MCM London Comic Con

Firefly’s Summer Glau and Sean Maher reunite at MCM London Comic Con

Two stars from Joss Whedon’s short-lived, cult television series Firefly were reunited on Saturday at MCM London Comic Con.

Actors Summer Glau and Sean Maher (who played siblings River Tam and Dr Simon Tam respectively) joined the stage for a lengthy Q&A session with their fans. The pair completely packed the room on the sold-out Saturday, which is pretty impressive for a television show that didn’t even make it through its first season.

Despite it’s short life, Firefly has a massive and dedicated fan base. Glau and Maher agreed that it was probably this aspect that helped fans become so fanatical. But it didn’t hurt that the story and its characters were each so special.

Maher recalled how when the cast first started working together, the chemistry was both instantaneous and organic. Their sibling affection for each other helped create some of the more dynamic parts of the show. Each after sighted the other as a larger reason as to why their performances did so well.

The actors said that the filming was a unique and special experience. Glau said that she was mostly kept in the dark about the future of the show, and said that creator Joss Whedon only gave her glimpses into her character’s past – information that she wouldn’t divulge to the fans.

The subject of Glau’s ballet training came up multiple times in her responses. But her character River uses a variety of martial arts in the Serenity film. Glau spoke about how her “gangly limbs” were used to her advantage to form a unique style that was one of the more impressive aspects of the movie.

Both Glau and Maher’s characters were at the forefront of Firefly’s follow-up film (and excited about having dialogue on so many pages). Glau especially had to work on her martial arts training, which she said she began several months before filming even began.

“It became my life,” said Glau, reflecting on her training – which included lessons with 12-year-old boys who all refused to be her partner.

Glau and Maher also discussed the string of cancelled shows they’ve both been on. Maher especially felt jaded after having a number of his shows axed by the same network on multiple occasions. But if the success of Firefly proves anything, its that there can still be love for a show that is gone too soon.

But mostly, both actors look back fondly on their time on both Firefly and the follow-up film Serenity. Both actors have worked with Whedon on multiple occasions. Whedon himself mostly lives in the realm of movies these days, but a full-fledged return to television would always be welcome.

Minor note, but bonus points for Glau’s super-adorable little girl. She could be heard chatting away during the entire hour. And is apparently a big fan of The Jetsons.

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MCM London Comic Con brings out the legends on day one 

MCM London Comic Con was back again for its 2017 Spring edition.

The convention, at ExCel London, started its three-day weekend celebrations with some of the biggest and most-loved names in pop culture as well as some new British-bred talents.

Included in the morning’s schedule was four of the Power Ranger‘s most familiar faces. Original rangers Austin St. John, Walter Jones and David Yost were joined by former Yellow Ranger Karan Ashley.

The four old friends discussed their times on the much-beloved television show, including reminiscing about favourite episodes and moments. Though the conversation veered more to the serious side when they began to talk about the difficulties of getting good contracts in Hollywood and what they view as unfair treatment by their bosses.

Though all four actors said that they will be appearing in the film The Order in the future with several other former Power Rangers. It’s a show that has quite a loyal and fanatical fan base, and sure to give The Order the attention it needs.

The convention’s big name of the day was kung fu icon Donnie Yen. The Chinese actor sat with The Modern School of Film’s Robert Milazzo to discuss the icons of the genre as well as Yen’s own upbringing in both China and the rough streets of Boston.

Up-and-coming English director Tom Paton took the time to promote his new film Redwood while sharing his experiences as a young, indie director. The film, which stars Buffy alum Nicholas Brendon, is Paton’s second feature-length film following the success of 2016’s Pandorica.

Closing the day out with both the best of indie success and iconic names was the panel with Lloyd Kaufman of Troma with Essex Spacebin director David Hollinsworth.

Essex Spacebin, which is distributed by Troma, premiered at Prince Charles Cinema back in February paired up with the Troma classic Tromeo and Juliet.  But while Essex Spacebin is certainly Troma-inspired (Hollinsworth named Combat Shock in particular), its certainly a British film.

It’s a strange (to put it lightly) story of a woman trying to access a stargate… or something. It’s almost utterly explainable but worth watching just for the spectacle. The film was mostly shot on 35mm film and stars an actress who largely had never done any acting before.

Troma picked up the film after the creators emailed Kaufman. But Troma always strives for the unique and basks in the anti-establishment. It certainly doesn’t win all the fans in the world, but there are barely any fans that are more fanatical.

Kaufman was recently at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the new Return to Return to Nuke ’em High Volume 2. And looking at the Troma twitter page it looks like they all had a fucking blast causing a scene.

And that’s what is so great about MCM London Comic Con. It offers both big names and established icons but also makes sure to celebrate British talent. Troma being at the con is going to be a personal highlight of the weekend. Always happy to see Lloyd when he comes to London. Nothing is more infectious than passion and investing what you believe in.

There have been a lot of changes to this weekend’s schedule, including both cancelled appearances and additional panels. Always keep up with MCM’s twitter page and check those signs! If you haven’t bought your tickets, tough. Saturday is now entirely sold out.

MCM London Comic Con 2017 preview

Friday has become Riverdale day for me. Without it, I feel I great sense of loss. But all good things must come to an end… and thankfully there’s plenty of things around the corner to fill that hole in my heart.

COMIC CON IS BACK, KIDS!

MCM London Comic Con will return to the Excel Centre for another three-days of pop-culture goodness. And this time, the minds behind the con have plenty of great things to see.

For one, the one and only Lloyd Kaufman will be in attendance to help promote the British film Essex Spacebin as well as the video game Victor Vran: Motörhead Through the Ages. It’s always a pleasure to see this man, and well worth meeting even if you’re a Troma virgin.

And to really fill that Riverdale emptiness, Archie Andrews himself AJ Kappa will be in London. And for another show that my heart belongs to, both Tam siblings from Firefly. Considering how dedicated of a fan base Joss Whedon has, their panel is bound to be a highlight (if not a personal one).

But the con continues to have a little something for everyone. Doctor Who companions Billie Piper and Catherine Tate will both grace London. And if you’re a more classic sci fi fan, Sam Jones (Flash Gordon), Lou Ferrigno (the Hulk) and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura of Star Trek) will all be appearing all weekend.

New this year is the Forbidden Planet’s author corner, which will be hosting some of the UK’s best science fiction and fantasy writers.

MCM London Comic Con will be May 26 to the 28th. Weekend priority tickets are sold out (and Saturday nearly gone). But you can still purchase day tickets here.

MCM London Comic Con haul: let’s talk about comics

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Half the fun of going to comic cons is learning about new comics, shows and products that you might have missed elsewhere. After attending my first two comic cons last October, I was determined to go out of my way to discover the greatness people had to offer. I certainly found it in different shops, independent comics and art.

Both of these buggars in the photo above came from the A Place in Space stall. This shop is located in Croyden. It’s so close to my neck of the woods I was almost embarrassed that I had never heard of them before. But alas, they had a great selection of Funko Pop! figures that were calling out to be purchased. My husband and I have a slowly growing collection that I’m afraid needs to stop growing soon or we will be out of a room.

Being the fantastic wife I am, I picked Ultron for my husband. But of course I had to nip Hong Kong Phooey for myself. The unfortunate thing about comic con is if you’re not into superheroes, you really miss out on a chunk of what’s going on. I greatly appreciated that someone carried a bit of nostalgia for a unusual collector like myself.

Another store I came across was Travelling Man. All of their stores are mostly up north (another thing that greatly pleased my Northern husband), but they also have a very nice online shop. I assumed that most stalls would run deals at the convention this weekend, but clearly marking up prices seemed to be the game for most vendors there. Travelling Man was one of the few exceptions. They had such a great selection of books and board games, and all at a great price. They will definitely be a shop I keep an eye out anytime I leave London. I also send my apologises to the nice man who tried to talk to me about the Saga volume I bought. This was another gift for the husband and I could only say “yessssss” in response to any questions. Plus my conversation skills usually extend to “hmmm” and “aaaaah” anyway.

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A great part of MCM was the fantastic Comic Village. Absolutely every type of comic and manga art under the sun was there from superheroes to sloth people to unicorn women. And it covered big names like Marvel, but had a superb amount of indie comics and prints available. This was the first place IMG_1016I headed to on Friday because I knew exactly what I was looking for: a Lee Bradley print. I have seen his work at every con I have been to in London. There was one piece in particular that had been on my mind since the last batch back in October.

Enter his The Walking Dead illustration with Gizmo and the gremlins. Everything about this piece is something to love, but for some reason I had talked myself out of buying it then. Thankfully it were prints still available and I bought one without the slightest bit of hesitation. Unfortunately every bit of free time I had seemed to be at a contrast with Mr Bradley’s schedule. Every time I popped back to his table for a chat, he was busy or had gone. Next time, sir.

I picked up one indie comic for a read from Attackosaur Comics. Their comic Devil Executioner immediately caught my eye because the cover art reminded me of early Karl Moline and because it appeared to be one of the only horror IMG_1017comics available at the convention. The work on the inside is quite interesting. Written by Martin Ian Smith and art by Nicolás Giacondino, Devil Executioner is one beautiful badass book.

It is a contained one-shot comic, which is really a cool way to get exposed to a new area of comics. This particular story follows the gun-toting exorcist Father John Torrento as he tries to save the life of of an Italian girl who has been possessed by a demon. I’ve always found real exorcisms extremely fascinating. The fact that I happened upon a comic that was based on those instances was pure, happy luck. Actually, I’m so into this comic it probably deserves its own write-up later.

Clearly I spent a fair bit of cash this weekend (sorry, bank account), but I’m already really looking forward to the next con – theLondon Film and Comic Con that’s happening in July. Lots of great guests coming up on that one, but for now this commences my coverage of my crazy weekend at the MCM London Comic Con. I am off on my honeymoon in Scotland this weekend, but I promise to return and not touch any stones at Craigh na dun.

A wrap up to MCM London Comic Con

The final day of MCM London Comic Con weekend was today, and quite frankly it couldn’t come soon enough. By halfway through day three I was utterly exhausted, and thankfully so was my partner-in-crime, Virginia. So we packed it up early today, but not without checking out a few more final panels. Althouhg, leaving early did mean we missed the “Who Will Run the World? GIRLS” panel. I would feel sad if it were for the utter relaxation I feel sitting at home eating Pringles at this moment.

SuperBob

This little movie is being deemed as “Britain’s first superhero movie.” A meteor hits earth, creating a superhero named Bob (Breet Boldstein). Unfortunately Bob is not you’re typical superhero. As the tagline of the film says, “Unfortunately he’s British.” Why? Director Jon Drever believes its because of a simple lack of confidence in the British psyche that makes Bob so different from the Marvel and DC heroes in America. On top of all of Bob’s responsibilities, he can’t get a date. Here enters Natalia Tena’s character who is promised to be a strong female character that helps lead the narrative. So expect a special and unusual hero for this film.

The movie will be showing at the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival on June 7th at the Ritzy Picturehouse in Brixton. An official premier date is to be set for late summer.

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SuperBob stars Natalia Tena and Brett Goldstein with director Jon Drever

Orphan Black with Kristian Bruun

Yes him again. Bruun had a half-hour panel (although this time it was 20 minutes because it appears as though someone forgot to get him on time – again) discussing the popular Canadian television series. This time there was a emcee who was filled with great questions for Bruun, including touching on the long-running Murdoch Mysteries. Unfortunately when Britain not even having a premier date yet for season 3, it was difficult to talk about anything that happened in season 2 (which aired over a year ago now). But as with Saturday, Bruun was sweet and great to listen to.

He did promise to post a photo of his and Tatiana Maslany’s matching red fleece onsies. Still waiting for that one, sir. For anyone a part of the Clone Club, feel reassured that the cast and crew are dedicated to making fans happy. Bruun stated that nothing was more important than wanting to please the fans.

“We have a unique story that we bring dedication to,” the actor said.

My biggest regret of the whole weekend was not getting the balls to set up an interview with Bruun. His Canadian-ness was so appealing it would have been great to sit down with him. Major lesson learned for next time.

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Parting thoughts

MCM has improved in many ways over last October’s incarnation. My biggest problem last time was that it was almost too big to manage. Queues (lines) were everywhere and always in the way, making it impossible to get around in the place. This year they had made everything more compact. It was easy to navigate and see everything that you wanted to. Everything was clearly labeled this time and everything was sectioned off really well. Not into art? Skip the comic village on the first entrance. Not into Anime or Manga? Just avoid the back and front. It was a really welcome change and all the extra space acted nicely as areas for people to rest and eat.

Unfortunately, it was very difficult to overlook the amount of time people were interrupted, delayed or cut off. Perhaps they need to get more volunteers this year because several of the workers appeared to be spread thin. And according to several of the actors in attendance, they were never told where they needed to be or what they were going to be doing. I’m not sure where the problem lies, but hopefully this will be smoothed over next time.

This con was so much better than October’s it was incredible the amount of difference. With a few more tweaks (especially by picking someone to proofread the programme), I’m sure the next go will be even better.

MCM London Comic Con: Day 2 in brief

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MCM London Comic Con’s big day finally came on Saturday. There were panels and guests abound. Saturday definitely is by far the busiest day at the convention. While there was plenty to love, there were some great disappointments (and mishaps) as well.

Two highlights in the start of the day were Tyler James Williams of the Walking Dead and Kristian Bruun from the popular science fiction show Orphan Black. The two each did a Q&A that was supposed to be an hour long. Williams was terrific. The first thing he did when he entered the room was compliment the amazing fan base. The entire time after that he only showed the greatest respect for the people there. Every question he answered was very thoughtful. He acted more like a devoted fan than just a cast member. He definitely won the room over.

Then Bruun. BRUUN! This man is incredible. While Gillian Anderson was great to watch at her Friday panel, Bruun could give her a run for her money for best personality of the whole weekend. He kept everything super witty and told fantastic stories: how confusing it is to work with the same actress who plays so many parts and he gave full details about that torture scene from season 1. Unfortunately, there weren’t many fans there to actually see him. And that was a part of a major problem that happened at the con this weekend.

First, there was no emcee. When Williams entered he wasn’t even entirely sure what he was supposed to do. Brunn was over 30 minutes late because no one came to get him. He didn’t know what to do either. Thankfully they both were quick and took control by running a Q&A. Both were great sports and were totally gracious guests. But they kept getting interrupted due to ‘scheduling conflicts.’ The entire thing was a total fuck up. These were two guests from two of the biggest shows on television and weren’t allowed to have an entire hour with the devoted people who came to see them. It was really a shame. While they were great to listen to, there should have been someone in charge to make sure things were going right – and they certainly didn’t.

Even more embarrassing, no one thought to give the (paying) fans any respect. No apologises were made nor was there ever an explanation. Normally that wouldn’t be so bad is people hadn’t paid to be there.

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Orphan Black star Kristian Bruun

That kerfuffle aside, the rest of the con appeared to run smoothly. The afternoon was full of panels that celebrated television on the other side of the pond. Upcoming ITV show, Jekyll & Hyde had many stars in tow to share information about their new show. Guests on the panel included stars Tom Bateman, Natalie Gumede and Richard E Grant, writer Charlie Higson, producers Francis Hopkinson and Foz Allen.

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Jekyll & Hyde panel on Saturday afternoon.

The show, which will be out next autumn on ITV, is more a sequel to the classic Victorian novel. Instead of focusing on the traditional story, this show will take place in the 1930s in London. Hyde’s grandson (Bateman) has been trying to figure out his grandfather’s secrets. Bateman discussed the intense challenge it was to bridge his Jekyll and Hyde. Unlike the book where Hyde becomes a grotesque ape-ish character, the alternative personality is “the guy we all think we are when we’re drunk.”

The cast and showrunners promise plenty of early monster movie inspiration. While Hyde will be battling his own personal demon, other terrifying creatures will be haunting the streets. In an exclusive first preview, there was lots to see including werewolves, vampires and a British icon. Of course that staggering icon is Richard E Grant. He was on the panel offering fantastic quotes like, “I’m very greatful for a job” and his favourite part of filming was “fucking lots of vampires.” Still waiting on clarification on whether or not this was a joke. But jokes aside, Higson promised to bring these British myths back (such as the black dog) to the forefront before they are forgotten in the mist.

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Jekyll & Hyde creator Charlie Higson, actor Richard E Grant and executive producer Francis Hopkinson

British myths and stories were also the centre of attention for the panel of BBC miniseries Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. The show, based on the 2004 book by Susanna Clarke, follows two magicians as they bring magic back to England during the Napoleonic Wars. The panel was unlike any other from the weekend. Considering the original source material, many of the answers and questions were on a higher philosophical level. Actor and star Bertie Carvel was definitely unusual, but his love for the theatre showed through everything he said as the panel discussed things such as the importance of a community when creating a project that worth being proud of.

The seven-episode miniseries is now showing on Sundays on BBC 1.

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The Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell panel on Saturday

 

MCM London Comic Con preview

MCM London Comic Con begins today promising a weekend full of panels, film showings, video games and hundreds of people in wigs. 

Friday night’s big guest is undoubtably the fabulous Gillian Anderson who is in London to promote her new movie Robot Overlords. British indie film Arthur & Merlin will also be in attendance to promote the film after its Spring release. 

Saturday continues on with panels of popular shows like Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Orphan Black. But there are plenty of British shows representing like Jekyll & Hyde and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell. 

I will be at the con all weekend long (disrupting this blog’s usual schedule). If you are at the con, feel free to tweet or email me what you think I need to check out! 

Most tickets for MCM is sold out, but there are still tickets for Subday available online here (there is a panel the proves to be great that is full of women from television discussing great female characters. Definitely sounds like a must see).