Well it's that time of year again folks. Another summer, another convention. Time to dust off the old Batsuit, say goodbye to my bank balance, and head on down to the UK’s biggest convention yet again…
And just when I thought the guests couldn’t get any bigger, out comes a whopper – Mads Mikkelsen! Probably best known as the weepy-eyed Bond villain in the superb Casino Royale, his career is really hitting the stratosphere thanks to his unique take on Hannibal Lecter in TV’s Hannibal. Plus his upcoming appearance in Marvel’s Doctor Strange and some little-known film called Star Wars: Rogue One, he’s about to truly become one of the big names in my geek world.
So let's get to it...
I head down to London’s Olympia with my usual geek-in-arms ‘Nien Numb’. The move to this new venue last year has been great for LFCC, with even more stalls, displays and activities spread out over an even bigger space. The venue is spacious and very pleasant to navigate around, it certainly doesn’t feel like there’s thousands of people in attendance which is a welcome change to previous years of shuffling amongst a crowd of people.
Greeting us at the entrance is one of cinema’s most sexiest cars: the Batmobile. This is one of my favourite incarnations of the caped crusader’s vehicle, the 1989 version as driven by Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s Batman. Sleek, shiny, and menacing even whilst parked, the curves and angles look gorgeous.
There are two other vehicles on display, very different from the Batmobile but equally as iconic. The DeLorean time machine from Back To The Future Part 2 is certainly eye-catching, but it’s the Mutt Cutts van from Dumb & Dumber that has really put a smile on my face. A van decked out to look like a massive dog, what’s not to like?
Then on to one of the highlight attractions at this year’s LFCC. DC’s new Batman villain ensemble movie Suicide Squad is imminent, and LFCC have pulled out all stops to showcase the actual costumes worn by the actors in the film! This is an amazing opportunity to see the unique garb worn by Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Will Smith and Cara Delevingne. Must pay this exhibition another visit when I’m kitted out as Batsy later…
I then decide to have a little wonder around to do some star spotting. I spot Jon Heder aka Napoleon Dynamite… “Tina you fat lard come get some DINNER!” I also see an 80’s legend Dolph Lundgren… “I must break you” On my travels I bump into a man who’s wandering around looking slightly lost. It’s freakin’ Judge Reinhold aka Detective Billy Rosewood from the Beverly Hills Cop movies! I shake his hand and he poses for a quick selfie, I’m well chuffed!
Time to browse the stalls I think. I spot the new Dark Crystal Funko Pop collection and simply MUST have them! I’ve been a fan of that puppet movie since I was a kid, and it still holds up extremely well when viewed today. It’s surprising how sinister and scary the puppets actually are for kids, and there’s been nothing quite like it since. The Funko’s look glorious, with lovely detailing and colours for each character they’ve produced. I also pick up a Suicide Squad Harley Quinn and Cheshire Cat kitten Funko Pop to keep Nien Nunb happy.
Right, time to meet Mads I think. The Danish actor is looking cool as always, sunglasses propped on his head, heavily suntanned. Nein Nunb just happens to have a crush on Mads, and she’s hoping about with excitement in the queue as we draw nearer. She’s opted for a Hannibal promo image for Mads to sign. They shake hands, her says a few words and smiles. Then she leans in and they hug. Mads has just made Nein Nunb’s day!
My turn to meet the Rogue One star now. I’ve brought the promo poster that was personally handed out by Kathleen Kennedy at the Rogue One panel during the last Star Wars Celebration. It’s already become a collector’s item and the addition of Mads Mikkelsen’s signature will be awesome! We shake hands, and I ask him what it feels like to be in a Star Wars movie, and has the huge scale of it all hit him yet. His response is as cool as a cucumber, delivered with that trademark calmness: “Meh, it’s work, it’s a movie.” You don’t fool me Mads! He signs my poster and we pose for a photo. I’m super chuffed now!
And so, ladies and gentlemen, we come to that time of the convention where a certain Caped Crusader needs to make an appearance. To the Bat Cave! (Okay, to the Olympia car park!) A quick change into the suit and Batsy is ready to descend upon LFCC. I notice that the car park actually makes for a good Batman-esque Backdrop, so pose for some Dark Knight-style moody photos. My car (which I have actually named ‘The Bat’!) is also perfect for posing next to.
And on into the Olympia I go. I’m immediately accosted by a Computer Exchange sales rep who wants me to sit on some crazy bear chair underneath some umbrellas for some promo photos. The things Batman must endure!
I head straight for the 1989 Batmobile for some more posed pictures. As I laugh I decide to get some photos standing next to the Mutt Cutts van. On my way, I spot a really crappy Batman Tumbler made of cardboard. Not sure what this is doing here, it looks so shoddy. When I reach Mutt Cutts, a young kid in a Stormtrooper outfit says hello. Now there’s a photo – Batman and a pint-sized Stormtrooper standing next to Dumb & Dumber’s Mutt Cutts van. Not something you see every day!
I then head on up to the Suicide Squad costumes display. It’s just too good an opportunity to pass up! While I’m there, I meet a couple of cosplayers – it’s Harley Quinn and The Joker! More perfect photo ops!
We’re then joined by two cosplayers… a roller-skating Harley and a Killer Croc. This is turning out be quite a Gotham-fest!
I wander around the Olympia looking for some more cosplayers, and Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe steps out to challenge me! As we pose, a small crowd starts to gather to snap pictures, so we act out a mock fight. This cosplay lark is so much fun!
Everywhere I go people stop me to have their picture taken with Batman. Kids dressed as Spider-Man, men dressed as Kylo Ren, girls dressed as Poison Ivy… Cosplay really brings people together and we can all share our love for these iconic film characters, that’s what makes these conventions so fun. I think some of the younger kids were scared of me, but I can hardly blame them – my rendition of Batman isn’t exactly colourful tights and spandex is it!
And so that’s another con done, and it was yet another absolute joy. Pleased with my Dark Crystal haul plus my newly signed Rogue One poster, it’s time to go back home and hang up the cape. Only one year to wait until the next one now…