D’you know what improves the convention experience for me? Being damp. I find nothing makes a con like being wet and uncomfortable.
I was in luck, because it pissed down most of Saturday and that’s when I went to LFCC, held at the Olympia in Kensington and because of the ridiculously unsuitable queue system they had set up, I queued for nearly three quarters of hour in that aforementioned pissing rain because ALL THE QUEUING was outside: we had to queue, then wait in… pens, I guess, to be let out so we could queue again, moving around half of the building, past two other entrances to the building (one of which is directly opposite the entrance/exit to the train station), all outside, all in the rain.
“Well, maybe they didn’t have enough room inside?” says my strawman. Yeah, I thought that, Olympia is big but it’s not Excel Centre big, so maybe they just don’t have the room: until I got into the building and saw the huge empty indoor queuing area they weren’t using – which was AFTER the bag search and ticket takers, which I then had to walk around (and around, and around). Here I was so annoyed by this I took a picture (and no I didn’t stop walking to take it – because I don’t like to needlessly inconvenience people):
Look at all that lovely, dry, unused space. Presumably this was used to hold people before the show opened, get a bunch of ‘em through before the shutter goes up and prevent a bottleneck, and then it as left empty while we all got rained on.
“But they couldn’t’ve KNOWN FOR SURE it was going to rain” says my strawman again. Well they could have checked the weather forecast but you’re right, the previous week had been the hottest week of the year, but that’s no better – that would have left customers out in the blistering sun and unbearable heat and we’ve done that dance before haven’t we Showmasters? But anyway, why not simply move everything back when you saw how bad the weather was and use all that space to keep SOME of the customers dry and all of the customers drier? It’s some pasting tables and a makeshift set of booths, it’s not like you’d have to move the entrance tunnel to Main Street USA. There was no attempts to react and help the people outside to go with their no attempts at any kind of preventative measures, leaving only the feeling of ‘fuck ‘em, they’ve already paid’.
I don’t know who’s responsible for organising this sort of thing – Showmasters (the conventions organisers) or Olympia itself, though Showmasters has had issues with understanding how to organise a queue before at other venues so I’m leaning towards it being them but whoever it is, there’s no nice way of saying it so I won’t say it nicely: you’re arseholes – you did nothing for us and you should flat out be ashamed of yourself.
I’d like to end this rant with a shout out to the two lovely jobsworths who wouldn’t let the woman with the baby in one of those entrances we passed. They were all class and I’m sure they will both get bonuses for sending a mother and child back out into a storm to stand for 20 minutes to half an hour (yes the mother did have an umbrella, but that was hardly protection).
Anyway, I bought some shit:
Virtually none of it was what I went for but that’s the way it goes; if you go looking for something in particular it won’t be there, but a dozen other things that you’ve looked for in other places (and weren’t there) will be, and thus it’s sod’s law’s fault that this is such an unfocussed mishmash of things and not at all because I have trouble focussing.
Anyway, are you sitting comfortably (and not damp)? Then I'll begin:
So, remember that time I bought a Critters pillow and spent the whole time talking about the moral and legal questions that came with it? No of course you don’t because you don’t exist but if you did you might remember that, it was the same convention last year, and now the same bloke has now made a Ghoulies one! The first Ghoulies movie is a jarringly serious affair but Ghoulies II is a wonderous romp that fully embraces it’s low-budget Gremlins rip-off nature and lets the ghoulies loose in a funfair to cause Mogwai-inspired mayhem and is all kinds of delightful. That’s a water ghoulie that Alley Cat Productions has turned into a resting spot for weary horror nuts’ heads, it became the unofficial mascot of the series and in Ghoulies II a ginormous one gets loose and eats things whole, I cannot recommend this film enough. Like Critters (and weirdly, Little Shop of Horrors) your only option for Ghoulies merch is the unofficial-completely-illegal-but-fuck-it-no-one’s-looking market and, well, look at that pillow, that pillow is gorgeous, so they’re doing it right. Though I did tell the man he sucked, because he does, I wasn’t going to buy anything large this year and then he comes at me with this pillow – dick. That said, will you make a Troll 2 one for next year, please?
Convention Only Purchases!
£13.33 ($16.50) for the pair
There are some toys that just won’t turn up in a fit state anywhere but conventions or other locations where reputable dealers aiming at the adult collector market can be found, these toys are best described as ‘delicate’ but more accurately described as ‘impractical fucknuggets’ or ‘those two up there’. That’s Teacher Creature from Kenner’s Beetlejuice and Banshee from Toy Biz’s The Uncanny X-Men and both can go fuck themselves because both had completely unnecessarily delicate parts to them and toy makers: nothing delicate should ever be put on a thing intended for children! Banshee’s ‘wings’ are thin plastic-bag type plastic and pretty much everything about the ‘Teacher (but especially her cape and arms) should never have been put anywhere near a child if you wanted it to survive a fortnight, so it’s a tough job to find them un-bolloxed. So I suppose I should be bragging about getting them both for great prices (£10 for CT, while Banshee was in a great ‘three for a tenner’ deal) but I though I’d rather impart this advice: don’t buy stuff for convention prices if you can get them elsewhere, but sometimes you can’t (or you can but they won't have any arms/wings) knowing the difference is as often a case of common sense as it is in-depth knowledge of a toyline, learn the difference and you’ll get save some money.
For the following my dialogue will be in normal type, the seller will be in bold and my thoughts will be in italic:
That’s a nice vintage looking Donald Duck
Excuse me, is that Donald Duck by Dakin?
Oh dear, fine, simplify:
Can I have a look at the Donald Duck, please?
Oh, yeah, of course young man
Nah it’s not Dakin, head sculpt is wrong, it is lovely though, it still has it’s tag, where’d he find this?
It’s old, late ‘60s/early ‘70s
Oh god, here we go
He’s going to want a small mortgage for this isn’t he?
I’ve got 10 on it because it’s so old
10? 10 pounds? Just a tenner? Nah, that can’t be right
I’ve got 10 on it, because it’s old
I’ll take it, cheers mate
This was worth getting rained on for
And then he seemingly disappeared into thin air, because I tried looking for him later (he had a Care Bears board game I wanted to
rip him off for pick up now I’d been ‘round
all the stalls) and couldn’t find him, so I have no choice to conclude he was a
wizard who came to the show just to sell me lovely vintage Disney toys at a
great price. I still don’t know exactly where it came from, it does look to be
1970s-ish but it has no copyright date and the only maker’s mark on it is ‘Walt
Disney Productions’ (the copyright holder) which usually means that it’s from a
Disney Park or a Disney Store but it looks too early to be from the latter, so
I’m guessing it’s Disneyland or Disney World merch? It also needs a wash.
Todd McFarlane’s The Blair Witch!
That ‘Todd McFarlane’s’ prefix is very important, as I shall explain.
This has been one of my most sought-after action figures of late (‘of late’ = 18 months or so) because it’s just so ridiculous. It takes a level of confidence that few other than Todd McFarlane could muster to think (or realise) that your toys are so hot and that people will buy them no matter what to such a degree that you decide to make a figure of something that is never seen. Wanting to make a tie-in for something as wildly successful as The Blair Witch Project was far from a bad idea and a bunch of companies did (there was comics, for instance, with really cool gimmick covers) and you might think that if you have a line made up of famous movie monsters (Movie Maniacs) that it would make sense to make a figure of the titular witch, but I repeat – you never seen the Blair Witch in the movie (you were actually supposed to but the cameraman forgot to pan left, no – really). But McFarlane wanted to make one so the people behind the movie let him design it – yes, this Groot-looking thing was the first official depiction of the Blair Witch and it was designed by the Spawn bloke so he could make a toy out of it. In fact this is the variant (the regular version has a different head without the tree-horns) because what’s madder than making a figure of something that’s never seen and my not exist? Making two of them of course!
Rogue is my favourite X-Men character, but I have this weird, special connection to The Beast. When I was at senior school I was bullied so heavily it left me with a variety of lovely complexes, one of the many things just about everyone used to repeat over and over - because it was socially acceptable to bully me the way it sometimes becomes socially acceptable for a whole school to look down on and pick on some kids without duck season every being openly declared on them, lord knows how kids learn this but they do – was calling me ‘the beast’ or ‘beast’ and it was the only thing I didn’t really mind. In Essex (and I presume elsewhere) ‘beast’ (said as ‘bBEASt’ like a car back-firing) is used to describe an unattractive, often fat, woman; a fat hairy man or a big impressive thing – I assume they were going for option number 2 – but to me ‘The Beast’ was, well, The Beast: that blue bloke from the X-Men and the Avengers and he was incredibly smart and incredibly cool. I’d watched the early 90’s X-Men cartoon to death and read a lot of ‘70s Avengers (where Beast was basically a stoner manwhore) - Why on early would I mind being called The Beast? I fact I felt like Hank McCoy – I was smart but shunned by the majority because of how I looked and what I was into, I WAS The Beast and I may have over-identified with him ever since.
The figure itself is magnificent by the way, hence why I bought it packaged but it was out of its box by the time I took these photos.
The Coming of Galactus!
I don’t buy too many comics at comic conventions (well technically FILM and comic conventions, that’s what the FCC stands for in LFCC dontchaknow) because why would I do something that sensible? But I don’t pass up great deals and this book was a great deal and allows me to impart some more ‘wisdom’, I apologize in advance. This collection is great, it includes the entire arc that culminated in the Coming of Galactus thee-parter, so the whole Inhumans story that came before it and Fantastic Four Annual 3 which is set immediately before the Inhumans make themselves known (it’s Mr Fantastic and The Invisible Girl’s wedding, Gorgon attacks on their honeymoon), and it throws in Fantastic Four 51 as well, meaning this is the best possible way of collecting this story-arc. And this is the pinnacle of Lee & Kirby’s collaborations in the 60s, it feels huge, it is huge, Kirby’s art is gorgeous, Lee’s scripting is under control and as a bonus you get ‘This Man, This Monster’ which is easily the best Thing story ever told, and you can get it in this series (The Marvel Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection) for as cheap as £7. Why? Well these things were stuck on the front of magazines and as you can see they have absolutely zero resale value, they resell for less than what they cost to buy new (£10) but who cares? The point of reprints is so you can read the stories without paying out for the original prints and risking damaging them by reading them, trades exist solely to be read and treated like any other book, so why not get these silly cheap magazine reprints, especially when they’re this thorough and this good? < That’s the ‘wisdom’ part by the way, because no-one seems to buy these things and they command zero respect when everyone should be gobbling them up to get great stories at low prices.
Pete Fucking Postlethwaite!
Why wouldn’t I post pictures of a Pete Postlethwaite action figure? This is the best human figure from the Kenner Jurassic Park lines, the likeness is spot on, and most importantly it’s of PETE FUCKING POSTLETHWAITE, one of the greatest character actors in British film and TV history. Hasbro have unveiled their Amber Collection of Jurassic Park collections figures and Roland Trembo gets my vote to appear in it ASAP, we’re getting Owen, a raptor and Malcom and we know we’re gonna get Alan Grant, Ellie, Claire and a dilo’ so throw in a ringer Hasbro and give us an awesome film-accurate Roland Trembo, the fandom will thank you for it - with lots and lots of cash.
This took forever to shit out, I went to LFCC on the Saturday and finished writing this on the Monday, I had to take the individual pics on the Sunday, this is because I had an insanely busy weekend, I’m sure we can all agree that it was worth the wait, can’t we?
Before I go, let’s have another look at that lovely Postlethwaite likeness:
Cheers for reading, all.