MCM Comic Con London

Day three at MCM Comic Con London brings Smeg Heads, Actives and (not) Cylons

Red Dwarf panel

Red Dwarf panel

Day three was a massive day for MCM Comic Con in London with several of the guests appearing in some of television’s biggest names like Game of Thrones, the DC universe, Agent Carter and for some thing a little closer to the UK – iconic science fiction television show Red Dwarf.

Sunday’s Game of Thrones panel was longer and filled with more guests than Fridays short Q&A. Joining Friday’s guests Ian Gelder and Ian Beatter were yet another Ian, Ian McElhinney and Eugene Simon. The four actors revisited their time on set as well as further explaining some of their favourite fan theories.

Following was actor Enver Gjokaj from the popular Marvel TV show Agent Carter and cult-favourite Joss Whedon show, Dollhouse. 

Gjokaj shared some of his favourite back scene moments with the fans, including several of the pranks he was subjected to and the ones he had a hand in (poor Dominic Cooper).

According to Gjokaj, the biggest pranksters at Agent Carter were the writers. They had a particular love of getting unsuspecting people to run into tape strips.

When speaking about the short-lived show Dollhouse, Gjokaj said he loved having the challenge of playing so many types of characters, something that he was grateful to have the opportunity to work with some talented writers.

Agent Carter actor Enver Gjokaj

Agent Carter actor Enver Gjokaj

After Gjokaj, Battlestar Galactica star Jamie Bamber came on stage for his panel. Echoing what Gjokaj said, Bamber expressed how much he loved working with such great writers. Though despite much of his success coming from the small screen, the actor mentioned that he hoped to one day get back into stage acting, something that he considered his first love.

Like Edward James Olmos at the con last year, Bamber was really great with questions and fans. Although he said he didn’t want to recollect his time on set (he wants to be surprised when he revisits it with his children in the future), Bamber still gets a kick out of the word “fracking” despite the unfortunate contemporary meaning.

Following Bamber, two panels followed about three of televisions biggest shows. Flash actress Violett Beane was joined by surprise guest Michael Rowe, who played Deadshot in Arrow. But the big draw of the day was Red Dwarf, a panel that was only thirty minutes long. but was mostly photo-ops and an great excuse for actors Chris Barrie, Danny John-Jules and Hattie Hayridge to mess about together on stage.

It was a rather full day on Sunday and it was all great quality. A way to end another fantastic (and tiring) con on a high note.

Slideshow from this weekend’s MCM Comic Con London 2016 in October:

 

The biggest names in indie comic publishing arrive at MCM London Comic Con 

VP of Marketing of Dark Horse Matt Parkinson was joined by his counterpart at IDW, Dirk Wood. The pair had plenty of annuncements to make as well as taking the time to answer con attendees questions.

The big announcement for fans was that the two indie publishers will be collaborating on the future cross-over project Star Trek and Aliens. But Aliens news doesn’t stop there as Dark Horse celebrates the films 30th anniversary with new collections of the long-running series are being released.

Dark Horse and IDW are both known for their licenses that they have. IDW has begun their work on what Wood dubbed the “Hasbroverse,” a series of comics that tie into many of Hasbro’s big titles, including Transformers and GI Joe. The book, called Revolution, is already in comic book shops.

Another great announcement from Wood (which made much of the audience quite happy) was saying that IDW is working on creating their own television shows, which already includes an Elijah Wood-fronted version of Dirk Gently. But also in the pipeline is an adaption of the Eisner award-winning series Locke & Key. After two failed attempts to get the show adapted, Wood said the company decided to keep all the rights in the company and do it right. Joe Hill has apparently already written some scripts.

Parkinson had plenty of news pertaining to the popular series Hell Boy, including a short series that will be a spin-off.

Also in attendance at the panel was the Deputy Executive Director of the Comic Book Defense Fund, Alex Cox. Cox spoke about the work the CBDF was doing in their 30th year, as well as their future projects in the UK, Raising a Reader.

Great to see people fighting the good fight for freedom of speech back in the US of A.

It’s always great to have these guys back. They’re friendly and clearly would take all the time they could to answer questions. Plus they had plenty of free goods. More comics at the comic con, please!

MCM Comic Con 2016: A geek, a villain and an adventurer

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The screams of a boy in puberty 

Jeremy Shada may have a voice more recognisable than his boyish face.

The 19-year-old voice actor already has seven seasons under his belt with the award-winning and much-loved Adventure Time cartoon.

Known for the squeals and odd noises his character makes, Shada explained how he eventually found the voice of Finn the Human. His older brother Zack had performed the voice of the character (then named Pen) in the 2007 pilot that eventually wasn’t picked up by the Nicktoons Network. After following the advice how his agent suggested he try for his brother’s part in 2009, when the show was going to Cartoon Network.

While Shada followed in hid brother’s footsteps, the young actor tried to emulate him when beginning with the character. Though throughout the entire first season, Shada said he was going through puberty, which helped him to find the style of Finn’s voice.

Shada’s band, Make Out Monday, also performed this weekend on the Fringe stage.

A geek and a villain walk into a panel… 

Jesse Eisenberg and Kunal Nayyar both graced the MCM Gold Stage on Sunday to promote the West End premier of their play The Spoils.

By far the most popular panel of the weekend, the two actors discussed their roles in their current show, and their futures on film and television. Big Bang Theory actor Nayyar stated that he was happy for the minority role that Eisenberg had written. Nayyar’s character is a Nepalese immigrant who is roommates with Eisenberg’s wealthy, manipulative character.  Finding the character came easily to Nayyar, who said that he while he was growing up in New Delhi, he had friends who were from Nepal.

Eisenberg said he enjoys playing characters that other people don’t like. He wants to make others sympathise with people who are seemingly evil, and he’s interested in what drives them.

The Spoils, while a comedy, explores what drives these people. The rich and poor juxtaposition is something well-known to those who live in a city. English actor Alfie Allen joins the London cast, playing a character much different to what fans recognise him as in Game of Thrones. Eisenberg said that he was immediately impressed watching Allen’s audition tape, and after googling him was shocked to see the actor could play such different characters so well.

Nayyar and Eisenberg both acknowledged that theatre has long been a pastime for the wealthy, but they hope that their familiar names and the projects they are attached to (such as Eisenberg’s turn as the villain Lex Luther) will help bring young people to the theatre.

Eisenberg said that while he thought that performing live was more exhilarating and nerve-wracking than movies, he still has a love for acting on the stage, espcially when being able to humanise the dehumanised, like his character Lex Luther – who is on the surface a bad person.

As far as his future with the DC universe after Batman vs Superman,  Eisenberg says, “They just started filming Justice League, so I’m kind of like waiting for my crack at it.”

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Photo by Leila Murseljevic

Overall, this was another great weekend at MCM Comic Con London. There were some truly great panels in the past few days, some among the best I’ve ever been able to attend. It has all gone by super fast, but I’m sure October version will be here in no time.

Saturday at MCM Comic Con London summer 2016: A laureate, a preacher and a few demons to boot.

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Saturday was a sold-out day for MCM Comic Con London. The day boasted some of the biggest names of the weekend while being filled with people enjoying their Bank Holiday weekend. There was some pretty outstanding panels this week, some of my favourites ever in fact. And it all started first thing in the morning.

Three phases of Dave Gibbons

Dave Gibbons is one of the most highly-regarded artists in the world of comics. The man has had a long and respected career working on iconic books such as Watchmen with fellow Brit Alan Moore, The Originals and The Secret Service – Kingsman. And he was the first comic laureate in the UK, being appointed in 2014. The man hardly needs an introduction, but a reminder of his achievements was key when revisiting his life and work during Saturday morning’s panel.

Joining Gibbons on stage was Robert Milazzo from the Modern School of Film in New York. The school set Gibbons with the task of naming three films that were influential in his life. The first from his childhood, was the Dinsey symphonic classic, Fantastia. 

The artist recalled his time going to see the movie alone when he was about 8 or 9 years old and crying during the film. He was inspired by the technical ability of it all and the film’s ability to create something that was a total experience (if perhaps not a constant narrative). The particular section he admired, was “Death of the Dinosaurs,” particularly the fusion of art and science. But a theme that Gibbons and Milazzo touched on was the unconscious and unregulated imagination both film and comics had early on, lending to some of the greatest creativity in the genres.

That ignorance of success is what Gibbons said allowed him to reach his greatest opus with Watchmen. He talked about how he and Moore really had no idea what their book was to become, but only focused on making what they believed would be the greatest comic they could make. This brought the conversation on to the second film, Nicolas Roeg’s 1985 film Insignificance, which Gibbons said influenced Watchmen in several ways. There was even a personal message from Roeg to Gibbons, remarking on how there is no such thing as a right or wrong way to do something, only the right and “another.”

When choosing his contemporary film, Gibbon’s choice was Guardians of the Galaxy, stating that Marvel had kept their act together and didn’t lose their nerve when taking the time to create small stories from within a single movie. His love of comics really showed through when discussing James Gunn’s film. His wide-eyed enthusiasm for the film brought the conversation full circle, with both men emphasising the way we love things when we are children.

It’s certainly a trait worth holding on to.

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Outcast cast and the best of Michael Cain impressions 

Outcast is one of several comic-book adapted shows that are heading to television this spring. The show, based on the Image comic book of the same name by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, follows a man who lives in a town filled with people battling demons – both literally and figuratively.

Several of the show’s stars were in attendance: Patrick Fugit, English actor Philip Glenister (of the excellent Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars), Wrenn Schmidt, Kate Lyn Sheil and everyone’s favourite rib shack owner Reg E. Cathey.

Fugit plays Kyle Barnes, a character the blames himself for the strange going-ons in Rome, West Virginia. There is an element of him being haunted by these demons, but the show also explores his relationships (or lack thereof) with his family and others in the town he’s been hiding himself away from. It’s a slow, Southern thriller. Each actor reiterated the differences with Kirkman’s other show, The Walking Dead, saying that there was more horror than gore, and Fugit said while reading the script that he saw the scares were more unsettling than anything.

The cast also talked about their interactions off screen. Fugit learned to speak Northern from Glenister. Glenister also taught the Americans how to make “a props cuppa.” Though, strangely, he said that they always wanted to serve him cheese.

Fugit and Glenister also took a moment to show the audience their Tom Cruise and Michael Caine impressions, which was both amusing and impressive.

Both Sheil and Schmidt agreed that their characters were complex, and it was a sure sign of things improving for role options for females. Schmidt said that she particularly enjoyed her role as Megan because her plot wasn’t solely reliant on a male character’s, but was instead interwoven with one.

But when Cathey sells the show with, “It will interrupt your sleep,” it only solidifies that Outcast‘s future is going to be bright.

Outcast will premier on Cinemax and on Fox’s international channels abroad on June 3rd. It was also aired on Facebook Live in Europe on May 20th.

Though if you were lucky enough to be at MCM that weekend, there was showing of the pilot episode. From the first hour shown, the show makes a firm statement of its intentions. It’s a haunting, psychological show with an incredible cast of characters. While it has moments of violence and just plain horror, there are some moments that guarantee to make a viewer’s skin crawl.

Outcast has already been renewed for a second season, but with a first episode like that – it’s not at all surprising.

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Preacher: The Good, The Surprise and The Butthole. 

Also on Saturday was the ability to watch the entire first episode of AMC’s adaption of the Vertigo comic Preacher. After watching Outcast, it was clear that while the two shows had their similarities, no two shows could be more different.

Developed by Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg and Breaking Bad‘s Sam Catlin, Preacher follows the story of preacher Jesse Custer (the always-gorgeous Dominic Cooper) in Texas, who has unusual powers after being possessed by an unknown entity. Like Outcast, both shows deal with religion and both are based on comic books. But the similarities stop there.

While Outcast thrives on its slow burn, Preacher throws all subtlety out the window. The story is bonkers, the actors are wacky as fun, but it is certainly one hell of a ride. The highly-stylised show acts as a prequel to the original Vertigo comic.

Not that anyone will have to choose between the two, but if you enjoy humour in the vein of the Evil Dead movies and cartoon violence is more your thing, Preacher will definitely be to your taste. It’s gross and absolutely hilarious.

Preacher airs in the UK on Amazon Prime each week. Episode 2 will air in June.

BUT

As the episode finished, a worker from MCM dashed to the stage to promise a surprise, and that surprise was none other than Preacher star Dominic Cooper.

The English actor talked about the pressures of being in such a highly-anticipated and long-awaited adaption of the comic. While he remembers many of his friends reading the comics when he was younger, the interest passed him by. Cooper said after reading the comics and the script, he was drawn into the show’s ability to jump from genre to genre while also being a debate about religion. An actor’s dream, according to him. It also reminded him of work that he loves dearly, such as early Twin Peaks. Though he also admitted that finding his character was a true challenge, but after reading about Jesse’s background in the script, he was able to understand the son of a preacher man more fully.

In a world that is in the golden age of television, Cooper says its fantastic that Preacher has come to life in this time. He believes that the characters and comic have hours worth of story worth telling. And in a place where there are many superheroes and comic book adaptions, Cooper believes that Preacher‘s distinctiveness will set it apart.

Preacher was another show with a really solid pilot. Hopefully the show continues on the path, and gets to see the light.
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And that’s day two in the books! Sunday at MCM brings the biggest panel yet, which includes Jesse Eisenberg, whose West End play The Spoils begins its run Saturday night. There is still plenty to see, and many actors are are having repeat panels, including Warwick Davis who is also promoting a show he is a part of called Eugenius. If anything, just go and spend time with some of the excellent interactive booths that are available. I know my friends and I particularly enjoyed the Preacher photobooth.

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Special shout out to Leila for being a real queen and sorting out my camera today and taking some great photos.

Surviving a comic con

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Flash-filled picture brought to you by my ineptitude with cameras.

MCM Comic Con London day one is in the books! It was a pretty quiet first day spent mostly scoping out the new layout in the Excel Centre. I do have to say that each time MCM really improves in its layout. The convention this year is a lot more compact and easy to manoeuvre.

This is also my FOURTH time covering MCM! That’s a lot of time spent running around to different panels on opposite ends of the convention centre, smelling teenage boys’ BO and getting accidentally stepped on by kids in colourful wigs. But I do love it, and I feel like a genuine veteran at this point.

And with experience comes great knowledge of how to perfect being a convention. As stupid as it sounds: this is truly an art. Above is just a glimpse into my hectic bag from today. My real camera is not in the picture as I am taking pictures with it. Turns out I don’t know how to use a real camera. See picture above.

This is the most serene my bag has ever been on a return journey from a day out at a comic con. Usually there are about 800 more bits of paper and at least something that has been pressed upon me. But I’m not worried, as the weekend is still young and there is a whole lot of business about to go on this weekend.

Tomorrow I’m going to be covering plenty of comic-related goodness. There may be a hint in the picture above (if you can see it through the tacky flash photography).

MCM Comic Con London – May 2016 preview

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Is there anything better than convention season? Summer cons in London are always at the top of their game, and MCM Comic Con London doesn’t disappoint with a wide variety of guests and panels that is sure to tickle the fancy of any visitor.

For comic book lovers, there is plenty to see. The great British Eisner-award winning comic book writer and artist Dave Gibbons will be at the convention and will have signings on Saturday. The Watchmen co-creator will also be giving a talk at a panel on Saturday.

And for those more interested in the screen adaptions of comics, there is plenty of offerings. Two upcoming shows, Preacher and Outcast, will have a presence at the convention as well. A special screening of Preacher will be on Saturday, and the cast of Outcast will also be in attendance at a special Fox panel.

The biggest name of the event comes from a visit from actor Jesse Eisenberg off the back of his performance in Batman vs Superman. Eisenberg will be appearing on Sunday. But if you’re still interested in more television, there are more panels that range from the superheroes of DC and Marvel shows like Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as Game of Thrones, BBC Three’s Being Human and the Canadian drama Murdoch Mysteries.

Special guests include icons of British television shows like Robery Llewellyn from Red Dwarf and the fifth doctor, Peter Davison. There is also countless other areas to explore including Vidfest UK, plenty of Japanese and Korean culture in the PopAsia section, Comic Village and a cosplay section – though there is plenty throughout the entire con.

So there’s certainly a lot of see, enough to make a person force to choose, but I for one am really looking forward to attending MCM again. It’s always exhausting, but great (and there’s plenty of sweaty convention-goers, which is always a plus, right?).  Here’s to another successful weekend ahead!

MCM Comic Con London is May 27-29. Tickets are sold out for priority entry for the weekend and Saturday, but general admission tickets for individual days are still available (if limited). You can buy tickets from MCM’s website here.

 

Sunday at MCM Comic Con London 2015

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Sunday at Comic Con in London was the last day of the weekend, but the convention still had some major guests including two of the biggest shows in the last decade.

1. RJ Mitte brings maturity and determination to London

Walter White Jr actor RJ Mitte returned to MCM Comic Com London to talk about his time spent on the set of the massively successful TV show Breaking Bad.

The actor was at ease at the convention, reminiscing about the first time he was at San Diego Comic Con. His time at SDCC was the first time he really became aware of the full-extent of fandom Breaking Bad had achieved.

When asked about whether or not he thought the show went too far, Mitte gave a simple response: “I don’t think it pushed the boundaries enough.”

And that idea serves as a mantra for the actor, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 3-years-old. His character Walter Jr used crutches and slurred speech, but also wasn’t hindered by this. He expressed his love of challenging and difficult scenes as a way to grow as an actor.

Mitte spoke of pushing himself in his craft both during Breaking Bad and in his personal life. While the crutches were merely a prop, he used them as a metaphor as pushing both himself and his character forward.

“There’s so much I can do and will do, ” said Mitte.

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RJ Mitte at MCM Comic Con at London on Sunday.

2. Game of Thrones actors talk sex scenes, Hunger Game battles and tight boots

If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones yet, you are one of the few left. One of the biggest pulls for Sunday was the Game of Thrones panel that showed some of the more familiar faces from season 5. The group had a Q&A session with fans that brought laughs along with some more serious discussions.

Eugene Simon, who plays Lancel Lannister, had plenty to say about the dramatic changes of his character in season 5. Audiences did not see the transition of Ser Lancel into Brother Lancel of the Sparrows, a religious cult in Westeros. His relationship with Lean Headey’s character often changed dramatically, even while often not seeing the actress very often throughout filming. The actors are often in so many places, he said his character was having a sexual relationship with another while not even knowing her.

Ian McElhinney said, to much crowed laughter, “Sex is much easier with people you just meet.”

Ian Beattie played Ser Meryn Trant, a character who had some of the more appalling scenes of the entire series. His character was introduced in earlier series as the Kingsguard, but later took a much darker turn. During the panel, Beattie addressed the scenes where it is revealed that his character has sexual interest in very young girls.

“It was emotionally, technically and physically difficult to convince the audience that this character enjoyed doing this,” said Beattie. “I would leave to for a bathroom break and just burst into tears.”

Beattie, who is a father, said that it while these were challenging scenes for him, he was happy for the opportunity and assured that the set on Game of Thrones is always very protected – especially since so many young actresses were involved.

McElhinney, who played  Ser Barristan Selmy, chimed in to help lighten the mood by addressing his own personal difficulties on set. Costumes were a constant source of discussion, and each actor gave the costume department high praise. But McElhinney’s most difficult scene involved some tight boots he had to wear early on in the series, all while walking down a very long room.

“When your feet are comfortable, the world is your oyster,” said McElhinney.

The three actors were a constant source of humour throughout the panel. When asked about their own personal theories about the show, McElhinney said it was likely no one would end up on the throne.

“I think it will all end in a nuclear holocaust,” said McElhinney.

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Eugene Simon, Ian Beattie and Ian McElhinney at the Game of Thrones panel.