Recap

London Film & Comic Con and YALC Recap, Part 2

YALC

Time for Part 2 of my recap! I posted Part 1 last week – on 12th July 2014, I went to London Film & Comic Con and YALC, where I met up with various book bloggers and saw lots of exciting people!

I think the combination of the crowds, which made it really difficult to get ANYWHERE, plus the ridiculous heat just made me, well, less interested in looking at stuff. Honestly, we spent the large majority of the day queueing. I spent an hour in the queue to get my book signed by Malorie Blackman, who was absolutely lovely. She made a comment about how well thumbed my copy of Noughts and Crosses was, and how she liked to see that – so I explained I’d had it since I was about ten, and that both me and my sister had read it multiple times.

Malorie Blackman
Malorie was lovely!

After this was another queue to see Kristian Nairn. The photo shoot started about half an hour late, so we were queueing for about an hour total. It was all very quick, although that of course made the system very efficient and meant that lots of people could have their photos taken, but it was kind of annoying after queuing for so long. When Kristian saw that both me and Kerry were having our picture taken together, he just held out both his arms which was really cute!

After meeting Kristian, we were going to head over to the other building which held the games and comic book areas, but after seeing yet ANOTHER hour long queue… we gave up. Which is a shame, because after walking through a crowd that took twenty minutes to pass, then realising we’d have to queue to get back into the building we’d just left, I didn’t really have the time (or the patience…) to go and say bye to everyone. I did see Amber and Tatum again before I went, in the queue (UGH) for Rainbow Rowell, which I wanted to join but… queues. We managed a quick chat but I’m sad that I didn’t get to talk to Amber as much as I’d hoped to! And also before leaving we bumped into Claire again, along with Hanna.

Hodor
Hodor

Whilst I enjoyed my day, there were a few problems. The air-con was apparently broken, and on one of the hottest days of the year, in a hall with thousands of people it was NOT ideal. It was absolutely boiling in there, everyone was sweating and I was constantly thirsty. Of course I drank the water I’d brought with me in no time, and there was naturally ANOTHER queue for any of the cafes – and then everything was over-priced. I got so sick of queueing, fed up with all the crowds and people constantly bashing into me and bashing into other people and I was starting to feel a little anxious.

BUT I got to meet some of my awesome blogger friends. Although I didn’t get to spend us much time with any of them as I wanted (I hung out with Claire the most), it was nice to finally meet people, however briefly. YALC definitely needs its own space next year, I think they would sell enough tickets to make it worth it. I also feel that YALC on its own would be a much calmer atmosphere.

We did also spot quite a few celebrities apart from the ones mentioned above: Paul McGann (my 4th Doctor Who cast member!), George A. Romero, Isaac Hempstead-Wright (who towered over us, embarrassing), David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Anthony Head, Adjoa Andoh (my 5th Doctor Who cast member!) and Summer Glau. I was a bit sad that I didn’t get to really see Lena Headey or David Wenham – or Stan Lee, but there was definitely no chance of that! And my gosh, if Michael Fassbender was there then I’d buy tickets in a heartbeat. There was also some SERIOUSLY amazing cosplay there, from such a wide variety of fandoms!

George A. Romero - I'm surprised there wasn't a bigger queue for him?
George A. Romero – I’m surprised there wasn’t a bigger queue for him?

In conclusion: a good day but hampered by the heat, the QUEUES and the lack of time with blogger friends!

Past Features

Turning Off The TV #23: The Avengers/Avengers Assemble

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Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The film this week is: The Avengers/Avengers Assemble.

Avengers

Nick Fury is director of S.H.I.E.L.D, an international peace keeping agency. The agency is a who’s who of Marvel Super Heroes, with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When global security is threatened by Loki and his cohorts, Nick Fury and his team will need all their powers to save the world from disaster. (via IMDB)

The Avengers, also released as Avengers Assemble in the UK, is one of the highest grossing films of all time. But what did you expect when it brings together various beloved superheroes, with their own franchises, as well as a handful of new characters? I absolutely LOVE this film and am pretty much in awe of everything in it: the costumes, the technology, the sets, the special effects, the music and the perfect cast. Like my X-Men version of this feature, I won’t be recommending novels but different Marvel comic books, since there are so many different storylines and line-ups to explore.

The Avengers Volume 2, by Brian Michael Bendis

The Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis

The Avengers Volume 2 by Brian Michael Bendis features some familiar faces to fans of the film: Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Captain America, but also some new like Red Hulk, Black Bolt, Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Professor X and the Sub-mariner. Including the Avengers, the New Avengers and the Secret Avengers, it’s a force not to be messed with! The Infinity Gems, which if in the wrong hands could be used to destroy Earth, are under the protection of various superheroes – but the villainous Hood has eluded them, and is gathering the gems one by one. It’s up to the Avengers to stop him and save the world.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1: Cosmic Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 by Brian Michael Bendis is one of the few Marvel comics I own, rather than one I’ve borrowed and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. The film came out on 31st July, and hopefully by the time this post is up I will have already watched it. The Guardians are a misfit band of criminals who are trying to do some good. There’s Star-Lord, aka Peter Quill, a half human prince who has defied his father; Gamora, a deadly green-skinned assassin; Drax, a ferocious warrior; Rocket, the result of a genetic experiment, and Groot, Rocket’s bodyguard/friend/transport. If you’re looking for a truly funny series to follow, this is definitely the one. Oh, and this particular story arc is fairly new and only has three volumes so far, plus an X-Men crossover, so it should be easy to catch up. Iron Man also features in this volume!

Ms. Marvel Volume 8: War of the Marvels

Ms Marvel

I’ve read a couple of Ms. Marvel volumes now, but I think Ms. Marvel Volume 8 by Brian Reed is my favourite so far. Karla Sofen (aka Moonstone) has taken over as Ms. Marvel after Carol Danvers’ death, whilst the story also follows a young lady called Catherine who shares many similarities with the aforementioned Carol (original Ms. Marvel). It’s a story of confused identities and split personalities, and whilst it suffers from the unfortunate typical trait of ‘fanservice’ (lots of skintight clothing and panty shots) that come with female superheroes, there are some really fun action sequences.

Are you a fan of The Avengers/Avengers Assemble? Do you have any recommendations to add? Are there any other TV shows or films you’d like me to cover?

Past Features

Turning Off The TV #22: X-Men

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Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The film this week is: X-Men.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The X-Men film series is set in an alternate universe, where some people are born with superpowers. These people are known as ‘mutants’, and are often misunderstood and frequently mistrusted by ‘normal’ humans. The films follow the students and teachers of Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Youngsters, founded by Charles Xavier aka Professor X, as well as Professor X’s former friend and now adversary, Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto.

This doesn’t cover one particular film, but the series as a whole. And no, of course I didn’t pick the First Class poster just so I could have a certain Irish-German gentleman on my blog… I’m doing something a little different this time, and recommending my favourite X-Men comics, rather than novels people might enjoy if they liked X-Men. It just feels a bit silly when there are hundreds and hundreds of different storylines and arcs involving our favourite mutants. I just want to emphasise that all Marvel comics I have read have been out of order, and I’ve never had any issues following storylines. So if that’s a worry to you when starting any of these, it shouldn’t be!

Ultimate X-Men: Volume 1 by Mark Millar Geoff Johns

Ultimate X-Men, Volume 1

The Ultimate X-Men series is a modernised re-imagining of the X-Men, and Ultimate X-Men: Volume 1 by Mark Millar collects the first year of these comics. The team consists of Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey and Iceman, with Storm and Colossus as new additions from the original 1960s line-up. There have been several artists and story writers working on the ‘Ultimate X-Men’ series, which ran for eight years, from 2001-2009. I can only comment on this particular volume but I’d definitely recommend it as a good place to start, especially if you want some more modern-looking art.

Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand by Ed Brubaker & Mike Choi

Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand

The Uncanny X-Men storyline is the longest running arc of the X-Men series (since 1963), and Uncanny X-Men: Divided We Stand by Ed Brubaker and Mike Choi is one of my favourites of the series so far. It features Cyclops and Emma Frost as the leaders of the Xavier Institute. They’re called to San Francisco by Archangel, who has discovered something very strange – part of the city seems to be stuck in the 1960s! I really loved all the 60s fashion and colours of this one, and it was a pretty fun storyline. There is also a small arc with Nightcrawler (*BAMF!*), Wolverine and Colossus travelling through Russia.

X-Men: Worlds Apart by Christopher Yost & Diogenes Neves

X-Men: Worlds Apart

X-Men: Worlds Apart by Christopher Yost and Diogenes Neves is different from the other X-Men books I’ve read, in that it follows Storm, and Storm only. It’s always fun when characters that don’t normally get their own spin-off books get them, because it allows the reader to learn much more about their personality, origin story etc. Wolverine gets plenty of his own stories and I’m getting a bit bored of him to be honest… I’m not so big on the art style in this one, but I liked the story. Storm is Queen of Wakanda and married to the Black Panther, and sets out to investigate a mysterious murder. It was great to finally meet the Black Panther, who I’d only ever heard about!

Are you a fan of X-Men? Do you have any recommendations to add? Are there any other TV shows or films you’d like me to cover?

Thoughts

Thoughts #17: If You Were A Superhero…

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Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Marvel comics. I’m not sure what bought it on; I’ve always been a fan of comic books, superheroes and the Marvel films – but only lately have I really started reading about them. This lead me to thinking what my powers would be if I could choose them – and I just couldn’t work it out. So I thought I’d consider some of my favourite Marvel heroes to begin with. I’d also like to address the question to my readers!

Gambit

Gambit

  • Real name: Remy Etienne LeBeau
  • Aliases: Death, Le Diable Blanc, Cajun
  • First appearance: Uncanny X-Men #266
  • Powers & abilities: Can tap into the potential energy within an object, and transform it into kinetic energy, allowing the object to explode when thrown; hypnotic charm allowing a subtle influence; very accurate aim when throwing playing cards and knives; skilled fencer
  • Amazing because… I don’t know why, I’ve just always really liked Gambit. His appearance really appeals to me, plus his powers are unique and different whilst still being useful. He’s pretty good at one-to-one combat without his powers, and can take on groups of enemies with them – covered for all situations!

Rogue

Rogue

  • Real name: Anna Marie (surname undisclosed)
  • Aliases: Anna Raven, Miss Smith, Irene Adler, Mutate #9602
  • First appearance: Avengers Annual #10
  • Powers & abilities: Previously able to absorb the powers, memories and personality traits (and life force) of anyone she comes into skin-to-skin contact with; later immunity to poisons and a virtually indestructible body, above normal reflexes, psychic sense
  • Amazing because… Rogue has gone through a lot. She lost her parents at a young age and was raised by Mystique, and discovered her powers as a teen, when her first kiss fell into a deep coma. She has been part of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. I can’t even imagine not being able to touch a loved one for fear of killing them, and Rogue has lived with that for her entire life.

Hawkeye

Hawkeye

  • Real name: Clinton Barton
  • Aliases: Marksman, Longbow, Goliath, Robin Hood, Golden Archer
  • First appearance: Tales of Suspense #57
  • Powers & abilities: No powers as such, but Hawkeye is an incredibly accurate marksman, with above average reflexes and hand-eye co-ordination; trained with throwing weapons and for unarmed combat; natural athlete; combat strategist
  • Amazing because… Hawkeye is a normal man. He’s not a superhero, he’s not a mutant: he’s just really good at what he does. Extreme dedication and training is the reason that he is the most skilled archer in the world, and that is incredibly admirable.

And one hero I’m not really bothered about…

Squirrel Girl...

Squirrel Girl

  • Real name: Doreen Green
  • Aliases: None
  • First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #8
  • Powers & abilities: Enhanced strength, speed, agility and reflexes; small claws and enlarged incisors; squirrel-like abilities and able to communicate with squirrels
  • Yep, she’s a real Marvel superhero. Nope, I don’t get it either. Apparently she was created to bring some light-heartedness to the comics, but still… squirrels?? Really?? Although if you play as her in the Lego Marvel Superheroes video game, you get to throw squirrels at people, which is strangely fun…

So, what did I choose as my powers after considering all these?

It was difficult and took some consideration, but I’ve come up with three ideas. I didn’t want to pick the usual ones like flight, invisibility, super strength etc, I wanted something a bit different – and here they are:

  • The ability to speak and understand any language I come into contact with. I love languages, and how amazing would it be to be able to speak ALL of them?! This didn’t really come from any specific superhero, although a couple of them are at least bi-lingual; for example both Gambit and Rogue are fluent in French.
  • The ability to touch an object and immediately know its history. Partly inspired by Rogue, who can learn memories by touch, I’d love to be able to touch an object and know all about it – how awesome would that be for a museum curator? I could instantly tell who crafted something, what it was used for, when it was used.
  • The ability to travel in time, and take others with me. Yep, I’d love to be able to travel in time at will, but only if I could take others with me – perhaps as long as we were in contact some way I could take them with me. This has nothing to do with Marvel, and everything to do with Doctor Who.

What would your superhero powers be if you could choose anything? Do you have any favourite superheroes?

Deadpool

HEY! DON’T FORGET THE MERC WITH A MOUTH!

Past Features

Turning Off The TV #13: Heroes

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Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The TV series this week is: Heroes

Heroes

After a total eclipse casts its shadow across the globe, seemingly calling forth a multitude of everyday men and women with special powers, Dr. Mohinder Suresh, a genetics professor from India, continues to champion his father’s theory that there are people with extraordinary abilities living among us. Heroes follows those people and their fight to save the world…

Heroes is another one of those shows that I started watching when it was first aired, then missed a couple and never caught up – despite the fact that my family owns all the DVDs and I could watch it on Netflix at any time. I’ve always been quite squeamish and that scene where Claire has to basically put her chest back together was a bit too much for me – although I think shows like Game of Thrones have desensitised me lately! Maybe I should give it another try, and just add it to my ever growing list of shows to watch and/or finish…

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

I’d always heard a lot about Brandon Sanderson, but I didn’t read any of his work until the end of last year. I’ve only read two of his books so far (Elantris and The Final Empire) but I loved them both. Whilst he tends to write fantasy, Steelheart is something quite different – a story of normal people, granted superpowers – and a desire to take over the Earth. The ‘Epics’, as they are known, are almost unstoppable, and only one force dares to stand against them – the ‘Reckoners’, normal people without super powers, who study the Epics in order to assassinate them. Ugh, I just want this book NOW. But it’s only out in large paperback at the moment – I’m waiting for a Kindle sale, or the smaller paperback.

Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Vicious by Victoria Schwab

Vicious is one of those books that I’d heard absolutely nothing about – until suddenly ALL of my blogger friends starting reading and talking about it. It’s about two young boys, college roommates, who discover that under the right conditions, gaining superpowers is possible. But things go wrong when it comes to the experimental stage, and ten years later the two boys are no longer friends – but enemies. Goodreads claims that Victoria Schwab ‘brings to life a gritty comic book style world in vivid prose’, which sounds totally my kind of thing. Also, I don’t know if it’s just me – but when I look at the thumbnail of this cover, all I can see is Gru from Despicable Me looking down from that balcony!

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Unlike the previous two books, Soon I Will Be Invincible is not one that I’ve seen all over the blogosphere. I found it whilst browsing Goodreads, and thought it looked pretty perfect for this feature. It sounds like a bit of a typical superhero story (an evil villain called ‘Doctor Impossible’ determined to take over the world, a ‘new’ superhero who will go on to prove themselves), but it also sounds pretty fun.

The H.I.V.E series by Mark Walden

The H.I.V.E series by Mark Walden

Because we can’t forget the super villains! I’ve seen the H.I.V.E series around a lot – it’s mostly aimed at middle grade audiences. The series follows a young boy called Otto who is picked from his orphanage to become part of the Higher Institute of Villainous Education, where young children are trained to become super villains. However, Otto soon realises that it is a six year program and he doesn’t want to stay. With the help of his genius friends, he begins formulating a plan to break out. There are currently eight books, with a ninth on the way.

As well as these novels, there are so many different graphic novels and comic books relating to superheroes to check out. I’m currently working my way through various Marvel (mostly X-Men, Fantastic Four and Avengers) storylines, but other great publishers include DC and Dark Horse.

Are you a fan of Heroes? Do you have any recommendations to add?