Springingtiger's Blog


Comic Con

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I do read comics and graphic novels, but it is not a major interest of mine, I am more of an enjoyer of text. However a group of us from the Glasgow Ubiquitous E Steampunk Society felt that the Glasgow Comic Convention, known to those who frequent these events as ‘Comic Con’, would provide us with an opportunity to wander around in full steampunk rig. Originally my plans went no further than that, but I’m pleased to say the Comic Con gave me far more than I was looking for.

A big part of Comic Con is the dressing up. As I often say, ‘I don’t do Cosplay, I’m a steampunk!’. However there were a lot of cosplayers at Comic Con. Cosplayers tend to be specific in whom they are dressing as, but that doesn’t prevent some amazing flights of imagination. The winner of the C3 Cosplay Championship had reimagined a Storm Trooper from Star Wars as a Samurai warrior; several days later I am still marvelling at both his imagination and craftsmanship. On the Sunday there were a group of Disney Princesses equipped with armour and light sabres in a Disney Star Wars crossover. When I say ‘specific’ when a cosplayer dresses as a comic character frequently it will be as that character in a specific series of comics, or film or animated series as different artists redesign characters. There were a few Batmans (Batmen?) but none of them resembled Adam West. Various incarnations of Dead Pool and other characters even an ‘Oor Wullie’ stoatin aboot complete wi’s bucket. What Oor Wullie demonstrated like the guy who dressed as Shaun of the Dead is that imagination and inventiveness is more important than money. Any one can buy or hire costumes, but the cosplayers at Comic Con were creating them, building them largely from re-purposed materials or sewing their own and even those who used bought costumes were completing them with their own make up.

comicon2Another feature of Comic Con is the shopping. There was a large hall filled with comics vendors, people selling produce related to comics, like figures T shirts, hats, masks. There were many craft stalls selling things related to the mood of the event and there was much artwork to be bought. Many of the creators of the less mainstream and more idiosyncratic comics had their own stalls promoting their work where they were happy to sign what people bought and chat about their work.

For the serious comic aficionados meeting the creators of the comics is a major reason for attending and a number of well known stars of the comics industry were meeting their fans and signing comics.

To my surprise the part I actually enjoyed most was the panels. I had expected the cosplay parades to have been the best part of the event. However as a writer I was fascinated to listen to comics writers and artists discussing their creative processes. What I realised was that writing for comics is very much more visual than some prose where the images have to be created by the words, or poetry where the sound is as important as the image. Never the less creativity demands work and application and if anyone thought otherwise the panels would have disabused them of it. I can’t remember whether it was Kate Leth or Marguerite Bennett who contrasted the difference between writing prose fiction, which largely depends on oneself, and writing for comics where a whole team of artists, inkers and colourists are depending on the writer so that the comic can be delivered on deadline. I really enjoyed the panel in which David Aja and Kate Leth discussed the music they listen to while writing and it made me reflect upon my own writing playlists. Of course being older mine tend to be on CD and tape rather than MP3 and I wouldn’t have the first idea about Spotify. It reminded me that there are aspects of the creative process that I don’t even think about except when they are missing.

I am quite surprises at how quickly the time passed on both days and just how much entertainment and pleasure I got from the event. I expect serious comics buffs and cosplayers got even more. Would I go again? Hell yeah! First I’ve got Asylum and Rai Con to get past.

Before I go one last high spot of the weekend for me was walking through town on the Saturday when a woman grabbed her friend and pointed to me with a shout of, ‘Wow look, it’s a Steampunk!’. A silly thing, but I was still smiling on the bus home.comicon4

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