The dust has finally settled and the Excel centre sits empty but for a few distraught fans that were distracted by their recent purchases and forgot to leave before the heavy doors bolted shut. Sorry guys. Someone will let you out soon. I'm sure. maybe.
Anyway, it was a simply fantastic convention from start to finish. For those of you unaware of the London MCM Expo, it's one of the largest Animé and Gaming shows in the UK, and this year featured an expanded Comic Village with great UK creative studios (Ablaze Media, Markosia and Modern Monstrosity) getting a chance to meet 1000's of new fans.
In fact the attendance this year was mind-blowing. Some 25-30,000 fans turned up over the weekend to get their paws on the latest goodies from Japan, American and good old Blighty. The venue paid tribute to the biggest names in the entertainment industry with Manga, Atari, Sony, Microsoft, Universal Pictures, and of course BLINK TWICE!!!
Yes indeed, we were there with bells on! After spending a busy Friday putting our stand together we were really looking forward to meeting fellow creators, old fans and new fans alike, but even we were stunned by the reception we received. In one day we sold out of Issue 1, Issue 2 and Book 1, followed on Sunday by Book 2 and the Limited Edition Sketchbook!!!! It was a joy to see so many new readers taking a chance on a new property. The MOON! limited Art Prints had the folks drooling.
The atmosphere was brilliant all weekend, as the hall buzzed with the sound of thousands of happy folks. The fever pitch rose as we approached 2pm, when everyone in the Hall tried in vain to get into the main room for the HOT FUZZ press launch. We were tied to our table but heard the roar of the crowd that greeted Simon Pegg and Nick Frost when they took to the stage. Boy it was LOUD! Our chance came later when I stealthily managed to side-step the HOT FUZZ entourage and spend a little (30 seconds) quality time with Mr Pegg. Yeah, I gave him some Blink Twice swag. Sure, he shook my hand and thanked me. Perhaps I patted him on the back and told him he rocked. But in no way did I lose my cool. Well maybe just a little. But I didn't say I wanted to BE him. That was Mark. (in private *grumble* *grumble* - M)
Sat finished, it was home to Mark's Blink residence for a well-earned slap up feed and a beer or four. There's no nicer way to end a busy day. Timed to perfection, the clocks went back, granting us an extra hour in bed. Sunday morning therefore kicked off in a positive fashion. The crowds, though smaller than the monstrous first day, were no less enthusiastic and Lorenzo was kept incredibly busy sketching like a machine for all and sundry. I was kept busy in a quite different way.
Having been invited to join a panel on comic production and contractual agreements on Saturday, the event organisers collared me again on Sunday to ask if I'd be willing to judge the cosplay final. For those of you unfamiliar with this term it essentially means 'dressing up as your favourite animated/computer game character'. No different from the hordes of Batmen, Spidermen and storm troopers I've seen at previous conventions; just a different theme. I was more than happy to help out, as it would provide me, at the very least, with a good tale to tell down the pub the following week! Was I in for a surprise.
The event was stunning. Each entrant had really gone to town on producing their outfits, spending £100's of pounds in order to get every last detail correct. Judging therefore looked to be quite hard as so many individuals had nailed their chosen alter-ego perfectly. But that's where the style points came in. Every entrant had to perform a skit on stage in character and this was where we separated the Marios from the Luigis. 3 minute dance routines, choreographed sword fights, dubbed voice-overs, comic turns. I thought I'd seen everything a con had to offer until a 6 year old girl dressed as Lilo from the Disney movie came on stage and performed a number with a stuffed cuddly Stitch. Genius.
As soon as the prize-giving was over I instantly offered my services for next year. I wouldn't swap that job for all the comics in Slough.
We wrapped the Convention up with a round of hearty pats-on-the-back and the promise that next year would be even bigger, even better, and even more BLINK.
Thanks again to the organisers who were amazing all weekend; to the fans who came especially to see us; to all the new readers - hope your purchases made you smile; and a special thanks to Mark and Lawrence without whom none of this would be possible.
Hopefully we'll see you guys in 2007 - when the full Team Blink are reunited at the Bristol Expo in May!