got to love a goody bag... and then we went in to the hall. Right from the get go things were looking good. the hall was well thought out with wide aisles and there was a nice flow to the movement of people. compared to the last con this was a nice relief. So we walked the floor and had a look and eyed a few things so out of my price range and some WAY out of my price range. There was a decent amount of sellers and it was all comics and graphic novels for as far as the eye could see. What really struck me was the amount of families there. I don't mean kids with there dads but whole families mums, dads and the kids all going and all enjoying themselves. It has been a long time since i have seen this. A good family friendly con is always a good thing. 
And then there was the cosplay. I was impressed by a lot of the cosplayers there and some really cool costumes. The best part for me was the lack of anime cosplay, most of the ones i saw were from comics which is fitting we were at a comic con. Please don't tell me what i already know. YES manga and comics are the same. But It is cool to see something else other than the normal Bleach or Naruto people running around. Well i guess that should be Attack on Titan or what ever is really big at the moment..... which reminds me i need to catch up on Space Dandy, Kuroko's Basketball and Hajime no Ippo Rising... Anyway back to the cosplay. There was a really impressive X-Force Wolverine and a very cool Fem Captain America. Staying on cosplay there was two guess Yaya Hun and Riddle. World class cosplayers indeed. This is good as it shows that the UK cosplaying community grows from strength to strength. 

I have no major complaints but what i do have is minor nit-picks.... 
OK this is going to sound odd but the comics were a con at this convention.... wait... wait... wait a minute let me explain. There was a lot of comics and graphic novels but each table you went to you saw the same books. The prices were more or less the same so i found that to be disappointing i was hoping to see a better rang to the books. There was a only a few sellers selling toys or other high end collectibles. Normally i am all for wider aisles but i few more stalls would of been nice. I was also amazed at the fact there was no manga or anime there and no DVDs or blu-rays.
Another odd con i found was the number of artists do signings. That fact that they were doing signings was not a problem but it was a small problem when the artist was signing and the que was in the middle of the aisle. Now if they were at at the top or bottom of each aisle then fine but it was more annoying than a real problem.      
Also i was surprised at the complete lack of big companies there. I would of thought that Marvel UK would of been there at least to get people hyped for Captain America the Winter Solider that is out next week or other movie companies pushing their new movie. I understand that the Expo is a media con or a pop culture convention so a lot of movies get pushed there but at a Super Comic Con i was expecting to see something along the lines of say SDCC. Now i know that the UK can not compete with what the Americans can do at their conventions but there should of been some kind of Marvel UK presents at the con. IDW who have be doing the Transformers comics were there, so we should believe that none of the big comic companies could not have a presents. Then there's the outside of the con. Nothing you went out side the Excel building and there was nothing i was expecting to see a big screen playing trailers or something but there was nothing. Even though i enjoyed myself at the con i did find the longer i was there the more i felt that this was a small con in a big hall. Now this is not the same as an armature thing because it wasn't but with the lack of big companies it did feel empty. 

Final thoughts
OK i thought i hand more cons that that but still none the less the fact that it's called the London Super Comic Con but it was not as Super as i was hoping for. But and i do have a positive out look for this convention... i understand that this is a new con it was only the 3rd one so it will grow and when it grows more people will come and hopefully so will the companies stat to show support for this UK convention and it will truly be the Super Comic Con. I will be going next year and look forward to seeing how this con will grow and change. Well hopefully next post i should have some Vader news.         

Monday, 17 March 2014

A morning spent walking around London...London Super Comic Con part ONE...

So Saturday the 15th was the London Super Comic Con ( LSCC ) and I really did enjoy myself but i do think there is a lot of room for improvement. I think the Cons did out way the Pros but again i did enjoy it. It was GOOD i mean it but i will get to that in a little while. So let me start at the beginning.

I met my mate at the local underground station and got the train to Monument. As we were walking from the District Line platform to the Docklands Light Railway ( DLR ) platform i had the idea of getting something to eat. So we left the station. Now it maybe my age and the fact that i am getting old but i think i have started to think with my stomach. It dawned on me that i have a prepaid ticket so i will just need to walk up to the right line and more or less just walk in to the convention hall. So why try to get there so early when i can take my time and get there when the doors open. If i was paying at the door i could understand the need to get there two hours before. But with a prepaid ticket the need is no longer there. So i was hungry dam it and i wanted a McMuffin.
And so began a quest the likes of which has never been seen before...
I'm talking about a Lord of the Ring level of Quest....
We decided to go to McDonalds. We left the station and went looking for the golden arches. we walked and walked and walked some more and did we see one did we see anything that came close to a MacyD's... 
NO... no... no.. no...
We walked for nearly two hours and NOTHING... But something odd happened. As we walked we ended up walking to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. we walked past the Lloyd's Bank tower and even St. Paul's Cathedral. The weather was really nice so that helped. The skies were blue and the sun was out it was a really nice day and we just kept on walking hoping to see a McDonalds and we didn't care. We were just enjoying the day. Which is what going to a con is all about it is not just a few hours at a con but it's the whole day out. But back to the quest. We walked a little more and i have lived in London all my life but i live in outer London not the main city which you think of when you say City of London. But i have never really just walked around the city. I was amazed at the fact the city was just like any modern city but if you go down a side street you end up walking down a street that looks like its hundred or three hundred years old. The City of London really is full of surprises. And one of the biggest was there was NO McDONALDS ANY WHERE!!!! We just could not believe it, it was crazy we saw loads of coffee shops but noting where we could get a bite to eat. All we found was very nice looking but very expensive restaurants. But we were not about to let that stop us and ruin our day.So we walked to Bank station and got the DLR to the Excel center. It was at that point i realized i really like the DLR Its clean and the views are better than what you get on the underground.

But to the CONVENTION!!! well that will be in part TWO  

Sunday, 9 March 2014

London Super Comic Con. Count Down.

Let the count down BEGIN!!!! 

So there are only Five days left till the Saturday 15th the Day of the London Super Comic Con ( LSCC ) OK six if you count today. That being Sunday 9th. Any way there is not long to go and i am get excited This is the 3rd LSCC I missed the the first two back in 2012 and 2013. But this time i made the effort and booked my tickets. I am hoping this will be a very different con the the London Expo. LSCC looks to be a much more Comic ( Mervel/DC and so forth ) sen-trick  convention where the Expo is a lot more Anime and Manga orientated convention. I am also hoping that it will be better run than Last years Expo. Now i am not sure if the London Expo and the LSCC is run by the same company but both cons are held at the London Excel Center. So this means i know the lay out of the center but how will the people running the con deal with all the attendees. I am guessing there will be fewer people going to this than the Expo but i could be wrong. My thinking is that if this is a comic con and not an anime con then we should not have all the cosplayers out in force and the attendees should be a little older. Now i could be way off but anime seems to draw a much younger audience I am basing this off the people you see at the London Film and Comic Con 
( LFCC ) Not an anime con by any means so i am using it a a bench mark to how i will judge the LSCC. Now don't think for a moment that i am expecting this to be a small quiet con, far from it i am expecting it to be very busy but not on the same same level as the Expo. 
So if you have gone to both let me know how the other two cons were and how they compared to the Expo?

I love a count down. i tend to watch a load of movies or do something each day that has a relation to the event i am going to. like watching the marvel movies one a day before the Avengers came out in cinemas. But i don't know what to watch or if i should just read a few comics as a lead up to the con. I could always play Lego Marvel on the ps3 each day. try and platinum the game in a week... Ok i will do that. 

Hopefully once the con is over i will post my thoughts and any pics i took. I hope it's better than the last Expo so i will have a lot of positive thing to say.