It started when a certain voice actor tweeted me to tell me he’d be headed to our side of the pond to attend MCM London. His name is Raphael Sbarge and he brings life to my Mass Effect boyfriend, Kaidan Alenko. And that was all I needed…my tickets were booked and the countdown to meeting one of my idols began.
I found out that London goes cray-cray for Comic-con weekend.
There were masses of Cosplayers roaming the streets and stations brandishing all manner of weapons…the only weekend you could get away with that in London. I saw herds of Pikachus; schools of Lolitas; a million Tens and more Elevens (Dr’s FYI). It was magical. Pure unadulterated geek porn.
Even the guard on the Metro joined in the spirit of the weekend by telling us to keep our weapons inside the carriage at all times. Once we reached the Excel he bid us adieu with a “May the Force be with you” *nerdgasm!* Dudes, he knew his audience.
One of the first things that hit me at Comic-con was the cosplay. WOW. Some of the costumes were incredibly detailed and true. But what really struck me was the people inside the costumes. Double WOW. These guys have my utmost love and respect. They become the character they are cosplaying and it’s just wonderful…
My first taste of this came when I met Wolverine…
Dudes, just look at him. He is Wolverine. And everywhere I saw him, all weekend, he was Wolverine. He never broke character. That, my friends, is dedication. And he wasn’t the only one.
I saw a Batman that Christian Bale would be proud of…completely dark, mysterious and aloof.
I saw Doc Oc and Spiderman having battles.
I even met Captain Jack Sparrow, who I swear to the Maker was Johnny Depp…just a little shorter. Seriously though, I asked for his photo and he replied as Jack/Johnny would…down to the wibbly stance and funny hand gestures. I was in awe, I literally didn’t have the capacity to talk after that, I just clicked away with my phone.
The lengths these amazing people go to recreate the costumes is astonishing but the fact that they go that extra ten miles and become the character is just mind blowing and completely freaking fantastic.
So yuh, the cosplay was fantastic. Like a living breathing Madame Tussauds for the geek world. More geek porn.
The venue was brilliant. A great set up and considering the size of the event it was a well organised, well executed operation. I give huge props to all the staff, security and organisers for this weekend. You all did a stand up job dealing with all the crazy fangirls and boys; all the animals on the loose; all the Street Fighters; all the Angels and Demons; all the aliens and monsters. Brilliantly done Excel.
One of things that truly struck me about Comic-con was the love. Each person in that arena was different; each person belonged to numerous fandoms; each person showed it in their own beautiful way and no-one was targeted in any negative way. There were no bullies, no trolling, no name calling, no prejudice of any kind, just a shared appreciation and respect for all. And it was the most beautiful feeling in the world. Everyone felt free to let themselves shine and be whoever, or whatever, they wanted with no fear of repercussions. I wish everybody everywhere could experience that feeling every day.
Now, being a tumblr addict I had inside information on the secret tumblr code for any of us that ever venture outside… “I like your shoelaces…” (I’m not putting the response because then it wouldn’t be a secret tumblr code now would it?!) So I made up a badge and wore it with pride but with little hope of actually finding any tumblrs out there. How wrong I was. I met fellow addicts! It was beautiful! We squeed, we flailed and we exchanged urls. I actually met the real life people behind the blogs. Awesome.
So for a first timer like me the workings of the convention were pretty simple to follow…stand in line for a ticket to get an autograph or photo, turn up at the right time and get a moment you will never forget. Well, that’s how it was for me at least.
I knew who I was there to see…the voice of my most favourite gaming squeeze…Major Kaidan Alenko, aka Raphael Sbarge.
Ticket in hand I stood in line eagerly anticipating his arrival behind the desk…and my mind wandered. To bad places. What if he wasn’t the man I was expecting? What if he was tired of Mass Effect fangirls fawning at him? What if…?
But I needn’t have worried. As soon as he came out to the signing desk he was beaming at the fans. He stood and greeted each person; he shook hands and hugged; he posed for pictures…he was a perfect gentleman.
When my time to meet him came I stepped up, rather shyly, only to be welcomed with a hug and a smile to melt my heart. He has the shiniest eyes I ever…sorry, sidetracked. Ahem.
I asked him to sign a picture of Kaidan, hoping I wouldn’t offend him by wanting a picture that wasn’t of him but of a character he voiced. He wasn’t in the slightest bit offended. In fact, he signed it as Kaidan. I mean, he signed it to me from himself, but he added the most wonderful bit from Kaidan to Shepard. Now that is a man that appreciates his fans. He’s got to know how much that made my life (I told him so on twitter). I’ve known people that have met their idols and been nothing but disappointed with the reaction they’ve had from them or been surprised with their demeanour towards the fans. But not me. I met an idol and I love him even more now than I did before. Raphael is a truly beautiful man. He’s kind, sweet, sexy, approachable and a true gent. I’m literally going to have to stop myself from singing his praises here.
My weekend just got better and better. A surprise showing by Tom Baker, photo ops booked and a ticket to meet Mark Meer tucked in my wallet, I was a seriously happy fangirl.
I met some amazing independent comic illustrators and saw Rob Van Dam!
I had the most amazing noodles ever – if you were there and had the Yakisoba with Pumpkin, you know what I mean – and I had beer. It was all good!
And then I met Mr Mark Meer…Commander Shepard himself. Unf. Dudes, he be hotter in real life. Like, so hot he needs a warning. Not only that but he’s a really funny and sweet man. He was totally cool with the hardcore fans handing him bizarre objects to sign and pose with, totally up for posing with everyone and even doing extra and extended signing sessions to meet with all his fans. He had an awesome panel with the Mass Effect fans and played along with all the whims and requests like the professional, and fan, that he truly is. You can see that this guy enjoyed his time as Commander Shepard and he has time for all his fans.
Seriously, these Mass Effect men blew my mind this past weekend. The love they have for the series and the fans is truly wonderful.
I was a seriously lucky girl and got to meet the guys twice as I had photo ops with them both too. Oh, and the fact that they both recognised me?! *flail* I nearly forgot where I was. The girls in front settled for an arm draped around them. Not me. I requested a bear hug from them both…Man, Raphael has a grip on him…
By the end, I had a bag full of goodies; aching legs; sore feet and a heavy head but Maker it was all worth it. Not only because I got to meet two of my gaming idols but because of everything.
The whole event rocked my world. I was, as my BFF described me “worse than a kid at Christmas”. I saw sights I will never forget. I have some incredible photos and memories. I met some amazing people. And I fangirled so hard I thought I’d faint on several occasions.
Thank you MCM London. Thank you Excel centre. Thank you cosplayers. Thank you tumblr people. Thank you fans, monsters, Narutos, Iron Men, Alices, Laras and Steampunks.
Thank you Raphael. Thank you Mark.
You all had a hand in taking my Comic-con virginity and made it one of the best experiences of my life. I love you all so very much.