I’m going to lay this little disclaimer on the line right away: I am no expert on comics or superheroes. My flirtations with them as a child were brief and quickly superseded by books about dinosaurs. By the time I discovered football, Lego, bird-watching and Terry Pratchett novels, there was precious little occupiable space left in my tweenage brain to accommodate Spider-Man and his kinfolk. And when superheroes came roaring back into the public consciousness a few years ago with the release of a new wave of films (namely Batman Begins, the Spider-Man effort with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst and the first of the 5,348 X-Menvehicles), I was there, but mainly for all the cool explosions.
However, this weekend at the MCM (Movies Comic Media) Comic-Con at the planet-sized Excel Arena, I dearly wished I’d absorbed at least some basic super-knowledge. Not that anyone cared about my painful lack of nous – everyone who I spoke to was friendly, non-judgmental and more than willing to impart portions of their formidable expertise. And the sheer range of dedicated fandom was quite extraordinary: a pageant of colour and noise. Never before have I stood out more wearing a grey jumper. The big attractions at our stall? Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition (Kodansha Comics, £42.99), the latest addition to a mega-phenomenon which is only going to get bigger (seriously: if you haven’t heard about it, you soon will).
We also saw huge love for the ever popular Fairy Tail (Kodansha Comics, £7.99 each), and Sailor Moon series (Kodansha Comics, £7.99 each). And honourable mention must go to the adorable kitten Chi and her Sweet Home series (Vertical, £9.99 each), who had people of all ages making high-pitched noises all weekend.
Our favourite costumes of the show? It’s a tie between wheelchair-bound Iron Man (complete with weapon-loaded, yellow-and-red wheels), an intense girl sitting on the floor cradling a blue egg, and the man who, faced with so many choices of costume, settled for none and just wore a saucepan on his head.
As wave after wave of Pokémon, Super Marios, Spider-Men and, er, various princesses paraded past our stand, I began to get the nagging feeling that I wasn’t having as much fun as I could be having. Maybe I could just… nip over to the wig stall… and buy… a blue wig? Or a neon tail attachment? What were these confusing emotions? Why could I not get over the overwhelming urge to buy a four-foot stuffed Charmander? I think my inner geek, having been kept occupied with other things for so long, is now waiting to get out… So, if you’re reading this and you’d like to recommend me something in the way of comics new or old, series I should be watching or games I should be playing, then get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.