Collectormania24

As if the weekend at MCM London wasn’t enough, the very next weekend I found myself pulling on the cosplay again for Collectormania24 at the NEC in Birmingham.

Caramel Latte Kiss cosplay

I’ve never actually been to a Collectormania event before, but as it was on the doorstep, it seemed rude not to investigate. When we arrived at about 11, we were quite surprised by how quiet it was. Initially, we were a bit concerned we wouldn’t find enough to keep us amused, as there weren’t huge numbers of people or stalls. Very soon though, we had become converts to Collectormania24.

Team Arrow UK

We were pleased to find a good sized Cosplay Zone, as this is so often neglected at conventions. There were lots of knowledgeable guests with stands set up, so you could go and chat, admire the costumes and get advice. There was also a full timetable of cosplay panels presented by the guests on subjects from Cosplay Etiquette to attaching horns to your head. We caught the end of King Tide Cosplay‘s panel on working with latex, and watched Team Arrow UK talk about the work they do. The cosplay competition was great on both days too, with some really amazing costumes.

Collectormania24

Collectormania

Collectormania Birmingham

There were some great items on display too, including movie replicas and this amazing display from Brick Central. We especially loved this model of Birmingham’s Bullring, with superhero characters mixed in. It was great.

Lego

Collectormania traders

Geek shopping

When we first arrived, we thought it didn’t look like there were huge amounts of stalls, but when we started walking around, we soon found there were a lot more than it appeared. The stalls that were there also meant there was lots of us to look for. It wasn’t that there were less stalls, it was just that there were only good stalls, rather than the MCM way, which can feel like a Scooby Doo style revolving background of stalls of Funko Pops, t-shirts and Japanese candy. While all these things were there, there was a lot less repetition. We found ourselves strolling slowly, browsing most of the stalls, and we found plenty to buy. We came home with new lego, Gundam, X-Men magnets, and T-Shirt for me.

John Barrowman

Charisma Carpenter and Julie Benz

Collectormania24 had a really impressive guestlist, and several of the guests presented their own panels too. Most of these panels were free, which was excellent. Dave managed to duck into some of John Barrowman’s panel (and I could hear Barrowman singing Copacabana from across the hall), but my favourite was the Buffy panel with Julie Benz and Charisma Carpenter. Both women were very funny, and spoke with real love for the show. Charisma in particular impressed me, talking about how much she loves Cordelia and it makes her sad when people assume she won’t want to talk about the part that made her name. In her words? “If an actor is like that? Fuck ’em.” I met them both on the Sunday, and got a shirt signed, and they were equally delightful. Julie chatted to me about feeling like people hated Darla, and Charisma told me she loved my Wonder Woman cosplay. An excellent experience all round.

Collectormania Cosplay

My personal favourite cosplay was these amazing dalek, who not only looked spot on, but trundled around the show yelling at people and causing havoc. It tried to take over Starbucks, screeching “Caffeinate, caffeinate!” and commanding the staff to make coffee. It also tried to fight me, but I survived the encounter.

I really enjoyed Collectormania24. The atmosphere was friendly and fun, and we were pleasantly surprised by how good the stalls, panels and Cosplay Zone were. We’ll be back for sure.

Oh…and here’s a couple of shots of my cosplays from the weekend.

X-Men Cosplay

Rogue Squadron Rogue, with Wolverine (WolverSteve)

Wonder Woman Cosplay

Wonder Woman

We attended Collectormania24 as members of the press, with press passes. All opinions are honest and my own. 

 

Cosplay: Art Nouveau Rogue

At MCM London the other week, I unveiled a new costume. I was part of an Art Nouveau superheroes group, as Art Nouveau Rogue. I thought it would be interesting to give new costumes a little write up, on the inspiration, the design and the build process, as well as the experience of wearing the thing.

Art Nouveau Rogue

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography. Costume made by: Nettle Cosplay

We were inspired by Hannah Alexander‘s beautiful art nouveau redesigns of characters including Disney Princesses, Sailor Moon and Pokemon. We decided to create our own versions rather than copy one of her designs, and as we all already cosplay X-Men together, it seemed the obvious choice. Here’s the other girls, Tesseract Cosplay, who were Phoenix, Emma Frost and Ms Marvel. Ms Marvel’s photoshoot images aren’t back yet, so I’ve pinched her photo in the Iron Throne…

Art Nouveau Superheroes

Photos: Sandy Smith Photography, apart from Iron Throne.

For my costume, we combined the dress shapes from art nouveau pictures, and Rogue’s classic 90s colour scheme. The dress is low at the back too, which is so pretty, if bloody awkward for bra wearing. The dress is made in velvet, which was definitely pretty warm for that weekend, but looked beautiful. I was very pleased with the shoes I found too. I managed to find shoes in the perfect shade of deep golden yellow, that laced up the ankle like a ballet shoe. I was surprised how comfortable they were actually, despite the height of the heel.

Rogue Cosplay

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography. Costume: made by Nettle Cosplay

The cloak was my favourite part. Made in velour, it’s soft to the touch and photographs really well. Plus it was windy, so I got some excellent cloak billowing going on. The gloves are the usual ones from my Rogue cosplay, but I plan on replacing them with some prettier ones, preferably a 1930s style driving glove, if I can find some in yellow or green.

MCM London Cosplay

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography

Makeup wise, I attempted that classic 30s rosebud lip, where you under draw at the edges and overdraw the bottom lip. It looked great when I did it, but it was so hot, the lipstick was so soft it refused to stay, and just ended up a regular lipstick. It was a shame, but still looked good.

The flower crown I bought purely because it lit up, and I couldn’t find one in only yellow. This also will likely be upgraded later.

What do you think?

Has geek gone mainstream?

Mary Jane Watson

Photographer: Sandy Smith Photography

There was a time when geek was an insult. Being a geek meant being an unemployed, overweight man who spent your time in your mother’s basement, or it meant that if you asked the mainstream. It seems to me though, that after the whole ‘geek chic’ movement, geek has moved beyond being ‘cool’, and is now just…normal. Geek is the new mainstream.

Some of this mainstreaming can be put down to what’s on our screens. With Marvel Studios churning out hit after hit, our cinema screens have more than a touch of nerd. Sitting pretty in amongst the top ten highest grossing movies of 2017 so far are Logan,  Gaurdians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Lego Batman Movie. Still to come this year and sure to challenge that list? Thor: Ragnarok. Wonder Woman. Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Spider-Man: Homecoming. Noticing a theme? And that’s just this year.

The trend for geek is hitting or TV screens too. Everyone and their dog seems to be hooked on Game of Thrones, a series based on a pretty classic sword and sorcery style fantasy. Netflix has hit a home run with it’s Marvel offering, with what seemed like half the planet going gaga for Daredevil and Jessica Jones. 

Games of all times are looking pretty cool now. There are currently three game themed cafes near me (that I know of) offering a side of video games, table-top games or retro arcade games to go with your coffee. Among the list of YouTube’s highest earning stars are several Let’s Play or gaming channels, like Pewdiepie. 

What about fashion? Well, have have you been into a Primark recently? The high-street fast fashion giant has a range to keep any nerd happy, with clothing, accessories and home decor themed on Marvel and DC heroes, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pokemon…not to mention the outrageously popular Disney line. With the release of Suicide Squad, the beauty gurus took to YouTube to share tutorials on how to recreate Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn makeup. In this month’s Glamour Magazine a double page spread was dedicated to the runway collections which seemed to be influenced by the warrior women of Game of Thrones, The Force Awakens and Wonder Woman. 

Lately, my Facebook feed has been flooded with friends who probably wouldn’t define themselves as nerdy, sharing things like Harry Potter themed bar crawls, their reviews of Guardians of the Galaxy, or their excitement for the next MCU installment. Even cosplay isn;t weird anymore. Not so long ago, the first question I was always asked was what on earth cosplay was, whereas now, people come up to me in the kitchen at work, or walk over at blogging events, to tell me the character they’re harbouring a secret desire to cosplay.

Personally, I love it. The more the merrier. What do you think? Is geek still uncool, or are we at the cutting edge?