This weekend I experienced my first ever Comic Con, something I’ve wanted to do since becoming disillusioned with the real world at the wise age of four. On behalf of Now TV, I attended panels with Jesse Eisenberg, The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar and Melissa Rauch, the cast of Outcast, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Arrow, Gotham and many more. I also made the discovery that people dressed as giant mutated reptiles are far more normal than everyone else.
Eisenberg may have basically confirmed he’s in Justice League and Nayyar may have got the sign language interpreter to sign ‘Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty’, but the ultimate take-away was witnessing thousands of people unashamedly being themselves, which is ironic considering they were all dressed as fictional characters. Perhaps wearing several pounds of makeup and plastic body armour gives people the confidence to not be total bastards to one another.
(Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Rauch and Kunal Nayyar)
The mood of the weekend was perfectly encapsulated by one Rastafarian Stormtrooper. Ethnically flailing in the middle of London’s ExCel Centre, he was the embodiment of a person too overcome with geeky glee to care about the outside world and whatever it is those people talk about – cricket, probably. While his costume was a curious combination – imperialist and anti-establishment – it was far from the strangest on show. A plethora of extravagant anime getups seemed to account for the majority of cosplayers, some of which were lugging cow-sized scythes and others adorned in skin-tight body suits. I was horrified and aroused in equal measure.
Frequently stepping backwards to take pictures, I often found myself treading on peoples’ toes and occasionally being the treadee. While lining up a shot of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, I backed into Indiana Jones, prompting me to quickly spin and apologise. In the process of pirouetting like a clumsy, remorseful drunk, I knocked off the robotic claw of a nearby Borg. Of course, there’s more hyperbole in that story than a Brexit campaign flyer, but what I don’t need to exaggerate is the friendly nature in which everyone responded to being trampled.
(I prefer Iron Man.)
It was at this moment I realised just how much I apologise when in public. I noticed I open most conversations with ‘sorry, hi’, as if I’m about to tell them their car has been clamped, but if asking Batman to stop and pose for a photo while he’s in the middle of buying key rings isn’t rude, then I don’t know what is. Yet he turned and politely exclaimed: “Of course, mate!”
Over the three days I’d become accustomed to seeing serious-looking individuals break character. Halo’s Master Chief, who came trudging through the entrance, took off his helmet to reveal a beaming, albeit sweaty young face, and Kylo Ren strolled down the main hall, using his lightsaber like a pimp cane. Everyone was in their element. And with so many likeminded people coming together, I couldn’t help but think how less awful modern society would be if everyone else was exactly the same. Admitting you like something enough to tape E.V.A. foam to your elbows is far more genuine than ‘coolly’ shuffling on a hepatitis C soaked dance floor.
Below are some of my favourite costumes, including pictures from the panels. If you see yourself or recognise the cosplayer, feel free to post their name and social media accounts in the comments. Alternatively, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll then tag them in this article.
(Catch a preview of the first episode of Fox’s Outcast on Now TV. I watched it. It’s messed up.)